Here is an overview of next week's events and data placed in the larger context.
Coal powered electricity is currently by far the cheapest and one of the most reliable forms of electricity generation known to Man. To suggest that replacing this with intermittent wind and solar or carbon capture generation will somehow reduce American’s electricity bills is either delusional or plain stupid. Or is the intention to deliberately deceive?
It has been more of the same in the latest quiet overnight session where many await tomorrow's NFP data for much needed guidance, and where Chinese markets opened weaker, rose during the day, then went through a mini rollercoaster, then sold off in the afternoon. The Shanghai Composite and HS China Enterprises indices finished down .9% and .3%, respectively. Trading volume continued to be very subdued, running at half the thirty day average as some 20 million "investors" have pulled out of the market to be replaced with HFTs such as Virtu. But while stock action has been muted, the story of the night so far is oil and the energy complex broke out of a tight overnight range early in the European session to continue yesterday's downward trend, seeing WTI Sep'15 futures fall below the USD 45.00 handle after yesterday's DoE crude oil inventories saw US crude output rise by 0.552%. As of this moment oil was trading at $44.72, just pennies above the low print of 2015.
The truly incredible thing about US foreign policy outcomes is that there are seemingly no limits on how absurd they can be. Indeed, Washington’s uncanny ability to paint itself into policy corners and create the most thoroughly flummoxing geopolitical quagmires in the history of statecraft knows absolutely no bounds.
Overly myopic investors/creditors will continue to be confident in various drillers, based on the numbers of initial production (IP) data extrapolations and balance sheets, but will in the near future spend sleepless nights wondering why such good IPs and strong balance sheets produces poor or no profits and/or why they do not fully receive the money lent. Their worries will gradually morph from being focused on return on investment to return of investment. The mysteries created by Nature’s lack of cooperation with the balance sheets will surpass any other existential questions.
- Unhappy Voters Shake Up Presidential Race (WSJ)
- China stock exchanges step up crackdown on short-selling (Reuters)
- China Dethroned as World’s Most Liquid Stock Market After Curbs (BBG)
- Xiaomi retakes the smartphone lead in China as Apple slips (Engadget)
- Impact of EPA’s Emissions Rule on Industry to Vary (WSJ)
- Citadel’s Ken Griffin Leaves 2008 Tumble Far Behind (WSJ)
- Greece says expects bailout deal by Aug 18 (Reuters)
Amid the collapse in coal prices, not helped by the 'China situation' and President Obama's nudge, WSJ reports that the ailing US coal just got another black eye as Alpha Natural Resources is expected to file for chapter 11 bankruptcy protection early Monday to cut its more than $3 billion debt load. After four straight annual losses, Alpha - one of America's largest coal producers - has secured $692mm in DIP financing as it prepares its restructuring plan expected to sell some of the best mines and shutter others. It appears the Arch Coal's CEO's ominous words last week were prophetic - “Coal markets are as difficult as I’ve seen them during my 30 years in the industry."
Chinese Stocks Slide Again, Copper Tumbles To 6 Year Low; Greek Market Crashes After One Month Trading HaltSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 08/03/2015 06:57 -0400
If China had hoped it would root out intervention by eliminating Citadel's rigging algos, and unleash a buying spree it was wrong: the Shanghai Composite opened negative, and never managed to cross into the green, despite the usual last hour push higher, ending down -1.1% and down for 6 of the past 7 days. The real action, however, was not in Asia but in Europe, and specifically Greece, where the stock market finally reopened after a 1+ month "capital control" hiatus. Despite the attempt to micro manage the reopening, the result was not pretty, with stocks crashing 23% at the open and staging barely a rebound trading -17% as of this moment, even as banks promptly traded down to the -30% limit as the realization that an equity-eviscerating recapitalization (or bail-in) is now inevitable.
Moments ago energy titan Exxon Mobile, which not too long ago was bigger than AAPL by market cap, and is now roughly half the size of the phone maker, reported earnings which were, in a word, a bloodbath.
China Says US "Militarization" Of South China Sea Shows Washington "Wants Nothing Better Than Chaos"Submitted by Tyler Durden on 07/30/2015 20:00 -0400
"China is extremely concerned at the United States' pushing of the militarization of the South China Sea region. "What they are doing can't help but make people wonder whether they want nothing better than chaos."
"How would US Treasury bulls in the private sector react if they knew in advance that the second largest owner of Treasuries, the PBOC, was a forced seller of Treasuries. Such compelled selling would be obvious before US markets opened each morning as downward pressure on the RMB exchange rate in Asia forced the PBOC to liquidate foreign currency assets to defend the fixed exchange rate. Would even Treasury bulls stand in the way of such a large and predictable liquidation? If they didn’t then the second phase of The Great Reset would come to pass and the decline of EM external deficits would force tighter monetary policy in both EM and DM."
On a day when market participants will care about only one thing - how hawkish (or dovish) the FOMC sounds at 2:00 pm (no Yellen press conference today) - Chinese stocks provided the usual dramatic sideshow and traded unchanged or modestly negative for most of the day despite the latest $100 billion injection, the close of trading on Wednesday was a mirror image of what happened in the last hour on Monday, as various Chinese "plunge-protection" mechanism went into a furious buying frenzy and government-backed funds rushed to buy anything that trades in the last 60 minutes of trading in what may be the most glaring example of banging the close yet.
In a defiant speech delivered over the weekend, Syria's Bashar al-Assad insisted that "defeat ... does not exist in the dictionaries of the Syrian Arab army," even as the strongman admitted that his military faced a debilitating shortage of manpower. Meanwhile, WSJ says Russian officials are "showing more openness to discussing alternatives to Mr. Assad as his regime loses territory."
The U.S. E&P industry is really good at spending other people’s money to increase production. It doesn’t matter if there is a market for the oil and gas. As long as the capital keeps flowing, they will do what they do best. Don’t be distracted by the noisy chatter about savings through efficiency or re-fracking. Just look at the income statements and balance sheets from first quarter and it’s pretty clear that most companies are hemorrhaging cash at these prices. The U.S. rig count increased by 19 this week as oil prices dropped below $48 per barrel – the latest sign that the E&P industry is out of touch with reality.
It all started in China, where as we noted previously, the Shanghai Composite plunged by 8.5% in closing hour, suffering its biggest one day drop since February 2007 and the second biggest in history. The Hang Seng, while spared the worst of the drubbing, was also down 3.1%. There were numerous theories about the risk off catalyst, including fears the PPT was gradually being withdrawn, a decline in industrial profits, as well as an influx in IPOs which drained liquidity from the market. At the same time, Nikkei 225 (-0.95%) and ASX 200 (-0.16%) traded in negative territory underpinned by softness in commodity prices.