2015 will be a year of shattered illusions; social, political, as well as economic. The common claim today is that the QE of Japan and now the ECB are meant to take up the slack left behind in the manipulation of markets by the Fed. I disagree. As I have been saying since the announcement of the taper, stimulus measures have a shelf life, and central banks are not capable of propping up markets for much longer, even if that is their intention (which it is not). Why? Because even though market fundamentals have been obscured by a fog of manipulation, they unquestionably still apply. Real supply and demand will ALWAYS matter – they are like gravity, and we are forced to deal with them eventually. The elites hope that this will be enough to condition the public to support centralized financial control as the only option for survival... It is hard to say what kind of Black Swans and false flags will be conjured in the meantime, but I highly doubt the shift away from the US Dollar will take place without considerable geopolitical turmoil.
The headline-reading algos were at the top of their game this morning when milliseconds after OPEC's general secretary Abdalla El-Badri said oil prices could reach $200 a barrel if there's a lack of investment following this price slump... though failed to provide any timeline for his forecast. WTI prices jumped $1 from $45 to $46 even as El-Badri noted the market was still over-supplied by 1.5 million barrels per day.
Q4 Shaping Up As Worst Quarter In Years: Aggregate Revenues And EPS Have Missed By 1.2% and 0.4% So FarSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 01/23/2015 15:20 -0500
In aggregate, companies are reporting earnings and revenue below expectations to date. The aggregate dollar-level earnings reported by these 37 companies is 0.4% below the aggregate dollar-level earnings estimated for these 37 companies. The aggregate dollar-level revenue reported by these 37 companies is 1.2% below the aggregate dollar-level revenue estimated for these 37 companies. As a result, even though more companies have beat earnings and revenue estimates to date than missed earnings and revenue estimates, the surprise percentage (which reflects the aggregate difference between actual results and estimated results) is negative for both earnings (-0.4%) and revenue (-1.2%). This means that Q4 is shaping up as the worst quarter since 2012, perhaps even the start of the great financial crisis in 2008/2009.
The 7-month-old plunge in oil prices will force Moscow to cut its budget for 2015 by 10 percent, perhaps even 15 percent, a senior Russian government official told a panel discussion at the World Economic Forum in Davos Switzerland, adding that Russia may find itself reducing oil production by as much as 1 million barrels per day, but he stressed that such a cut would not be made in coordination with OPEC.
As reported earlier, several hours ago Saudi Arabia announced that its 91-year-old King Abdullah had passed away, in the process setting off what may be a fascinating, and problematic, Saudi succession fight which impacts everything from oil, to markets to geopolitics, especially in the aftermath of the dramatic political coup in neighboring Yemen. As a reminder, it is Saudi Arabia whose insistence on not cutting oil production with the intent of hobbling the US shale industry has led to the splinter of OPEC, and to a Brent price south of $50. Which is why today's event and its implications will be analyzed under a microscope by everyone: from politicians to energy traders. Here, courtesy of Ecstrat's Emad Mostaque, is an initial take at succession, the likely impact on oil, then the Saudi market & currency and finally regional politics.
After first falling ill and being hospitalized in December, Saudi Arabia officials have announced:
*SAUDI ARABIAN KING ABDULLAH DIES, CROWN PRINCE SALMAN SUCCEEDS: STATE TV
As we noted previously when considering this possibility, "a new King can do (almost) anything he wants, including changing oil policy." 79-year-old Crown Prince Salman has been named succesor (and has his own health issues - reportedly suffering from Dementia). Oil prices popped around 80c on the news.
The gravy train is over for oil workers. All over North America, people that felt very secure about their jobs just a few weeks ago are now getting pink slips. Since 2003, drilling and extraction jobs in the United States have doubled. And these jobs typically pay very well. It is not uncommon for oil patch workers to make well over $100,000 a year, and these are precisely the types of jobs that we cannot afford to be losing. The middle class is struggling mightily as it is. And just like we witnessed in 2008, oil industry layoffs usually come before a downturn in employment for the overall economy.
Laugh if you want to. Cry if you want to, but the bull market for the US dollar has legs and life.
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."
Global markets face three risks, according to Edwards: bearishness in the U.S. government bond market, a flawed confidence that the U.S. is in a self-sustaining recovery and undue faith in the relationship between quantitative easing (QE) and the equity markets. “It doesn’t matter how much QE is spewing out of the US,” he said. “The markets will lose confidence that the policymakers are in control of events, just as they did in 90's Japan. They lost faith that the policymakers were in control. This is the biggest risk out there.”
Hours after the IMF cut its global economic growth forecast yet again (which for the permabullish IMF is now a quarterly tradition as we will shortly show), now expecting 3.5% and 3.7% growth in 2015 and 2016, both 0.3% lower than the previous estimate (but... but... low oil is unambiguously good for the economy) and both of which will be revised lower in coming quarters, and hours after China announced that its entirely made up 2014 GDP number (which was available not 3 weeks after the end of the quarter and year) dropped below the mandatory target of 7.5% to the lowest in 24 years, it only makes sense that stock markets around the globe are solidly green if not on expectations of another year of slowing global economies, which stopped mattering some time in 2009, but on ever rising expectations that the ECB's QE will be the one that will save everyone. Well, maybe not everyone: really only the 1% which as we reported yesterday will soon own more wealth than everyone else combined and who are about to get even richer than to Draghi.
The precarious "game theory" equilibrium that worked for decades while OPEC was still a functioning cartel is unwinding before everyone's eyes. Just as Saudi Arabia accurately anticipated, the lower the price of crude goes, the more both OPEC members and their non-OPEC peers (especially shale companies funded by hundreds of billion in junk bonds) will have to produce in order to keep their budgeted revenues roughly in line (and keep creditors happy for the time being) in the process setting off an unprecedented wave of bankruptcies and production capacity declines, which take about 6-12 months after the price plunge to materialize. Case in point: the country formerly known as Iraq (and now better known as that region around the Tigris and the Euphrates that does not belong to ISIS) is pumping crude at a record pace and will continue to boost exports this year, its Oil Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi said.
One day after the SNB stunner roiled markets, overnight global markets have seen - as expected - substanial downward pressure, with the Swiss market slide resuming post open, while European stocks have seen some pressure despite what is now an assured ECB QE announcement next week. However, the one trade that can not be mistaken is the global rush into the safety of government paper, with every single treasury yielding less today than yesterday (the Swiss 10Y was trading below 0% at last check), except for Greek 10Y which are wider on deposit run fears. That said, with capital market liquidity absolutely non-existent even the smallest trade has a disproportionate effect on futures, and expect to see much more rangebound trading until the damage report from the SNB action is fully digested, something which will take place over the weekend.
Market Wrap: "It's Turmoil" - Overnight Gains Wiped Out, Futures Trade Below 2000 On SNB "Shock And Awe"Submitted by Tyler Durden on 01/15/2015 06:56 -0500
To paraphrase a trader who walked into the biggest FX clusterfuck in years, "it's total, unprecedented market turmoil." So while the world gets a grip on what today's historic move by the SNB means, which judging by the record 13% collapse in the Swiss Stock Market shows clearly that the SNB market put is dead and the SNB may be the first central-banking hedge fund which just folded (we can't wait to see what the SNB P&L losses on its EURCHF holdings will be), here is what has happened so far for anyone unlucky enough to be walking into the carnage some 2 hours late.