The Standard and Poor’s rating agency, notorious for its controversial assessments, has this time bashed Poland in the wake of the anti-Polish frenzy whipped up by the European media. To be more precise, Poland was assailed by a German S&P analyst who lowered Poland’s rating from A- to BBB+, despite the economic data that by no means warrant such an evaluation.
With Brent and WTI having dipped below $30 (today’s rebound notwithstanding), and with some grades going for less than zero in the US, the question on everyone’s mind is simply this: can oil continue to move lower? According to the IEA, the answer is “an emphatic yes.”
President Barack Obama’s final State of the Union address came up short of the facts on several topics. Obama apparently omitted part of his presidency in boasting of nearly 900,000 manufacturing jobs “in the past six years.” Over his entire time in office, manufacturing jobs have gone down by 230,000.
The collapse of China's economy will have serious implications for India, the country's top investment banker warns. With exports in free fall and the government caught between fiscal retrenchment and the need to keep the economy afloat, it could be a rough year for the country Goldman swears will be a top economic performer in 2016.
"Saudi Aramco confirms that it has been studying various options to allow broad public participation in its equity through the listing in the capital markets of an appropriate percentage of the Company’s shares and/or the listing of a bundle its downstream subsidiaries."
Market psychology established in recent years is reversing. Market volatility is rising and will remain pervasive for a while as psychology, the change in direction of Fed policy, and the increases in general uncertainties, will all conspire to shape an environment ripe for sharp spikes in volatility which will be further amplified by rickety market liquidity.
On the heels of a tumultuous weekend that saw Saudi Arabia cut diplomatic ties with Iran after the Saudi embassy was torched by protesters angry at the execution of a prominent Shiite cleric, CDS spreads for the kingdom have blown out to six-year wides while the implied odds of the riyal peg finally breaking are hitting new record highs.
“We will satisfy the demand of our customers. We no longer limit production. If there is demand, we will respond. We have the capacity to respond to demand," Saudi oil minister Ali al-Naimi told reporters on Wednesday, underscoring the kingdom's belligerent stance as "lower for longer" heads into 2016. Meanwhile, Russia's Finance Ministry may reconsider its forecast for $50/bbl crude, a move which could inflate Moscow's budget deficit.
As the ruble plunges to record lows against the dollar, we take a close look at the outlook for inflation and GDP growth in 2016 in the context of The Kremlin's budget, which assumes $50/bbl crude. We also ask whether the deficit - expected to balloon to 4.4% of GDP in the event oil hovers around $35/bbl - will grow as a result of a planned bailout for insolvent state lender VEB.
In a bid to shore up its finances in the face of self-inflicted oil wounds, Saudi Arabia is shaking up the welfare state by raising prices on everything from domestic fuel to water. Apparently, persisting in the war of attrition against the US shale complex is paramount - even if it means making life harder for everyday Saudis so the monarchy can buy itself some budget breathing room.