What Affects Oil Prices in 2017

The price of oil is constantly changing, and investors need a lot of information in order to make accurate predictions about the direction of the market. In 2017, there are several trends that investors need to keep an eye on, including shifts in global demand, OPEC decisions, the development of shale, and political situations that can block supply.

Global Demand

Right now, the big increase in demand for oil is happening in Asia, and the trend is predicted to continue for the next twenty years. Right now, China is the major driver of demand, with plans to invest trillions of dollars into energy infrastructure throughout Asia. Forecasters predict that India will soon be another major player, and may even overtake China in oil consumption by the end of this decade.

OPEC

At the beginning of the year, OPEC decided to cut production in order to raise oil prices. However, thanks to reserves, it will likely be a year or more before the price of crude oil begins to increase. While OPEC has a lot of power to affect global supply, that power is checked by the fact that some of the world’s largest producers are not members of the organization, including the U.S., Canada, and Brazil.

Shale

Shale fracking has led the U.S. to become one of the world’s leading oil producers in 2017 and significantly decrease its dependence on foreign oil. Some of the larger players who have been able to extract oil more efficiently have bought out some of the smaller companies, protecting the health of the industry as a whole. The rapid increase in production over recent years has had the effect of bringing prices down, however.

Political Instability

Political conflicts can affect the production of oil or its transportation across borders. Civil war and international conflicts can have a big impact on oil prices, as evidenced by the recent US missile strike on Syria. The strike drove the price of oil up to $55.57 a barrel as other countries reacted to the potential threat of conflict in the region.

Investors need up-to-the-minute news and analysis of fluctuations in the oil market. Fortunately, there are some useful resources online that guide investors in making profitable decisions.