It is increasingly certain that the future will not be like the past. Previous downturns have been equally devastating but the primary causes eventually reversed themselves; low commodity prices recovered and damaging government policies were rescinded. This recovery will be different for a variety of reasons which will combine to cap growth, opportunity and profits, even if oil and gas prices spike. The following major changes appear permanent...
Following yesterday's Yen surge in the aftermath of the disappointing BOJ announcement, the pain for USDJPY long continued, with the key carry pair tumbling as low as 106, the lowest level since October 2014 before stabilizing around 107, and is now headed for its biggest weekly gain since 2008, which in turn has pushed the US dollar to to its lowest close in almost a year as signs of slowing growth in the U.S. dimmed prospects for a Federal Reserve interest-rate increase. As a result, global stocks fell and commodities extended gains in their best month since 2010.
Sunday, April 17th was the designated moment. The world’s leading oil producers were expected to bring fresh discipline to the chaotic petroleum market and spark a return to high prices. But what happens if confidence in the eventual resurgence of demand begins to wither? Then the incentives to cooperate begin to evaporate, too, and it’s every producer for itself in a mad scramble to protect market share. This new reality -- a world in which “peak oil demand,” rather than “peak oil,” will shape the consciousness of major players -- is what the Doha catastrophe foreshadowed.
The front end of the oil price complex continues to get all the attention because it seems to further the more optimistic narrative. It is the back end, however, that is most significant. The nearer maturities of the futures curve reflect more the funding environment than the fundamental view of oil and the economy. The lack of continued liquidation has “allowed” investors (and speculators who are no longer, apparently, deserving of mainstream scorn) to bid up the front, but the outer years remain flat and unimpressed.
Less than one week after the BOJ floated a trial balloon using Bloomberg, that it would reduce the rate it charged some banks which set off the biggest USDJPY rally since October 2014, we are back where we started following last night's "completely unexpected" (for everyone else: we wrote "What If The BOJ Disappoints Tonight: How To Trade It" hours before said "shock") shocking announcement out of the BOJ which did absolutely... nothing. "It’s a total shock,” Nader Naeimi, Sydney- based head of dynamic markets at AMP Capital Investors told Bloomberg. "From currencies to equities to everything -- you can see the reaction in the markets. I can’t believe this. It’s very disappointing."
The famous Hollywood adage - 'nobody knows anything' - seems to perfectly apply to the current turbulence in the oil market. So in an effort to clarify where the global oil economy is heading to, let’s engage in a Battle of the Oil Analysts. Relying on these Oil Analysts (OA) does not necessarily mean you will be handed straightforward answers, but perhaps with some luck you will see a ray of light.
Bearish for years, huh, Dennis? Really?
“When the facts change, I change; What then do you do, Sir?” The facts are changing in the world of crude oil; demand is still rather strong and supplies seem to be rising but only modestly. Further, the term structures are shifting. We had been, on balance and really quite openly, bearish of crude for the past several years, erring always to sell crude’s rallies rather than to buy crude’s weakness. That has been wrong for the past two months and it is time to acknowledge that “wrongness.” If the facts are indeed changing… and certainly they seem to be… then we too must change.
For those who thought that the world's biggest company losing over $40 billion in market cap in an instant on disappointing Apple earnings, would have been sufficient to put a dent in US equity futures, we have some disappointing news: with just over 7 hours until the FOMC reveals its April statement, futures are practically unchanged, even though the Nasdaq appears set for an early bruising in the aftermath of what is becoming a disturbing quarter for tech companies. Instead of tech leading, however, the upside has once again come from the energy complex where moments ago WTI rose above $45 a barrel for the first time since November after yesterday's unexpected 1.07 million barrel API inventory drawdown.
Venezuela - home to the largest oil reserves in the world - will for the next 40 days experience a four-hour blackout every single day, and there are fears that the rationing could lead to unrest and trigger a decline in oil output at a time when the country is barely hanging on.
With the Fed decision just one day away, followed the very next day by the increasingly more irrational BOJ, stocks had no desire to make significant moves and overnight's boring session was the result, as European stocks and U.S. index futures rose modestly but mostly hugged the flatline while Asian declined 0.2% for a third day as raw-material shares declined and Tokyo equities slumped before central bank meetings in the U.S. and Japan this week. China’s stocks rose the most in almost two weeks, up 0.6% but failed to rise above 3000 on the Shanghai Composite, in thin trading.
"Well, if you're involved in the oil patch directly, drilling activity or anything like that I think we've gone beyond recession and it's more a depression. The facts are that this latest round of commodity price collapse that happened the first part of this year I think really put the nail in the coffin for the industry."
One Chart Shows Where The World's Record Surplus Oil Has Gone
After meandering steadily higher for the past week, and completely ignoring the negative newsflow out of the Doha meeting, today oil took an unexpected leg lower to 4-day lows, leaving many stumped: what caused this drop? The answer: it looks increasingly likely that the Kingdom is targeting another 0.5-m b/d of sales, bringing its production up to a steadier 11-m b/d or higher as it scramble to regain Chinese market share lost in recent months to Russia.