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Goldman On What Happens To Oil As Egypt Contagion Flares

Tyler Durden's picture


A week after Zero Hedge first speculated what may happen to oil prices should the Suez Canal be shut down, Goldman arrives on the scene... And as expected, to Goldman it is all (mostly) priced in - the risk of contagion to Saudi is zero. After all, rich people never revolt... And things must always evolve according to what only Goldman Sachs has foreseen.

From Goldman's Jeffrey Currie:

Mass political protest spread from Tunisia to Egypt this past week, which raised concerns that the political instability may spread further and even into the energy-rich nations in the Gulf. Although commodity prices rose sharply, this rise in prices reflects concerns over political contagion and not direct physical disruptions as the impact on commodity fundamentals remains contained for now.

Recent events can impact commodity fundamentals via three channels

Although commodity fundamentals remain undisrupted, we see three channels that drive fundamental risks: 1) the risk of a disruption of commodity shipping routes posed by a further deterioration of conditions in Egypt, 2) the risk posed to crude oil supply should the political instability spread to the major producing countries in the region, which we view as unlikely given GCC affluence, and 3) the risk posed to agricultural demand should regional governments escalate imports of agricultural commodities in an effort to ensure local food supplies to avoid political unrest.

Oil impact determined by political and financial contagion risk

Ironically, while the impact on the crude oil market will likely be determined by whether or not the political contagion can be contained, the impact on the agricultural markets will likely be determined by the extent of the effort to contain the political contagion, with greater efforts likely leading to higher agricultural prices. Although we see the risk of political contagion as relatively low in the more affluent countries, financial contagion has already spread to these regions, raising the cost of oil production. Further, if these countries feel compelled to increase  spending in the face of greater political pressure, it could lead to a rise in the oil price required to balance budgets in these countries.

Should political contagion risk ease, the oil market is vulnerable to a near-term but temporary correction

Net, we see the current political crisis as raising near-term risk to agricultural prices. For oil, should the political crisis spread to the oil producing countries of the Middle East, it would certainly send prices sharply higher. However, we see this risk as low at this stage, and current fundamentals suggest that Brent is vulnerable to a near-term price correction should concerns over political contagion ease. But a correction would likely be temporary, as we maintain end-of-year target of $105/bbl.

Some more trite details:

This past week mass political protest spread from Tunisia to Egypt, which raised concerns that the political instability may spread further across North Africa and even into the energy-rich nations in the Gulf. In commodity markets, Brent crude oil  prices rose to just shy of $100/bbl ($99.74/bbl), agriculture prices jumped to new highs and gold prices rebounded sharply, reflecting concerns over political contagion as the direct physical impact on commodity fundamentals remains isolated and contained for now.

In fact, wheat prices traded off on Friday afternoon, as the negative demand effects from the 84 million populous and number one wheat importer Egypt are beginning to outweigh the risks of increased hoarding as the political contagion spreads. In contrast to the political contagion risk, which remains highly uncertain, we believe that physical commodity fundamental risk can be summarized into the following three channels:

Choke point disruptions. Should the crisis be contained to Egypt, the main commodity market impact will likely be a logistical one. Around 8 percent of world seaborne trade moves through the Suez Canal, and between oil tankers moving through the canal and oil flowing through the SUMED pipeline, roughly 2.0 million b/d or 2.5 percent of world oil production moves through Egypt. At this time, there has been no reported disruption to either the Suez Canal or the SUMED pipeline, which are interestingly running at much lower capacity utilization rates as most of the OPEC production cuts to Europe were concentrated through these routes. If the Suez Canal is disrupted, supplies would simply go around the Cape of Good Hope, which would add 15 days to the transportation time and modestly lengthen the supply chain.

Energy supply disruptions. In the oil market, the main risk is that of political instability spreading to Middle Eastern oil producers, such as Saudi Arabia. Egypt’s consumption and production are roughly balanced, creating little impact on oil supplies from the instability there. However, given the high level of affluence in the Gulf region, we see the probability of political contagion as relatively low. Instead, the focus should be on financial contagion, which is already happening in the CDS and equity markets, driving up funding costs and discouraging future investment in oil and gas in the region.

Hoarding of agriculture products. In the agricultural markets, the main risk is that, in an effort to contain political instability, regional governments will rapidly begin hoarding agricultural products in order to attempt to appease their civilian populations. It is important to remember that the protests in Tunisia began over high food prices, and with agricultural markets expected to remain tight, the acute political pressures generated by rising food prices will likely continue to pose political risks to the region. So far, hoarding of the two key food crops, wheat and rice, has only amounted to 2-3 million tonnes and would need to grow significantly more before we would be concerned.

Ironically, while the impact on the crude oil market will likely be determined by whether or not the political contagion can be contained, the impact on the agricultural markets will likely be determined by the extent of the efforts to contain the political contagion, with greater efforts likely leading to higher agricultural prices. Of course, the extent and type of effort made will likely also have an impact on crude oil prices. Already, borrowing costs to oil producing countries in the region have jumped sharply, raising the cost of oil production. Further, if these countries feel compelled to increase spending in the face of greater political pressure, it could in the near term lead to increased crude oil production in order to raise additional revenues, and in the medium term lead to a rise in the oil price required to balance budgets in these countries.

Net, we see the current political crisis as raising near-term risk to agricultural prices for the key food crops, wheat and rice. However, the wheat market remains amply supplied and in our view this stockpiling will not shift the overall global wheat balance. For oil, should the political crisis spread beyond Egypt to the oil producing countries of the Middle East, it would certainly send prices sharply higher. However, we see this risk as low at this stage, and current fundamentals suggest that the oil market is vulnerable to a near-term price correction should concerns over the potential for political contagion ease.

Not only have Brent crude oil prices moved above our near-term targets, there has also been some evidence that OPEC countries have already begun to bring spare capacity back to the market (see January 24, 2011, Energy Weekly), which further raises the near-term risk of a correction, particularly should production increase further in an effort to generate more revenue to help quell potential political unrest. Supporting this view was Friday's price action, when the call skew for oil increased sharply. However, the fact that the market still favors the put skew after the move underscores how ample levels of inventory may still insulate the world market from these events.

However, the impact of the current financial contagion on funding costs, combined with a potential rise in the breakeven price to balance regional budgets, will likely provide longerterm support to oil prices. Accordingly, any near-term correction would likely be temporary as we maintain our end-of-year oil price target of $105/bbl.

Although the current situation remains highly uncertain and the risks to physical disruptions relatively low, we see three key risks that need to be monitored: political contagion, potential energy supply disruptions and precautionary inventory building of agriculture products driven by increased political concerns, which could kick off broader and more widespread hoarding if security of supply issues become more concerning.

To be sure, Goldman is certain that what happens in a poor Egypt will never happen in a very rich Saudi Arabia. Because rich people never revolt against the status quo: after all just look at America... We'll remind them of this assumption when it collapses in tatters.

We see the risk of political contagion spreading to the GCC as relatively low

The risk of further turbulence and contagion within the broader region could be significant, particularly in its poorer and politically less stable parts. However, similar disturbances in the more affluent Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) economies, which have relatively stable and popular governments, seem unlikely. The main problem in GCC could potentially be the sectarian fault lines dividing the ruling Sunni majority and the Shiite contingent, particularly in Bahrain and certain parts of Saudi Arabia. However, in our view, this is  unlikely to play a significant destabilizing role, particularly at a time when oil prices remain elevated.

The main reason for this is that the avenue for political unrest to spread is likely through the young, urban poor who identify themselves with the demands and the concerns of the protestors in the neighboring countries, and have been suffering from  poverty, unemployment and a rising cost of living, especially in the context of rising food prices. As a result, the more affluent GCC countries are much less likely to have problems than the less affluent North African countries (see Exhibits 1).

What happens in Egypt will be extremely important for the rest of the region. Egypt has historically served as the vanguard of Arab nationalism and its charismatic and powerful political leaders (from Nasr to Sadat and finally President Mubarak) have  assumed key leadership positions within the Arab World over the past 50 years. Egypt has also been a close ally of Western powers and played an important balancing role in Arab-Israeli relations since late the 1970s.

An update on the Suez and SUMED situation:

The risk of supply disruptions remains limited with future investment being the main risk

The current disruptions in energy supplies are extremely small, which underscores that the real risks are that the political problems spread to one of the large energy producers in the GCC or Algeria and Libya in North Africa. However, it is important to emphasize that even if the problems spread to one of these countries it is not necessarily the case that energy supplies would be disrupted, as history has shown that energy can still flow even under very adverse political conditions. This suggests that ultimately the real risk that current events disrupt supplies is either by discouraging future investment and/or substantially raising the cost of investment, like what is already happening with the sharp rise in regional funding costs. This risk was captured in the equity market on Friday (January 28) as oil companies with exposure to the MENA region sold off while producers without exposure to the region traded up.

The current situation in Egypt underscores how energy can continue to flow even under very adverse political conditions. Even though Egypt does not produce or export a large amount of oil as some of its neighbors do, it is home to the Suez Canal and the SUMED pipeline which between them have nearly 4.5 million b/d of global transportation capacity (see Exhibit 3).

Interestingly, much of this capacity is not currently being used as this is the avenue where much of the OPEC production cuts to Europe have occurred, leaving only about 1.0 million b/d of oil going through the Suez Canal and 1.1 million b/d of oil flowing through the SUMED pipeline in 2009. As of the morning of Sunday, January 30, 2011 however, most of the reports show that 38 vessels versus 47 vessels on Saturday are still going through the canal.

For the relatively small number of vessels that are not going through the canal, they are likely being redirected around the Cape of Good Hope, which adds an additional 6,000 miles to the journey, or 15 days. Although insurance companies may charge higher rates now to go through the canal, this must be weighed against the risk of Somali pirates and the extra cost in transportation. So even with very adverse political conditions in Egypt, the vast majority of energy is still flowing as normal.

Although larger energy producing regions do remain at risk (see Exhibit 4), history suggests that even if political unrest spreads to a region, disruptions are likely to be minimal. For example, even during the most recent war in Iraq, oil supplies were only disrupted for three weeks. In fact, the only two times in recent history when oil supplies were significantly disrupted due to political unrest was in Iran in 1978 and Venezuela in 2002, when the unrest impacted the workers in the oil fields who simply left their positions and/or the country, which required finding and training new workers.

And much more typical sell side behind the curve stuff.


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Mon, 01/31/2011 - 00:49 | 919370 bankrupt JPM bu...
bankrupt JPM buy silver's picture

Would like to welcome everyone to silvergoldsilver blog.  Stay tuned for updated info on the silver trade...(might be some oil in there to once in a while)

Mon, 01/31/2011 - 04:16 | 919570 Dr. Sandi
Dr. Sandi's picture

Thanks. I hope your site can fill me in more fully on the financial impact of the situation in Egypt. Particularly the Suez Canal waterway and oil pipeline.

Mon, 01/31/2011 - 06:13 | 919618 Sudden Debt
Sudden Debt's picture

FOX news isn't enough for you? :)


Just check out where those IDIOTS placed Egypt!!




for those who don't get it: Egypt is about 900 miles to the left and 300 miles lower on that map.


Mon, 01/31/2011 - 08:48 | 919733 66Sexy
66Sexy's picture


Mon, 01/31/2011 - 00:51 | 919376 RobotTrader
RobotTrader's picture

Gold getting smashed by the PPT tonight.

ES futures getting ramped.

100% damage control by the Plutocrats.

Mon, 01/31/2011 - 00:56 | 919390 NOTW777
NOTW777's picture

.42% is smashed???

Mon, 01/31/2011 - 01:00 | 919396 RobotTrader
RobotTrader's picture

Down $14 from the opening highs in Asia, taken down in just a couple of hours, yeah, I'd say that is a "smash" by the Cartel....

Mon, 01/31/2011 - 01:58 | 919471 topcallingtroll
topcallingtroll's picture

trade the charts man....why put on a tinfoil hat?  An increased liquidity preference from geopolitical events is not unusual.  No one is hedging end of the world now.

Mon, 01/31/2011 - 02:11 | 919485 Gary Busey
Gary Busey's picture


Mon, 01/31/2011 - 01:01 | 919401 TruthInSunshine
TruthInSunshine's picture


Zero Hedge, get your servers secure. It appears Blankfein, Dimon, Bernanke & ObaMao have cyber Jackals running interference.

Mon, 01/31/2011 - 01:45 | 919455 Careless Whisper
Careless Whisper's picture

will. not. work.

wind of change is blowing.



Mon, 01/31/2011 - 04:23 | 919578 Hephasteus
Hephasteus's picture

.42 percent smashed

1.2 percent blowtorched

2.8 percent monkeyhammered.

6 percent CRUSHED.

Mon, 01/31/2011 - 00:57 | 919394 HarryWanger
HarryWanger's picture

And oil will get crushed tomorrow. Mark this post - you will see stocks like AAPL up 2% tomorrow.

Mon, 01/31/2011 - 01:02 | 919403 TruthInSunshine
TruthInSunshine's picture

You'd better order extra inventory of urinal cakes, Harry, just in case there's a revolution or two (or more) that begins to impact things.

Mon, 01/31/2011 - 01:27 | 919433 bob_dabolina
bob_dabolina's picture

Got it marked. See you tomorrow Wanger.

Mon, 01/31/2011 - 01:51 | 919462 Sophist Economicus
Sophist Economicus's picture

OK, i'm in.    Just shorted march oil futures contract and bought 1000 shares of AAPL...

Mon, 01/31/2011 - 02:07 | 919483 topcallingtroll
topcallingtroll's picture

balls of steel.    I think you are a little bit early on the aapl, but that oil call seems reasonable.

Mon, 01/31/2011 - 01:55 | 919468 topcallingtroll
topcallingtroll's picture

Harry I love you but you gotta stop pounding the aapl, or "stocks like aapl."  Oil will have a correction eventually but not just yet, very soon though.  Food hoarding out of fear is something I hadn't thought about, but I still see moderation in food prices temporarily very soon.  The deflation monster is coming back.   We won't know how strong he is until certain pending macro events unfold in the next few months.  Hopefully he just slows gold and commodities and buys some breathing room until GDP is sustainable.

Mon, 01/31/2011 - 02:42 | 919506 PhattyBuoy
PhattyBuoy's picture

That is quite a wish list ... did you send that to Santa Claus?

Rampant & destabilizing commodity inflation is crushing these small countries.

And it is baked in the cake!

Mon, 01/31/2011 - 02:52 | 919512 Miles Kendig
Miles Kendig's picture

You said almost the same thing on Friday Harry.  Besides who cares about the poisoned apple, besides bitches like yourself.

Mon, 01/31/2011 - 01:54 | 919467 Michael
Michael's picture

I am sure they are tapping hard on the computer keys right now adding electronic zeros to the balance sheet as we speak.

Mon, 01/31/2011 - 01:56 | 919469 Sophist Economicus
Sophist Economicus's picture

Ramped?  ES up 3, Russell +2.    Geez, hyperbole is in the air tonight

Mon, 01/31/2011 - 07:15 | 919651 gold mining ceo...
gold mining ceos are idiots's picture

Gold up $30 on Friday and Newmont was down. This is allgoldman 

following the Armstrong model. I doubt they have an original thought.

Mon, 01/31/2011 - 07:57 | 919674 papaswamp
papaswamp's picture

Anyone who day trades (or even week/month trades) physical is out of their mind. Most hold physical as an insurance against the fiat since if the govt paper becomes worthless people will only accept gold/silver. I suspect in the next 10 yrs many muslim countries will run gold/silver as an alternate currency or even main currency (Gold Dinar and Silver Dirham) declaring the paper versions as an evil currency of satan (the west).

Mon, 01/31/2011 - 11:18 | 920176 hangemhigh
hangemhigh's picture

"100% damage control by the Plutocrats."


about half an hour before market open was checking pricing.  had intra-day  screen showing gap down CMG open at 207.....shortly thereafter server disconnect occurred.....when re-connected CMG open was at 221.....

money for nothing and your frauds for free!!........

Mon, 01/31/2011 - 00:52 | 919379 vxpatel
vxpatel's picture

Oil prices will go up, not b/c of the Suez etc, but b/c Ben keeps on printing...

Print baby print!


By negative action, this proves there is no Al Queda, wouldn't 'they' have seized on opportunities like the past few weeks to stir total chaos? All they would have to do is use an RPG and poke a couple of holes in a tanker...END GAME NOW

Mon, 01/31/2011 - 01:29 | 919436 Dr. Porkchop
Dr. Porkchop's picture

The terrorists are busy at their annual meeting in Davos.

Mon, 01/31/2011 - 02:34 | 919498 roebernsw
roebernsw's picture

Right on that one.

Mon, 01/31/2011 - 02:15 | 919489 topcallingtroll
topcallingtroll's picture

you guys gotta realize that the moslem brotherhood has no love for al queda.  The moslem brotherhood would take care of them if they found any in Egypt.

Mon, 01/31/2011 - 00:53 | 919382 Id fight Gandhi
Id fight Gandhi's picture

In the end, the little guy gets screwed because prices will soar. I have no doubt I will pay more for food and energy in the next month. Then all of a sudden the market will collapse, same ol same ol.

Fuck them.

Mon, 01/31/2011 - 00:54 | 919383 dick cheneys ghost
dick cheneys ghost's picture

900 million missing from afghan bank. i didnt know goldman had an office in afghanistan. probably just making markets or something.




Mon, 01/31/2011 - 00:57 | 919391 tickhound
Mon, 01/31/2011 - 00:57 | 919393 TruthInSunshine
TruthInSunshine's picture

Another easy fade-the-fucking-criminal-syndicate-that-is-Goldman Sachs-trade.

Thanks for giving us such a steady, dead-nuts reliable fade trade, Squid!

Mon, 01/31/2011 - 01:03 | 919407 HedgeFundLIVE
HedgeFundLIVE's picture

Barring an immediate positive change in Egypt, we should sell off a little more into month end and then remain range bound for a while. The Market loathes a vacuum of information. Even peaceful resolutions in Egypt, will still not satisfy the market. It is my opinion that this event is just the beginning.’s-superpower-status

Commodities may be interesting to trade intraday volatility, but I will be staying away from overnighting them. 

Mon, 01/31/2011 - 01:08 | 919411 The Answer Is 42
The Answer Is 42's picture

I read on AlJazeera blog, from their guys on Cairo's center square, that El Baradei was ignored by most of the protesters. Yet US media have been gradually crowning him "the opposition leader". This is pathetic. WTF has Baradei done for Egypt?

Mon, 01/31/2011 - 01:29 | 919437 bob_dabolina
bob_dabolina's picture

He won the same worthless Nobel prize for peace that Obama (the same guy leading two wars) won.

Its all bullshit

Mon, 01/31/2011 - 01:40 | 919451 gwar5
gwar5's picture

I noticed that too, ElBaradei seems to be nothing but the UN globalist chosen pick. The people in the streets are calling for their "Rights"  --- those are Western ideas. Good.

ElBaradei has a history of supporting Iran, Hamas, and the Muslim Brotherhood who is now discussed as being  alliance with him. Not a good development. The MB seems to have tacit approval by our administration through their close association with CAIR (means 'conquer,' like we wouldn't notice).

Islamic Prime Minister of Turkey, Tayyip Erdogan: "Democracy is like a tram, you ride it until you arrive at your destination, then you step off."



Mon, 01/31/2011 - 01:12 | 919417 gwar5
gwar5's picture

I'm guessing oil goes up on fear, and a lot more on negative developments

And they're already accelerating food imports... so, good call Goldman.

Green light for Benocide to print more money to help the world pay for the higher prices.

They're all going to love America for the hunger in their bellies when they get through with Hosni.


Mon, 01/31/2011 - 01:17 | 919422 Temporalist
Temporalist's picture
Raw Video: Thousands Protest Corruption in India


Rahul Gandhi demands change amid graft fury

By James Lamont and Anjli Raval in New Delhi

Published: January 30 2011 17:57 | Last updated: January 30 2011 17:57

Rahul Gandhi, the scion of the Nehru-Gandhi dynasty, appealed for the urgent repair of India’s political system as thousands of people took to the streets in 60 cities at the weekend to protest against a tide of corruption.

Mon, 01/31/2011 - 01:22 | 919431 simon says
simon says's picture

Goldman sell side is great contra indicator.  Buy oil hand over fist.  Agree with Robot Trader that PPT is very active on PMs.  Trying to keep Silver under $28 and Gold under 1350 ... not sure why ... one obvious possibility is QE3 to bail out Munis.  QE4 bails out Japan and UK???  We are clearly spinning out of control ... world is "one" in the worst possible way.

Mon, 01/31/2011 - 03:36 | 919548 Oh regional Indian
Oh regional Indian's picture

Good observations and well said Simon. One in the worst possible way indeed.

Everyone is drowning.



Mon, 01/31/2011 - 01:48 | 919458 Careless Whisper
Careless Whisper's picture

erin b-cup burnett is a stupid selfish dumb bitch.


Mon, 01/31/2011 - 02:04 | 919478 topcallingtroll
topcallingtroll's picture

But I really want to fuck her.  Didn't Snaggletooth Santelli bang her?

Mon, 01/31/2011 - 02:06 | 919482 gwar5
gwar5's picture

I think the Oracle of Omaha showed her how he got his name on their way to China on his private jet.

Mon, 01/31/2011 - 07:27 | 919655 ZeroPower
ZeroPower's picture

Snaggletooth Santelli


Mon, 01/31/2011 - 02:05 | 919480 gwar5
gwar5's picture

Here's another Erin Burnett jewel I just posted before I saw yours. Apparently the poor starving masses in Egypt are also upset about their tee times.

Erin Burnett, CNBC, now in Cairo to report says: "there were men in the streets with bats, knives and golf clubs...."


Mon, 01/31/2011 - 01:49 | 919460 chump666
chump666's picture

Goldman...should be watching money market/CDS spreads for that region.  If they spike, so will oil.

Still if Goldman has a mega bet that oil will sell on China tightening, they could be sweating on middle east turmoil.  A lot of people got squeezed on gold/oil shorts when the Egyptian riots went live.

Mon, 01/31/2011 - 02:03 | 919477 topcallingtroll
topcallingtroll's picture

goldman's history with china has been been to take the short side of the oil trade and then hedge off the risk.  I think they will be ok.

Mon, 01/31/2011 - 02:07 | 919484 chump666
chump666's picture

they aint that smart, i'll bet someone is holding a massive short on oil, JP morgan fucked up a gas trade awhile back...same with goldman.  oil just spiked from 85 - 90 what in 4days?

Mon, 01/31/2011 - 02:17 | 919490 topcallingtroll
topcallingtroll's picture

they should be that smart.  they know the basics such as delta hedging, but they may have gotten greedy so I will reserve judgment.

Mon, 01/31/2011 - 01:59 | 919472 gwar5
gwar5's picture

Good news. Things might be looking up for USA prospects in Egypt. They might not all hate us.

Erin Burnett, CNBC, now in Cairo to report says: "there were men in the streets with bats, knives and golf clubs...."

Mon, 01/31/2011 - 04:20 | 919573 Dr. Sandi
Dr. Sandi's picture

I wouldn't challenge a pissed off Egyptian wielding a golf club. Even if he's a duffer.

Mon, 01/31/2011 - 08:34 | 919593 slewie the pi-rat
slewie the pi-rat's picture


well, shit, if hotlips is in there, anything could happen!

see if he's using Pings!  we'll see how poor these duffers are!

i'm goin in with the 4077th!

i'll be playing a Titleist 4, black-on-black, out of the sand, most likely...

a little travelling music, maestro!

YouTube - Suicide is Painless (M.A.S.H Theme)

Dr. Sandi---you in?  (heh, heh)


Mon, 01/31/2011 - 10:55 | 920112 Flakmeister
Flakmeister's picture

  Yeah, sandwedge would be the club of choice. Stick with a steel shaft...

Mon, 01/31/2011 - 14:55 | 921164 Dr. Sandi
Dr. Sandi's picture

Ohh, we used to play the real vocal version on our college radio station just be prove it was college radio. We were SOOOO radical.

Mon, 01/31/2011 - 02:03 | 919476 Yen Cross
Yen Cross's picture

It's likely that I will regret this remark. There is a very well maintained PIPELINE that is available in time of change.

Mon, 01/31/2011 - 02:04 | 919479 pitz
pitz's picture

Motherfuckers will say literally anything to try and scam another few dollars out of the market.

Mon, 01/31/2011 - 02:19 | 919488 CrashisOptimistic
CrashisOptimistic's picture

I take mild issue with one item in the Goldman analysis:


Further, if these countries feel compelled to increase  spending in the face of greater political pressure, it could lead to a rise in the oil price required to balance budgets in these countries.


This is profoundly glib.  Saudi Arabia is not the primary producer in the world.  Russia is, and Russia is not a member of OPEC.  Whereas it is presumed by far too many people that KSA has excess production capacity and Russia does not, this should absolutely not be extrapolated so extremely to say that Russia has no control of these matters.  

A decision to cut OPEC (KSA, no one else would do so) production (to elevate price/revenue) would almost certainly greatly reduce global economic growth and depress demand, lowering price despite the OPEC maneuver.  

The nuances and complexities are many and there is no telling what can or will happen in such an instance of attempted price control.  Regardless of that, this sentence from Goldman's report is foolishly glib.  It presumes that OPEC has the power to adjust price at will to address the whims of their fiscal spending.  This is just not true.  They do not have such power.  Countering forces exist.


Mon, 01/31/2011 - 02:23 | 919494 topcallingtroll
topcallingtroll's picture

yeah when you read a sentence like that it does leave you scratching your head.  Maybe the vast oil cartel/banking conspiracy/PPT/global elite really do control every swing in price of everything and they just let it slip!  but probably not.

Mon, 01/31/2011 - 02:36 | 919501 Yen Cross
Yen Cross's picture

 I'm going Iron Man! Where is Penny?

Mon, 01/31/2011 - 02:49 | 919510 Miles Kendig
Miles Kendig's picture

The sub-prime contagion is contained.  Classic foolery since the sub-prime action that needs containing is the street itself.

Mon, 01/31/2011 - 03:20 | 919533 TruthInSunshine
TruthInSunshine's picture

Any one with a scinitilla of intelligence knows that Goldman Sachs worships money as their god, as do others of their ilk, and that they represent the clearest and most immediate threat to the American People.

There is no limit to what the would say, write or do to squeeze an additional dollar of profit out of any situation, no matter who or how badly gets hurt by their activities, and they certainly hold no allegiance to any nation.

They are modern financial mercenaries of mass destruction, working either for themselves and/or with any one else allied for the same destructive purpose, if it suits their interest (see 'Abacus' as an example).

That the financial services sector of the economy represents roughly 40% of U.S. GDP, and that manufacturing represents less than 18%, and that financial services represented less than 7% of U.S. GDP in the 1960s...this should frighten the shit out of anyone who has witnessed the last several years, and actually cares about their nation and their family.

But don't hold your breath waiting for any truth, disclosure or hard-hitting exposes about Goldman, JP Morgan or their ilk to come out of the Main Stream Media. Scott Pelley of 60 Minutes didn't even have the brains and/or balls to ask Ben Bernanke, head shyster and bagman for Wall Street, why his outfit is paying 60 billion in POMO commissions to the Primary Dealers per year, when the same Treasuries could be purchased commission free, directly from the Department of Treasury.

If '60 Minutes' can't even tackle the easy shit, there's no hope in any 'investigative journalist' tackling anything requiring deep analysis.

Mon, 01/31/2011 - 07:44 | 919668 ZeroPower
ZeroPower's picture

The economy has shifted from a goods producing one to a services-producing one. That explains some, not all, of the big change in where America's GDP comes from.

Whether or not this is good for the US - time will tell. I'd say its a shade of grey.. as the rich get richer and the poor get.. cheaper.

Mon, 01/31/2011 - 08:08 | 919576 slewie the pi-rat
slewie the pi-rat's picture


nomi woulda fired this Currie shithead for talkin' like a man with a paper asshole.

Mon, 01/31/2011 - 04:23 | 919577 Yen Cross
Yen Cross's picture

 Goldman Who?

Mon, 01/31/2011 - 04:41 | 919587 Dr. Sandi
Dr. Sandi's picture

Although insurance companies may charge higher rates now to go through the canal, this must be weighed against the risk of Somali pirates and the extra cost in transportation.

I'd like to point out that the reason insurance companies charge higher rates to go through the canal is BECAUSE of Somali pirates lurking around the Horn of Africa. It is not against the risk, it IS the risk. Pirate entanglements in the north vs. 15 days longer trip and lots of bunker fuel burned to go around Africa.

Slower ships, and those with lower decks choose to go around the Cape of Good Hope on the southern end of Africa to avoid said Somali pirates. It adds a couple of weeks to the trip, but that's shorter than the months lost if pirates grab the vessel as it leaves the waters southeast of the canal.

If these clowns can't even get this important detail straight, then I'm certain that the rest of the analysis is of similar quality.

The Suez Canal is the pirate magnet. Closing it would probably move the pirates southward of Somalia to intercept the ships moving up after rounding the Cape. But there's more open water, so that would reduce the concentration of ships to plunder.

And as a side note that confuses a lot of people, the Horn of Africa is the triangular land mass that sticks out of the northeastern side of Africa. The pointy part is Somalia.

The Cape of Good Hope is the southern point that ships pass when the circumnavigate Africa and avoid the Suez.

And Cape Horn is the southernmost tip of South America. The similar names are probably why so many people in the U.S. think the Horn of Africa is the southern part, which it isn't.

Okay, that's just dumb, so I'm going to bed.


Mon, 01/31/2011 - 05:50 | 919615 slewie the pi-rat
slewie the pi-rat's picture

the hell it is!

i've never been able to get this cape thing right.

{...pirate magnet?...hmmm...}

Mon, 01/31/2011 - 09:12 | 919783 Saxxon
Saxxon's picture

"War is God's way of teaching geography to Americans."

- - Ambrose Bierce

Mon, 01/31/2011 - 05:01 | 919600 serotonindumptruck
serotonindumptruck's picture

This could be a perfect opportunity for an organization such as Hizbullah or Islamic Jihad to launch a few anti-ship missiles at some oil tankers as they're traversing the canal.

Could be a couple of old, dusty Silkworms, or maybe a French Exocet or two. It's doubtful that they have any Sunburn, although I read somewhere that Iran has a shitload.

Iran/Syria + Hamas/Hizbullah = Black Swan

Mon, 01/31/2011 - 05:40 | 919613 BigDuke6
BigDuke6's picture

Not surprising that Blankfein and Cohn are putting a 'nothing to see here' label on the whole thing.

they are putting their heads in the sand because no matter how this pans out this is bad for israel , egypt has been paid well to keep the southern border of gaza tight.

That will go and Gaza will fall to Hamas etc, etc.

All means more shit for the usa and heat for jewish bankers / politicians trying to sell it to the american people that they need to get involved in this mess.

Leave them to it i say.

Mon, 01/31/2011 - 06:21 | 919623 slewie the pi-rat
slewie the pi-rat's picture


BigDuke6: this IS Command Spec5 Slewie.

dammit, 6, there's a heluva curl that breaks both ways right around the horn of somalia, there, and PIRATES!

i used to be able to count on you pussies when i worked outa USARV HQ; i REALly think you might want to reconsider, BigDuke...

...look---play a little Wagner, show 'em what the mini's can do, coupla rockets, walk the rail, hang ten, make 'em an offer they can't refuse, ok?  we'll make it worth your while, you know that.  these guys must be pretty hairy, BigDuke; let's see if we can get'em organized...

whaddya say?

Mon, 01/31/2011 - 06:36 | 919626 BigDuke6
BigDuke6's picture

Egyptians don't surf man.

Ain't a decent break in the whole shitty country...

Are you saying Gaza has good surf?  Breaks both ways??


GODDAM i want that line of pyramids bombed!!!

It'll blast them forward into the stone age, son....

Mon, 01/31/2011 - 08:24 | 919649 slewie the pi-rat
slewie the pi-rat's picture


1) not gaza; SOMALIA... doc sandi sez it's on the east coast, where it sticks out, like a horn. nice offshore breeze, i'm sure.  no rock 'n roll, 6, just some R&R along the beach, there, and a little diplomacy. pop a little smoke, show 'em whatcha got.

2) i'll try to getcha coupla linguists outa State, but i mighta lit hillary up with that celebrity death match stunt over the weekend, and she might need a coupla daze to get her sense of humor back.

3) there's pirates along the somalia coast, there, BigDuke, and i'd like to see if we can't get 'em organized, ok?  nothing but friendlies, once we get covenantal.

4) i got no air, yet.  so airstrikes are out of the question.  you won't be anywhere near the pyramids OR gaza, you'll be on yer own beach, totally autonomous and self-contained.  just a few pirates, that's all. no sweat, whatsoever.

i'd draw you a picture, but i'm still working on it in my own head, ok? 

FYI some of napoleon's guys used the sphinx for target practice, almost 200 years ago---little 75's, mostly, and there's STILL some negativity, so that's why we're not even gonna think about goin there, OK?

get your shots up to date; forget the malaria, we'll use the pills, but i want cholera and plague for everybody. 

wednesday, thursday, somewhere in there.

surf's up, BigDuke!

Mon, 01/31/2011 - 11:42 | 920316 hangemhigh
hangemhigh's picture

TO: slewie the pi-rat
on Mon, 01/31/2011 - 07:24

"surf's up, BigDuke!"

yo, slewie, dogg.....chopper in some of them black afghani temple balls, some cold brewskis and a pallet of FRN's and i can get my shooter buds from blackwater/xe to do the wet work for you..............

Mon, 01/31/2011 - 15:08 | 921219 slewie the pi-rat
slewie the pi-rat's picture


we're goin in a little lean to start splashin', hh;  we're not lookin' for martyrdom, here, just a peaceful parley w/ some free men.  we're goin in under a white flag, dude.

i can't see why they wouldn't like the set-up, tho;  we can get 'em way mo money for standing down a bit and collecting some insurance.  if some of 'em want to stay indy, they'll hafta sort thru that, themselves, upfront & personal.

hillary is totally frosted;  i don't think she's been this stressed since she found monica's kneepads under the desk. i'm sure she'll give us the nod, tho.  pretty sure...

if she doesn't, you guys go ahead, if you want. 

if she does, we'll either get em organized, or we won't.

if not, again, we're outa there.

we're just tryin to do what we can to help out, not prove anything.   

we'll have a good stash of ganja and beer goin in, and we'll be supporting the local economy as much as possible, of course, but a coupla 10k's, ice machines and A/C would sure come in handy, pdq.

see whatcha can come up with and i'll catchya on the flipflop.

slewie out.


Mon, 01/31/2011 - 15:18 | 921269 Dr. Sandi
Dr. Sandi's picture

You guys are scary and cool!

Thu, 02/03/2011 - 21:01 | 921974 hangemhigh
hangemhigh's picture

"see whatcha can come up with and i'll catchya on the flipflop."

nice to know you going in country to do the warm fuzzy peace pipe thing and make those worthy oriental gentlemen an offer they can't refuse. 

of course you'll be negotiating from a position of strength. them ragtop homies can either do the deal,.....or sit around chewing their kat.... and wait for one of those monkeyhammer boom boom, spy in the sky surprise sessions, to light up their day. 

you gotta love it, dogg, as long as foggy bottom and the langsters keep putting these in-house shape shifting deals together. 

the morts will never understand, but hilly and the bamster's go to guys, they know what kinda skill sets produce the most bang for the buck. as long as we can keep this good-guys-bad-guys-freedom-and-democracy thing going there'll always be a heart of darkness somewhere that needs some timely trouble shooting done.

gotta run now.  piggybacking out of town to make a tee time at the emirates golf club in dubai. if all goes well i can score some of that feral ferengi shadow cash and bankroll one of them sleazy cash cow economic development projects like, know....maybe....a haji strip club deal .....babes in burkas, that kinda of thing..... 

i gotta tell you, slewie, that i love golf in the desert.  there's really nothing like it....all you need is a sand wedge and a full clip in your ak... 



Mon, 01/31/2011 - 06:00 | 919617 ak_khanna
ak_khanna's picture

The only thing happened to Oil prices was that the big speculators and banksters used the events in Egypt as an excuse to drive up spot oil prices which forced the traders on the other side of the trade i.e. the buyers of put options, the sellers of call options and futures to cover their positions resulting in a sharp spike in the Oil prices.

The only thing driving up commodity prices worldwide are speculators armed with cheap money provided by central bankers and super fast computers. This volatility in prices is causing a havoc in the lives of rest of the population and pushing them towards poverty as they can no longer afford the basic necessities of life.

Regulators are either hand in glove with the banksters or are too slow to react and take ages to identify and take measures to solve the problems.

Total ban on speculation and the reinforcement of Glass Steagall Act is strictly required to bring relief to the man on the street.

Mon, 01/31/2011 - 07:30 | 919656 papaswamp
papaswamp's picture

Most prices are still below the highs set around Jan 12th. OPEC basket (most directly impacted is just shy of this high (multi year high). WTI is well shy and trading lower as is Brent. As noted...oil production isn't interrupted. Should that happen then we have a different the moment traders aren't in a panic...just the specualtors influencing the price.

Mon, 01/31/2011 - 07:56 | 919673 Tense INDIAN
Tense INDIAN's picture

i will never know why Egypt flared up so suddenly, ..although its blamed on food prices, ...

and why r they holding up signs in English....i can only see English language signs in those protests......and look at the heavy media coverage...second only to Greece....good excuse to sell-off stocks to guess the next highly covcered protests are going to be in Italy(Rome)

Mon, 01/31/2011 - 09:02 | 919760 Leo Kolivakis
Leo Kolivakis's picture

Goldman Sachs Commodity Index (GSCI) is 76% oil futures....KACHINGO!!!

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