Just over three months after the authorities lifted the four-decade ban on crude oil exports, the U.S. has actually exported less this year than it did over the same period the year before, when the ban was still in place.
With European markets closed across the continent on Monday as the Easter holiday continues, overnight Asia was busy with China Shanghai Composite letting off some steam, and closing down 0.7% at session lows on concerns the Shanghai and Shenzhen home bubble have been popped by the politburo, Japan was a different story with the Yen sliding following a report by the Sankei newspaper that Abe will announce in May his intention to delay the planned levy hike, coupled with additional reports that Japan will unveil a major fiscal stimulus (and just on Friday Abe said he is "not thinking at all about supplemental budget" at this time).
It appears the complete decoupling from economic reality of the so-called US equity 'market', combined with the collapse in a data-dependent Fed's credibility - topics we have extensively covered - has reached the mainstream. Barron's always-insightful Randy Forsyth exposes the ugly reality that this is a "Bullard" market and we are just living in it as the flip-flopping Fed head is "the most visible telltale of the shifting winds of Fed expectations. Investors navigating the choppy waters of the financial markets are forced to change tacks accordingly."
The system is rigged... and rotten. Elections are exercises in solemn deceit. And the Fed’s management of the economy is a mixture of delusion and self-serving scam. We don’t have much doubt about it. That’s just the way it is. But that honesty is "cynical" and "anti-American," according to some. However, we’re not alone in our skepticism. Apparently, about half the country is “anti-American.”
Russia will export more oil to Europe in April than it has in any month since 2013 - despite Moscow's plan to sign a global agreement on freezing production in a bid to lift the price of crude. Asked what would be covered by the agreement, Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak told reporters: "The discussion is only about freezing production. And not exports." In other words, the global supply glut is about to get even worse thanks to the likes of Russia, which is about to unleash an additional 2.4 million tonnes of ooil exports onto a world which is already drowning in excess oil.
Following yesterday's dollar spike which, which topped the longest rally in the greenback in one month, the prevailing trade overnight has been more of the same, and in the last session of this holiday shortened week we have seen the USD rise for the fifth consecutive day on concerns the suddenly hawkish Fed (at least as long as the S&P is above 2000) may hike sooner than expected, which in turn has pressured WTI below $39 earlier in the session, and leading to weakness across virtually all global risk assets.
Why Oil Prices Are About To Plunge Again: 31 Million Barrels In Floating Storage Are Coming On ShoreSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 03/23/2016 21:53 -0400
Based on the all-in cost of operating tanker storage (dirty VLCC tanker day rates, financing, transit and transfer loss, insurance and bunkers, Figure 5), the current storage cost is too high relative to the steepness of the Brent forward curve. This means that prices do not justify inventory build, but rather gradual inventory drawdown as existing storage trades are unwound. Comparing the current level of floating storage (157.3 million barrels) versus that in early February (126.6 million barrels), there may be an additional 31 million barrels of inventory to be drawn down between now and the next inventory trough over the next several months.
Between storage concerns and the potentially "meaningless" Doha production freeze talks, crude oil traders appear tohave realized that $40 oil is unsustainable at record glut levels... WTI crashed through $40 at the NYMEX close...
Ian Taylor, CEO of oil trader Vitol said on Tuesday that "stocks of crude and products continue to build and these will weigh upon the market". Global distillate stocks in the developed world are close to a record high, in the thick of refinery maintenance season, and in the run-up to the time when gasoline use hits its summer high point, but interest in diesel typically fades. "Absent run cuts, the market faces another round of rapid stockbuilds once refineries return from maintenance>"
Following last night's API-reported yuuge build in crude of 8.8mm barrels (and draw in gasoline and Cushing - confirming Genscape's earlier report), DOE reports today an even bigger 9.36m barrel build - the 2nd biggest build in a year. Crude prices were confused as this massive build was offset by a drop in crude prioduction to Nov 2014 lows and a big draw at Cushing... but for now Oil is extending losses.
Following two days of rangebound moves, where Monday's modest market rebound was undone by the Tuesday just as modest decline (despite the early surge higher on the latest "bullish for stocks" European terrorism), overnight equity action continued to be more of the same, and as of this moment S&P 500 futures were unchanged, while European stocks were modestly higher. But while equities remain surprisingly uneventful despite loud warnings by both JPM and Goldman now that another bout of volatility and equity downside is coming, in FX there has been a substantial change, one which has seen the US dollar rise for a fourth day, the longest winning streak in a month, driven by the latest round of hawkish Fed jawboning courtesy of the Chicago Fed's Charlie Evens yesterday, which in turn has pushed down prices of oil, gold and copper.
The market reaction from last week’s dovish FOMC statement took many by surprise, including BofAML's HY Strategy team, but as they say the High-Yield Emperor has no clothes, warning that the underlying commentary provided by Chair Yellen shows the vulnerability for high yield issuers to longer-term growth trends. Couple the deteriorating fundamentals for HY issuers with downgrades outpacing upgrades by a ratio of 3.5:1 and a worsening of global growth potential, and they believe the recent rally, though boosted by strong inflows and cash generation, will ultimately fade.
This morning's Brussels suicide attacks have led to risk-off sentiment across European asset classes, with Bunds higher and equities firmly in the red, although if the Paris terrorist attacks of November are any indication, today's tragic events may be just the catalyst the S&P500 needs to surge back to all time highs. FX markets have also been dominated by events in Brussels, with USD and JPY strengthening, while EUR and GBP softening throughout the European morning.
Despite the reversal (lower) in stocks, bond prices are tumbling (yields surging) this morning, seemingly catalyzed by yet another sudden surge in crude oil prices. Algos appear to have read comments on shale production coming back as bullish - well if they are producing more, there must be more demand right? At the same time - starting around 530ET, stocks are bonds began to both sell off, unwinding the post-Fed "QE Trade" bounce.
At the same time as the PBOC was cautioning about the dangers of excess debt (just as it injected a record amount of loans into the financial system), China's central bank warned about dangers from a stock market bubble, and perhaps just to assure the bubble gets even bigger, at the same time China eased on margin debt limits, in the process sending Chinese stocks soaring higher by 2.2%, and pushing the Shanghai Composite over 3000 for the first time in months as China now appears set to attempt another housing bubble "soft landing" while at the same time restarting its housing bubble.