Email of the day
Comment of the Day

February 28 2012

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Email of the day

on crude oil contract spreads:
"The chart library has the 1st month - 12th month backwardation-contango chart for the WTI crude but does not have the similar chart for Brent Crude. (the chart library does have the 1st - 2nd month backwardation-contango chart for both WTI and Brent). Could we get the 1-12 month backwardation-contango chart for Brent, since it reflects more on the tightness of world oil supplies? I would also appreciate your comments on the backwardation-contango charts for the energy sector and the prospects for an oil price rise absent an Iran-Israel event."

Eoin Treacy's view Thank you for this suggestion which has been added to the Chart Library. While the spread between the 1st and 2nd month contracts for West Texas Intermediate is in contango, the 1st and 12th month has moved into backwardation. The Brent crude equivalents are both in backwardation and the 1st – 12th month spread is even wider than the 1st – 2nd spread, suggesting a steeper futures curve and more pressing short-term demand dominance. This has been borne out by the nominal price action.

Seasonal considerations are reflected in the spreads for natural gas and gasoline contracts. The corresponding heating oil spread has moved into backwardation.

This overlay of the entire futures curves for Brent crude and WTI also helps to depict the current demand dominant environment. It also suggests the market is beginning to price in a contraction between the 1st month Brent Crude – WTI spread over the coming months.

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