President Obama is "blowing up our alliances to secure a deal that paves Iran’s way to a bomb," according to European sources close to the negotiations, and as Washington Free Beacon reports, efforts by the Obama administration to stem criticism of its diplomacy with Iran have included threats to nations involved in the talks, including U.S. allies. France has borne the brunt of Obama's wrath as one source in Europe close to the ongoing diplomacy said the US has begun to adopt a “harsh” stance toward its allies in Paris because "the clarifications expose just how weak the Americans’ deal is shaping up to be."
Well that was a quick geopolitical event. On the heels of what was set to be Crude's best week since July 2013, Stratfor clarifying little risk of disruption to crude supplies, Goldman confirming neglible impact from Yemen and more to Iran, and reports from Saudi Arabia that "this [Yemen] operation will not go on for long, I think it will be days," WTI crude has tumbled back to the $48 handle and erased all the "gulf intervention" premium - refocusing on domestic storage concerns.
The Sunlight is Fading … and America Is Falling Into Darkness
Crude oil prices have rallied sharply this week on headlines that a coalition of Sunni-ruled nations initiated airstrikes on Yemen against Shiite Houthi rebels. Goldman's Damian Courvalin notes that this rally reversed the sell-off that occurred in part on the rising odds of a deal with Iran being reached. Courvalin expects both events to have negligible near-term supply impacts, with the build in crude inventories set to continue in 2Q15. Longer term, a deal with Iran could lead to greater OPEC supplies although the timing of the sanction relief remains uncertain. It appears today's weakness indicates a dawning realization that there's still too much...
- Google's new CFO to make $70 million (WSJ)
- Senate passes Republican budget with deep safety net cuts (Reuters)
- With Yemen strikes, Saudis show growing independence from U.S. (Reuters)
- Banks Slash Dividends as Loans Sour From Beijing To Pearl River (BBG)
- North American Railroads Caught by Speed of Crude-Oil Collapse (BBG)
- Japan’s Zero Inflation a Setback for Abenomics (WSJ)
- Cooperman Says U.S. Seeks Information About Omega Trades (BBG)
All Wars Are Bankers’ Wars
While fear still lingers of a nuclear catastrophe on a similar scale as Fukushima, or earlier accidents such as Three Mile Island or Chernobyl, that hasn’t stopped a slew of countries from moving forward on plans to develop nuclear plants as an adjunct to existing power sources like hydro, coal, natural gas and good ol’ oil. Especially in developing countries that lack access to fossil fuels, nuclear is seen as a viable and cost-effective form of baseload power.
To Yemen Obama has flown...
On one side of the latest proxy war in the Middle East are Yemen's Shiite Houthi rebel forces and their prominent backer, Iran. On the other side are the Suuni states led by Saudi Arabia and henceforth dubbed as the "Decisive Storm" coalition. Here they are.
Saudi Arabia Imposes Naval Blockade On Red Sea Strait, Deploys 150,000 Troops As Iran Condemns Military ActionSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 03/26/2015 07:51 -0400
As noted earlier, the biggest significance of any Yemen conflict has little to do with its own domestic oil production, which at 133,000 bpd is negligible, but due to its location, which not only shares a border with Saudi Arabia, but more importantly due to the Bab el-Mandeb strait which connects the Red Sea with the Gulf of Aden: it is the fourth-biggest shipping chokepoint in the world by volume (3.8 million barrels a day of oil and petroleum products flowed through it in 2013) and is just 18 miles wide at its narrowest point. It’s located between Yemen, Djibouti, and Eritrea, and connects the Red Sea with the Gulf of Aden and the Arabian Sea. And since to Saudi Arabia preserving the logistics of oil supply is critical, it is hardly surprising that as Egypt's Ahram Gate reported earlier, the Saudi-led Firmness Storm coalition imposed a naval blockade on Bab El-Mandab strait earlier today. The Saudi navy's western fleet has also secured Yemen's main ports including Aden and Midi.
In a somewhat surprising turn of events, this morning's futures reaction to last night's shocking start of a completely unexpected Yemen proxy war, which has seen an alliance of Gulf State launch an air, and soon land, war against Yemen's Houthi rebels, is what one would expect: down, and down big. This is surprising, because on previous occasions one would expect the NY Fed, or its pet hedge fund, Citadel, or the BOJ or ECB (via the CME's "Central Bank Incentive Program") to aggressively buy ES to prevent a slide, something has changed, and for the BTFDers, that something may be very fatal with the e-Mini rapidly approaching a 1-handle yet again. The offset to tumbling stocks, as previously observed, is oil, with WTI soaring over 6% in a delayed algo response to the Qatar headlines.
- Saudi Arabia, allies launch air strikes in Yemen against Houthi fighters (Reuters)
- Pilot on Crashed Jet Was Locked Out of Cockpit, NY Times Says (BBG)
- Why Bombing This Tiny Oil Producer Is Roiling the Energy Market (BBG)
- U.S.-led coalition, Iraqis pound Islamic State in Tikrit (Reuters)
- Munger Says Prepare for Harder World as Buying Power Slides (BBG),Mocks Greek ‘Idiotic Idea’ You Can Vote Yourself Rich (BBG)
- The Central Banker Who Saved the Russian Economy From the Abyss (BBG)
- Bank of Canada says foreign buyers complicate housing market (Reuters)
- Investors Scoop Up Companies’ Bonds (WSJ)
- Espirito Santo Probe Turns Mariana Mortagua Into Portuguese Star (BBG)
Update: *OBAMA AUTHORIZED LOGISTICAL AND INTELLIGENCE SUPPORT TO GULF, U.S. MILITARY TAKING MILITARY ACTION TO DEFEND SAUDI BORDER, TO DEFEND AGAINST HOUTHI VIOLENCE (so US weapons are being used on both sides)
John McCain - "This is as bizarre as it is misguided – another tragic case of leading from behind.”
Earlier today we reported that, on very short notice, Saudi Arabia had moved heavy military equipment including artillery to areas near its border with Yemen, "raising the risk that the Middle East’s top oil power will be drawn into the worsening Yemeni conflict." In other words, Saudi Arabia was preparing for war. Moments ago all these warnings were borne out when Al-Arabiya reported that the latest middle-east war is now official after Saudi Arabia and Arab Gulf States had launched a bombing campaign against Yemen.