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!

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

Oil Slides on Economic Data, Dragging Stocks Along for the Ride

Posted by Kelly Burke on Aug 3, 2015 3:02:00 PM

Man grasping his head looking at computer screens

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. 

Stay Tuned!

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Topics: Greece, Brent Crude, OPEC, NYMEX, Chinese Industrial Output, wti

Saudi's to Stay the Course Despite New Leadership

Posted by Kelly Burke on Jan 23, 2015 3:20:30 PM

Line charts depicting the stock market scattered on a table

Quick note on the news this week - King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia died yesterday, temporarily rattling the markets. 

We discussed before that the Saudi stance on keeping OPEC hitting its production targets was a major factor in the continuing downward trends in the markets. Brent Crude shot up temporarily on the news - up about 2%,  but came off highs as the day progressed. 

The new ruler, King Saldman stated there would be no change to what he called the "correct policies" on oil the country has stood by even in the face of the 60% drop in prices. Additionally, the oil minister under Abdullah will keep his position in the new regime, which further implies that Saudi Arabia will stay the current course, and served to calm traders back down as the trading day wore on. 

On this side of the pond, today we saw ULSD close out +.0088 to 1.6467, and RBOB closed up .0053 to 1.3479. 

 

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Topics: OPEC, Saudi Oil Minister

Wild Week on Wall Street & The NYMEX; Everything Keeps on Tumbling!

Posted by Kelly Burke on Dec 10, 2014 5:43:25 PM

Stock market numbers on a digital board

Today was another wild day on the market, with ULSD closing down another .0376 to 2.0464, and RBOB closing out down a whopping .0818 to 1.6418. Analysts are crediting this with an "unexpected" increase in Crude stockpiles. WTI fell -2.60/bbl to 60.94, well below the previous 5 year low.

Monday was down as well, closing out -.0529 on ULSD and -.0668 on RBOB gasoline.

We saw a small jump up yesterday (ULSD +.0291 and RBOB +.0170) - likely just a bump-in-the-road overcorrection to stocks tanking on some bad news from Greece and China. This week saw Greek markets tank worse than they did before the crash a few years ago - obviously not good news for the European economy. 

OPEC also became a factor again with Iran railing against falling oil prices as a "conspiracy" and OPEC cutting its output estimate for 2015 to 2.89 million barrels per day, 300K lower than they originally forecast. However, despite the announcement Crude keeps right on plummeting. 

Wall Street Traders have been shouting about the Dow's inevitable march to 18,000, but today saw it close down for the third day in a row. Continuing pressure on stocks given that Fed rate hikes look like they may happen within the 6 month period doesnt bode well for the 18K mark, especially when you factor the weakness in foreign markets into the equation.

The S&P slumped on energy stocks as well, as some companies came out with plans to move on layoffs, restructuring, or selling shale plays. Despite a few plays going up for sale though, production domestically doesnt seem to be slowing down. However, a slow down in production in countries that have a high production cost is probably inevitable if the price hits a certain level - that includes the US and Venezuela. 

So it was a tough week for Wall Street, but the bright spot was for the average consumers as downward pressure keeps pushing down the price of gasoline. The Energy Department dropped its price forecast for retail gasoline to for next year at this time to $2.60/gallon, the second time its been revised down by over 30 cents a gallon since oil began its slide. Another bright spot domestically was an unexpectedly good jobs report on Friday, which is a good signal for the overall economy. 

 

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Topics: Greece, RBOB tumbles, OPEC, NYMEX, Wall Street

Commodities Rally after Record Drops, up 3% on Crude

Posted by Kelly Anderson on Dec 1, 2014 2:57:56 PM

Stock market numbers on a digital board

After the mulityear lows hit last week, oil started to rally today.

We're still lower than prior to the OPEC production announcement, but today saw ULSD up +.0512 to 2.2124 at the close, and Gas rallied up +.0534 to 1.881 at the close. WTI Crude closed up 2.99 to 69.00/bbl

Analysts are hopeful for an equilbrium price level between $70 and $75 so we're at least much more comfortably close to maintainence levels than we were on Friday. However, even at $70, shale production isnt terribly profitable, so on that side it wouldnt be the greatest benchmark. However, on the consumer level $60 sounds better than $70/bbl when you fill up your car. 

(And yes, the analysts are hoping for $70 while panicking about $40. C'est la vie, right?)

So why did we go up? 

The dollar weakened some, which almost always gives commodities a little bump. 

Most likely though, its just a pull back from an overreaction in selling off on Friday. 

Time will tell. The next few market days should be interesting to watch, especially with the inventory numbers out Wednesday. 

Stay Tuned!

 

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Topics: Commodities, Dollar falls, OPEC, WTI Crude, ulsd

Double Black Friday - Commodities & Spending Both Dropped Off

Posted by Kelly Burke on Dec 1, 2014 11:44:34 AM

Black Friday overlaid on dollars

A doubly "Black Friday" this year as OPECs decision resulted in a commodities free fall. The second part is that it was hoped that the relief consumers have been getting at the pump since the summer would have helped boost retail sales for the season. As the numbers are coming in though, it's not looking good.

Despite the mayhem in shopping centers we've all seen on YouTube, it looks like Black Friday spending was down 0.5% or so this year over last (bad news, as last year was not a stellar one). 

Today is cyber monday - but dont look to that for relief and an influx of money to retailers either - analysts project that Cyber Monday sales will be off around 3% this year over last. 

The NYMEX was down this morning but has rallied into positive territory again, but who knows for how long. 

Analysts across the board are now pegging the new "floor" price to be around $40/bbl, with Murray Edwards, the Canadian Natural Resources Chairman saying WTI could drop to $30, although he does not expect thats where it would stabilize for very long. (As reported in Business Insider this morning).

Why so low? 

Well, the global picture is still lackluster, to put it as kindly as possible. Japan is back into a recession, and Moody's downgraded their credit rating. Chinese economic growth is still in the toilet, which puts their demand level in the same place.

It appears the move by OPEC to keep prices falling to maintain market share is working, US exports to Asia have essentially screeched to a halt as low Middle East prices become more attractive to the Asian markets. 

It's not all doom and gloom from the analysts though, Goldman Sachs maintains its $75/bbl forecasted price for WTI for 2015, maintaining the assumption that the OPEC move is to slow US production by reducing profitability and "test the bottom" as it were. However, once they get a feeling for the level they may want prices to start going up again, as so many OPEC nations economies rely on oil generated revenue. Its probably likely Russia enters the debate soon as falling oil revenue is tanking the Ruble and their general economy is really feeling the pinch. 

Stay tuned!

 

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Topics: Commodities, US Energy Boom, OPEC, russia, WTI Crude, consumer spending

OPEC Decision Puts NYMEX into Free Fall - Gas Closes Under $2!

Posted by Kelly Burke on Nov 28, 2014 2:57:54 PM

OPEC nation flags in a circle around an oil rig

The market is tanking across the board (and dragging the S&P with it) on the results of the OPEC meeting for November on Wednesday. The meeting officially cemented the long suspected decision by the cartel to keep oil production and output at current levels, despite the crashing prices and global glut of Crude oil. 

Saudi Arabia determined production would remain at current levels - as the largest producer in the group, they essentially set the policy. Several smaller members reportedly wanted to curb supply to raise prices, largely because a huge part of their country's economy runs off of the money generated from oil sales. 

Today we're just watching product prices tank across the board, Crude is below 70 for the first time in almost 5 years. Today's trading alone saw a 9% decline in price. Yowza.

Crude closed out the day at 66.15, -7.54/bbl.

ULSD closed out -.1657 to 2.2308 for December and -.1679 to 2.1612 for January (this was the last day for DEC trading)

Gas closed off -.1312 to 1.9039 for December trading and -.1843 to 1.8276 for January. Under 2 dollars on the screen?! Its been quite some time since thats been the case!

There could be some interesting geopolitical and other ramifications from the record drops on commodities. Countries like Russia who base a lot of their economy on projected oil revenue are really feeling the decline, and we will have to see how long their economies can withstand the steep drop in renevue. 

Domestically, the resultant falling gas prices are a positive for consumers obviously. They can also be a huge relief to construction, manufacturing, and transportation companies, as well as general retailers.

Its said that every ten cent drop in the price of gasoline unlocks 3 billion dollars to be spent elsewhere. (According to Wells Fargo). We may get a quick confirmation or refutation of that theory when the numbers start rolling in on the prime shopping season that kicked off today with the infamous "Black Friday", the Superbowl of shopping. 

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Topics: CRUDE, OPEC, NYMEX

Election Day Free Fall for WTI, Stocks

Posted by Kelly Burke on Nov 4, 2014 11:31:54 AM

Line charts depicting the stock market scattered on a table

Everything is dropping across the board today - WTI is maintaining itself under the $80 benchmark (currently -1.76 at 78.78/bbl), Gas and ULSD are both down over 5 this morning on the NYMEX and the Dow and Nasdaq are both following suit into the red. 

So whats going on?

The reason the dropoff has escalated today in particular is likely due to the Saudi announcement that they will discount Crude imported to the US, which has really ramped up the economic pressure on fracking companies.

It appears the Saudi price pressures are starting to take effect on American production, with Chevron and Shell both announcing scale backs in popular shale plays and exploration proposals.

The estimated cost per barrel extraction in the US is around $60, which is about double the production cost for the Saudis. So when WTI is getting toward the mid 70's/bbl the profitability starts to drop off, and quickly. 

Additionally, the trade deficit is at a 4 year high, as global growth remains at a crawl, further dropping demand and therefore prices in the face of ever increasing supply. Slow global growth demand plus a strong dollar put a damper on exports. Additionally, construction spending fell in September, so the economic outlook for Q4 aint looking so good, and seems to be bringing the bears out across the board.

Stay tuned!

 

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Topics: Fracking, OPEC, WTI Crude, stock market

Goldman Sachs Cuts Price Forecast for Oil: Projects $75/bbl Benchmark

Posted by Kelly Burke on Oct 27, 2014 4:38:05 PM

Line charts depicting the stock market scattered on a table

Goldman Sachs has revised its projected oil prices for 2015 to $75/bbl for WTI and $85/bbl for Brent Crude, in response to ramped up supplies and slow projected global economic growth. 

Production from the US, Brazil, and the Gulf is projected to increase almost 1 million bpd, combined, and OPEC production is assumed to remain more or less stable - with gains in Iraqi production and drops in Libyan output essentially cancelling one another out. 

Like wev'e talked about, OPEC may curb production to offset the decline at some point, and analysts seem to think 75 may be the price point at which US shale production slows and spurs OPEC to drop production. Its unlikely they will make major moves until US production shows signs of slowing against low margins, or thats the prevailing theory, anyway. 

Oil was down today on that and other ho-hum economic news, and stocks fell in tandem. Europe settled 2.2 billion in bond purchases today in a preventative move against deflation, and the re-election of Brazilian President Rouseff reversed the hope some had that the country would move in a more positive, business-friendly direction. 

On the NYMEX, ULSD closed off -.0066 and gas settled out at 2.11702, down -.0115 for the day. 

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Topics: Goldman Sachs, Brent Crude, OPEC, WTI Crude, stock market, shale

OPEC Chatter Drives up BRENT, Friday Trading Reverses CRUDE Rally

Posted by Kelly Burke on Oct 24, 2014 1:52:54 PM

Line charts depicting the stock market scattered on a table

Thursday saw prices tick up after it was reported that the Saudi's output dropped from 9.69 million barrels to 9.36 million barrels. There has been some chatter and concern around the scheduled OPEC meeting in November. The concern being that OPEC will push curbing supply to stop the price declines we've seen in recent months. Brent Crude was up 3% on the news, the highest its been in 4 months.

However, despite the OPEC chatter, the Saudi's have said they will keep output at scheduled high levels even with lower pricing to maintain market share. Additionally, reportedly only a small number of members have suggested supply curbing.

US Inventories surged on this weeks EIA report as well, up 7.1 million barrels to a little over 377 million barrels, which was about twice what analysts predicted, and hopefully helps to calm some of the potentially unfounded fear of OPEC that's pushing volatility. 

If we look back, the 20% drop in crude pricing we've seen over the past several months have been directly related to an abundance of supply, and with US oil production surging ahead, and the Saudi's not indicating they will initiate any sort of hold back to drive prices up, the situation remains the same and the volatility should back off. However, it's possible that some roller coastering will remain until after the meeting, when its officially settled whether or not we have to worry about supply curbing. 

The market seems to concur today, though, with both Brent and WTI trending back downwards.

ULSD & RBOB are trending down on the NYMEX today as well, down about a penny and a half on both at the moment. Both products closed up significantly yesterday - ULSD +.0256 to 2.499 and gas up +.0513 to 2.2069, which effectively cancelled out Wednesdays drops of .0398 and .0578, for those keeping score at home.

 

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Topics: Brent Crude, CRUDE, RBOB, OPEC, WTI Crude, EIA Inventories, ulsd

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