Is the oil cartel impotent? Is the price of oil going to fall further? What to expect from tomorrow's OPEC meeting.
Who could have seen this coming? With oil prices holding at 4-year lows, heavily pressuring around half of US shale production economics, the "secret" US deal (see here and here) with Saudi Arabia to crush Russia via oil over-supply in a slumping demand world appears to be backfiring rapidly for John Kerry and his strategery team. Capable of withstanding considerably lower prices for longer, Saudi Arabia's oil minister Ali al-Naimi proclaimed "no one should cut production and the market will stabilize itself," adding rather ominously (for the US economy and HY default rates), "Why should Saudi Arabia cut? The U.S. is a big producer too now. Should they cut?" With prices expected to drop to $60 on no cut, maybe the "unequivocally good" news for the US economy from lower oil prices should be rethunk.
Is the price of oil today driven more by global growth and supply/demand factors or by monetary policy factors? We hope it doesn’t surprise anyone when we say that we think monetary policy dominates ALL markets today, including the global oil market. What’s the ratio? Our personal, entirely subjective view is that oil prices over the past 3+ months have been driven by 3 parts monetary policy to 1 part fundamentals. How do we come up with this ratio? For the past 3+ months the oil Narrative has been dominated by public statements from influential answer-suppliers talking up the oil price dynamic of a rising dollar and monetary policy divergence. That’s the source of our subjective view of a 3:1 dominance for monetary policy-driven factors over fundamental-driven factors. However – and this is the adaptive part where we play close attention to Narrative development and dissemination – the noise level surrounding this Thursday’s OPEC meeting is absolutely deafening.
Countdown has begun...
In what is hardly a surprising outcome, the parties involved in the Iran nuclear talks have decided it best for all to extend (and pretend) the discussion for another 7 months:
*IRAN NUCLEAR TALKS EXTENDED UNTIL JULY 1, OFFICIALS SAY
Diplomatic teams will reconvene in December and the US State Department is proclaiming "good progress" in a brief statement. 7 more months of sanctions, a call with Putin today, and OPEC later in the week... one wonders if any of this will be relevant in 7 months. Additionally, it seems beggars can be choosers as P5+1 says Iran can get $700 million per month in frozen assets back...
Another day, another case of central banks, not one but two this time, dictating "price" action.
With President Obama proclaiming this morning "it's too early to tell" if a nuclear-deal with Iran is still possible; and apparent confirmation this afternoon that differences are "still significant," the US is said to be discussing extending the nuclear-deal deadline. Yet again no consequences (for a newfound 'ally') and yet again John Kerry finds himself purposeless... and now we hear Vladimir Putin will be calling Iran's Rouhani tomorrow (one can only imagine the topic of conversation).
OPEC faces numerous dilemmas this week as it meets to decide what, if anything, is to be done about falling oil prices. As Goldman notes, consensus expectations have shifted to only expecting a modest cut announcement on Nov 27th. Furthermore, any large cut that would lead to a large price rally would be self-negating as it would enable US producers to hedge 2015 production and sustain elevated production growth.
Some of the major problems that humanity faces today transcend borders, and as such international cooperation is of vital importance. But recent events make such cooperation increasingly more challenging. Without going into the wisdom of the decision, sanctions imposed on Russia over its foreign policy in Ukraine have a wide range of implications that go much beyond the economic sphere. For one, international dialogue is breaking down fast; just this week Russian President Vladimir Putin unceremoniously left the G20 meeting early. Inevitably, this will have repercussions on major international cooperation initiatives, perhaps irreversibly in some cases. Here are a few notable examples...
It appears John Kerry is at it again. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov says the US Secretary of State called on him to "pay no mind" to a statement by President Obama, in which Russia was included to a list of top global threats. Seeking Russia's cooperation in Iran and on the Korean Peninsula, Kerry told Lavrov to "forget about" what Obama said. As US foreign policy credibility dissolves, we leave it to Lavrov to conclude, "it is flippant," he jabs, "it’s not appropriate for a powerful country to have such a consumer attitude to its partners - where you’re needed, help us; where you’re not, obey us."
- Yellen Inherits Greenspan’s Conundrum as Long Rates Sink (BBG)
- West African Mining Projects Take Hit From Ebola Crisis (WSJ)
- Saudi oil policy uncertainty unleashes the conspiracy theorists (Reuters)
- Senate Rejection of Keystone XL Measure Sets Up 2015 Showdown (BBG)
- Ferguson, Missouri, remains on edge ahead of grand jury report (Reuters)
- Putin Said to Stun Advisers by Backing Corruption Crackdown (BBG)
- Italian ‘Invasion’ Has Swiss Fuming as Immigration Vote Looms (BBG)
- Apple and Others Encrypt Phones, Fueling Government Standoff (WSJ)
Former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger says in an interview with Der Spiegel that there currently is an urgent need for a new world order, but its coming into being will be long and complicated. "There is the Chinese view, the Islamic view, the Western view and, to some extent, the Russian view. And they really are not always compatible," he warns, adding that introducing anti-Russian sanctions was a mistake. He added that Ukraine should not hope to become a member of NATO in the foreseeable future, as the alliance will never vote unanimously for the accession of Ukraine.
- Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe Calls Snap Election (WSJ) - as repeatedly priced in...
- Flash Boys Raising Volatility in Wild New Treasury Market (BBG)
- Not Greece again: Greek Bailout Review Stalls as Troika Demands Final Steps (BBG)
- Iran uses China bank to transfer funds to Quds-linked companies (Reuters)
- Porn Mags With Free Madrid Theater Tickets in Tax Protest (BBG)
- Hong Kong, China stocks ease on profit-taking after stock connect launch (Reuters) - Hang Seng down 500 points in past 2 days
- Halliburton Mega-Deal Sealed by CEOs Over Coke and Coffee (BBG)
- Wall Street to Reap $316 Million From Day of Mega Deals (BBG)
- Mass murderer Charles Manson gets marriage license, state says (Reuters)
Perhaps the biggest shock following last night's completely expected and very predictable (previewed here over a month ago) Japanese slide into triple- (actually make that quadruple) dip recession, is that it took the BTFTripleDip recession algos as long as they did to recover most of the overnight futures losses. Because after surging to 107 on a confused short squeeze kneejerk reaction, the USDJPY subsequently tumbled 150 pips to 105.50 as rationality briefly emerged, and the market wondered for a few brief hours if rewaring the destruction of one's economy is actually a prudent thing. Then, however, when European traders started walking into work, the now default USDJPY levitation on no volume came right back, and with that the correlation algo buying of E-mini futures, no doubt helped by the Bank of Japan itself taking advantage of the CME's ES liquidity rebate program. Because without confidence as expressed by the lowest and only common denominator left - global equities - there is nothing else.
If there were no puppet masters in Washington DC or the Kremlin, what would happen next week?