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Oil Update—February 2020

I am not providing a forecast for next month.

As we have seen during the past month, the coronavirus, or COVID-19 as it is officially named, is the major factor for determining the reduced oil demand for the next several weeks or months. Many of us have become amateur epidemiologists trying to understand all the data. Although I have read and watched as much as possible on this subject, I believe that most of us are still learning a lot about the virus and what its effects may be. While I have formed some opinions, I do not have much confidence in those opinions and will change them in a heartbeat when new and better information comes along. So, for those reasons, I am declining to provide a forecast for next month.

On March 5 and 6, OPEC+ is planning to meet and agree on new oil production cuts in response to reduced demand from the effects of coronavirus. I hope that this meeting goes better than their earlier meeting in February where they did not agree on any cuts.

One last thought: be careful when reading expert opinions about the coronavirus and its effects. Many of the opinions that I have read are extreme in either direction. The reality is that future is uncertain. Of course, I hope that the coronavirus is mild and that it remains largely contained.

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