Enterprise Products Partners has told at least some counterparties that it is experiencing delays in delivering crude from its tanks, according to three sources who were informed of unspecified "terminalling and pump" issues. The hiccups may be a sign of things to come as traders fear a further increase in stocks at Cushing would test the upper limits of tanks and cause the next leg of an 18-month rout.
"Having been manifestly bearish of crude oil over the course of the past many, many months we are moving to the sidelines in light of the “reversal” to the upside staged by WTI and Brent crude yesterday and in light of the sharp move lower on the part of the contangos in both crude types."
- Dennis Gartman
US futures were largely unchanged overnight, with a modest bounce after the European close driven by a feeble attempt to push oil higher, faded quickly and as of this moment the E-mini was hugging the flatline ahead of today's main event - the January payrolls, expected to print at 190K and 5.0% unemployment, however the whisper number - that required to push stocks higher - is well lower, at 150K (according to DB), as only a bad (in fact very bad) jobs number today will cement the Fed's relent and assure no more rate hikes in 2016 as the market now largely expects.
The volatility in crude oil trading has reached the highest levels since Lehman's systemic crisis in 2008. Intraday swings of 5-10% are now de rigeur with OPEC and geopolitical headlines jockeying for narrative amid collapsing fundamentals.. but there is another, much bigger driver of this sudden chaos. As Reuters reports, the sudden liquidation of a $600 million triple-levered fund bet on falling prices wreaked havoc through the entire crude complex.
"Speculators (like hunters) sense wounded prey, and already bets are being laid on a riyal devaluation. Although it is possible Saudi Arabia can afford to maintain its oil regime and U.S. dollar peg, this will come will escalating costs, financial and political, and one suspects the Saudi citizenry is not big on sacrifices."
After yesterday's torrid, chaotic moves in the market, where an initial drop in stocks was quickly pared and led to a surge into the close after a weaker dollar on the heels of even more disappointing US data and Bill Dudley's "serious consequences" speech sent oil soaring and put the "Fed Relent" scenario squarely back on the table, overnight we have seen more global equity strength on the back of a weaker dollar, even if said weakness hurt Kuroda's post-NIRP world and the Nikkei erased virtually all losses since last Friday's surprising negative rate announcement. Oil and metals also rose piggybacking on the continued dollar weakness as the word's most crowded trade was suddenly shaken out.
It's a miracle - Dudely speaks, CHNJPY mysteriously spikes higher, , Crude oil soars 8%, and The Dow soars 400 points off its lows. The question is - what now - as Dow runs stops to Monday's cash open...
While the biggest news of the night had nothing to do with either oil or China, all that mattered to US equity futures trading also was oil and China, and since WTI managed to rebound modestly from their biggest 2-day drop in years, rising back over $30, and with China falling only 0.4% overnight after the National Team made a rare, for 2016, appearance and pushed stocks to close at the day's high, US E-minis were able to rebound from overnight lows in the mid-1880s, and levitate above 1900. Whether they sustain this level remains to be seen.
It certainly does feel like groundhog day today because while last week's near record oil surge is long forgotten, and one can debate the impact the result of last night's Iowa primary which saw Trump disappoint to an ascendant Ted Cruz while Hillary and Bernie were practically tied, one thing is certain: today's continued decline in crude, which has seen Brent and WTI both tumble by over 3% has once again pushed global stocks and US equity futures lower, offsetting the euphoria from last night's earnings beat by Google which made Alphabet the largest company in the world by market cap.
Amid denied rumors of production cuts (and Goldman's dismissal), crude oil prices have jumped "August 2015 Andy Hall squeeze style" to 3-week highs. This 'change' in trend has hedge funds calling the bottom once again adding to bullish oil bets at the fastest pace since 2010 in the last week. However, most ironically, it appears the weak longs are being squeezed today as WTI crashes 6%.
"Despite the sharp bounce in oil prices that these headlines generated, we do not expect such a cut will occur unless global growth weakens sharply from current levels, which is not our economists' forecast. This view is anchored by our belief that such a cut would be self-defeating given the short-cycle of shale production and the only nascent non-OPEC supply response to OPEC's November 2014 decision to maximize long-term revenues."
It didn't take much to fizzle Friday's Japan NIRP-driven euphoria, when first ugly Chinese manufacturing (and service) PMI data reminded the world just what the bull in the China shop is leading to a 1.8% Shanghai drop on the first day of February. Then it was about oil once more when Goldman itself said not to expect any crude production cuts in the near future. Finally throw in some very cautious words by the sellside what Japan's act of NIRP desperation means, and it becomes clear why stocks on both sides of the pond are down, why crude is not far behind, and why gold continues to rise.
It seems that everyone these days is exporting deflation to the US. American consumers will be delighted with everyone sending cheaper goods their way. However, what this may do to their income and employment prospects is a whole different matter.
It is safe to say that nobody expected the BOJ stunner announced last night, when Kuroda announced that Japan would become the latest country to unleash negative interest rates, for one simple reason: Kuroda himself said Japan would not adopt negative rates just one week ago! However, a few BIS conference calls since then clearly changed the Japanese central banker's mind and as we wrote, and as those who are just waking up are shocked to learn, negative rates are now a reality in Japan. The immediate reaction was to send the USDJPY surging by nearly 200 pips, back to levels seen... well, about a month ago.