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.
Fitch Ratings-Moscow/London-01 December 2016: OPEC’s agreement to cut production by 1.2 million barrels of oil per day, and the potential agreement to cut with non-OPEC countries, should help accelerate market re-balancing and increases the chances of more rapid oil price recovery than previously expected, says Fitch Ratings. But implementation risks remain, including OPEC’s adherence to the agreement and the willingness of other participants, notably Russia, to co-operate fully. These issues and US oil production dynamics will be key drivers of the oil price direction in the medium term.
On Wednesday OPEC agreed to curtail its oil supply, the first cut in nearly eight years. The decision to cut is the first significant intervention to support price since 2008 and is likely to result in a much quicker market re-balancing, which may be further accelerated by the agreement with non-OPEC participants. Russia has already publicly indicated it is ready to cut production in the first half of 2017 by up to 300 thousand barrels of oil per day (mbpd), although it is not completely clear from which level production will be cut. OPEC says that non-OPEC producers have agreed to cut output by 600 mbpd, which would mean a total cut of 1.8 mmbpd, almost 2% of global output.
The OPEC commitment alone could end market oversupply, and should result in a gradual decrease in OECD oil stocks throughout 2017. Using IEA forecasts as an input, we estimate that crude consumption may exceed production by around 400mbpd in 1Q17 and 1,300mbpd in 4Q17 if the deal is extended and the new OPEC quotas are respected; the difference may be even higher if non-OPEC members join the deal. Without the deal, stocks, which we estimate to be around 300 million barrels above their five-year average, would more likely remain flat.
With less than a week to go until the much anticipated OPEC meeting in Vienna on November 30, the oil exporting cartel still seems unable to determine the terms of production cut quotas, who will be exempt from cutting, and even who will participate. According to Reuters, in the latest twist to emerge, as OPEC tries to find the sweet spot for production that reduces the oversupply of crude, the organization will ask non-OPEC oil producers to also make big cuts in output, as it seeks to share the burden of declining output and prevent market share gains by non-OPEC nations.
The oil minister of Azerbaijan was quoted as saying the cartel may want non-OPEC producers to cut output by as much as 880,000 barrels per day (bpd). “It could be expected that OPEC members may ask non-OPEC countries to cut production volumes for the next six months starting from Jan. 1 2017 … by 880,000 barrels from the total daily production,” Azeri newspaper Respublika quoted the country’s oil minister, Natig Aliyev, as saying.
Reuters countered that according to an OPEC source the group had yet to decide on the final figures to be discussed on Nov. 28, when OPEC and non-OPEC experts meet in Vienna. As previously reported, OPEC is expected to discuss production cuts of 4.0-4.5% among its members at the Vienna meeting to comply with the roughly 1.2mmbpd reduction as set forth in the Algiers meeting which expects total OPEC output of 32.5-33.0mmbpd, but Iran and Iraq still have reservations about how much they want to contribute.
A cut of 80,000 bpd would represent less than 2% of current total non-OPEC output.
While the market has taken the latest round of “optimistic” jawboning by OPEC members in stride, sending crude higher by 4% ahead of next week’s OPEC meeting in Vienna where the terms of the OPEC production cut are expected to be finalized, the reality is that a favorable outcome may be problematic.
As Bloomberg’s Julian Lee explained overnight, “OPEC says it’s close to a deal to cut oil output for the first time since 2008, a move that may halt a 2 1/2-year price slump. The actions of individual member states tell a different story. The simple math supporting cuts looked solid at OPEC’s meetings in June and December. Prices then were way below most members’ fiscal break-even points. An output cut now of 1.5 million barrels a day, or 5 percent, would need to boost the oil price by only $2.50 a barrel for OPEC nations collectively to be better off. A $5 price increase would boost the value of what they pump by about $100 million a day.”
There are various nuances as to why a deal, one in which Saudi Arabia would bear the brunt of total production cuts, but as Lee notes, while OPEC Secretary-General Mohammed Barkindo has been touring member nations to shore up support for an agreement before the Nov. 30 meeting, culminating with a trip to Doha for talks last week, “the meeting didn’t resolve much. It certainly didn’t tackle any of the thorniest questions that OPEC must still overcome if coordinated measures are to happen.”
“The road from the OPEC agreement in Algiers to the next official OPEC meeting in Vienna is long and bumpy,” said Harry Tchilinguirian, head of commodities strategy at BNP Paribas SA in London.