IRAN WANTS TO RECOUP OIL MARKET SHARE AND IS A CHALLENGE IN ANY DEAL TO CUT OIL OUTPUT - OPEC SOURCES
Headline hockey continues in the energy complex as earlier confirmation of a pending OPEC meeting possible in February has seen more color added, via Reuters, that Saudi Arabia made a proposal that OPEC members cut production by a maximum of 5%. There remains confusion however as Bloomberg reports simply that Russian energy minister has said they "may discuss it," as opposed to being a specific proposal.
Just when you want that 100% correlation with crude to lift stocks from their post-Fed quagmire, it breaks down. Just as WTI was breaking back red this morning, Interfax headlines hit that confirmed Russia and OPEC in talks for a potential production cut and sure enough old news is good news and WTI ramped back up towards $33. The problem is... higher oil is no longer great news for stocks (for now)...
"We learned one thing yesterday: the U.S. Federal Reserve is in the same position as the rest of us when it comes to forecasting the future path of economic growth. Nobody really “Knows” anything right now. Now, there’s enough doubt for everyone: markets, central banks, consumers, governments. Everyone. The best thing we can say about that: if markets accept that the Fed is no better informed than they are, maybe investors will devote more time to stock fundamentals and intrinsic value analysis."
- Unease over Fed rate path dents European stocks (Reuters)
- Global Stocks Pressured After Fed Statement (WSJ)
- Japan's Economy Minister Amari to Resign Over Graft Scandal (BBG)
- Authorities working to clear remaining protesters in Oregon occupation (Reuters)
- China Sharpens Efforts to Halt Money Outflow (WSJ)
- Eurozone January Economic Sentiment Falls Sharply, Hits 5-Mth Low (MNI)
Following the Fed's disappointing "dovish, but not dovish enough" statement which effectively admitted Yellen had committed policy error by hiking just as the US economy "was slowing down" which in turn lowered the odds of a March rate hike to just 18%, it was up to oil to pick up the correlation torch, and so it did, rising in an otherwise mixed session which has seen European stocks slide on continued weakness surrounding Italian banks, many of which have been halted limit down, while Asia was treading water following news of the resignation of Japan’s "Abenomics" minister Akira Amari to over a graft scandal, and yet another day of Chinese stock dropping.
On Tuesday we got the latest revision from Statcan on Canada's labor market and for Alberta, 2015 was the worst year for job losses since 1982. Net job losses for the province were 19,600 for the year, far more than Alberta lost during the Great Recession.
Fed Funds futures now imply the next rate hike will not occur until at least H2 2016 and this level of fear about the economy appears to have spooked stocks and crude and put a bid under bonds and bullion... VIX is chaos as the machines try desperately to get stocks higher...
"The Federal Reserve signaled renewed worry about financial market turbulence and slow overseas economic growth, but didn’t rule out raising short-term interest rates in March."
We may not yet have final confirmation that a recession is imminent, but so far nothing suggests that the danger has receded.
In case you were under the impression that oil was stabilizing, we thought this chart might help clarify just how "different" it is this time in the energy complex...
Following last night's huge 11.4mm barrel inventory build forecast from API (the largest since 1996), DOE reports an 8.4mm build (against analysts estimates of +4mm). It seems the blowback from the huge gasoline and inventory builds is flowing back upstream to crude but there is some good news as Cushing saw a 771k draw after 11 weeks of builds (and production dropped very modestly). On the demand side, it's just as ugly with Gasoline demand -2.5% YoY and Distillate demand down a stunning 14.8% YoY. Having tested the API ledge in prices twice this morning, WTI is hovering between $30.50 and $31.
"Nobody is really sure where we go from here, and nobody is brave enough to make the call,” Peter Dixon, Commerzbank AG’s global equities economist in London told Bloomberg. “Corporate earnings season won’t provide much of a support - markets may find a floor if the Fed is extremely dovish tonight. At least investors will have time to think and reassess valuations."
The one given in this industry is that the analyst community is consistently wrong about where the price of oil is going in the near to mid-term. So let’s just step away from the current noise and focus on a non-controversial outcome - Today’s pricing sentiment is driven by a global economic "Pick 6"...
After a day of exuberant hope from rumors of production cuts, WTI crude is plunging back to reality as API reports a stunning 11.4 million barrel inventory build. This is the biggest weekly build since May 1996.