After many excruciating months of non-stop media coverage, the US presidential election is over and for better or worse, Donald Trump will indeed be the next president of the United States. While it's probably safe to say that there have already been dozens, if not hundreds, of articles written which speculate about how Trump's yet to be determined administration will govern, we thought it would be worthwhile to explore a related topic that is much more in our wheelhouse than politics, energy commodity prices. More specifically, how have crude oil prices performed during the first terms of the most recent US presidents?
However, before we could conduct the research and analysis ourselves, Platts beat us to it with three good articles: What happens to oil prices just after a US presidential election, A deeper look at oil prices after a US presidential election and How commodities have performed under US presidents since 1970. According to their analysis here is what happened in the early days following the elections of the past three presidents.
High price: $19.46/b on Nov 9
Low price : $16.56/b on Jan 20, 1993
Peak to trough decline of -14.9%
Rally of +12.5% to $18.64/b by Feb 1, 1993
High price: $34.40/b on Nov 15
Low price: $21.56/b on Dec 20
Peak to trough decline of -37.3%
Rally of +37.7% to $29.69/b by Feb 2, 2001
High price: $63.77/b on Nov 4
Low price: $33.66/b on Dec 24
Peak to trough decline of -47.2%
Rally of +44.5% to $48.64/b by Jan 6, 2009
And for the best and worst performances under US presidents since 1970:Brent Crude Oil
Best: Clinton (75.7%)
Worst: Obama (1.1%)
While all three presidents were elected and entered office in much different geopolicial, economic and oil price environments, during the first terms of Clinton, Bush and Obama, the price of crude oil generally declined in the weeks following Election Day and then increased after their inaugurations.
So how will oil prices move in during the Obama-Trump transition period and Trump's early days in office? Given that it's only been a few hours, it's anyone's guess. After all, the crude oil markets are still trying to determine if, when and how major producers, both OPEC and non-OPEC, will move forward as they continue their attempt to "balance" the market. Add to that the extreme volatility in currency markets and it's probably best to not even attempt to handicap any markets for the next few days. However, we will readdress this and related topics again in the coming weeks. That being said, at this moment, the front of the curves in both WTI and Brent are trading slightly higher (i.e. $0.25/BBL) while longer dated months are slightly in the red.