January oil futures closed marginally higher yesterday, closing the oil trading session at $87.38 per barrel, having touched an intraday high of $87.89 per barrel, before ending the oil trading session just 10 cents per barrel higher. The current lack of direction for crude oil has been a feature of many markets over the last few weeks, as commodities in general trade in a consolidation phase as we move towards the year end, with the price congestion for oil clearly defined by the pivots above and below this current range.
To the upside, we have two isolated pivot highs, just below the $90 per barrel level, and below, two isolated pivot lows in the $85 per barrel price area, which define the limits of the current congestion phase. The most recent of these was on Tuesday, which is pushing the market lower as a result.
The Hawkeye widebar of early November was never validated, suggesting a lack of downside momentum, with the market pulling back to trade within the spread of the bar and failing to continue the bearish trend, with the daily trend now in transition to white. The three day trend however remains firmly bearish, with no transition as yet, and supported by heavy selling volumes in this time frame.
On the daily chart buyers have returned, but counterbalanced by yesterday’s rising selling volume in a narrow spread day. The Hawkeye Heatmap is in transition from bearish to bullish, but has yet to complete the full cycle, and the key now for the oil market, is whether we see a break above or below the current congestion. For a move higher, the $90 per barrel level is now key, and if this holds then we can expect to see a retest of the deep price congestion in the $92 per barrel area and beyond. A break below the $85 region, could see the market sell of sharply again, and test the $78 per barrel level in due course. As always, Hawkeye will reveal the future direction of the market, using volume as the only leading indicator.