The specter of minus-$100 oil is behind us. Admit it, you felt a touch of morbid curiosity to see if the price would plummet to new record depths, just to say you were there when it happened and only if it were as short-lived as in April. As the June prompt month contract for WTI approached in May and Cushing storage was anticipated to reach tank tops simultaneously, a harder repeat of the April sell-by date—when WTI plunged ever-so-briefly to minus $37—was feared.
It didn’t happen. In fact, on that day, WTI settled at $32/bbl, a much sunnier day than the predicted storm. In January when oil was comfortably above $60, $30 would have sounded atrocious. Now, after WTI languished in the teens and low $20s for the better part of a month, $30 is a welcome reprieve. At the minimum, it signals price stability. At best, it represents a mile marker on a steady if slow upward trend.