The piece of oil data that is in the news is the closure of a pipeline running from a BP-operated field in Alaska. It may be that this is pushing up Brent prices, although with the current estimate of the outage at five days the effect may be rather muted, and hence the potential downside from a resolution should not be large. More interesting are rising demand and gearing to the economic recovery (and QE). Brent crude has broken out of its post-crisis range on these factors, not on the back of a short-term pipeline closure. The back end of the curve has been slow to catch up, however, and the market is presently in backwardation; if this holds then it is a tailwind for my long trade, and if it reverses by price increases further along the curve, as seems most logical given the improving recovery picture, it should not be a negative. All in all, there is a trend, and a breakout, and so I have traded (breakouts have worked well in this present rally).
One fly in the ointment is the behaviour of WTI, which has not broken out. Broker research has not given me a strong opinion on why WTI remains depressed (high inventories at the delivery point are partly due to operational requirements of new pipelines), but WTI has behaved oddly for some time now, and I do not take it as an indicator of the likely direction of Brent.
Finally, I have decided to trade ahead of the weekly crude inventories report due out at 1530. This was a trade from last night that I missed (Brent is not coming up on my scans for some reason, so I have added the chart to my manual monitor page), so I should have traded it then, and one of my principles is that when you have not done something you should have, the solution is to get on and do it (e.g. selling out of equities in 2008 — so many people held on because they had already held on).
Update2: FT Alphaville says the spread between Brent and WTI is down to tightness in the Brent market. That’s fine with me. That tightness is exactly what you can see in the trending chart.