Mixed views on return to backwardated oil market

The long-running contango in futures prices for oil has signified the lack of global demand that pushed oil stocks to record levels throughout 2009. This phenomenon is illustrated by the upward-slopping futures price curve that incentivises traders to store oil, which further accentuates contango.

The spread between the near-month and 12-month contracts narrowed from $7.60 per barrel (bbl) in December to $3.25/bbl in March. By contrast, at the front of the curve, the April/May spread was at $0.2