Canada's Biggest Oil Casualty To Date: Calgary's Nexen Shutters Oil Trading Desk

Last December, traditionally permabullish energy trader Andy Hall shocked the world when he became the first casualty of the oil crash after Phibro, his 113 year old employer then owned by Occidental Petroleum after its sale by Citigroup, would liquidate in the US after it failed to buy a buyer. He wouldn't be the last. Overnight, Nexen Energy, a wholly owned subsidiary of China's CNOOC Ltd, reported it too would close its crude oil trading division following a round of job cuts announced last week, four market sources said on Monday.

Frontrunning: March 24

  • Germanwings Airbus crashes in France, 148 feared dead (Reuters)
  • Greece promises list of reforms by Monday to unlock cash (Reuters)
  • Merkel Points Tsipras Toward Deal With Greece’s Creditors (BBG)
  • Banks Shift Bond Portfolios -Move to ‘held to maturity’ category aims to guard against rising rates, shield capital  (WSJ)
  • Beijing to Shut All Major Coal Power Plants to Cut Pollution (BBG)
  • As Silence Falls on Chicago Trading Pits, a Working-Class Portal Also Closes (NYT)
  • Oil below $56 as Saudi output near record, China activity slows (Reuters)

Futures At Overnight Highs On China PMI Miss, Europe PMI Beat

It is a centrally-planned "market" and everyone is merely a bystander. Last night, following a dramatic China PMI miss, which as previously reported tumbled to the worst print since early 2014 and is flashing a "hard-landing" warning, the Shanghai Composite first dipped then spiked because all a "hard-landing" means is even more liquidity by the PBOC (which as we suggested a month ago will be the last entrant into the QE party before everyone falls apart). Then, this morning, a surprise beat by the German (and Eurozone) PMI was likewise interpreted by the algos as a catalyst to buy, and at this moment both European stock and US equity futures are their session highs. So, to summarize, for anyone confused: both good and bad data is a green light to buy stocks. In fact, all one needs is a flashing red headline to launch the momentum igniting algos into a buying spasm.

You Too Can Be A Texas Wildcatter With Crowdfunding

"Equity crowdfunding, or raising capital directly from a large group of investors, is widely used for projects from technology to fashion. Now, at least two small Texas firms are testing the concept in the oil and gas industry."

Saudi Production Comments Send WTI Sliding To $45 Handle

Following Friday's manic quad-witching melt-up in oil (and everything else), the exuberance (surprise surprise) is fading as fundamental reality is slapped back onto the face of the energy complex by Saudi Arabia. As Reuters reports, Saudi oil minister Ali al Naimi also said the kingdom was now pumping a record high 10 million barrels per day (bpd), and would only cut if non-OPEC countries cut production. The 'supply' weakness in crude has been tempered somewhat by a tumbling USD (EUR surging) for now (and also by news from Sinopec of major capex cuts).

Frontrunning: March 23

  • Saudis keep on pumping, oil prices keep on slumping (Reuters)
  • Tenet Healthcare Nearing Deal to Buy United Surgical Partners (WSJ)
  • Dizzying Pre-IPO Tech Values Spurred by Rush of Hedge-Fund Money (BBG)
  • Russia threatens to aim nuclear missiles at Denmark ships if it joins NATO shield (Reuters)
  • Torrent of Cash Exits Eurozone (WSJ)
  • Draghi Cheerleads for Euro-Area Economy as Greek Risk Looms (BBG)
  • Fortescue Mines for More Financing Options (WSJ)
  • Topix Charts Evoke Calm Before ’13 Rout as Momentum Gains (BBG)

Buying Euphoria Fizzles Ahead Of Make Or Break Tsipras-Merkel Talks

As previously observed (skeptically), a main reason for the surge in the DAX, and thus the S&P, on Friday was premature hope that the Greek talks earlier were a long-overdue precursor to a Greek resolution, and as we further noted yesterday, subsequent bickering and lack of any clarity as we go into today's critical "final ultimatum" meeting between Merkel and Tsipras, is also why the Dax was lower by 1.1% at last check, even if the EURUSD continues to trade like an illiquid, B-grade currency pair whose only HFT purpose is to slam all stops within 100 pips of whatever the current price may be.

There’s Brussels And Then There’s Real People

There’s only one thing that can save the Union now: for Merkel to show compassion, with the Greeks, and with all other weaker members. And to stop the anti-Greek propaganda, immediately. Or else. It’s nonsense to pretend that this is merely a business issue, as is made clear by Parenteau above: there is very clearly plenty space to negotiate solutions with Greece that preserve everyone’s dignity. Refuse that, and you can kiss the EU goodbye. There’s alot more that plays into this than mere money issues. Ignore that, and you might as well dismantle the Union right now.

Global Trade Grinds To A Crawl

"Shipping freight rates for transporting containers from ports in Asia to Northern Europe fell 12.4 percent," for the week Reuters notes. This is seventh consecutive week of declines and puts us squarely back at levels last seen in 2013.

US Taxpayers To Fund Ukraine Bailout With Bond Guarantee

CCC-rated Ukraine is preparing to issue more debt, debt with a Aa+/AAA rating because it will come with the explicit guarantee of the United States of America. In other words, after raiding Greek pensions with the IMF's blessing, the Kiev puppet government is now going after the "full faith and credit" of the US... backed by its taxpayers.  In yet other words, the latest Ukraine "bailout" is courtesy of you, dear US taxpaying reader.

US "Isolated" As Key Ally Japan Considers Joining China-Led Bank

And then there were none. Like dominoes, US allies have fallen in line on the heels of the UK's decision to join the China-sponsored Asian Infrastructure Investment bank and now, the stanuchest supporter of Washington's position on the venture looks set to defect as well.