Crude

Operational & Financial Stress Unavoidable For Energy Names, Goldman Warns Distillate Storage "Too Full For Comfort"

Distillate storage utilization in the US and Europe is nearing historically high levels, following near record refinery utilization, only modest demand growth (especially relative to gasoline), and increased imports from the East on refinery expansion and Chinese exports. As Goldman warns, this raises the spectre of 1998/2009 when distillate storage hit capacity, pushing runs and crude oil prices sharply lower. This also raises the question of whether today’s oil market can rebalance through financial stress – prices remaining near their current low level through 2016 – or if operational stress – breaching storage capacity and forcing prices below cash costs – is unavoidable.

Stop Blaming OPEC For Low Prices

OPEC altered the course of the oil markets last year when it decided to cast aside its traditional role of maintaining balance through production cuts. Instead it pursued a strategy of fighting for market share, contributing to an immediate rout in oil prices. WTI and Brent then went on to dive below $50 in the weeks following OPEC’s decision. OPEC is widely expected to continue its current strategy at its next meeting, and as such, no rebound in oil prices is expected, at least not because of the results of the group’s meeting in Vienna. But that raises a question about what the world of oil expects from OPEC: Why is it that the responsibility for balancing the market falls on OPEC? Why should OPEC be the one to fix the imbalances in the global crude oil trade?

WTI Crude Slumps To $43 Handle As Contango Collapses To 5-Month Lows Amid Growing "Over-Supply" Concerns

At $43.96 (for the Dec contract), WTI is trading at its lowest level since August 28th (in the middle of the month-end massacre). The WTI-Brent  spread is at its widest in over 2 weeks "stressing the need for U.S. output to drop to get rid of the oversupply," warns Commerzbank commodity strategist Carsten Fritsch. Even more worrisome (for future hope), is the plunge in prompt contango (1st month - 2nd month) which has collapsed to 5-month lows.

Bank of Japan Will Not Boost QE This Week, Abe Advisor Warns; Yen Jumps

Having soared 175 pips in two days, on the back of ECB and PBOC actions, USDJPY is rolling over this morning as a senior adviser to Japanese PM Shinzo Abe tells Reuters that The Bank of Japan "can wait a while" before easing more. This follows another adviser's comments on Friday that "further easing wasn't necessary." With a trail of broken markets (bonds first and now stocks), and broken promises (only 25% of Japanese now believe Abenomics will boost the economy), Abe faces an uphill battle in winning the fight against the "deflationary mindset" that officials have been so adamant they have already won.

Futures Fizzle, Europe Red As Markets Ask: "What Do Central Banks Do Now?"

In our Chinese stock market wrap following Friday's unexpected rate cut, which saw the Shanghai Composite storm out of the gate, we said that "we would not be surprised to see China's stocks sliding back into the red very shortly as "sell the news" concerns return, and as the increasingly more addicted "markets" demand even more liquidity from central banks just to stay unchanged, let alone rise to new all time highs." Sure enough, with just minutes to go before the close, the SHCOMP wiped out all its daily gains and was set for a red close had it not been for the "national team" miraculous last minute intervention which was inevitable after Friday's PBOC rate cut, and which lifted the composite 0.5% into the green as the euphoria was rapidly evaporating.

Chinese Stocks Rise To 2 Month High Following PBOC's Rate, RRR Cut But Copper, Crude Struggle

China's key index, the Shanghai Composite, was is up over 1%, or 40 points in early, to just under 3,500 - the highest in 2 months, a gain which however is well below Friday's pre-rate cut gain and if prior rate cut history is any indication, not to mention the weak reaction by commodities on Friday (continuing into today, where WTI turned green by the smallest of margins just seconds ago we would not be surprised to see China's stocks sliding back into the red very shortly as "sell the news" concerns return, and as the increasingly more addicted "markets" demand even more liquidity from central banks just to stay unchanged, let alone rise to new all time highs.

Putting China's "6.9% GDP Growth" In Context

  • China export trade: -8.8% year to date
  • China import trade: -17.6% year to date
  • Industrial output crude steel: -3% year to date
  • Cement output: -3.2% year over year
  • Industrial output electricity: -3.1% year over year

and so on...

Is Russia The King Of Arctic Oil By Default?

To be king implies preeminence, or lasting rule. In the Arctic, such oil and gas supremacy is still little more than a dream. That dream remains alive in Russia however, and the nation – through an unmatched stubbornness and a decidedly timid field of competitors – is making a strong bid for the throne.

Look Out Saudi Arabia: Russia, Iran Forge Energy Partnerships, May Form New Bank To Fund Projects

With Russia now in the driver's seat in terms of supplying crude to China, and with Iranian supply set to come back online with the lifting of economic sanctions, Saudi Arabia faces a serious threat to its dominance of the global oil market. Given the increased cooperation between Moscow and Tehran in Syria, it comes as no surprise that Ruusia and Iran are now in talks on some $40 billion in energy projects which the two countries say could lead to the formation of a new development bank.

Oil Hovers Near Crucial Technical Level As Rig Count Decline Slows, China Inventory Soars

Overnight weakness on the back of 8-month highs in Chinese crude inventory (combined with the recent plunge in super-tanker rates - i.e. China is no longer refilling its SPR) sent WTI Crude towards the critical $44 level (which has acted as support for 2 months). The China rate cut weakened crude further as PBOC admitted it was needed because of the state of the economy. And then Baker Hughes reported a total rig count unchanged 787 (lowest since April 2002) and an oil rig count decline of just 1 to 594 (the 8th weekly drop in a row). WTI slipped on the news.

Slumping Crude Will Send Norway To ZIRP As Economy Careens Toward Recession

With crude prices still stuck in the doldrums, economists at Handelsbanken say the Norges Bank will soon be forced to cut rates to zero in order to stave off a looming recession. What we want to know is this: if the housing bubble that the Norges Bank has helped to inflate bursts, how does the central bank plan to deal with the fallout (which will be amplified by the economic drag from low oil prices) when it has exhausted its counter-cyclical capacity by cutting rates to zero?  

U.S. Shale Drillers Running Out Of Options, Fast

Much has been made about the impressive gains in efficiency and productivity in the shale patch, as new drilling techniques squeeze ever more oil and gas out of new wells. But the limits to such an approach are becoming increasingly visible. The U.S. shale revolution is running out of steam.