Commodities are generally a good measure of how the market is doing overall; how abundant and fluid certain resources are can explain a lot about the economy and its patterns. When so much of the world, independent and corporate investors alike, has deeply vested interests in such a large market-one whose health is constantly up for debate, it is difficult to know when the warning signs are considerably worrying. Internationally, the world is facing a massive supply glut with Middle Eastern producers turning over oil at record production rates and the recent emergence of other serious oil producers, including the U.S. Even with such steep price drops, petroleum is not the only factor. One commodity index in particular, that tracks an array of different commodities, is currently trading far below recorded levels from before December 2008. Prices drop, the market recalibrates, and volatility is appeased, if only temporarily. But with recent global events surrounding Greece banks and the Chinese market bubble, perhaps it is time to look below the surface and into the past.
New York traded oil fell 20% from its previous high in June, which has led to investors getting bearish in a historically bull market. A big part of this problem is the current oversupply and production rates that only seem to break records are not helping. Sharp price drops in the cost of barrel oil are being observed across all nations and corporations. This has been creating problems on a big picture level, with over $100 billion being wiped away from the market value of about 60 companies, and the oversupply does not seem like it is slowing down any time soon. Iran recently signed a nuclear deal with the U.S., which has caused Iran to want to gain back its market share the best way it knows how to-producing oil.
Oversupply, while the largest addressable problem, is being aggravated by extraneous factors as well. China, knee-deep in its own market crash rehabilitation programs, has pulled back demand on oil for the time being, leading to further lowered prices. Factoring in the increasingly strong U.S. dollar, that generally makes oil more expensive, is plummeting oil prices to the ground. So is a recession for commodities likely?
Many are still putting their faith in larger economies (including China) to drive demand back up, while others are convinced that the price drop is just a phase, best handled with increased investment in the industry. Many are optimistic. Numbers never lie and economic patterns will always confirm that. While there is not a lot that nations can do, a large chunk of retail investors are switching to to other stable havens within the relative market, like gold and coffee. Although temporary, it is difficult to predict volatility in oil beyond traditional measures when a massive economy like China is still digging itself out, or at least trying. Oil is becoming less bullish and more of a threat to the rest of its commodity counterparts.