With increased chatter that a US attack on Iran is imminent, oil has been on a tear. And today’s release of government data showing that supplies dropped by 7 M barrels propelled the futures above $80 on the Merc.
In case you’re keeping track, that is the highest price that oil has ever traded (for the one month out contract).
If there is an attack on Iran, it will not be an occupation but similar to the “shock and awe” we witnessed on our TV screens at the onset of the Iraq war. However, attacking Iran will have totally different consequences for the oil market.
That’s because of a geological bottleneck called the Straight of Hormuz. A war would in effect close this “valve” and shut off access to the Persian Gulf for oil tankers.
I have no idea whether war is coming or not. The only thing in my power is to estimate the probable consequences. It isn’t difficult to imagine oil reaching +$100/bl. Which will send oil stocks like Halliburton (HAL), Valero (VLO), Diamond Offshore (DO) and everyone’s favourite: Energy Select Sector SPDR ETF (XLE) to the stratosphere.
In August I wrote about a rare occurrence in the energy sector. The bullish percent index reached an unheard of 13.92% on August 17th, 2007. The BP index had only only reached below 20% 8 times before in the past 10+ years. Each time, as you’ve guessed, was an amazing time to load up on oil stocks.
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