With hopes high, at least among corner offices of the majors, that this week's OPEC meeting will somehow manage to slow down the biggest plunge in crude prices since Lehman, it will take much more than mere talk and hollow promises to offset the recent cartel-busting actions of Saudi Arabia. So in a worst case scenario where supply remains unchanged even as global energy demand continues to decline sharply due to the ongoing global slowdown what is the worst case scenario that could happen - aside from the mass energy HY defaults discussed previously - should the price of a barrel of oil continue to correlate the change in 2014 global GDP estimated? Here are some thoughts from Deutsche Bank.
While the biggest news of the day will certainly be China's rate cut (and the Dutch secret gold repatriation but more on the shortly), here is a list of all the other central-banking/planning events which have moved markets overnight, because in the new normal it no longer is about any news or fundamentals, it is all about the destruction of the value of money and the matched increase in nominal asset values.
"I write this letter, my last letter, to you, Mr. Bush and Mr. Cheney. I write not because I think you grasp the terrible human and moral consequences of your lies, manipulation and thirst for wealth and power. I write this letter because, before my own death, I want to make it clear that I, and hundreds of thousands of my fellow veterans, along with millions of my fellow citizens, along with hundreds of millions more in Iraq and the Middle East, know fully who you are and what you have done."
In the past 3 months there has been much discussion regarding the gruesome and barbaric beheadings by ISIS of western hostages. Yet surprisingly, a similar and just as barbaric tradition has been taking place for ages just a few hundred miles east of ISIS, in Saudi Arabia. It has been met with nothing but silence by the same indignant western societies who are quick to condemn ISIS villainy. Why the disconnect? According to the following interview by Canada's CBC reporter Anna Maria Tremonti with Newsweek's Janine Di Giovanni looking at the "shock over ISIS beheadings but silence over Saudi Arabia beheadings" the answer why few if any dare to criticize the Saudis is simple: oil.
The mainstream press has faithfully repeated every press and PR statement made by the shale producers. And if you simply followed the headlines, you might even believe this about the US: It is soon going to be energy independent; Its oil production will surpass even Saudi Arabia putting it in the number one spot, and The US will even be exporting oil again like the days of old. The only problem with this story is that it is misleading in some very important ways. And entirely false in others.
In a historic move showing just how profound the collapse in global commodity demand and trade is, earlier today the Sydney Morning Herald reported that Australia's biggest coal exporter Glencore, which last year concluded its merger with miner Xstrata creating the world's fourth largest mining company and world's biggest commodity trader, will suspend its Australian coal business for three weeks "in a move never before seen in the Australian market, to avoid pumping tonnes into a heavily oversupplied market at depressed prices." Putting this shocking move in context, it is something that was avoided even during the depths of the global depression in the aftermath of Lehman's collapse, and takes place at a time when the punditry will have you believe that the US will decouple from the rest of the world and grow at 3% in the current quarter and in 2015.
- "The hate us for our..." Americans’ Cellphones Targeted in Secret U.S. Spy Program (WSJ)
- Ukraine and Russia take center stage as leaders gather for G20 (Reuters)
- Moscow and Kiev trade accusations; U.S. warns Russia against escalation (Reuters)
- Heartland Central Banker Calls Asset Bubbles Top Concern (BBG)
- U.S. Said to Give Banks December Deadline in FX Probe (BBG)
- Series of Failures Enabled White House Breach, Report Finds (WSJ)
- Yen plumbs seven-year trough on likely Japan sales tax delay (Reuters)
- JPMorgan Chase Bankers Said to Lead Moscow Departure (BBG)
Suddenly it is not just the shale companies that are starting to look impaired as a result of tumbling energy prices. According to a Deutsche Bank analysis looking at what the "tipping point" for highly levered companies is in "oil price terms", things start to get really ugly should crude drop another $15 or so per barrell. Its conclusion: "we would expect to see 1/3rd of US energy Bs/CCCs to restructure, which would imply a 15% default rate for overall US HY energy, and a 2.5% contribution to the broad US HY default rate.... A shock of that magnitude could be sufficient to trigger a broader HY market default cycle, if materialized. "
While talking heads proclaim - incorrectly - that low oil prices are unequivocally good for the US economy, it is very much not the case for oil producers around the world. Most notably, Venezuela - which 'needs' oil prices above $100 to maintain its socialist utopia - and currently ranks at a lowly 100th on the world's prosperity index, is in grave trouble if this trend continues. Venezuelan bonds plunged to new record lows today as oil prices hit fresh cycle lows, strongly suggesting default or currency devaluation is imminent. However, as is usual (think Mexico) Finance Minister Rodolfo Marco Torres ruled out devaluation even as oil price drop exacerbates country’s finances. As one analyst noted, "there's broad understanding that in the absence of any corrective policy measures that these guys are going to be in serious trouble." It appears they already are. The Maduro government desperately needs a rise in oil prices, but Saudi Arabia has so far rebuffed calls for an emergency meeting as it pursues a strategy of waiting out higher cost competitors. OPEC does not plan on meeting until Nov. 27. That is still an eternity for a country that is beginning to unravel.
Even Japan is playing dirty little tricks...
Chris Martenson is an economic researcher and futurist, specializing in energy and resource depletion, and co-founder of PeakProsperity.com. As one of the early econobloggers who forecasted the housing market collapse and stock market correction years in advance, Chris rose to prominence with the launch of his seminal video seminar, The Crash Course, that interconnected forces in the economy, energy, and the environment that are shaping the future, one that will be defined by increasing challenges as we have known it. Chris’s insights are in high demand by the media as well as academic, civic, and private organizations around the world, including institutions such as the U.N., the U.K. House of Commons, and the U.S. State Legislatures. So with that we’d like to welcome Mr. Chris
The march of global de-dollarization continues. In the last few days, China has signed direct currency agreements with Canada becoming North America's first offshore RMB hub, which CBC reports analysts suggest "could double maybe even triple the level of Canadian trade between Canada and China," impacting the need for Dollars.But that is not the week's biggest Petrodollar precariousness news, as The Examiner reports, a new chink in the petrodollar system was forged as China signed an agreement with Qatar to begin direct currency swaps between the two nations using the Yuan, and establishing the foundation for new direct trade with the OPEC nation in the very heart of the petrodollar system. As Simon Black warns, "It’s happening... with increasing speed and frequency."
We often hear that if there is not enough oil at a given price, the situation will lead to substitution or to demand destruction. Because of the networked nature of the economy, this demand destruction comes about in a different way than most economists expect–it comes from fewer people having jobs with good wages. With lower wages, it also comes from less debt being available. We end up with a disparity between what consumers can afford to pay for oil, and the amount that it costs to extract the oil. This is the problem we are facing today, and it is a very difficult issue.
Dr. Faber prudently advises clients not only to diversify among asset classes but to also to diversify within asset classes. We share this view. We advise our clients to hold gold and silver in various locations and in various forms but always in secure vaults and safe jurisdictions such as Singapore or Switzerland.
On an almost daily basis, investors are reassured that a falling oil price is "unequivocally good" for the US economy. The "It's like a tax cut for the consumer"-meme dominates financial media while the impact on the Shale (or tight) oil industry is shrugged off blindly with "well breakevens are low, right?" As Barclays shows in the chart below, the breakeven price for oil to shut-in tight-oil supply varies by region (and corporation) adding that at $80/b WTI, most producers will sweat it out. But, they warn, if prices remain at these levels through 2015, it could compromise the significant potential new volumes that are needed to offset declines from existing wells. This new, higher-breakeven volume is small in 2015, but becomes much larger in 2016 (with a 17-25% plunge in earnings which would drastically reduce capex... and thus The US Economy).