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The more powerful our energy sources are, the more we advance into the future with confidence. It began with fire, continued with wind, and improved with steam. After learning how to control three of the four elements – fire, air, and water – we set our eyes on earth. When we successfully figured out how to take advantage of fossil resources, our lives were revolutionised with technological advancements in machinery, transportation, and everyday products. Crude oil is the main fossil resource and oil products are integrated in almost all aspects of human life. As the flagship of all oils, Brent Oil dominates the energy market. Governments, companies, investors, and traders around the world naturally swarm on Brent Oil like birds flocking to seeds in a city square.
What is Brent Oil?
Brent Oil (ICE: B; NYMEX: BZ) is one of the hottest assets in the energy commodities market and a major type of crude oil which is used as the European price benchmark for oil trades. Approximately the two-thirds of all global crude oil trading is priced in reference to Brent Oil, making it also the global oil price benchmark. The name “Brent” is coming from the Brent Oilfield in Scotland, where the blend was originally produced. In 1976, when the UK oil industry was creating a naming standard for the oilfields, their methodology was to name the fields alphabetically in the order they were built. They chose to name fields after birds. Thus, the first field was called Auk, after the great auk penguin, and the second field was called Brent, after the brent goose.
Brent Oil blend is classified as sweet light crude oil based on its low sulphur content (sweet) and low density (light). Sweet light crude oil blends are ideal for the energy market as their refining produces more gasoline and diesel than other blends. Brent is extracted from the North Sea coasts, between the United Kingdom and Norway, and therefore production and transportation costs are significantly low.
The History of Brent Oil
Brent Oil was originally traded in the London International Petroleum Exchange through open outcries. In 2005, oil trading activities were digitalised and moved to the electronic trading environment of the Intercontinental Exchange (ICE). Brent futures are traded both on ICE (ICE: B) and New York Mercantile Exchange (NYMEX: BZ) in the U.S. and have delivery dates for each month of the year. Until the beginning of the millennium, the barrel price of Brent Oil was trading below $40, after which it started to test whether it can break above. When the oil demand boomed in the emerging markets like China and India, the Brent Oil price per barrel gained momentum over the next four years and reached its all time high of $146.29/barrel in July 2008. However, the recession of 2007-2008 rode Brent Oil prices on a rollercoaster like the rest of the markets, as well. The +$100 gain per barrel of years were lost over the course of the next six months, and Brent Oil closed the year at $40.15 per barrel.
The European oil benchmark recovered more than $80 in the next two years to settle between $100 and $120. In 2014, oil price wars began as the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), the largest of its kind with 14 member countries, refused to cut down oil production and Brent Oil dropped below the $40 mark in 2016. It had managed to rise back above $80/barrel level, but Coronavirus crisis in 2020 caused Brent prices to dip rock bottom with the rest of the oil market.
Brent Oil vs. WTI Oil
West Texas Intermediate (WTI) is the American benchmark for crude oil. Brent Oil and West Texas Intermediate (WTI) Oil dominate the pricing practices in the crude oil markets. However, their prices vary.
- Price reference of BrentEurope, Global
- Price reference of WTIUSA
- Blend type of BrentSweet Light Crude
- Blend type of WTISweet Light Crude
- Ideal for BrentGasoline production
- Ideal for WTIGasoline production
- Brent is Extracted fromThe North Sea coasts
- WTI is Extracted fromLandlock zones in U.S. Midwest
- Advantage of BrentMore accessible than WTI, cheaper to produce & transport
- Advantage of WTISweeter and lighter than Brent, more ideal for gasoline
The price differences between Brent and WTI crude oils can occur due to physical differences between blends, changes in supply-and-demand, inventory numbers, improvements in extraction and transportation methods, developments in refinery technologies, and geopolitical events in the oil production zones such as political tensions, natural disasters and wars. Although the production rate and the barrel price of Brent are significantly higher, oil resources in the North Sea are depleting rapidly. On the other side of the Atlantic, the American Shale Revolution is expediting the development of WTI drilling and fracking technologies, while increasing the production rates and decreasing the costs. As a result, WTI barrel price is becoming cheaper than Brent and constituting a strong competition as a global benchmark.
Until 2010, Brent crude prices were usually lower than WTI crude. The difference between their barrel prices varied around $3. In the second half of 2010, Brent started gaining momentum and was trading $11 higher than WTI at the end of February 2011. The divergence peaked at $23 in August 2012. Since then, the price difference gradually declined and settled around $10 per barrel.
How to Trade Brent Oil?
Brent Crude Oil is the apple of the energy market’s eye with its strong demand levels and high regard as the global benchmark. As one of the leading commodities around the world, liquidity is always high. However, the oil prices are not short of volatility as the value is largely determined by the supply and demand levels of the oil products and market sentiment towards them. Brent futures are traded in the ICE and NYMEX with monthly delivery dates. However, participating in these exchanges are incredibly costly and require meeting rigorous criteria such as professional license and minimum capital amounts. As Forex traders, we can enjoy the benefit of Brent Oil CFD trading to avoid all that hassle and still capitalise on the Brent price movements.
Brent Oil CFD Trading Information
- Exchange (Ticker): ICE (B), NYMEX (BZ)
- Trading Hours (GMT): 00:00 – 21:59
- MT4 & MT5 Symbol: BRENT_OIL
- Contract Size: 1,000 barrels
- Valuation: U.S. Dollars
- Increment: 0.01
- Leverage (Pro): Up to
- Leverage (Retail): Up to
- Spread (Pro): $0.015 over market
- Spread (Retail): $0.02 over market
Brent Oil Fundamental Analysis
Fundamental analysis of Brent Oil mainly focuses on the factors which can affect the supply and demand levels, decisions by large oil cartels like OPEC, and economic events in the USA. However, the most important factor to consider is the market sentiment as the price of oil is mostly determined by the trades in the futures market.
Supply and Demand
Oil refining yields a wide range of products such as heating energy, vehicle fuel, plastic as raw material, machine oil, and asphalt. The demand for oil is generated by the activity in these sectors. As the demand increases, Brent Oil price increases, as well. Oil companies would refine more crude oil, and the supply will drop. However, if the demand falls, the oil refining or processing rates would drop, and the amount of stored crude oil will increase, leading to a supply glut and reducing the price
Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) has 14 members in Africa and the Middle East, which represent 44% of daily oil production and 73% of global oil reserves, led by Saudi Arabia. In 2016, ten more countries led by Russia joined them to form OPEC+ cartel.
Their power on the oil supply allows them to control the global oil prices, including Brent, by deciding to cut or hike oil production rates.
Most OPEC+ countries are in geopolitically tense regions. Social uprisings and wars between producing countries can disrupt the oil production and trade processes, discouraging energy investors from maintaining their short-term investments in Brent Oil.
U.S. Economic Reports
All assets in the Energy industry are traded globally against the U.S. Dollar. Therefore, when the value of USD changes after economic reports from the U.S., the price of Brent Oil changes, too. For instance, if the U.S. Federal Reserve decides to cut the interest rate, USD would lose value and Brent Oil would rise.
Market sentiment refers to how investors, who trade oil futures, perceive the future supply and demand rates. Investors analyse the current oil industry events and predict potential outcomes. They invest in future delivery contracts accordingly. Thus, the future price of Brent Oil (and other oil products) is already being determined in the futures market. Therefore, market sentiment towards possible outcomes is more influential than the actual outcomes of events and reports.
Brent Oil Technical Analysis
Brent Oil is a highly volatile commodity which reacts quickly to the market events. Therefore, our technical analysis should utilise indicators which would inform us about price targets, momentum, and volatility.
Support & Resistance
The price levels which Brent Oil struggled to break beyond in the past like $40 and $80 marks. S&R levels in the longer timeframes such as monthly and yearly could inform us better about the price targets when the oil prices are gaining momentum towards a specific direction.
Commodity Channel Index (CCI)
CCI is a momentum oscillator which is used to understand uptrends and downtrends. When CCI is approaching +100, a strong uptrend can be forming; if it is reaching -100, a downtrend can emerge. Above +100 or below -100, the market would be overbought or oversold, and the momentum of the trend would start fading away.
Average True Range (ATR)
ATR is a volatility indicator which shows whether the current price volatility is above or below the average daily volatility of a past period, regardless of the trends. ATR is used in conjunction with trend signals; if the current volatility has already surpassed the daily average, the price movements could be slowing down, and any signal might be misleading.
Why Trade Brent Oil CFDs with AvaTrade?
Brent Oil CFDs allow us to capitalise on the price movements while eliminating the commitment and high margins required in futures contracts. The volatility in the oil markets generates numerous opportunities every day, especially when the global economic conditions are uncertain. Well, when are they not, anyways? Obviously, such uncertainty comes at the price of taking risks. However, so long as we have the support of AvaTrade’s expertise and advanced trading tools, we can trade with confidence under the most advantageous Brent Oil CFD trading conditions.
- Buy Long, Sell Short: CFD trading enables taking advantage of opportunities both when Brent Oil prices are rising and falling.
- Globally Secure: AvaTrade is regulated in the UK, the EU, Australia, Japan, and the Middle East, providing a safe & secure trading environment everywhere.
- Best Trading Conditions: Professional accounts trade Brent Oil with 100:1 leverage and $0.015 spread; Retail accounts trade Brent Oil with 10:1 leverage and only $0.02 spread.
- Trade Anytime, Anywhere: We are always on top of the Brent Oil price movements with MetaTrader 4 and MetaTrader 5 trading platforms, and AvaTradeGO mobile trading app.
- Wide Asset Selection: you can access a choice of trading instruments, including stock trading, commodities, forex trading, cryptocurrency, bonds, indices trading and ETFs.
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