International Energy Agency
In what has been another quiet overnight session, which unlike the past two days has not seen steep, illiquid gaps higher in US equity futures (the E-mini was up 3 points and accelerating to the upside as of this writing so there is still ample time for the momentum algos to go berserk), the main event was the price of Brent rising above $50 for the first time since November with WTI rising as high as $49.97.
We have reported for years that Russia and China have been doing everything they can to displace the use (and influence) of the US dollar. Of course, as the US has been playing geopolitical games, China and Russia have been working on strengthening their relationship with one another. At the end of 2015, China had become Russia's biggest oil customer, and as of April, Russian oil shipments to China hit a record high. Russia has also surpassed Saudi Arabia as the biggest crude exporter to China.
In the aftermath of the French labor law reform, local refinery workers have launched a strike to hit the government where it hurts the most. Protesters have blocked deliveries to gas stations from at least half of France's eight refineries, and workers at three Total refineries have voted to halt all output by Tuesday. The effect was immediate: as an IEA analyst observed, "there is a noticeable fuel shortage in the North West and North of the country, including parts of the greater Paris region."
For a long time, a common assumption has been that the world will eventually “run out” of oil and other non-renewable resources. Instead, we seem to be running into surpluses and low prices. What is going on that was missed by M. King Hubbert, Harold Hotelling, and by the popular understanding of supply and demand?
OPEC is dead, and that’s the biggest news for oil in this new century.
Oil "Rebalancing" In Jeopardy After Iran Output Soars To Pre-Sanction Levels, Russia "Pours Cold Water" On OPEC ForecastSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 05/13/2016 09:09 -0400
The biggest non-OPEC member disagreed with OPEC's latest rosy - if only for OPEC countries - assessment, when Russia poured cold water on the notion that recent falls in production in the Americas, Asia and Africa had wiped out a global production and storage overhang. Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak told reporters on Thursday that the global oil surplus stood at 1.5 million bpd and that the market might not balance out until the first half of 2017.
Following IEA's report this morning which proclaimed OPEC production at record highs but forecast a drop in the global oil glut in the first half of the year (due to demand from India, as the current marginal demand driver - China's teapot refiners - have since slowed dramatically), WTI crude prices have jumped back above $47 for the first time since November 2015. It seems, however, tha traders did not read the sedtion that said, further gains in oil prices “are likely to be limited by brimming crude and products stocks.”
If yesterday's selloff had a specific catalyst, namely some of the worst consumer retail earnings seen in years, it merely undid the Tuesday rally which levitated global risk with no fundamental driver, aside for a 200 pip spike in the USDJPY. Some central bankers may even say it was a "magical" levitation. Fast forward to the overnight session when following a muted Asian session, it was once again up to the "magical" USDJPY to send stocks well into the green without any actual catalyst whatsoever, but what merely appears to have been another "magical" intervention session by the BOJ.
M. King Hubbert did more to raise awareness of the finite nature of global oil reserves than any other person, living or dead. He was a larger-than-life figure, who fought tirelessly to insert the limits of nature into the national dialog regarding the strategic use of resources. Yet surprisingly little has been publicly documented about the man, even though we are hurtling ever faster into a future shaped by the very limits he warned about.
It is increasingly certain that the future will not be like the past. Previous downturns have been equally devastating but the primary causes eventually reversed themselves; low commodity prices recovered and damaging government policies were rescinded. This recovery will be different for a variety of reasons which will combine to cap growth, opportunity and profits, even if oil and gas prices spike. The following major changes appear permanent...
Saudi Arabia single-handedly scuttled the Doha meeting, knowing all along that Iran would not participate, with a valid reason. The Russians and others agreed to proceed without Iran, planning to include them at a later date. So if everything was known beforehand, why did the Saudi’s pour cold water on the aspirations of the remaining members, risking its alienation from Russia and the OPEC community? Was it simply Saudi enmity toward Iran? Not exactly. Upon closer scrutiny, we can find the Saudi masterstroke behind Doha.
"In the post-Doha world, when we're still in what is essentially a free market for oil, the Russians will pump as much oil out as the market will absorb and the Saudis have said much the same thing."
Recall all those tankers we have profiled before on anchor next to the Iran shore? They have finally started to move.
Forget Doha, says the International Energy Agency (IEA), bet it all on US production crashing.
In another quiet overnight session, the biggest - and unexpected - macro news was the surprise monetary easing by Singapore which as previously reported moved to a 2008 crisis policy response when it adopted a "zero currency appreciation" stance as a result of its trade-based economy grinding to a halt. As Richard Breslow accurately put it, "If you need yet another stark example of the fantasy storytelling we amuse ourselves with, juxtapose today’s Monetary Authority of Singapore policy statement with the storyline that the Asian stock market rally intensified on renewed optimism over the global economy. Singapore is a proxy for trade and economic growth ground to a halt last quarter." The Singapore announcement led to a sharp round of regional currency weakness just as the dollar appears to have bottomed and is rapidly rising.