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"Oil Hits The Floor And Is Now Set To Soar": Citi

One day after Goldman issued a confused, rambling note in which the bank cuts its 3-month WTI price target by $7.50 from $55 to $47.50 saying "Spot WTI oil prices at $43/bbl are now back to November pre-OPEC deal levels, down from $52/bbl just a month ago and vs. our prior 3-mo $55/bbl forecast. How did it go so wrong?" yet kept a bullish long-term outlook (underscored by a bullish follow up note by Goldman's commodity head, Jeffrey Currie because Goldman is always hedged) and on the same day that Socgen likewise cut its Q3 and Q4 Brent forecasts by $7.50 to $50 and $52.50 (and 2018 by $6 to $54) on a weaker supply-demand outlook, oil bulls were in urgent need of reassurance.

So, courtesy of Citi, the one bank that will never stray too far from its bullish bets on crude (perhaps due to its role as OPEC's impresario to the hedge fund world), and its head technician Tom Fitzpatrick, here is the explanation why oil is now due for a rebound, or as Citi puts it... 

"Oil hits the floor and is now set to soar!"

  • We believe that WTI Crude has posted a short term bottom. Previous short term bottoms have typically seen strong upside follow through with an average low to high rally of 22% over three weeks. 
  • The present price action on WTI Crude is also very similar to that seen in October/November of last year and in that instance, we saw a rally of nearly 23% in the 3 weeks after the low was posted. 

  • We are very focused on the price action seen in October and November of last year where we fell for 5 weeks from a high of $51.93 to a low of $42.20. This time, we also fell for 5 weeks from a high of $52.00 and hit a low of $42.05 last week.
  • The bounce after the November low saw WTI rally to $51.80 over three weeks and a similar move this time around looks likely to us. Such a move would also be consistent with the rebounds off prior lows.
  • Previous short term bottoms in WTI Crude have been followed by aggressive rebounds in the 3 weeks that follow. On average these rebounds have resulted in a move higher by 22%. If last week’s low is a short term bottom (which is our bias), a bounce like the average one see over the last 18 months would suggest a move up to $51.29, in line with what we would expect to see if we follow the November 2016 bounce highlighted above.

  • Daily momentum has crossed higher from stretched levels and similar turns higher in momentum have corresponded with major bottoms in WTI Crude.
  • In addition, we have now firmly taken out good short term resistance at $43.76 (May low) on a closing basis and we held that level on a retest yesterday.
  • Interim resistance worth keeping an eye on in the short-term comes in around the March lows of $47.

  • It is worth noting that net Managed Money positioning has become significantly cleaner in the last few months and a large increase in shorts has actually been seen (biggest short since the deflation story dominated the narrative in mid-2016)
  • Further price appreciation in Crude could therefore see an unwind of shorts with plenty of room for longs to add to positions.

Then again, considering that exactly one week ago Citi issued a note titled "Here Comes The V-Shaped Rebound In Oil", we can see why readers may be skeptical.