The future of 2021’s top-performing sector
The energy sector has been the top-performing S&P 500 sector in 2021 as oil prices soared 61% this year — the highest level since 2014.
- This sent oil-related stocks soaring — with The Energy Select Sector SPDR Fund (NYSE:XLE) up 50% this year.
The future of oil: According to Reuters, the direction of oil prices in 2022 will depend on two supplier groups increasing oil production:
- OPEC+, a group of the largest oil-producing nations is slowly ramping up production, refusing to increase at a faster pace.
- US oil shale companies — struggling with labor and equipment shortage — are reluctant to raise production given demand uncertainty.
The market is divided over oil prices. The International Energy Agency is forecasting higher production in 2022 — with lower prices ahead. But other energy forecasters see risks of prices spiking — with oil prices of $100 still on the table.
Then there’s COVID making demand unpredictable — which is increasing and is expected to continue going up in 2022.
- Last week, the US lifted travel restrictions and India opened its borders to vaccinated travelers after being closed for 20 months.
- Yesterday, Biden called on the Federal Trade Commission to investigate potentially illegal activities among oil and gas companies keeping prices up.
PTSD: In past periods of oil booms, oil companies ramped up production quickly — just to end up suffering from oversupply in the following years. This time, they’re more cautious…
Oil production requires heavy upfront investment — and with a renewable energy transition underway, oil companies are even more reluctant to invest in new equipment.
Investors: Whether you invest in it or not, oil prices have big implications for portfolios — as high prices could spark a mini-recession.