Crude Oil Outlook Dims on Debt Limit & Recession Risks, Double-Top Pattern Eyed

January 17, 2024 10:55 AM +07:00

Pipscollector - Weekly Crude Oil (WTI) Price Analysis Report


  • Oil prices rebound during the week, but the near-term outlook remains somewhat bearish

  • Uncertainty over crude oil demand and stalled U.S. debt ceiling negotiations create a negative backdrop for energy markets

  • The double-top pattern in WTI’s daily chart signals prices could head lower in the coming days

Pipscollector - Crude oil prices (as measured by West Texas Intermediate front-month futures) experienced a modest decline on Friday, settling near $71.30 per barrel, but closed higher on a weekly basis, ending a four-week losing streak that has been fueled by heightened uncertainty about the demand outlook and non-stop recession talk on Wall Street.

Influence from the US economy

While the U.S. economy has remained resilient and managed to avert a recession so far, market indicators, such as the inversion of the yield curve, signal a downturn is on the way. True, the economic landscape could defy expectations and turn more positive, but recent turmoil in the banking sector has left little room for optimism, complicating the soft-landing narrative.

With the United States possessing the largest GDP worldwide, a contraction of its economy has the potential to significantly curtail global growth, resulting in a decrease in the overall demand for fossil fuels. This, in turn, could adversely impact crude prices, leading to a steep sell-off in cyclical commodities.

The ongoing U.S. debt ceiling impasse is exacerbating the challenges faced by energy markets. If the federal government fails to lift the borrowing cap in time, the Treasury Department could run out of cash to pay its obligations as soon as June 1, setting the stage for a default. This scenario would have catastrophic consequences for the economy and the financial system.


It is likely that Democrats and Republicans will manage to secure a deal at the last minute, that’s the nature of politics in Washington. However, such an agreement may only come after markets have begun to convulse and experience significant turbulence.

In the current environment, oil prices could be skewed to the downside, so further losses should not be ruled out. With investor confidence fragile, conditions can turn treacherous quickly and without warning, so traders should remain vigilant and stay tuned to the news, with particular attention to the debt ceiling saga.


In terms of technical analysis, WTI oil appears to be forging a bearish double-top formation. While the pattern is not yet complete, it may be confirmed soon if prices break below neckline support near the psychological $70.00 level. If this floor is breached, sellers may launch an attack on the $66.00 region. On further weakness, we could see a retest of the 2023 lows.

On the flip side, if prices manage to rebound from current levels, initial resistance lies at $73.80. A successful move above this barrier would invalidate the double top, opening the door for a climb toward $76.50.

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