Economic principles explain why the Saudis began, in late 2014, to pump crude as fast as they could – or close to as fast as possible. In fact, there is a good reason why the Saudi princes are panicked and pumping.
One thing is clear: banks are not only not telling the full story, but the story they are telling is compromised. Still one has to start somewhere with whatever data is publicly available, so courtesy of Reuters, here is a summary of what the big U.S. banks who have reported Q4 earnings so far, say about their energy exposure.
The end of America’s oil “miracle” is coming and there’s nothing Wall Street can do to stop it. At this point in the game, no one is going to finance the oil patch's cash flow deficits and the fundamentals in the oil market are laughably bad. As Bloomberg reports, Wall Street is about to have a serious bout of “indigestion” because recent auctions suggest that “some bankrupt oil and gas drillers can’t give their assets away.”
Do you have some extra space in your garage or attic? Or perhaps you own an oil tanker you aren’t currently using. Or maybe you have a storage unit that’s got a little extra room next to an old mattress and box springs. If so, you may want to call up oil producers in North Dakota and ask if they’d care to send you some free oil.
"While we are taking what we believe to be the appropriate reserves for that, I'm just not prepared to give you a specific number right now as far as the amount of reserves that we have on that particular book of business."
<Q - Mike L. Mayo>: What percent of the $17 billion is not investment grade? <A - John R. Shrewsberry>: I would say most of it. Most of it. <Q - Mike L. Mayo>: So most of the $17 billion is non-investment grade. <A - John R. Shrewsberry>: Correct.
It is the “Core of the Core” that now concerns us the most. That is where Federal Reserve (and global central bank) policies have left their greatest mark. It is at the “Core of the Core” where momentous misperceptions and market mispricing have become deeply entrenched. It’s the “Core of the Core” that has attracted enormous amounts of “money” over recent years. It’s also here where I believe leverage has quietly been used most aggressively. Over recent years it became one massive Crowded Trade. Now the sophisticated players must contemplate beating the unsuspecting public to the exits.
The Dallas Fed met with the banks a week ago and effectively suspended mark-to-market on energy debts and as a result no impairments are being written down. Furthermore, as we reported earlier this week when first nothing the rumor, the Fed indicated "under the table" that banks were to work with the energy companies on delivering without a markdown on worry that a backstop, or bail-in, was needed after reviewing loan losses would exceed the current tier 1 capital tranches.
Most Americans will still welcome low prices at the pump. But in the oil boom towns of yesterday, the slowdown is very much being felt - "The jobs are leaving, and if an area gets depopulated, they can't take the houses with them and that's dangerous for the housing market."
It's not China, stupid... It's The Fed. "What The Fed did, and I was part of it, was front-loaded an enormous rally market rally in order to create a wealth effect... and an uncomfortable digestive period is likely now." Simply put Fisher concludes, there can't be much more accomodation, "The Fed is a giant weapon that has no ammunition left."
The last trading week of 2015 begins on a historic precipice for stocks: as reported over the weekend, the U.S. stock market has not been lower for any year ending in a “5? since 1875. That streak is now in jeopardy, because following Thursday's shortened holiday session which ended with an abrupt selloff, the overnight session has seen continued weakness across global assets in everything from Chinese stocks which tumbled the most since November 27, to commodities (WTI is down 2.5%) to European stocks (Stoxx 600 -0.4%), to US equity futures down 0.4% on what appears to be an overdue dose of Santa Rally buyers' remorse.
"Oil and gas sector bankruptcies have reached quarterly levels last seen in the Great Recession. At least nine U.S. oil and gas companies, accounting for more than $2 billion in debt, have filed for bankruptcy so far in the fourth quarter."
Wall Street’s proclivity to create serial equity bubbles off the back of cheap credit has once again set up the middle class for disaster. The warning signs of this next correction have now clearly manifested, but are being skillfully obfuscated and trivialized by financial institutions. Nevertheless, here are ten salient warning signs that astute investors should heed as we roll into 2016.