Dwindling OPEC Agreement Hopes Reverse Rally

Posted by Kelly Burke on Aug 30, 2016 4:00:34 PM

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August has been all over the place. Crude futures this month were up 23% in less than 3 weeks as of the 28th. We've bounced from an August 10th low of $41.71 to an August 19th a high of $48.52 -  and today we’re in the middle at $46.35.

So what’s going on?

Last week, optimism reigned. Longs were up and shorts were way down across the board on WTI, RBOB and U.S. ULSD. Citigroup and BOA/ML were saying the global glut is diminishing based on the narrowing Brent discount we were seeing. That was reflected in last week’s rally but we saw that rally reverse yesterday as hopes backed off on just how quickly we might see that supply glut fade.

So what caused the overabundance of hope in just how quickly the supply glut could fade?

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: OPEC countries are set to meet September 26-28th in Algiers for “informal talks” in which the Saudis are reportedly “prepared to listen” to the input of the other OPEC nations in regards to agreeing on output caps to curb global oversupply. This drove the market higher on hopes of an agreement propping up pricing longer term, but hopes on any such agreement coming to fruition have begun to drop off.

Déjà vu all over again.

If you recall, the last OPEC meeting had a similarly framed narrative and a similarly bullish impact on the markets a few weeks out from the meeting before falling off, as it became clear that the conference would fail to produce a deal. There was no agreement on output cuts last go around largely because of Saudi insistence that Iran be a full participant in agreeing to output limits, which the newly un-sanctioned Iran obviously refused to agree to.  Given the dynamic there has not changed substantially it’s hard to imagine that a meaningful deal is reached this time either.  

That seems to be the conclusion that traders reached as well just like leading up to the prior meeting. Today saw Crude close out at $46.35, down marginally from Monday’s close but over a dollar down from Friday’s $47.64. (ULSD and RBOB followed suit, dropping -.0151 and -.0186 respectively for August trading)

What’s becoming interesting about the other dynamics involved in the OPEC meetings is Russia realistically needs an agreement sooner rather than later. While they are not in Venezuela style meltdown yet, a huge portion of their revenue depends on oil and the ongoing standoff with the Saudis on over production for market share retention will presumably hit breaking point at some time, as both Russia and Saudi Arabia hemorrhage money.

Meanwhile, it looks like long term the supply situation may correct itself, and largely courtesy of the Russia/Saudi standoff, somewhat ironically. Bloomberg is reporting that oil discoveries have plummeted to lows not seen in over half a century as a result of ongoing price depression that has halted new discoveries by severely curbing investment in drilling and exploration. This is especially notable in the U.S. where exploration is at multi year lows after the crash in prices from 2014 highs.

So although this OPEC meeting is unlikely to produce an agreement to cut supply and stabilize pricing this time, in an odd twist of fate, ultimately the ongoing standoff may push long term pricing up over time regardless of OPEC input.

Stay tuned!

 

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Topics: OPEC, russia, WTI Crude, saudi arabia, oil glut

Crude Reverses Early Gains on Surprise Inventory Data

Posted by Kelly Burke on Oct 7, 2015 3:57:52 PM

Abstract image of an oil rig, cash and a calculator

Today once again started in positive territory, with Crude up almost 2% and refined products creeping higher, but we saw a quick reversal mid-morning when products dropped into the negative, where they would end up settling at the close. (Crude ended up settling down to $47.81, ULSD was down -.0319 to $1.5796 and Gas dropped -.0462 to $1.390)

What happened?

Early in the day products were up on the EIA announcement that they are projecting demand for Crude would hit its fastest pace in 6 years in 2016, even as US production is expected to decline.  This implied further easing of the so called oil glut, which could keep a stable pressure on prices going up, in theory.  

Additionally, API projected yesterday that Crude stockpiles would show a draw of 1.2mmb.

Consequently, WTI hit a brief intraday high of 49.71, just under the $50 psychological benchmark.

However, gains were pared quickly when the EIA Inventory Report showed a build in Crude stockpiles of 3.1mmb to 461mmb, higher than any analysts had predicted. That puts Crude and petroleum product stockpiles at a high of 1.3 billion barrels. So much for a slow-down of the oil glut, eh?

Another bearish signal is that thus far into hurricane season, we have not seen any major supply delays, or refinery damage/shut downs, which are usually cause for temporary price jumps this time of year.  There is also still the looming question about what happens to global pricing when Iranian exports come back online at full capacity.

Some analysts are cautioning that traders and speculators are taking the proposed Russia/Saudi Arabia meeting too seriously, in that they don’t see them coming together on any type of agreement on raising prices by cutting supply. That would seem to be supported by the recent Saudi price drop for exports. It’s also worth remembering that Russia and Saudi Arabia are diametrically opposed in terms of the war in Syria, which may not bode well for any sort of collaborative action.

Stay Tuned!

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Topics: CRUDE, Syria, russia, WTI Crude, EIA Inventories, saudi arabia, oil glut

NYMEX Spikes on Escalation in Yemen

Posted by Kelly Burke on Apr 23, 2015 3:04:00 PM

Soldiers on the back of a pickup truck  

(Photo Credit: Dmitry Chulov / Shutterstock.com)

Brent Crude jumped over a dollar at opening this morning, while on the NYMEX, gas and diesel were both up over 4 before 10am. By noon both products surged up well over 5 cents, and products across the board continued to surge upward throughout the day.

 At the close, ULSD settled out at 1.9239 (+.0531) and RBOB closed at 1.9956 (+.0711). WTI closed up 1.53 to 57.69.

So what's going on? 

The Saudi's resumed airstrikes on target cities in Yemen yesterday, one day after supposed peace talks. Saudi Arabia is again calling on the White House to propose a diplomatic solution to the conflict.

Long story short, the deal in Yemen is that Shiite Houthi rebels have overtaken the Presidential palace, and if they can successfully pull off a coup, there is a very real danger of serious supply disruptions.

About 4% of global oil supply passes through the Bab el-Mandeb strait, which is controlled by the central government in Yemen, according to the EIA.

Traders are closely watching the situation for any indication of a resolution or escalation because of the potential supply implications involved. 

Yemen also relies on exporting it's own oil resources, which have declined in volume significantly since 2001 as a result of internal fighting. Their economy relies on oil exports to the tune of 60% of their revenue give or take.

Essentially, not only would a rebel coup in Yemen spike oil prices on transport concerns, but would collapse the Yemeni economy and likely lead to repurcussions and fighting throughout the region. 

Stay tuned, and don't forget to fill your car up before the increase hits the pumps!

 

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Topics: NYMEX, saudi arabia, yemen

Job Reports, Inventories & International Issues Keep Volatility Going

Posted by Kelly Burke on Apr 3, 2015 1:27:07 PM

Line charts depicting the stock market scattered on a table

It's been a while, so while the markets closed today, lets take a quick look back at whats been happening (some "light reading for your Friday afternoon)

The economy -

After positive reports in February, the March jobless numbers released today were something of a dissapointment. Only 126K jobs were added, which broke a 12 month streak of 200K+ jobs per month being added. This raises some eyebrows on the state of the economic recovery but some analysts are blaming the extended winter, arguing that the normal pick up in seasonal and construction industry jobs is simply delayed because of the cold. 

This lackluster jobs number, however, will once again probably have Wall Street see-sawing over speculations on the Fed interest rates, its probably unlikely to happen soon (I know, deja vu) given the weakness of the report. With the market closed today though we won't see what if any impact this will have until next week.

Commodities and Pricing

This weeks EIA report for the week ending March 27th showed Crude Inventories at record highs for the 12th straight week (+4.8mmb to 471.4mmb). Gasoline dropped 4.3mmb, way over analyst predictions of a less than 1mmb drop. We've seen stronger than expected demand in gasoline, particularly in January and thats sort of underlying its volatility at the moment - if you recall, RBOB jumped .0612 Wednesday on the report, but then pared the gains on Thursday, closing out -.0699 to 1.7613.

The main underlyer on the volatility over the past few weeks is more politically driven - we saw jumps on the NYMEX when it was announced that Saudi Arabia had begun airstrikes on Yemen. Additionally, the Iranian nuclear deal has some traders and speculators on edge, and continuing issues with ISIS and the ongoing strikes against them are keeping Middle East tensions higher than we'd all like to see. Luckily for the most part, days we've seen spikes on international turmoil have usually been reversed with a few days. It's likely this will continue unless there's some real movement or resolution on any of the aforementioned issues. Til then, hold onto your hats and enjoy the ride!

 

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Topics: Iran, Jobless numbers, EIA Inventories, saudi arabia, yemen

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