UPDATE: WTI just traded with a $58 handle
Zee overnight stabilitee (and brief dead-cat-bounce this morning) has turned into a renewed bout of selling pressure and for the first time since July 2009, WTI has broken below the $60 level. Canada Heavy is trading $42.10 (down almst $4 today!), its lowest since April 2009. As Deutsche Bank warned last month, a drop in the oil price to $60 a barrel "is likely to push the whole HY energy sector into distress," and sure enough - Energy credit spreads are wider once again, now at +952bps.
Confused at how such awesome retail sales headlines can lead to the kind of weakness we are seeing in stocks now that Lending Club's IPO has started trading? Wondering why bonds are now lower in yield on the day in the face of 'proof' that the US consumer is back? Wonder no more, as STA Wealth Management's Lance Roberts points out, November's seasonal adjustment for retail sales was - drum roll please - the 3rd largest on record... so maybe, just maybe, the 'market' is seeing through that pure riggedness, wondering about the huge surge in continuing claims, and agog at the blowout in credit spreads and collapse in crude...
New oil projects are being scrapped in Norway amid falling production and low oil prices. The governor of Norway’s central bank says western Europe’s biggest oil producer is facing a major economic slowdown as crude prices continue to plunge. As Bloomberg reports, Oeystein Olsen said today after unexpectedly cutting rates and shocking markets to a new 5 year low in NOKEUR, "our job now is that we need to prevent a severe downturn in the economy... that is presently the major concern of the board."
And other news moving markets today
- Shale operaters Goodrich, Oasis Petroleum cut spending for 2015 as oil slides (Reuters)
- Greece to hold elections in January if president vote fails (Reuters)
- Norway’s Shock Rate Cut Drives Krone to Lowest Since 2009 (BBG)
- ‘Severe Downturn’ Threatening Norway, Central Bank Governor Says (BBG)
- Russia’s Fifth Rate Increase Fails to Halt Ruble Slide to Record (BBG)
- SNB Says Deflation Risks Increased as Franc Cap Maintained (BBG)
- China eases bank lending restrictions, PBOC targets 10 trillion yuan in loans for 2014 (Reuters)
- Mobius Says China’s Bull Market Is Just Getting Started (BBG)
- How Wal-Mart Made Its Crumbling China Business Look So Good for So Long (BBG)
Not quite as many fireworks overnight, in another session dominated by central banks. First it was revealed that China had injected CNY400 billion into the banking system to add liquidity as the economy slows, which is ironic because on the other hand China is also seemingly doing everything in its power to crash its nascent stock market bubble mania, following the latest news that China’s CSRC approved 12 IPOs ahead of schedule which is seen as a pre-emptive step to tighten interbank liquidity amid the recent rise in margin trading. Another central bank that was busy overnight was Russia's, which proceeded with its 5th rate hike of the year, pushing the central rate up by 100 bps to 10.50% as expected. Elsewhere, the Bank of England wants to move to a Fed-style decision schedule and start releasing immediate minutes as Governor Mark Carney overhauls the framework set up more than 17 years ago. The Swiss National Bank predicted consumer prices will drop next year and said the risk of deflation has increased as it vowed to defend its cap on the franc. Finally Norway’s central bank cut its main interest rate for the first time in more than two years and signaled it may ease again next year as plunging oil prices threaten growth in western Europe’s biggest crude exporter.
In July 2008, crude oil prices peaked and began to fall quickly. After 2 months they had dropped 30%, but being the smartest extrapolators in the room, producers piled on the rig count driving it higher and higher until around 5 months after oil prices peaked... the rig count completely collapsed. Today, it has now been almost 6 months since oil peaked and began its accelerating free-fall and rig counts have just started to drop (still 2% above the June peak oil levels)... of course, it's different this time... it's way worse! All these rigs are backed by massive debt loads at drastically lower costs of funding than is possible now... but we should ignore that, right?
Are much lower oil prices good news for the U.S. economy? Only if you like collapsing capital expenditures, rising unemployment and a potential financial implosion on Wall Street.
Instead of beating an already dead horse so it looks like the Japanese (and soon, European) economy, and commenting even more on what the oil price collapse will mean for America's energy producers (and Investment as a component of GDP) we decided to bypass the foreplay and proceed straight to showing the 70 or so most levered publicly traded US companies, with exposure to not just crude but all aspects of energy, that have a leverage (Debt/EBITDA) over 4x, as well as LTM EBITDA and CapEx both more than $20 million.
The American miracle idea of energy independence is fully reliant on a shale patch that went over $100 billion deeper into debt every year for years running just to produce that not-so-miracle. Take away 40%+ of what revenue it did take in, and there is no independence left. All that’s left is fracking fluids in your drinking water, and a few trillion in debt that the Big Kahuna lenders will seek to unload upon the real economy.
The attention being brought to bear upon Greece highlights once again the hollow nature of the “recovery” in Greece, Europe and the western world. The crisis is far from resolved - merely to use the very true cliche - kicked down the road. Well we appear to be coming towards the end of the road in Greece and this could set the stage for the next stage of the Eurozone debt crisis.
Brent Crude crossed below $65 for the first time since 2009 this morning and WTI began to slide as inventories showed a bigger-than-expected build. But it was Saudi Arabia's oil minister al-Naimi who sparked the latest dump:
*NAIMI SAYS `WHY SHOULD I CUT PRODUCTION'?
And with that WTI plunged to a $60 handle on heavy volume...
Remember yesterday? When talking heads proclaimed the lows were in and due to the strength of energy stocks, this must mean the worst is over? And remember we - quietly - showed the massive divergence between crashing energy credit markets and the stocks on the day...? Well guess who was right?
While we were expecting that one-time "god of crude oil trading" would have a poor year as a result of his consistent bullishness on the crude space, we were quite astounded to learn, as Bloomberg first reported yesterday, that Andy Hall - the man whose name was for a decade legendary in the commodity space - would call it a day. And yet that pales in comparison to the WSJ report overnight than Phibro itself, Andy Hall's 113 year old employer currently owned by Occidental Petroleum after its sale by Citigroup, would liquidate in the US after it failed to buy a buyer, marking the end of an era.