Oil storage problems are so severe that traders asking ships to go slow, and that is where we see something very strange occurring off the coast near Galveston, TX.
WTI Crude Slumps To $43 Handle As Contango Collapses To 5-Month Lows Amid Growing "Over-Supply" ConcernsSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 10/26/2015 08:16 -0500
At $43.96 (for the Dec contract), WTI is trading at its lowest level since August 28th (in the middle of the month-end massacre). The WTI-Brent spread is at its widest in over 2 weeks "stressing the need for U.S. output to drop to get rid of the oversupply," warns Commerzbank commodity strategist Carsten Fritsch. Even more worrisome (for future hope), is the plunge in prompt contango (1st month - 2nd month) which has collapsed to 5-month lows.
If you’re sophisticated and have a bit of luck, you could end holding your gold exposure at zero or even make a profit.
As WTI Crude tests new lows this morning (Dec contract $45.32) after API reported a huge build, we can't help but wonder "what happens next" in Dow Transports as the exuberant index has decoupled from oil for the 3rd time in a week... the only saving grace for the collapse in oil - Gartman warned "this could get very, very ugly and do so very, very quickly."
Despite its dubious track record, oil prices are stumbling after Goldman Sachs releases a report calling for oil prices to remain lower for even longer, calling for a drop to $50 within the next 6 months.
In a furious race to shore up as much liquidity as possible, Glencore - which a month ago announced a dramatic deleveraging plan - and its peers have been quietly scrambling to raise billions in secured funding. Case in point none other than Glencore's biggest competitor and the largest independent oil trader in the world, Swiss-based, Dutch-owned Vitol Group, whose Swiss unit Vitol SA earlier today raised a record $8 billion in loans.
Forget China, Volkswagen, Glencore, Noble, and pretty much everything else. The only catalyst that matters for today's price action has just been revealed. Earlier today, Dennis Gartman, whose flop-flip-flop-flipping calls on stocks, commodities and everything else have become a blur, just went mega bearish, and is predicting that the S&P has some 400 points of imminent downside.
Don't trade yesterday’s news. There was backwardation. However, it's a sensitive indicator and you need an updated picture before buying after a sizeable price move.
"One-by-one, the oil-majors will start to participate, then others will follow. While it might take some time to establish itself due to choppy markets and regulatory hurdles as well as the fact that it would introduce a foreign exchange element to crude futures, it is overdue for a Chinese contract to established."
Two state-owned Chinese oil trading companies (Chinaoil, which is the trading arm of state-run China National Petroleum Corp. and Unipec, which is owned by Sinopec) have been busy monopolizing the Dubai spot market, as a bout of suspicious trading activity between the two has served to distort prices and confuse other traders.
Following our discussion of perhaps the most successful (and/or most risky) trades of the last decade - that of shorting the front-month VIX - we were less than surprised that VXX -the VIX ETF has collapsed to new record-lows this morning. A snap higher in VIX has been met by an avalanche of vol selling and, as we discuss below, the accelerating contango as expirations loom has encouraged yet more to take on unlimited risk positions to pick up pennies in front of the steamroller. All the time "The Fed has your back," it appears traders believe the steamroller driver has his foot on the brake... As if on cue - VIX has spiked and VXX surged.
If the longs use VIX products as hedging instruments, then why would anyone take the other side? Because, being short volatility can be very profitable, according to Goldman. Year-to-date this short vol index is up 56%, and selling the front-month VIX has earned a massive 114 vol points... The introduction of weekly VIX futures (and the exponential decay implied by these volatility-inducing instruments) offers, according to Goldman Sachs, even more opportunity for active risk takers to sell vol, scrape premium, and face unlimited downside risk... playing the contango collapse game until there are no more musical chairs left.
In a January 2013 report “Report of the Working Group to Study the Issues Related to Gold Imports and Gold Loans by NBFCs”, the Reserve Bank of India estimated that the ratio of paper gold trading to physical gold trading is 92:1. That is a lot of unbacked paper gold instruments. This has almost entirely separated the “gold price”, such as it is (the clearing price for vast volumes of paper gold “representations” with a fractional backing) from the fundamental supply and demand dynamics for actual physical gold bullion.
As Mr L. famously quipped. "Ever get the feeling you’ve been cheated?"