We talk quite a bit about the power of social media but when it comes to President Trump’s affinity for tweeting (TWTR), the influential nature of social platforms is taken to an entirely different level. The president may tweet support for a Republican candidate running for Congress, or send his thoughts and prayers to victims of yet another mass shooting, and every tweet he shares, like clockwork, becomes a national headline as soon as a member of the media gets a notification on their smartphone.
“Trump tweets as if he has a joystick and he has everything under his command like he is playing one of these video games.”
–Tom Kloza, Global Head of Energy Analysis, Oil Price Information Service
Over the course of the last month, the price of crude oil has dropped 25%, with the cost of gasoline sinking to as little as $2 a gallon in a few states. According to the US Energy Information Administration (EIA), the United States has “surpassed Russia and Saudi Arabia to become the world’s largest crude oil producer earlier this year,” making President Trump so very happy. In fact, to express his pleasure with the news on oil prices, Trump shockingly took to Twitter (TWTR) to share his feelings:
“Oil prices getting lower. Great! Like a big Tax Cut for America and the World. Enjoy! $54, was just $82. Thank you to Saudi Arabia, but let’s get lower.”
–President Donald Trump on Twitter
Let’s unpack that tweet for a minute, shall we? First of all, oil is currently trading around $50 barrel, which is the cheapest crude has been in over a year, specifically since October 4, 2017, when the price dropped just below the $50 threshold. When the price per barrel of crude drops, consumers enjoy a nice discount at the gas pump, but for all other stakeholders in the oil industry, price dives like this bring up imminent fears of a bear market.
Before he even took office, President Trump made it clear that he wanted every product, service, and commodity to be manufactured in America and only America. As it relates to the oil industry, this has translated to a rush to pump oil out of shale fields around the country, most notably in West Texas, miraculously leading to record-high levels of production for black gold. Though domestic oil production couldn’t be higher, concerns about oversupply have sent oil prices every which way but loose.
Clifford Krauss, a contributor to the New York Times, writes that oil is currently resting on an economic sweet spot, given that prices are not so high that consumers and businesses feel pressed for cash, and not so low as to disrupt business for engird companies and oil exporters like Saudi Arabia and Russia. Since President Trump insisted the US focus more domestic crude, oil production has more than doubled in the last ten years, to over 11 million barrels per day. The recent drop in oil prices has not only raised concerns for investors in the space, but for manufacturers and the hundreds of thousands of oil workers that fear for their jobs. According to the New York Times, the last time oil prices slid in 2014, “more than 160,000 oil workers lost their jobs.” Think about it. If oil prices decrease, so too does the profit enjoyed by oil producers because a decrease in cost, coupled with overstock, will result in less demand, and therefore, less of a need for oil workers.
Investors in crude are hoping that oil prices will shoot back up after nations discuss the state of the oil industry at the G20 summit this weekend, specifically praying that Russian President Vladimir Putin and Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman will come to an agreement, but Putin told several media sources on Thursday that the recent drop in oil prices bares no effect on him or his country, whatsoever.