Central bankers have the unchaperoned power to create the greatest fortunes ever known to mankind at will and to invest that money wherever they want. With trillions of dollars at their disposal and trillions more whenever they want to conjure it into existence, what is to stop them from controlling the oil market just as they have stocks and bonds?
As of today, we now have three consecutive quarters of tightening lending standards. In fact, based on the latest survey, net lending standards tightened even more than during Q4 as shown in the chart below, and are now the tightest on net since the financial crisis. Needless to say, if a recession and a default cycle has always followed two quarters of tighter lending conditions, three quarters does not make it better.
Following last week's shocking 1.75mm barrel build at Cushing, Genscape just reported an estimated 821k build which has stunned market participants apparently, sending WTI tumbling back to a $44 handle. Will this be the summer of 2015 oil re-run?
Similar to Saudi Arabia, which is a swing producer, China is acting like a swing consumer. However, as China doesn’t report its storage data, it is difficult to estimate how long this trend will continue. Though other factors were involved in encouraging the bulls to buy at lower levels, the increased demand from China also helped in lapping up the excess production. If their imports drop, the world will return to the supply glut and oil prices will retrace back to the lower $30s per barrel.
There has been a bevy of negative news in the past 48 hours which perhaps explains why futures are fractionally in the green as of this moment.
Probably the biggest misconception investors have about gold is that it's an investment. They'll listen to people on CNBC pick apart and analyze every $30 move in the metal, just as they would talk about a move in crude oil or stocks or bonds. They'll check the price quote every day... to see how their "investment" in gold is performing. That just isn't a useful way to view gold. Gold isn't an investment. Gold is money. Gold is real wealth you can hold in your hand, it's also "crisis insurance"... or "wealth insurance."
Think back over the last 10 years - how different was your life in April 2006? While you may think your daily existence is largely the same (maybe the kids are older or you’re married now, but that about it…), consider what was actually different about your life in the spring of 2006:No iPhone;No Facebook (unless you were in college at the time); No Twitter; No Instagram; No Kim Kardashian; No Uber; No iPad.
Unfortunately, the majority of analysts continue to put out increasingly worthless forecasts as they fail to understand the true nature of the problem... or rather, the predicament we are facing.
Russia and Saudi Arabia have been (relatively) quietly fighting for market share in China ever since oil prices started their downward spiral in mid-2014 - now the battle is heating up, and teapot refineries are what could tip the balance.
"Not only do the five largest financial institutions in the US have a higher concentration of assets than they did before the financial crisis but it’s the largest concentration ever. So we’ve made the too-big-to-fail-problem worse because we have bigger, more systemically important financial institutions now than we did in 2007 – and nobody seems to know what to do about it... [EU banks] are acting irrationally. They’re not acting that way because they don’t believe it or they don’t understand it. So we’re still all trying to feel around in the dark as to what this means. And that means that the chance of an accident is very high."
After its earlier pump and rapid dump, WTI crude is unable to bounce for now despite the biggest rig count decline in 6 weeks. The oil rig count declined by 11 to 332 - the lowest since October 2009 - tracking lagged crude prices. If the co-dependence continues we would expect to see rig counts begin to rise (or stop declining) very soon. Total US rig count dropped to 420 - a new all-time record low.
It is increasingly certain that the future will not be like the past. Previous downturns have been equally devastating but the primary causes eventually reversed themselves; low commodity prices recovered and damaging government policies were rescinded. This recovery will be different for a variety of reasons which will combine to cap growth, opportunity and profits, even if oil and gas prices spike. The following major changes appear permanent...