CHART OF THE WEEK
The slump in oil prices has had a mixed impact on the US. Whilst the decrease has been positive for household spending, it has also led to a sharp cut in oil exploration investment. Between the first quarters of 2015 and 2016, mining and drilling investment collapsed by 65%, subtracting almost 0.5% from GDP growth which grew just 2.0% over the twelve month period as a result.
According to data from the Department of Energy, US oil production, after spiking at 9.5 million barrels per day, has since fallen regularly and stood at 8.6 million barrels per day during the week ending June 24th. Against this backdrop, oil prices have recovered and stabilised, with Brent trading at around 50 USD per barrel. The Baker Hughes rig count data indicate that activity in the US has stabilised in recent weeks, and has even recovered slightly since the end of May.
Although it is premature to speak of an upturn in oil sector investment, the ongoing stabilisation in the working rig count suggests that the negative effects of the drop in oil prices are likely to wear off from the third quarter of 2016 onwards.
The opinion expressed above is dated July 1st, 2016 and is liable to change.
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