Oil prices reached their lowest point in more than two decades last month, which has caused substantial concern within the energy sector — and when a journalist attempted to grill President Donald Trump on the subject, his question wasn’t exactly well-received.
“Can I check in on oil again today?” a reporter asked Trump during his Tuesday press briefing, the Washington Examiner reported. The president, however, replied with a testy inquiry of his own.
Frustration on display
“Where is it today? What is the price?” an irritated Trump asked the journalist in response to his question, further demanding, “Give me the price.”
The reporter appeared to have been caught flat-footed by the president’s query. “I am not sure, to be honest,” he answered, sounding befuddled.
“How can you ask a question when you don’t know the price?” Trump wanted to know. When the reporter said he would look it up, Trump simply dismissed his question, concluding, “Let me just go to somebody else.”
Ongoing industry volatility
The petroleum industry has been in a state of volatility, both due to the coronavirus pandemic as well as because of a price war that has been raging of late between Russia and Saudi Arabia.
“The market is indicating that it wants some more certainty on whether the Russians and Saudis will strike a deal to limit supply,” Gene McGillian told CNBC on Tuesday. McGillian serves as vice president of market research at Tradition Energy.
“You’re also seeing pressure coming in from the fact that the market is expecting another week of sizable inventory gains here in the U.S.,” he added.
The COVID-19 crisis has played a pivotal role as well, with stay-at-home orders and the closure of workplaces across all industry sectors drastically reducing the demand for energy.
As Morgan Stanley analyst Devin McDermott explained in March, “Oil prices failed to keep pace, with growing [coronavirus] lockdown measures and reports that this could drive global demand down 20%, potentially pushing the world to run out of storage capacity.”
Oil deal reached
Yahoo! News reported on Thursday that Russia and Saudi Arabia had reached a deal that will reduce oil production, an event that observers predict will cause a rebound in petroleum prices.
“Both Saudi and Russia were going to have to cut anyway, and these cuts allow them to win political points too,” analyst Amrita Sen of Energy Aspects Ltd. said, according to Yahoo.