(Bloomberg) -- Andy Hall, one of the most successful oil traders of his generation, is thankful to be out of the business as geopolitics sends crude markets in wild price swings.
“Oil is a broken commodity that’s in long-term decline,” Hall, who retired in 2017 after a career that stretched back to the 1970s and included working for BP Plc and famed trading house Phibro LLC, said in a telephone interview from his home in Palm Beach, Florida.
Crude was already tumbling this year as the outlook for global demand worsened with the coronavirus pandemic. Then it nosedived this month after the Saudis and the Russians broke up an alliance of top crude exporters that were curbing their production to prop up prices. On Thursday, futures made a record rebound after U.S. President Donald Trump said he might eventually step in to try to end the deadlock.
Hall, who was known for bold, bullish bets on oil, has been bearish for some time, telling an industry event in November he predicted a plateauing or decline in global oil consumption by 2030 because of electric cars, technology and renewable energy. The latest price crash just corroborates his pessimistic outlook.
“This is symptomatic of the basic problem with oil: There’s a lot of it around and demand growth for it is declining,” said Hall. “Now with this crisis, demand has been decimated in the short term and that’s just adding to the longer-term problem.”
Brent crude, the global benchmark, has tumbled from almost $70 a barrel in early January to less than $25 at one point this week. The futures rose 2.3% to $29.11 at 8:23 a.m. New York time on Friday.
“There’s an existential question with the oil industry. That’s why I decided to get out of it,” Hall said. “Could oil prices double from here? Easily, but it won’t stay there.”
Read more: Why OPEC-Russia Blowup Sparked All-Out Oil Price War: QuickTake
(Adds latest price in penultimate paragraph)
©2020 Bloomberg L.P.