Early last month, we noted the irony inherent in the fact that Saudi Arabia, whose effort to bankrupt the US shale space has been complicated by the Fed's ZIRP, was set to opportunistically tap the debt market in an effort to offset a painful petrodollar reserve burn. As Bloomberg reports, Qatar is now doing the same, "raising money from local banks as the slump in oil prices buffets the finances of the Middle East’s largest oil and gas exporters."
"There is a general understanding that joint efforts in the fight against terrorism should go hand by hand with the political process in Syria. Assad agrees to this and has also agreed to early parliamentary elections and to include healthy opposition."
While the market nervously eyes the petrodollar reserves of Saudi Arabia and the UAE as the countries juggle domestic expenditures, dollar pegs, and the cost of war, Yemen itself is coming apart at the seams - literally. As WSJ reports, it now looks as though the country may in fact split, as Aden residents have eschewed the red, white and black for the flag of South Yemen, which existed as an independent republic for more than two decades.
WTI Crude oil prices are in total panic buying mode this morning as the algos are fully in charge once again. WTI is up 5% this morning in a straight line since US equity markets opened (and USO went vertical). What is most ironic is that Saudi Aramco just slashed prices for crude oil to everyone around the world.
All eyes will be on Mario Draghi on Thursday as expectations for something big from the former Goldmanite have grown over the past two weeks. More specifically, some now think the odds of QE expansion have increased considerably in light of collapsing eurozone inflation expectations, the incipient threat of some $1 trillion in QE-offsetting EM FX reserve draw downs, turmoil in China's financial markets, heightened volatility across the globe, and chaos in emerging markets from LatAm to AsiaPac.
As Deutsche Bank put it on Tuesday, we've officially reached the end of the "Great Accumulation" as slumping Chinese growth, plunging crude, and an imminent Fed hike have put enormous pressure on emerging economies’ accumulated stash of FX reserves and that means that buyers of USD assets are becoming sellers at the expense of global liquidity and the perpetual bid for some core paper. Now, Goldman has weighed in, noting that the rise in foreign FX reserves held by non-G-7 countries that started around 2003-04 (at around US$1trn) appears to have ended for good.
"The current secular shift in reserve manager behavior represents the equivalent to Quantitative Tightening, or QT. This force is likely to be a persistent headwind towards developed market central banks’ exit from unconventional policy in coming years, representing an additional source of uncertainty in the global economy. The path to “normalization” will likely remain slow and fraught with difficulty."
Saudi Arabia is staring down a current account-fiscal account outcome that makes Brazil look favorable by comparison. With the fiscal budget deficit projected at some 20% of GDP and two proxy wars combined with the necessity of maintaining the status quo for ordinary Saudis serving to make fiscal retrenchment next to impossible, you might be wondering how high oil prices need to climb in order for the Saudis to plug the gap. Deutsche Bank has the answer.
According to Western diplomats, a Russian expeditionary force has already arrived in Syria and set up camp in an Assad-controlled airbase. The base is said to be in area surrounding Damascus, and will serve, for all intents and purposes, as a Russian forward operating base. In the coming weeks thousands of Russian military personnel are set to touch down in Syria, including advisors, instructors, logistics personnel, technical personnel, members of the aerial protection division, and the pilots who will operate the aircraft.
"A cloudy fiscal policy along with unattractive economic data and oil prices continuing to decline fueled negative sentiment about the market which exaggerated fears among investors."
World oil production is about 90 million barrels a day, representing a cash flow of about nine billion dollars a day which comes down to three trillion dollars a year. With the oil price 40 to 50% lower, this flow is also cut by 40 to 50%. This amounts to 10% US GDP. Compare it with the 0.5% growth we are now missing in China, we prefer to keep our eyes on the oil price. These extreme moves can not be without consequence.
The equity market momo-igniters tried USDJPY - and failed. Then they tried XIV - and failed. So what next? WTI crude of course which has just exploded back to Friday's highs, with Brent Crude also breaking back above $50.