This morning Brent Crude dropped under $50 for the first time in 6 months, and WTI fell below $45/bbl to within $2 of a 6 year low. Shortly after noon, the NYMEX showed ULSD down .0452 cents, and gas down almost 9 (-.0882).
What's going on?
Lackluster economic data out of both China and the US seems to indicate that overall oil demand is unlikely to spike to levels able to compensate for the immense glut of oil we're seeing now. As we've discussed, OPEC and others have kept production at record levels to both retain market share, and attempt to slow production (and therefore competition for market share) by higher cost-of-production nations, most notably, the U.S.
Domestically, S&P Energy stocks dragged that index down in response to falling oil prices. US stock indexes trended downward today across the board on other non-thrilling economic data as well as some major single stock tumbles (Apple, Tyson, Lowe's, etc).Overall data showed consumer spending gains were anemic, labor costs increased, and now we all wait with baited breath for the jobs report due out on Friday.
Across the pond, the Greek stock market re-opened today and promptly tumbled almost 30%, essentially reigniting concerns about the stability of the Eurozone and the odds that the Greek debt deals in their current iterations will solve the ongoing debt crisis. (They ended up rebounding to cap out about a 16% loss on the day)
The data from China this morning was arguably the main catalyst for the drop today, as all eyes were focused on their manufacturing reporting to show a gain, but it instead showed a major slow down. Chinese economic growth had been essentially the last hope for demand ramping up and stemming the price sliding. Traders and Investors have been looking for signs to confirm their hopes of a positive second half of the year in terms of growth, and today's data essentially put those hopes to rest.
At the close, September ULSD dropped -.0584 to 1.5305, RBOB dropped -.0975 to 1.6745. WTI closed out at $45.17. Last prints for Brent are 49.54-50.17 range.