Trump’s corporate tax cut is supply-side stimulus I could agree with if done right, even though it primarily helps the rich. Trump's cut of the top rate from 35% to 15% is the largest of its kind in the history the United States.
It’s possible that OPEC is crying wolf with hints of an output freeze next month in Algiers; but it’s also possible that they are ramping up production to take the sting out of a freeze. This is a delicate balancing act that the Saudis need to play very carefully.
Following API's reported biggest crude build in 4 months overnight, which weighed on oil prices, DOE exasperated the pain by signaling builds across the entire complex. Crude's build of 2.5m barrels (biggest in 3 months) was less than API but more than the expectd 850k draw but Cushing saw a big build and gasoline and distillates both saw builds despite expectations of big draws. As a reminder, US Crude production surged by the most since May 2015 the prior week but fell modestly in the last week. Crude tumbled back to $47 on the print.
Despite denials, yesterday's oil price rally sustained on the back of rumors that Iran was willing to support a production freeze. However, an unexpected crude build overnight from API combined with news that Angola has overtaken Saudi Arabia as the number 1 seller of oil to China (more supply at the margin) has sunk WTI Cride back to $47 - erasing all of yesterday's gains...
In a rerun of yesterday's overnight session, European indexes trade higher while US index futures were modestly in the green, set to propel the S&P 500 to new all time highs. Emerging Market dropped the most in three weeks alongside commodities, as today the market was predisposed hawkishly on a US rate hike ahead of Yellen's Friday speech, pushing the US dollar higher and oil resumed its pre "anonymous sources" headlines slide.
Amid the volatility of crude prices, inventory levels, and headline hockey; API printed a surprisingly large 4.464mm crude build (against expectations of a 850k draw). Having spiked early in the day on Iran rumors (and failed to fall on denials), WTI kneejerked lower after the API data showed the biggest crude build in over 4 months (and a bigger than expected build at Cushing).
Remember the shale gale and Saudi America? The scale of those outlandish delusions has now dwindled to plays in a few counties in West Texas and southeastern New Mexico. Saudi Permian. It’s a race to the bottom as investors double down on the tight oil companies that can still tell a growth story.
Amid expectations that The Kingdom will sell bonds as early as next month, investors are panic-buying protection against default on Saudi Arabia. The last few weeks have seen a surge in CDS notional outstanding to its highest on record even as Saudi risk has stabilized after quadrupling in the last year.
While the summer doldrums continue, with little market-moving newsflow overnight and zombified volumes, US futures crept higher and European shares rose after EU PMIs printed modestly better than expected, while a return to dollar weakness pushed emerging markets higher, even if it failed to boost oil which as we noted last night was downgraded by Goldman on various fundamental reasons.
"Supply continues to feature the cross currents of rising low-cost supply, declining high-cost production, and new project ramp up. In fact, marginally more bearish data recently than we had assumed suggests in our view that the recent price rally should stall... While discussions of an OPEC freeze and a weakening dollar have been catalysts for the sharp reversal in oil prices this month, we believe neither will be sufficient to support prices much further"