“No stock-market crash announced bad times. The depression rather made its presence felt with the serial crashes of dozens of commodity markets. To the affected producers and consumers, the declines were immediate and newsworthy, but they failed to seize the national attention. Certainly, they made no deep impression at the Federal Reserve.” - 1921 or 2015?
With almost perfect comedic timing, Bloomberg unleashed the mainstream media's Draghi-confirming raison d'etre for QE... explaining why - shock horror - deflation is bad for you. No matter that the QE efforts of The Fed (and BoJ) entirely (totally and utterly) failed to spark any increase in inflation expectations, we must try try try again. However, despite the exuberant disgruntlement with deflation that Bloomberg offers, Portuguese economy minister Guindos had something 'odd' to say this morning: "European deflation is positive." We are sure he will issue some clarifying statement soon enough walking back such a dangerous and anti-authority comment.
Greece's bailout program is not working. After receiving hundreds of billions of Euros in new loans to stave off a sovereign default, Greeks are on the verge of electing a new government that may throw Eurozone politics into turmoil. How things will play out in Greece and abroad is anybody’s guess. But it is important to consider the factors which have contributed to the current state of affairs.
World Leaders Demand "Central Bank Of Oil"; IMF Warns Price Drop Is Permanent; OPEC Expects "Rebound To Normal Soon"Submitted by Tyler Durden on 01/21/2015 10:17 -0500
Because nothing says 'stability' like a Central Bank in charge of things, the smartest richest men in the world have proclaimed in Davos this week that "we need a central bank of oil, like the central bank in financial world." As long as they are not Swiss, of course. Oil has been volatile today amid these calls for stability after Saudi Aramco comments on cutting projects (supply) sent prices higher, and was then talked back by the CEO bringing prices lower. Oman - the largest non-OPEC Middle East oil producer - blasted that "we have created volatility," noting it was having a "really difficult time," and that's "bad for business," demanding OPEC slow production. But it was The IMF that sparked the greatest concerns as it warned oil producers to treat this oil price drop as permanent noting that they expect these economies to lose $300 billion. only to be contradicted by OPEC's al-Badri who noted "oil prices will rebound back to normal soon."
The fix for low oil prices is... low oil prices. Past some point high-priced producers will naturally stop producing, the excess inventory will get burned up, and the price will recover. Not only will it recover, but it will probably spike, because a country littered with the corpses of bankrupt oil companies is not one that is likely to jump right back into producing lots of oil while, on the other hand, beyond a few uses of fossil fuels that are discretionary, demand is quite inelastic. And an oil price spike will cause another round of demand destruction, because the consumers, devastated by the bankruptcies and the job losses from the collapse of the oil patch, will soon be bankrupted by the higher price. And that will cause the price of oil to collapse again. And so on until the last industrialist dies...
That the global Status Quo is terrified of deflation is the background of every policy decision and official PR sound-bite. The reason behind this unremitting terror: deflation is the Achilles Heel of the global Status Quo. Rather than being the Monster Under the Bed in central bank nightmares, deflation is the natural result of a competitive economy experiencing productivity gains.
Speaking to his favorite money-honey, billionaire Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal told Maria Bartiromo that the negative impact of a 50% decline in oil has been wide and deep. As USA Today reports, the prince of the Saudi royal family said that while he disagrees with the government on most aspects, he agreed with their decision on keeping production where it is, adding that "if supply stays where it is, and demand remains weak, you better believe it is gonna go down more. I'm sure we're never going to see $100 anymore... oil above $100 is artificial. It's not correct." On the theory that the US and the Saudis have agreed to keep prices low to pressure Russia, the prince exclaimed, that is "baloney and rubbish," adding that, "Saudi Arabia and Russia are in bed together here... both being hurt simultaneously."
Assume the news for next week has not already been written, What should investors, or those monitoring the international political economy be watching? Here is my list.
"This is why Putin is Public Enemy Number 1. It’s because he’s blocking the US pivot to Asia, strengthening anti-Washington coalitions, sabotaging US foreign policy objectives in the Middle East, creating institutions that rival the IMF and World Bank, transacting massive energy deals with critical US allies, increasing membership in an integrated, single-market Eurasian Economic Union, and attacking the structural foundation upon which the entire US empire rests, the dollar." Up to now, of course, Russia, Iran and Venezuela have taken the biggest hit from low oil prices; but what the Obama administration should be worried about is the second-order effects that will eventually show up...
Data and market positioning can explain movement in the currencies. It does not prove that there is no manipulation or a great conspiracy. It just means the markets are understandable without resorting to such explanations. Try it.
The price of crude has collapsed by 50% in a few months (and 40% since the end of QE3), which can only mean one thing: the Wall Street penguin brigade is out in full force with its spate of energy sector downgrades, none of which is more bombastic than that of Citigroup's Robert Morris who in 118 pages just crucified the entire energy space, lowering his target price for every single company in his coverage universe, and declaring that "Goldilocks has left the building."
"...we believe the current low crude oil price could be overkill and result in the next “Energy Crisis” by early 2016. Enjoy these low gasoline prices while they last."
The nearly 50 percent plunge in the price of oil during the past six months is expected to leave oil-rich Saudi Arabia with its first budget deficit since 2011 and the largest in its history. Oil is the principal, if not the only, resource in Saudi Arabia, so it’s clear that the price of oil has a strong influence on how the country’s annual budget is drawn up. Different analyses, however, provide different answers to how Riyadh has forecast the commodity’s value. Four of these reports say the Saudi budget is predicated on oil averaging $55 to $63 per barrel in 2015.
There "Is" Blood: Energy Services Firm Civeo Cuts Headcount 45% & Guidance By 30%, Suspends DividendSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 12/29/2014 16:51 -0500
In what we suspect will be the first of many, Houston-based Civeo (which provides workforce accomodation to the oil industry) has crashed over 20% after-hours (after being down over 65% since September already) following the total carnage of its earnings report.
- *CIVEO HAS CUT U.S., CANADA HEADCOUNT BY 45%, 30% FROM EARLY '14
- *CIVEO SEES 2015 REV $540M-$600M, EST. $817.3M
Apparently having not only (Jana) but two (Einhorn) activist hedge funds is not nearly sufficient to send a stock soaring to all time highs, especially when said stock can no longer afford to buy back its own stock.
Despite the decline in oil prices, the U.S. is expected to boost production by 300,000 barrels per day in 2015, up to a yearly average of about 9.3 million barrels per day, according to the most recent government estimates. But the number of oil and gas rigs in operation is already beginning to drop. The fall off is an indication that exploration companies are beginning to pare back investments. Pulling back on drilling may result in a lower future production, which could hurt the growth prospects of some oil firms. However, the slowdown in drilling activity is having a much more immediate and acute effect on a separate set of companies – those supplying the rigs.