Kelly Burke

Recent Posts

Standing Headline: Fed Talks,Chinese Economic Data Pummel Stocks,Crude

Posted by Kelly Burke on Sep 28, 2015 3:46:53 PM

Man grasping his head looking at computer screens

WTI dropped 2.8% today to close out at $44.43 a barrel, while Brent closed out down 2.5% . On the refined products side of the NYMEX, ULSD and Gas both took a pummeling as well, with both down over 4 on the day. To be exact, ULSD closed out down (-.0453) to 1.4772 and RBOB closed down (-.0471) to 1.3488.

So whats going on?

For one, the news from China today was that industrial companies there have seen profits plummet at a faster level than they have in four years, resparking speculation that China's economy is really struggling a lot more than everyone has been assuming. As previously discussed, Chinese economic data is such a huge indicator because they are a top commodities consumer, and strong economic data from China is basically what traders and analysts are "hanging their hat on" as a potential for growing demand to stave off the price crushing effects of the oil glut.

The IMF Managing Director also announced today that although the economy was still recovering from the recession, the pace had decelerated, and the 3.3-3.8 GDP goals for 2015 & 2016 were now "unrealistic". This in combo with the bleak Chinese data pushed crude down quickly both overseas and domestically. 

In related news, Shell announced today that they will be pulling out of Arctic drilling exploration in Alaska. This is primarily a result of the sustained drop in oil prices, and follows a growing trend industry-wide. Over half of American rigs have been decomissioned, and investment into new oil sands projects and new gulf drilling projects has dropped substantially.

Simply put, theres just too much oil out there now to invest huge sums of money into procuring even more of it.  

Wall Street took a beating today as well on Chinese data, the IMF remarks, and continued rumor milling over the timing of the Fed Rate hike. The president of the NY Fed suggested it could happen as soon as October, where others have speculated December was the likely target date. So once again, Fed talks and the resultant speculation, combined with some more "surprise" bleak economic data hammered stocks today - which is starting to seem like a standing headline at this point. 

Stay Tuned!


Read More

Topics: CRUDE, FED rates, economic data, stock market, IMF, brent, wti, china, fed

Fed Uncertainty and Major Layoffs Spook Wall Street  

Posted by Kelly Burke on Sep 24, 2015 3:18:26 PM

Stock market numbers

Stocks are getting pummeled today in anticipation of Fed Chair Janet Yellen's scheduled 5 o'clock speech on the economy and Fed policy re: rate hikes. (Deja vu anyone?). 

Today Caterpillar announced that they will be both revising sales projections down and cutting 10,000 jobs by the end of 2018. That announcement is really crushing stocks, because Caterpillar is seen as an indicator of strength or weakness in the industrial and manufacturing sectors given their size and dominance in the sphere of heavy equipment. To the traders on the Street, less demand for Caterpillar implies fewer large scale construction projects coming online, which is obviously not good news for the economy.

Their announcement is also not a good sign for diesel usage increases, either,  which we need in the face of oversupply and the resultant continually dropping prices. 

On the other hand  - first time jobless claims were up 3,000 to 267,000, not a bad job market indicator, and new home sales beat estimates, both of which are positive signs. 

Ironically, what some analysts are saying is that these positive indicators signal that we can withstand an increase - and the panicked selling off is essentially coming from a concern about why we did not see the Fed move forward with the anticipated rate hike last week. If the market looks like it can accept it, then not passing the rate hike essentially implies the Fed is concerned about economic strength despite positive signs, and this is apparently making traders very nervous. 

On the commodities side, the EIA report out Wednesday showed inventory draws of 1.9mmb on Crude, draws of 2.1mmb on distillates, and a build of 1.4mmb on gasoline. We actually saw drops at the close however, despite the inventory draws, with WTI settling at 44.48 for November (Brent at 47.82), ULSD for October delivery closed out at 1.5056 (-.0264) and RBOB was down (-.0348) to 1.3816. 

Today, the NYMEX was mixed throughout trading - up on diesel, down on gas, neither straying too far from the open. At the close, ULSD settled up (+.0181) to 1.5237, and gas settled out (-.0164) to 1.3652.

Expect another possible crazy day tommorow, depending on how the Fed Speech goes, and how traders and analysts interpet its likely short term implications. 

Stay tuned!

Read More

Topics: Jobless numbers, Wall Street, stock market, brent, wti, fed

Fed Holds Interest Rates, Oil Drops after Wednesday's Gains

Posted by Kelly Burke on Sep 18, 2015 3:14:46 PM

Line charts depicting the stock market scattered on a table

Oil prices continued to tumble early this week - that is until the Wednesday EIA report came out and spiked prices on Crude up 6%. The report showed that Crude stockpiles fell by 2.1mmbbls for the week ending September 11. Additionally, Distillate stocks dropped by 3mmbbl, and gasoline dropped 2.84mmb. That explains Wednesday, when we saw Crude jump up to settle at $47.15 (Tuesday's close was $44), ULSD jumped .0414 to $1.5414, and RBOB jumped .0492 to $1.3821 (it could have been worse - intraday highs were over 5 up on diesel and 6 up on gas!).

Today is trending down like yesterday, with ULSD down .0390 to $1.4907, and gas down .0198 to $1.3562. WTI closed out at $44.68.

The Federal Reserve announced late Thursday that it will not be increasing interest rates at this time, based on concern about global economic growth. This has pushed oil prices down, because global concern means we're unlikely to see a spike in demand that would ease concerns about the oil glut we've been dealing with. As you'd expect, there's been some demand/use increase because of the lower prices we've been seeing, however its simply not robust enough to really make a sizeable dent in the oversupply. 

The issue with the Fed's statement outside of the grim outlook is they are still suggesting a rate hike this year, probably December. That means we will probably see the same up and down volatility with stocks and oil prices as we have seen over the past few months while waiting for this now-passed deadline. 

Rig counts are down in the US again, according to Baker Hughes' report, which may stem some production, but again, not likely to be a huge mover one way or the other. Refineries will be going on scheduled maintainence soon which may lower Crude stockpiles for a while, we'll have to wait and see on what impact that has. Across the globe, OPEC is still maintaining they will not be stemming production, and Iran has stated they intend to come fully back online as soon as sanctions no longer suppress their output. 

On the political side - the House Committee on Energy voted this week to move a bill proposing the repeal of the Crude Export Ban to the floor for a vote. Obama is likely to threaten veto, and its unclear if it will even get through the Senate to force said veto, but it is a potential bright spot for US producers and refiners that the bipartisan bill is moving to the floor.

(If you want to brush up on some of the issues regarding the Crude Oil Export Ban, you can do so in these articles: "Is it Time to Overturn the Crude Export Ban?" and "Energy Security, Not Independence, Should be the Goal" )

Stay tuned!



Read More

Topics: US Crude Exports, FED holds interest rates, CRUDE, OPEC, EIA Inventories

Lackluster Jobs Data Crushes Stocks, Crude

Posted by Kelly Burke on Sep 4, 2015 12:19:25 PM

Stock market numbers on a digital display board

CRUDE, ULSD, and RBOB are all trending downwards today in tandem with the Stock Market, after a less-than-robust Jobs Report out this morning. The report showed that the US added 173,000 jobs in August, a relatively far cry from the 220,000 anticipated (hoped for?) by the markets and economists.

According to some analysts, since the official unemployment rate fell to 5.1%,  the report is seen as potentially strong enough to push the Fed into following through with a September rate hike which accelerated sell offs. According to others, lackluster global economic signals are pushing the selling. I find the second assertion is more likely, but either way, the market looks poised to drop 3% on the week.

The past few weeks have seen wild volatility on Crude as well as the Stock Market. As the Wall Street Journal pointed out today - the close Tuesday marked 4 straight days of commodities trading with swings of at least 6% up or down in a row. For example, Monday for October closed up +.1101 on ULSD, and +.1020 on RBOB, then Tuesday more than erased those gains, closing out -.1233 on ULSD and -.1035 on gas. 

With the production level battles still ongoing with OPEC between the so-called "Fragile Five" and the Saudi's which so far hasn't had any curbing impact on output, and a lack of any real bright spots in the global economy, it's more probable than not that we will continue to see serious volatility for the time being. 

Stay tuned!


Read More

Topics: Weak Jobs Report, CRUDE, OPEC, stock market, Jobs Report

Gains After Another Black Monday - Dead Cat Bounce or Rebound?

Posted by Kelly Burke on Aug 25, 2015 3:38:47 PM

Line charts depicting the stock market scattered on a table

Today we saw some reversals in the abject panic selloffs we saw Friday and especially Monday. (Click here to recap Friday)

First, lets recap Monday's insanity:

Monday saw WTI tumble another 5.5% to close out below $40 to $38.24 for October delivery. Brent fell in tandem, about 6% to settle out at $42.69 for October delivery. 

We saw stocks extend losses as well - shortly after Monday's open, the Dow was down an unprecedented 1,000 points, it ended up bouncing around and settling down 588 points on the day. Monday saw the S&P in full correction mode for the first time since 2011, as was the Nasdaq,  and it was the Dow's worst performing day since 2011 as well. 

What happened? Essentially everyone is in full on panic mode in terms of selling off. Panic over Chinese economic data gave us Friday's plummet, and then The Shanghai index was down 8.5% Monday which kept the selling right on going. 

This morning we're seeing some rebounding on stocks as well as commodities, after the Chinese made a surprise interest rate cut in an attempt to stem the bleeding. It's uncertain if this is really inspiring confidence in investors, or we're just seeing the infamous "dead cat bounce" that often accompanies several days of heavy losses. Time will tell. 

As of 3pm, the markets are all positive on the day - a trend unlikely to reverse before the close... but, perhaps not likely to continue through the week either. 

On the commodities side, Crude rebounded this morning somewhat, finally settling out in positive territory from yesterday at $39.31.

ULSD and RBOB have gone back and forth from positive to negative throughout the trading day, but at the close, diesel was essentially flat (+.0023) at $1.3952, and RBOB was down -.0324 to $1.4386.

Don't forget that the EIA Inventories come out in the morning as well, which could impact how the markets shake out tommorow. 

Stay Tuned!



Read More

Topics: CRUDE, stock market, brent, wti, china

Stocks Officially in Correction, Oil Trades Under $40

Posted by Kelly Burke on Aug 21, 2015 4:19:50 PM

Line charts depicting the stock market scattered on a table

WTI crashed below the $40 level this afternoon in trading, and clung right to the $40 line at the close, settling at $40.45. (ULSD was off -.0556 to $1.4624, and RBOB dropped -.0143 to $1.5449)

As discussed yesterday, domestic inventories going up pushed prices down towards $40. Today Baker Hughes announced more rigs going back online, for the fifth week in a row, which seems to be the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back.

Stocks haven’t taken the news easy, either. US stocks hit their lowest point in a year, on oil price panic and deepening fears about the Chinese economy. The Dow Jones was down over 450 points as of 3:30pm – and over 530 points at the close. The bad news is that makes it in official “correction” territory which could further more panic selling on Monday. The S&P was down over 2% this afternoon - which pales in comparison to the market in China which dropped over 4%. Long story short, everyone’s stock positions got hammered today.

Another factor of a quick price drop on oil like we’ve seen since last June that is rarely discussed is the impact on jobs. This is kind of another anvil hanging over the economy’s head that could drop if oil gets to a critical low price. According to The Guardian's reporting, close to a quarter million people globally have lost their oil and petroleum related jobs, including approximately 35,000 in the US. Shell announced this week that it would lay off 6500 employees worldwide. Then there’s the financial cost. Their article on this portion of the equation is fantastic and thorough, you can read it here: The Guardian

Earlier this month we saw Venezuela and others pushing for an OPEC meeting to discuss changing supply to offset the crushing blow to their economies that the continued low pricing has been having. Yesterday, according to Reuters and the Wall Street Journal, the Algerian Oil Minister sent a letter to OPEC arguing the price has dropped significantly since they agreed on production levels, and is pushing for another meeting to reassess. So far, Saudi Arabia et al have stood firm, but it may be that they are forced to reverse at some price level as-yet-undetermined.  (You can read about that letter and OPEC in depth here: WSJ )

Hopefully we have some better news tomorrow - but it doesn't look good out there, folks. 

Read More

Topics: OPEC, EIA Inventories, stock market, wti

Inventories & Iran Continue to Pummel Crude Prices

Posted by Kelly Burke on Aug 20, 2015 1:59:15 PM

Man grasping his head looking at computer screens

Oil prices are continuing their tumble - and it doesn't look likely they'll rebound in any significant way any time soon.

Wednesday's EIA Inventory Report showed a Crude build of 2.6mmb, bringing US Crude stockpiles to 456.2mmb. Analysts had forecast (hoped for?) a decline of 1.2-2.3mmb, depending on which group you looked at. 

Wednesday's trading saw WTI plunge 4% to below $41/bbl  - the lowest it's been in over 6 years. It settled out at $40.80 for September, and $41.27 for October. Brent lost 3.4% as well to settle at $47.16 for October.

$40 is a fairly significant benchmark, both psychologically and because it touches on production cost for some producers, which means it becomes essentially unprofitable to produce if oil goes any cheaper than $40. 

WTI may bounce some today as September trading closes out, but with refineries going offline in the fall for scheduled maintenance and no reason to think Crude stockpiles will suddenly plummet - it's likely that the decline will continue further. The only real question is what the bottom will be. 

Additionally, the pending Iran Nuclear deal if approved (which is essentially guaranteed) would lift sanctions in Iran, which would allow them to export more oil. They currently export around 1 million barrels per day from their 2.7 million barrel production. Reports say they are capable of about 4 million barrels of production, but its unclear how much of that they would be capable of exporting. 

Regardless, the EIA has revised its projection for oil prices throughout 2015. The new numbers put WTI at below $50 dollars ($49) for the remainder of the year, and only project WTI at $54 for 2016. EIA also cautioned that the numbers may be revised again, depending on Iran's ability to put new oil produced up for export. 

OPEC has maintained they will not be reducing supply regardless of the slide - it remains to be seen whether they reverse that stance if oil continues well below the $40, or even $30 dollar benchmarks as some think it may. 

Back to today- US stocks are getting crushed from fears about oil prices and the lack of foreseeable demand increases, the Chinese economy, and employment. The most recent jobs report showed an increase in unemployment claims - the fourth week in a row it both increased and beat estimates of how much it would increase. Unemployment ticking up, and the Fed signaling that the economy may not be strong enough to withstand an interest rate increase yet (according to their recent meeting notes) have for obvious reasons, not inspired confidence. 

Stay Tuned!

Read More

Topics: Iran, Iran Sanctions, CRUDE, OPEC, EIA Inventories, wti

#TBT - Crude Prices This Year vs. Last

Posted by Kelly Burke on Aug 13, 2015 12:20:29 PM

Downwards pointing arrow with the words BRENT, WTI and OIL

#TBT - It's hard to believe it but just about exactly a year ago, we were still looking at Crude oil that was dancing around the old $100 "new normal" benchmark.

Front month trading in August of last year  saw WTI for September at $96.07 (August 20th), with a 52 week high of $106.64 and a 52 week low of $89.09.

Yesterday front month Brent closed at $49.66 and WTI settled at $43.30.  The 52 week high for WTI as of today is $92.31, and the 52 week low is $42.07 - however, today's trading looks like it may break that low.

Trading in July for front month August was over $100/bbl. 

From June 2014 to December 2014, Crude dropped over 40% from its highs (and continued to slide in 2015). 

You can view the drop in interactive chart form by clicking here.

Where do you think the bottom is?


(Also, if you want a recap of some of the major events affecting pricing since the slide began, you can read up on them here:

Greece Nears Default, sends Commodity Prices Reeling - June 2015

Oil Slides on Economic Data - August 2015  )







Read More

Topics: CRUDE, brent, wti

Chinese Currency Devaluation Slams Stocks, Boosts Commodities

Posted by Kelly Burke on Aug 12, 2015 6:35:00 PM

Line charts depicting the stock market scattered on a table


Stocks got hammered on Tuesday when the Chinese yuan was devalued 1.9% by the Central Bank. In a move that clearly shocked the hell out of traders - today the market tanked again when the currency was devalued another percent. Twice in two days - literally no one saw that coming. 

The move is to boost exports - reporting showed Chinese exports dropped 8%, and devaluing the yuan puts Chinese exports at a price advantage which in theory will boost them. Industrial production in China fell 6% as well, and a ramp up of exports could help boost that number as well. 

On the commodities side, high drops in inventory were predicted on the EIA's Inventory Report this morning, which initially bumped up prices. However, while we saw draws, they weren't as deep as projected, causing some of the earlier-in-the-day spikes to be backed off of. Brent reversed earlier gains to essentially trade flat, and WTI backed quickly off intraday highs. 

On the report we saw draws of 1.7 mmb on Crude (forecast was 1.9mmb), Gasoline was down 1.3mmb (1.6 forecast), and ULSD showed a build of 3mmb (600k was forecast).

At the close, WTI settled out to 43.30,  ULSD closed up .0240 to 1.5869, and RBOB closed up .0698 to 1.7635

Read More

Topics: Chinese Currency, EIA Inventories, stock market

Oil Bounces Back Today, But Talking Heads Say "Not for Long"

Posted by Kelly Burke on Aug 10, 2015 3:39:01 PM

Line charts depicting the stock market scattered on a table

Friday saw oil futures tumble again to multi-month lows, with Brent settling at 48.61, and WTI at 43.87 for September. (ULSD closed out at 1.5436, and RBOB at 1.6230 ) on general concerns about the oil glut and dissapointing economic data from China. 

Today however, commodities jumped, presumably on high import data from China and further rumblings from the Fed about an interest hike in September. Brent was up 3% ish to slightly over the $50 benchmark (50.36 for September), and WTI closed up to $44.96. ULSD settled up .0485 to 1.5921 and gas was up .0710 to 1.6940.

However, the analysts and talking heads of the world are cautioning that a sustained rally is unlikely, given that the oil glut concern lingers. Also, part of why prices tumbled so sharply last week (down over 6%) is that more rigs have come back online in the US, which only indicates that high output and growing inventory conditions will continue for the foreseeable future. 

In a nutshell today is being essentially written off as an over optimistic jump off of Chinese import data, just another "dead cat bounce". We should see on Wednesday if they are correct when the inventory reports are released. 

Stay tuned!

Read More

Topics: Brent Crude, oil glut, chinese import levels

Recent Posts

Posts by Topic

see all