With WTI back under $50 once again (the mainstream media's new Maginot Line for oil complex stability - just like $80, $70, and $60 was), it appears more investors are waking up to the reality of an over-supplied, under-demanded global energy market. The 'squeeze bounce manipulation' that we saw over the last week - very reminiscent of the bounce seen mid-collapse in 2008/9, was predicated on falling rig counts (and capex). However, Goldman pours freezing cold fracking water all over that thesis as they explain that the decline in the US rig count remains well short of the level required to achieve a sufficient slowdown in US oil production growth to balance the global market. Simply put, they conclude, lower oil prices will be required over the coming quarters to see the US production growth slowdown materialize with risk to their already low price forecast to the downside.
Scenes like this one from the iconic movie Trading Places will henceforth be forever entombed in the annals of trader history, a history in which man is thoroughly replaced by machine, following news earlier today that the CME will close most of its futures pits in Chicago and New York. "The move deals a death blow to trading floors that grew in the 20th century alongside America’s agriculture, mining and energy industries and were once synonymous with capitalism."
Against Reuters expectations of a 3.25 million barrel build, DOE reports a 6.3 million barrel build... Just 24 hours after Jim Cramer proclaimed, "this smells like a bottom" in crude oil, the crucial commodity (though it is unclear whether lower oil is good or bad today for now) appears to have flushed a few weak hands in a 3-day squeeze and 1430ET ramp-fest as price reasserts to the 'fundamentals' of over-supply and under-demand. WTI has plunged from over $54 at the NYMEX close yesterday to around $50 this morning...
Market Wrap: Equity Futures Subdued On Oil, Energy Profit Taking Following Latest Crude Inventory SurgeSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 02/04/2015 07:54 -0400
Following the torrid surge in crude in the past 4 days, overnight oil price have taken a step back - if only until the "newer normal" 2:30pm ramp into the Nymex close - with both Brent and WTI down nearly 3%, with yesterday's latest API inventory data showing another massive crude build when it was released after the close, which in turn is pressuing futures modestly if decidedly, and not even the surprise PBOC RRR-cut (which many had seen as likely if only in advance of the liquidity sapping Chinese New Year) which hit the tape an hour ago managed to push ES into the green, at least for now. Curiously, not even the now standard low volume levitation in the USDJPY in recent trading has had any impact on US futures, which appear to have found a new correlation regime for the time being, one which tracks what oil does more than any other asset class.
"The price plunge is new, but if it is not reversed relatively quickly, it could make the apparently strong economic numbers in the U.S. in recent months seem like a lost warm memory by the middle of 2015. The problem, of course, is that the absence of pro-growth economic policies in the developed world (aside from monetary extremism) places a large premium on any industry that is actually growing and providing jobs and GDP. Given the fragility of both the global financial system and the economy, the plummet in the oil price is coming into a world in which any disruption can be harmful, even one resulting from a fall in prices of a major global input into the economic engine."
The devil is in the details: The market is likely too excited about falling rig counts. Even after the natural gas experience, the market fails to appreciate that the relationship between rig count and production can be deceptive. Headline rig count declines may look impressive, but as we look at the data, much of the drop in oil rig count has come in low yielding vertical/directional rigs – i.e. the low-hanging fruit. Even within horizontal rigs, much of the decline has come in lower performing plays or lower tier counties within high quality plays. In some cases, we’ve seen a reallocation of rigs between counties within plays. This was particularly prominent in Midland last week. The most productive rigs will likely remain as long as possible, esp where hedges are in place, until redeterminations or cash flow issues force additional cuts.
With liquidity increasingly negligible this morning's chaos in crude has now spilled over into stocks. A triple whammy of disappointing data this morning and re-tumbling crude hopes have sent the S&P down 25 points from overnight highs and will below 2000 in cash. The Dow is now down over 1000 points from its record highs. Treasury yields have given up all the AAPL rate-lock surge and are at new cycle lows.
The overnight session had been mostly quiet until minutes ago, when unexpectedly WTI, which had traded down as low as the mid $46 range following the weakest Chinese manufacturing data in two years, saw another bout of algo-driven buying momentum which pushed it sharply, if briefly, above $50, and was last trading about 2.6% higher on the day. In today's highly correlated market, this was likely catalyzed by a brief period of dollar weakness as well as the jump of EURCHF above 1.05, within the rumored corridor implemented by the Swiss National Bank, which apparently has not learned its lesson and is a glutton for a second punishment, after its hard Swissy cap was so dramatically breached, it hopes to repeat the experience with a softer one around 1.05. Expect to see even more FX brokers blowing up once the EURCHF 1.05 floor fails to hold next.
In case you wonder who, why or what did it - perhaps this will help: how they did it before ...defendants developed a scheme by which Optiver, having accumulated a large net TAS (defined below) position, traded a significant volume of futures contracts in the opposite direction, before and during the Close
It's not because - everything is awesome again. Some are claiming ISIS rumors were responsible but the size and veolocty suggest otherwise (and insta-stop at the NYMEX close)
Market Wrap: Futures Lower After BOJ Disappoints, ECB's Nowotny Warns "Not To Get Overexcited"; China SoarsSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 01/21/2015 07:55 -0400
Three days after Chinese stocks suffered their biggest plunge in 7 years, the bubble euphoria is back and laying ruin to the banks' best laid plans that this selloff will finally be the start of an RRR-cut, after China's habitual gamblers promptly forget the market crash that happened just 48 hours ago and once again went all-in, sending the Shanghai Composite soaring most since October 9, 2009. It wasn't just China that appears confused: so is the BOJ whose minutes disappointed markets which had been expecting at least a little additional monetary goosing from the Japanese central bank involving at least a cut of the rate on overnight excess reserves, sending both the USDJPY and US equity futures lower. Finally, in the easter egg department, with the much-anticipated ECB announcement just 24 hours away, none other than the ECB's Ewald Nowotny threw a glass of cold water in the faces of algos everywhere when he said that tomorrow's meeting will be interesting but one "shouldn’t get overexcited about it."
At the very least, the ‘great recession’ seems likely to continue. A serious recession or depression will likely collapse the already fragile banking system, especially in Europe, and the savings of ordinary people and companies will become exposed to bail-ins.