Good time to sell oil futures

In May 2011, we predicted oil (WTI) price to fall to the level of $70 per barrel by the end of 2011. This is a monthly revision for September 2011. We consider the average oil price of $84 per barrel what is equivalent to the producer price index of 244 in September. (Actual estimate will be published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics in the middle of October.)

Figure 1 compares our prediction with actual oil price in 2011. In August 2011, the predicted price is a bit higher than the measured one. In any case, we expect the price to fall by approximately $5 per month to the level of ~$70 in December 2011. We also expect the price to slowly fall through 2016 and put the uncertainty bounds for the long-term trend in oil price. The level of oil price in 2016 is between $30 and $60 per barrel. These bounds are also shown in Figure 1.

A week ago, when oil price was at ~$79 per barrel, we recommended buying oil futures. The intuition behind this idea was that $79 is approximately $5 below the expected price for September. This is a disequilibrium which should be recovered in the short run. Today, oil price is at the level of ~84. This is the equilibrium level for September. A small hike in oil price is possible during the next few days. However, at a two-week horizon, oil price should fall again. Therefore, I recommend selling now and buying in approximately two weeks or when the price will be around $75. It will grow to the level of ~$82 to $85 in October or November.
Figure 1. Oil price prediction in 2011. The price is expected to fall by $5 per month between June and December 2011. The price level is ~$70 in December 2011. We also show the range of expected price evolution by 2016.

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