Price Deflation Hits the Oil Market

Back in July, many pundits were anticipating higher oil prices. For example, here's a July 1 financial media headline: "Why oil's surge is far from over, and $100 per barrel could be in the cards."

Then, on July 6, a high-profile economist predicted a price of $150 a barrel. Four websites --,, Fox Business and Seeking Alpha -- featured this forecast in their headlines.

By contrast, the Aug. 3 Elliott Wave Financial Forecast took a different stance, as revealed by this chart and commentary:

Crude Optimism

We've been waiting patiently for the next opportunity to identify a reversal, and that juncture appears to be at hand. As shown on the chart, oil carried to $75.27 on July 3, coincident with a rise in trader optimism to 89% (, the highest level since the January high (96%). Oil then traced out five waves down to $67.03 on July 17, providing the initial indication of a trend change. A three-day bounce retraced half of the prior decline, and then prices moved net sideways until July 30. Observe on the bottom graph on the chart that while oil moved sideways, traders become more optimistic.

Indeed, oil prices hit a high two months later, and have been on a slippery path downward ever since.

Here's a Dec. 20 update from CNBC:

Shortly before noon, U.S. crude fell about 5 percent to $45.67 a barrel, its weakest price since August 2017. The contract was last trading $2.02 lower at $46.15, a 4.2 percent loss.

Meanwhile, Brent crude plunged to a fresh 15-month low at $54.54 at midday. The international benchmark for oil prices was down 3.4 percent, or $1.92, at $55.32. Oil prices have now fallen more than 35 percent from their 52-week highs in early October.

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