Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Is WTI Weakness Purely Physical?*

Prices for crude oil benchmarks WTI and Brent have historically been related. In general WTI light sweet crude oil sold at a 5% premium to Brent crude oil between 1994 and 2010. However, this relationship between WTI and Brent crude oil totally collapsed in 2011. Brent crude oil sold at an average premium of $13/bbl in 1H11, or 13%, reaching $23/bbl in mid-June.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Volatility in Crude Oil Prices*

Prices for oil, like those for many other commodities, are inherently volatile and volatility itself varies over time. In recent years, the oil market has been characterised by rising, and at times, rapidly fluctuating, price levels. In the last nine months alone, crude oil prices have fluctuated in a wide range from $75/bbl to $125/bbl. However, careful examination of historical patterns shows that the volatility observed during 2008-2009 is actually lower than the peak observed in 1990‑1991.