Oil Goes Berserk In Electronic Trading As WTI Passes $98

Tyler Durden's picture

As Zero Hedge advised in early January when the severity of the Maghreb revolution was made all too clear to anyone not willing to stick their head in the CNBC sand, oil could well be the buy of a lifetime ahead of a downward spiral of unprecedented geopolitical proportions. Sure enough, today alone, WTI (April) has surged from $90 yesterday to over $98 in electronic trading (see below). Either this is some computer gone haywire in the closed session, or when America wakes up tomorrow we may be on the verge of another flash crash. As for Brent, it passed $108.50. As a reminder, and people forget this all too readily, each dollar jump in crude wipes out $100 billion in US GDP. That means that at face value, today's move in the commodity complex, may have taken out as much as 5% of annualized GDP when fully processed through the economy!

WTI (per netdania):


And some crude observations from an otherwise calm Reuters:

Brent crude oil
prices hit $108 a barrel for the first time since 2008 on Monday on
fears that spiraling violence in Libya could lead to wider supply
disruptions from the OPEC member.

U.S. oil prices led the rally
to jump by more than $5, the most in over two years, as traders also
rushed to cover short positions in the key Brent/WTI spread, which had
blown out to a record $16 a barrel. The April spread narrowed to $10
during the day, but widened to over $12 in after-hours trade.

focus was on deadly clashes in Libya, where one oil firm was shutting
down some 100,000 barrels per day (bpd) of production and others
evacuated staff. The leader of the Al-Zuwayya tribe threatened oil
exports to the West would be cut off unless authorities stopped

"The market is on edge
about the potential for Middle East and North Africa supply
disruptions," said Mike Wittner, head of commodities research, Americas,
at Societe Generale.

"If you've
got reports that actual disruptions are starting to occur, it's going to
have a supportive impact. A lot of it is high-quality crude and that is
important as well."

increasingly violent protests that appeared to put Muammar Gaddafi's
four decades of rule in jeopardy were the realization of weeks of
mounting concerns that Egypt-inspired unrest would seep into nearby oil producers.

oil futures, which have climbed more than $10 this year largely due to
the increasing geopolitical risk premium, jumped $3.22 a barrel, or 3.2
percent, to settle at $105.74 a barrel. They jumped another $2 to trade
as high as $108 in after-hours dealing, the highest since September 4,

The March U.S. crude oil
contract, which expires on Tuesday, surged $5.22 a barrel to trade at
$91.42 a barrel in late-afternoon activity -- the highest in two weeks.

trading volume was less than one-third the 30-day average due to the
U.S. Presidents Day holiday, and the U.S. market won't issue an official
settlement until Tuesday.

more-active April contract jumped as much as $5.75 to a high of $95.47 a
barrel, at one point narrowing the Brent/WTI contract by nearly $3 to
$10 a barrel as traders covered short positions built up as the spread
ballooned from about $3 in January to a low of $16 last week.

Brent's after-hours rally forced the spread back out to $12.40 a barrel.


Libya, scores were killed in anti-government protests as one of the
region's bloodiest revolts hit Tripoli for the first time, while army
units defected to the opposition and Gaddafi's son vowed to fight to the
last man standing.

On Sunday,
Shaikh Faraj al Zuway, the leader of the Al-Zuwayya tribe in eastern
Libya, told Al Jazeera: "We will stop oil exports to Western countries
within 24 hours" should the violence not stop.

percent of Libyan oil exports come from the eastern region of
Cyrenaica, epicenter of the revolt, and unrest there could pose a graver
threat to oil supplies than in other nations if separatists target
infrastructure and look for a bigger slice of revenues, analysts say.

is a significant producer and exporter of good quality crude oil, and
threats by the tribal leader to stop production are worrisome," said
Christophe Barret, an oil analyst at Credit Agricole Corporate and
Investment Bank.

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Ragnarok's picture

Consumer spending and credit card use will be up! BTFR! 


Clearly this surge in price is due to sudden EM demand from strong growth. 

DonnieD's picture

EM's have sophisticated energy diets now.

cswjr's picture

Those tanks, APC's, 'copters, jets, etc. take lots of petroleum.  Heck, just think about how much (Q/G/K)adhafi is burning on his Caracas junket.

disabledvet's picture

and now you know why oil is soaring.  "Libya" is a symptom and in no way causing the oil price to soar.  It's the "slight issue of various militaries" needing fuel i think.

monopoly's picture

Ragnarok, LOLOL. "strong growth"...gotta luv it. Great board.

Ya know all, as strange as this seems to 90% of America, I think it is safe to say that none of us are very surprised, amazed or bewildered with what is going on, and when gold reaches 1,500, and oil is 110 well ok then, just part of the process that we are aware of.

The sad part is most Americans have no idea what the "dollar" means outside of the fact it buys an Ipad, and most have no idea of POMO, derivatives, or monetization. And few govt. workers get it that it is over, high pensions, no health care costs, free meals for govt. workers. It is Over.

But when gas is $4.50 a gallon and bread is $5.50 a loaf. Then maybe, just maybe, "the March of Millions here."

4ndy's picture

would be surely interesting to see

Oleander's picture

On local news tonight (RI station)  they stated signs that economy is picking up: 

underwear sales are up as are sales of Venti Lattes

Everything is fine - as you were - nothing to worry about.

Yen Cross's picture

#clh WTI march contract is currently 92.56 on that little spike. Thanks fro the interuption Ragnarok.

AndrewJackson's picture

Surely this is bullish for the oil companies! Oh wait....whose that guy in Libya again?

Michael's picture

I love the smell of pain on Tuesday morning. I can smell it from here.

I think I need to buy a gun's picture

Im just glad we have been concentrating on otc derivitives the last decade rather than making sure out big tractor trailers were outfitted with natural gas engines.

what happens when our big truck companies go bankrupt from 7 dollar gas will we be hunting deer?

I think I need to buy a gun's picture

now i know why soros was buying delta airlines last week, just like peter schiff said circa 2007 they airlines will all be bought out by foreigners because they won't be able to afford gas in us dollar terms

Bodhi's picture

Would now be a good time to top off the Suburban before the price hike Tuesday?

Moe Howard's picture

Hold off - I suggest buying the dips.

quasimodo's picture

No shit Sherlock, only difference being mine is a Yukon...ugh. Oh well, the Taurus will be getting more miles as long as we are not snowed in.

Snidley Whipsnae's picture

Yes, fill the suburban and every can of gas that you can SAFELY store.

Think of it as more insurance... You might need to drive an ailing family member/friend to an ER when emergency responders are short fuel.

RobotTrader's picture

Heh, will be fun to see what the XRT does tomorrow....

lieutenantjohnchard's picture

as mentioned last friday, what about that cat at the fed who advised us that rising oil was gdp positive.

sun tzu's picture

He must have been talking about oil exporters like Saudi Arabia and Canada

Internet Tough Guy's picture

LA drivers will be luxuriating in $5 gas. Get your bus pass out Robo. LOL...

Michael's picture

LA Libs want higher gas prices. WTF?

yabyum's picture

Libs everywhere are driving hybrids and electrics, best top off the f-250 tonight!

born2bmild's picture

I didn't know you had to be a liberal to not like US dependence on foreign anything especially oil (wars). The Gulf of Mexico comes to mind, aside from the fact it's expensive and bad for your engine if it's gasoline you are burning.


TheGreatPonzi's picture

Can't see how higher oil prices can benefit retailers, really... 

HamyWanger's picture


It will keep pushing higher, IMO. 

This jump in oil (+10.62% in one day, quite unusual) is the perfect sign the global economic recovery is accelerating. 

If there is no demand, there is no jump in oil. 

So there must be some pretty good demand out there.

I've converted the rest of my cash portfolio in AAPL and NFLX stocks. 


lieutenantjohnchard's picture

hat tip to ya hamy. you sucked me in and buffaloed me a couple of times to your brand of humor. i didn't realize you were channeling harrywanger's idiocy, playing him for the fool until late in the game. took me a while to see the humor.

Troll Magnet's picture

personally, i'm stocking up on Colavita Extra Virgin Olive Oil.

yes.  i'm taking physical delivery.  and yes, i CAN eat oil!

whatz that smell's picture

for the love of junk! let hamy up for some air!

thetruth's picture

yes this is about demand and not supply

velobabe's picture

wish i knew more about this, but you were predicting this.

do you have crystal balls, tyler?

velobabe's picture

i just had the funniest hour of my life†

Former Sheeple's picture

TD's great, great, great-grandfather was pretty good at predicting shit as well, they called him Nostradamus!

equity_momo's picture

Anyone remember the 2008 top in commodities? This is the beginning of the end. Crack up boom. Blow off top. Head fake. Take your pick.  Global economy is going to puke in its mouth again as the pass through costs tip us back into depression.

Ned Zeppelin's picture

That is what happened in the summer of 2008, and once the meltup started it was hard to see how it was going to end.  "Never under $100 a barrel again." 

John Wilmot's picture

Agreed, it's getting more obvious by the day that (hyper)inflationairy depression has been the right call all along. I see it as inevitable unless The Bernank stops monetizing treasuries, in which case the U.S. government will default. So...?

StychoKiller's picture

But, but...the Decepticrats say this is no time to cut spending because the Economic Recovery ™ is still fragile, while the Republicons are trying to cut the Federal Budget tree with a weed trimmer -- Bizarro world continues to spin on its axis...

drink or die's picture

Topping off my cars today (should have done it last week)..  Fortunately, this is already priced into the market, so you can bet the DJI will close up at least 1% tomorrow.

Moe Howard's picture

It was already priced in on Friday, they knew today was a holiday. Up 2% tomorrow.

Michael's picture

How much oil can a bankrupt US and the world buy again?

Wall Street Silver Gold Theft and World Economic Collapse


HamyWanger's picture

"Flash crash"??? 

This jump in oil is very good news for equities. It means the recovery is accelerating, and demand in emerging markets gaining strength. 

equity_momo's picture

I know youre baiting Wanger2.0 but that was exactly the sales pitch the Goldmanites used in 2008. Price action makes headlines and all that - gotta fit a narrative to the squiggly lines! 

Fast forward to "Oppps , the lines going down at 45 degrees , what does that mean"?

mick_richfield's picture

It means you will feel better if you rotate the graph 90 degrees counter-clockwise.