The biggest names in the oil world come together this week for the largest industry gathering since the end of a two-year price war that pitted Middle East exporters against the firms that drove the shale energy revolution in the United States.
When OPEC in November joined with several non-OPEC producers to agree to a historic cut in output, the group called time on a fight for market share that drove oil prices to a 12-year low and many shale producers to the wall.
Oil prices are about 70 percent higher than they were the last time oil ministers and the chief executives of Big Oil met in Houston a year ago at CERAWeek, the largest annual industry meet in the Americas.
The ebullience as both sides enjoy higher revenues will be a welcome relief from the gloom of a year ago, near the depths of the price war.
“The oil market has been rebalancing and the powerful forces of supply and demand have been working,” said Dan Yergin, vice chairman of conference organizer IHS Markit and a Pulitzer Prize-winning oil historian.
The oil ministers of Iran and Qatar have suggested that OPEC’s production cut agreement may have to be extended beyond the June deadline, despite an almost 100-percent compliance rate.
The comments come a day after the American Petroleum Institute reported the second-largest crude oil inventory increase in history, at 14.227 million barrels, which added fuel to worries that production cut efforts are not enough to rebalance the market.
Press reports suggest that China’s central bank has ordered banks to limit new loans in Q1.
Fitch revised the outlook on Nigeria’s B+ rating from stable to negative.
Russia announced details of the FX purchase plan.
Brazil’s central bank confirmed it will simplify the reserve requirement system for banks.
S&P cut the outlook on Chile’s AA- rating from stable to negative.
Mexican announced another hike in fuel prices will take place on February 4.
Mexican President Pena Nieto canceled a planned meeting with President Trump as tensions flare
In the EM equity space as measured by MSCI, Mexico (+5.1%), Russia (+4.5%), and Poland (+4.0%) have outperformed this week, while UAE (-1.5%), Hungary (-0.1%), and South Africa (flat) have underperformed. To put this in better context, MSCI EM rose 2.2% this week while MSCI DM rose 1.1%.
In the EM local currency bond space, Colombia (10-year yield -17 bp), the Philippines (-16 bp), and Peru (-10 bp) have outperformed this week, while Poland (10-year yield +18 bp), South Africa (+13 bp), and Korea (+7 bp) have underperformed. To put this in better context, the 10-year UST yield rose 3 bp this week to 2.50%.
In the EM FX space, MXN (+2.7% vs. USD), CLP (+1.1% vs. USD), and ZAR (+0.9% vs. USD) have outperformed this week, while TRY (-2.7% vs. USD), HUF (-0.7% vs. EUR), and COP (-0.4% vs. USD) have underperformed.
Press reports suggest that China’s central bank has ordered banks to limit new loans in Q1. The PBOC reportedly emphasized its concern about mortgage lending. Reports also suggest that it may make some lenders pay more for deposit insurance. If reports are true, then we would expect the economy to slow as we move through 2017. For now, China is not one of the major market drivers but this news would clearly be negative for risk and EM.
U.S. stocks fell Monday as investors pored over the latest crop of company earnings and deal news. Energy companies were down the most as crude oil prices headed lower. Real estate stocks led the gainers. Traders also had their eye on the White House as President Donald Trump reaffirmed plans to slash regulations on businesses and tax foreign goods entering the country.
The Dow Jones industrial average dropped 27.40 points, or 0.1%, to close at 19,799.85. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index slid 6.11, or 0.3%, to 2265.20 and the Nasdaq composite index dipped 2.39, or less than 0.1%, to 5552.94.
At a White House meeting early Monday with business leaders, Trump repeated a campaign promise to cut regulations by at least 75%. He also said there would be advantages to companies that make their products in the U.S., suggesting he will impose a “substantial border tax” on foreign goods entering the country.
Energy stocks took a hit as oil prices fell. Benchmark U.S. crude was down 0.9% to $52.75 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, used to price international oils, was down 0.4% at $55.28 per barrel in London.
The 10-year Treasury yield dropped to 2.40% from 2.47% late Friday.
US oil production has turned a corner after a long period of weak petroleum prices, the government said, with volumes rising for the first time since early 2015.
The Energy Information Administration forecast that oil output from the US will increase 1.3 per cent to 9m barrels per day in 2017, abandoning an earlier prediction of a 0.9 per cent fall.
In the first forecast for 2018 in its monthly Short-Term Energy Outlook, the statistical agency said US crude production will rise another 3.3 per cent, or 300,000 b/d, to 9.3m b/d. Production hit bottom last September, EIA said.
“The general decline in US crude oil production that began almost two years ago is likely over, as higher average oil prices and improvements in drilling efficiency are giving a boost to output,” said Adam Sieminski, the EIA’s administrator.
In a special report by Barclays’ Michael Cohen, the analyst lays out what he believes are the 13 commodity “black swan threats” for the current year, divided into two “shock” categories: supply and demand, split evenly between bearish and bullish.
Investors, Barclays warns, will have to balance the risks of unforeseen macroeconomic shocks and their effect on demand (bearish price) with potential geopolitical shocks disrupting the supply side of the market (bullish price). A tightening commodity inventory picture, especially in oil, will likely exacerbate how the market prices supply risks even if no physical supply disruption occurs.
The potential threats, which range from a trade war with China, to a default in Venezuela, to riots in Chile, all have a common denominator: politics: “we assess several black swan threats to the supply, demand, and transit of commodities that could potentially move markets in 2017. Our analysis illustrates an important point: politics are likely to matter just as much as economics” and not just any politics: “in particular, the new politics of populism and protectionist trade policies have the potential to disrupt global supply and demand assumptions for various commodities.”
Those who have been following Trump’s twitter feed are all too aware of this.
While we realize the futility of “identifying” black swans in advance, something which is by definition impossible, nonetheless here is what Cohen warns:
In 2016, few people predicted a Trump election or Brexit, not to mention that the Chicago Cubs would win the World Series or that Leicester City would take the Premier League title. And commodities markets were not without their own set of surprises as well. OPEC cut production with non-OPEC countries for the first time in 10 years. Weather whipsawed natural gas, and Trump’s election inspired a late metals complex rally on the basis of hopes for new infrastructure spending. In fact, when all was said and done, 2016 was a pretty good year for commodities, with the asset class posting its first annual advance since 2010.
Commodity market black swan events come in many forms, and the market may take years or an instant to price them in. Technological innovation caused the US shale gas revolution, the Great Recession caused structural demand destruction, while geopolitical strife has disrupted commodity supplies overnight. We all know that markets will surprise in some fashion in 2017, so we attempt this review to shine a spotlight on the specific commodity market risks that clients should watch.
Where could the surprises come from: “Watch these spaces: China, Russia, the Middle East and Turkey are likely to surprise the commodity complex in 2017.”
Below is the summary list of the proposed “black swans”
Breaking down the list, Barclays says that generally “it sees risks skewed to the upside in 2017, based on several supply-side risks.”
Given the scenarios laid out below we view supply driven disruptions in 2017 as being more likely than demand side Black Swan events. Although commodity price disruptions may mean higher prices in the short-term there is a risk they result in lower medium-long-term prices. A supply disruption that results in a higher futures curve could result in the sanctioning of new projects or increased producer hedging activity, eventually putting downward pressure on prices in the long-dated contracts. There are, of course, supply-side risks that would be bearish for the market as well, such as higher production from Libya or the Neutral Zone.”
Demand events less likely but more structurally impactful. Given the relative liquidity in global commodity markets we see supply related outages being shorter in duration compared to potential demand side risks. We see demand side events, such as those driven by economic weakness, as less likely but events that would have a longer term structural impact on commodity prices to the downside.
As noted above, the two big categories laid out by Barclays are as follows:
After suffering two record budgets shortfalls in 2015 and 2016 as a result of plunging oil prices, and which nearly brought both Saudi Arabia’s economy and banking sector to a standstill, not to mention billions in unpaid state worker wages at least until generous foreign investors funded the Kingdom’s imminent cash needs with its first, and massive, bond sale ever, today Saudi Arabia released it budget outlook for the next year.
And while the Saudis believe the country’s budget deficit will fall modestly next year even with an increase in spending, it is still set to be a painful 8% of GDP suggesting the Saudi cash burn will continue even with some generous oil price assumptions.
The budget deficit for 2017 is expected decline 33% to 198 billion riyals ($237 billion), or 7.7% of GDP, from 297 billion riyals or 11.5% of GDP in 2016 year and 362 billion riyals in 2015, the Finance Ministry said in a statement on its website on Thursday. In 2016, the finance ministry said its spending of 825 billion riyals ($220 billion) was under the budgeted 840 billion, and the 2016 budget deficit came to 297 billion, below the 362 billion in 2015.
Opec still does not expect the oil market to move back into balance until the second half of next year, despite agreeing a global supply pact with Russia and other countries to cut output.
In its monthly outlook, the 13-member cartel pegged demand for its crude at 32.6m b/d next year – just 100,000 b/d above the group’s new output target of 32.5m b/d – and said the further supply cuts agreed with non-Opec members would contribute to mopping up excess supplies, but only slowly
“Combined with the joint cooperation with a number of non-Opec countries in adjusting production by around 600,000 b/d [this] will accelerate the reduction of global inventories and bring forward the rebalancing of the oil market to the second half of 2017,” Opec said.
The cartel’s view of the market is more conservative than some other forecasters. On Tuesday the International Energy Agency said it now expects the oil market to start moving into balance in the first half of next year.
Stocks closed mixed Monday as the Dow hit a new all-time high and as oil prices jumped after several non-OPEC countries agreed to join the cartel in cutting output and as investors focused on interest rates. The S&P 500 and Nasdaq snapped 6-day winning streaks and retreated from record highs.
Investors were also focusing on interest rates as Federal Reserve policymakers meet this week and most economists expect the Fed to announce a rate hike at the conclusion of the 2-day meeting on Wednesday.
The Dow Jones industrial average rose 39.58 points, or 0.2%, to a record close of 19,796.43, according to preliminary calculations. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index fell 0.1% to 2256.96, after rising in early trading to set a new intraday record. The Nasdaq composite index dropped fell 0.6% to 5412.54.
Energy stocks got a boost as the price of U.S. benchmark crude oil jumped 2.6% to $52.83 a barrel as oil-producing countries outside of OPEC agreed to reduce production by 558,000 barrels per day. That comes after OPEC countries agreed in November to reduce production by 1.2 million barrels per day.
On Wednesday, OPEC agreed for the first time since 2008 to impose an oil production ceiling totaling 32.5 million barrels per day in an effort to stabilize the global oil market. Non-OPEC countries that expressed a desire to participate in the agreement, including Russia, are expected to curtail oil production by a total of 600,000 barrels daily.
“History of such OPEC operations that have been conducted in the market three times on a large scale shows that oil prices grow by 50 percent. Therefore, with a high percent of certainty I can say that during the next year the price of $60 will be a dominating price,” Fedun said presenting LUKoil’s analysis of the oil industry’s future. Iran, Iraq to Drive Conventional Oil Production Increase Inside OPEC by 2030 Iran and Iraq will be the driving force inside the OPEC group of oil producers behind the anticipated rise in conventional oil production in the years to come, the vice president said. “The main sources of increase in conventional oil production among OPEC states by 2030 will be Iran and Iraq,” Fedun said. Iran returned to the global oil market in early 2016 after the negotiating an agreement on nuclear program curbs. Iraq’s oil production has been hampered by the rise of Islamists in 2014, but the oil-rich nation has since reclaimed large swaths of land with air support from an international coalition.