Oil bulls spooked as Brent Crude touches $51 a barrel

Jake Cordell
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The bulls have charged into oil over the summer despite any big shift in the fundamentals
The bulls have charged into oil over the summer despite any big shift in the fundamentals (Source: Getty)

The black stuff bull run has edged back in early morning trading, after oil prices hit a two-month high at the end of an impressive winning streak for the commodity.

Brent Crude, the international benchmark, tipped past $51 a barrel overnight, before easing back to stand at $50.56 as the London markets opened and profit-taking kicked in.

The commodity has been almost unstoppable over the past two weeks, climbing from below $42 a barrel at the beginning of August to hit its highest level since mid-June.

Mike van Dulken at Accendo Markets said the rally was driven more by sentiment than any shift in the underlying outlook for oil prices, hinting a correction could be on the cards.

"Even though there are signs that production is falling in some minor oil producing nations, much of the recent oil price strength has been driven by mania, with traders desperate not to be left out of what could be an impressive rally," he said. "Remember that it’s highly unlikely that major oil producers, who compete with each other, will agree to cooperate."

Fawad Razaqzada of Forex.com added: "Crude oil has been rising sharply in recent days mainly on short-covering with hedge funds and other large speculators raising their net long positions once again."

He was equally pessimistic about whether the fundamentals had actually shifted in favour of a higher oil price, stating: "To some degree, this is because some believe – or more appropriately, hope – that Opec may come up with a plan to support prices at its informal meeting next month, something which we doubt will happen".

Read more: World Bank hikes oil price forecast

Speculation about a production freeze between Opec members has been rife ever since the oil price started sliding at the end of 2014. Even after a disappointing meeting in Doha earlier this year which was supposed to bear fruit, analysts haven't been able to drop the idea of an agreement being reached.

The weaker dollar, which has fallen by three per cent against the euro and five per cent against the yen over the last four weeks, has also helped the headline, dollar-demoninated oil price pick up.