After last month, many funds got wiped out after the Brent-WTI spread collapsed from about $20 back to $14 in the span of days following the mid-June market swoon, the subsequent unprecedented rally driven purely by the ISM's inventory build up (which was massacred when last week's NFP confirmed aspirations about the end of the soft patch were proven to be simply naive if not outright moronic) has once again sent crude traders, who had now recalibrated their models to expect a spread in the mid-teens, upchucking (and in many cases negotiating margin calls with their prime brokers) after it just hit a fresh all time wide of $22.14, a nearly 100% move in just two weeks. The last time the max pain trade hit it caused such industry titans as John Arnold's Centaurus to gate, and do everything in their power to not lose LPs. What happens after the last two days move, will be seen shortly. Expect another spike in crude (and commodity) vol when the next big player throws in the towel.
S&P 500, Dow Jones, Nasdaq, Russell 2000, Nymex Crude Oil, Comex Gold, EURUSD, GBPUSD, USDJPY
Risk-aversion remained the dominant theme during the European session, as lack-lustre economic data from the US last week, and China, during the weekend, weighed on market sentiment. Allied to that, the ongoing contagion fears in the Eurozone dented the appetite for risk-among investors. European equities traded lower throughout the session, with particular weakness seen in financials, which was also reflected in the Italian FTSE MIB and Spanish IBEX 35 indices underperforming their European peers. Weak equities provided support to Bunds, whereas general widening was observed in the Eurozone peripheral 10-year government bond yield spreads. European sovereign concerns together with strength in the USD-Index weighed upon EUR/USD and GBP/USD, whereas safe-haven currencies including JPY and CHF received a boost. Elsewhere, WTI and Brent crude futures traded under pressure weighed upon by a strong USD as well as diminishing hopes of a sustainable economic recovery.
All you need to know by www.thetrader.se
Chinese Exports Surge To Record, As Trade Surplus Comes At Almost Double The Consensus: More Bad News For US GDP?Submitted by Tyler Durden on 07/10/2011 13:10 -0500
So much for China converting from an export-led economy to a consumer-driven society. In June, the Chinese trade balance soared to $22.3 billion, nearly double the consistently clueless economist consensus of $14.2 billion. The surplus was $13.1 billion the previous month and $20 billion a year earlier. This was a result of an all time record in gross exports which hit $162 billion in June, driven by all time high exports to both the US and the EU, at $28 billion and $30.3 billion, respectively. Also, the surge in Chinese exports to the US in June to a near record $19.1 billion (lower than just the $19.4 billion in July 2010), means that the official read of the US trade deficit which will be reported on Tuesday, will almost certainly spike, pushing GDP expectations lower yet again. This is precisely the last news China needed as the surge in new money entering the economy will merely hasten an already overheating economy, and following yesterday's announcement of June CPI coming in at 6.4%, it likely means that the PBoC's statement that inflation is now under control is full of hot air. It also likely means many more attempts at tightening are imminent: expect another RRR hike within a few weeks. Per Bloomberg: "The surplus adds to the cash flooding the economy and complicates Premier Wen Jiabao’s efforts to cool the fastest inflation in three years. Policy makers are seeking to rein in price gains that are stoking social discontent without choking off growth that’s already showing signs of slowing. “We don’t think the PBOC will halt monetary tightening soon,” said Liu Li-Gang, head of Greater China economic research at Australia & New Zealand Banking Corp. in Hong Kong. The central bank will increase bill sales to soak up the extra liquidity from the trade surplus and prevent it from boosting money supply, he said." It also likely means that repo rates and SHIBOR will continue their inexorable trek higher as the Chinese central bank is the latest to find itself between the rock of short-end liquidity constraints, and the hard place of long-term "anchored" inflation expectations.
While it is by now clear that despite a few headfakes, the economy largely sputtered in the second quarter, with the only positive data point coming from a major inventory build up that led to a better than expected manufacturing ISM, the question now is how did the global weakness over the past 3 months translate into corporate earnings. Next week we will start finding out as 4% of the S&P500 companies report, but the peak of reporting will hit in the 3 weeks following when 83% of all companies hits the tape. Oddly enough, while there has been a material number of downgrades, especially in the financials sector, preannouncements have once again been largely missing, especially in the industrials space. As Dylan Grice pointed out, the game whereby analysts lower EPS forecasts for companies only so hey can beat by about a cent has started in earnest. The biggest question is whether the "farce that is reporting season" will simply be a modest drop in EPS even as the government resumes its corprate friendly approach, or, with advance indicators now tumbling, is this the inflection point? Recall that corporate margins have now peaked: the only saving grace for the corporate sector will be if companies are once again laying off people in droves and cutting overhead (an event which should lead to massive layoffs at ADP for example). Anyway, here are some observations from JPM and Goldman on what to expect and how to fade the big banks' calls on what is coming.
All you need to know by www.thetrader.se
No, It's Not The Nat Gas "Fractal" Algo: Nanex Discloses The Very Ominous Implications Of Today's Berserk Crude AlgoSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 07/07/2011 16:03 -0500
After we reported about the aberrant Crude Oil Futures algo earlier, we asked out friends at Nanex to take a closer look. What they discovered is something far more disturbing than merely another iteration of the confused "fractal" algo seen previously trading Natural Gas.
A month ago we presented the strange case of the fractal algo gone amok while trading natural gas in a low volume after hours session. We expected that we would see this surreal trading pattern in other commodities shortly, although little did we know that it would impact the most important of them all, as soon as month later, and during peak trading hours. As the chart of CL EQ1 below shows, not even crude is safe any more from this aberrant trading algorithm which has now infected, it is safe to say, virtually every product. If NYSE Boerse's Duncan Niederauer is really confused about what is causing retail investors to depart in droves out of pure disgust with what are terminally manipulated markets (and not just stocks), we hope this chart provide at least a few clues.
Goldman Flip Flops Once Again: Mocks IEA Impact On Crude Prices, Reiterates 20% Upside In Commodities, Buying GoldSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 07/06/2011 21:50 -0500
At this point we refuse to even recall whether Goldman is long or short oil. Probably so does Goldman, whose Brent recos have become the same laughing stock as Tom Stolper's EURUSD "strategic" price targets in 2010. Yet Jeffrey Currie has found a new way of dealing with appearing idiosyncratically idiotic. Instead of focusing on any one product, the firm has just upgraded (or rather, maintained its buy) the entire commodity space wholesale: "Progress in dealing with the Greek budget crisis and better economic data have improved sentiment around cyclical assets in recent days. We continue to expect further increases in commodity returns later this year and into 2012. We maintain our overweight recommendation for commodities on a 3-, 6- and 12-month horizon and our 20% 12-month commodity returns forecast." Um, yeah, this comes less than two weeks since the last flip flopping on the matter: "The International Energy Agency announced today that its member countries have agreed to release 60 million barrels of oil from their emergency stocks over a period of 30 days. The IEA has coordinated this release, only the third in its history, in response to the ongoing loss of Libyan light sweet crude oil production and the impact that the resulting higher crude oil prices are having on the world economy. We estimate that a 60 million barrel release by the end of July has the potential to reduce our 3-month Brent crude oil price target by $10-12/bbl, to $105-107/bbl. 125/bbl." Way to preserve street cred there Jeffrey. Of course, the aforementioned flipflopping does not prevent Goldman from mocking the IEA's ridiculous SPR release decision, as well as reiterating its upside expectation in the metals space, with an emphasis on gold, copper and zinc. As a reminder, if Jeffrey says "buy", run, Forest, run.
What one shipper thinks might happen next.
Bidders For 30 Million Barrels Of Strategic Petroleum Reserve Disclosed; JP Morgan Requests $158 Million In CrudeSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 07/06/2011 17:46 -0500
As was previously disclosed, as part of the SPR's auctioning off of 30 million barrels of light sweet crude, bids for a total of 30.64 million barrels of oil at an average bid of $107.20/barrell were submitted by various parties. The only thing unknown was the identity of the parties, which however has now been all cleared up following the release of the complete bid list from the DOE. Probably the most notable (if not completely expected) discovery is that JPM, that FDIC-insured depositor bank, has requested 1.5 million barrels at a price of $105.33 for a total of $158 million. We wonder just what JPM plans on doing with this crude, which as predicted, will be transported by vessel, and offloaded at such time as JPM sees fit, probably well after the product is trading at a substantial premium to the purchase price. Other potential buyers include Valero, Vitol, Shell, Conoco, Plains and various other E&P companies. Ironically, JPM wants more crude than Sunoco and Tesoro: so next time one tries to gas up their car, we suggest looking for the JP Morgan gas station. But by far the most important news is that 80% of the bid are based on a vessel-based distribution, meaning it will be weeks if not months before the SPR disposed crude finally makes it into circulation, if at all, and has an actual supply-side benefit. Complete bid list is attached.
Industrial commodity bulls may be advised to steer clear of the latest quarterly commodities update by Global Tactical Asset Allocation's Damien Cleusix whose conclusion is that "Most commodities remain deeply overvalued." Specifically, "As with other assets it does not really matter in the short-term (as long as the trend is positive) but it is paramount for longer-term projections. We have little doubts that commodity long-only who buy to hold are going to experience a > 50% drawdown (from current levels) on their industrial metals, crude oil and agricultural positions sometimes in the next 12-18 months." The catalyst: China. "Demand has been artificially boosted by China strategic reserve building, infrastructure intensive fiscal stimulus, booming demand from the rest of emerging economies and, as the trend persisted, by trend followers and money managers new attraction to the sector (you know it is not correlated so you should buy them to diversify your portfolio... sorry it WAS not correlated...). The introduction of physically-based ETFs is not helping in this matter as it represents a big short-term increase in marginal demand especially when the Fed was still busy implementing QE2." Agree or not, the cases for both the up and downside are compelling and well researched, with lots of supporting facts. Much more in the full presentation.
By now we have heard every worthless Wall Street economist expound on the bull case for the economy courtesy of a ultrashort-term dip in oil and gas as a result of the moronic IEA decision to tap strategic reserves. And while short-term gyrations are largely irrelevant when as we presented yesterday, and as the FT confirmed, the bulk of volume and price formation comes from speculative daytraders, the longer-term dynamics for crude point in only one direction. Up. Here is UBS Andy Lees to explain why despite the brief jump in crude (which will likely never make it into the system courtesy of banks taking the purchased light sweet crude and storing it in tankers) supplies, we are facing a substantial supply-side crunch as soon as a few months from now.