Saudi Arabia’s oil minister said that the supply cuts agreed by Opec and non-Opec countries at the end of last year may not need to be extended beyond June, as rising demand and strong compliance should have pushed the market towards balance by then.
Khalid al Falih, speaking at an industry event in Abu Dhabi, struck a bullish pose saying the cuts, which began on January 1, would have their “full impact by the first half” of 2017.
“We don’t think it’s necessary given the level of compliance…and given the expectations of demand,” Reuters reported.
“Based on my judgement today it’s unlikely that we will need to continue (the agreement) – demand will pick up in the summer and we want to make sure that the market is supplied well. We don’t want to create a shortage or squeeze.”
He added, however, that the group could still extend the six-month deal “if there was a need”.
Brent crude, the international oil benchmark, was up 38 cents at $55.83 a barrel by 10am London time while US benchmark West Texas Intermediate gained 32 cents to $52.69 a barrel.
Stocks dipped Thursday but finished off early, sharp lows, giving back gains from the day before.
The Nasdaq composite, off 0.3%, snapped a seven-day winning streak and posted its first loss of 2017.
Losing as much as 180 points earlier, the Dow settled for a 63-point loss, 0.3% lower, to 19,891 even. The S&P 500 slipped 0.2%.
Financial, industrial and technology stocks were down the most, while phone company and real estate stocks edged higher. Investors were turning their focus to the next wave of corporate earnings reports in the weeks ahead.
Banks and other financial companies were down as the yield on the 10-year Treasury note fell. Lower yields mean lower interest rates on loans and lower profits for banks. The yield on the 10-year Treasury slipped to 2.35% from 2.37% late Wednesday.
Benchmark crude oil finished up 76 cents, or 1.5%, to $53.01 a barrel in New York.
In Europe, Germany’s DAX ended down 1.1%, while France’s CAC 40 lost 0.5% despite new data showing eurozone industrial production jumped 1.5% in November. Britain’s FTSE 100 ended flat. In Asia, Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 dropped 1.2%. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng dipped 0.5%, while Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 slipped 0.1%. South Korea’s Kospi bucked the trend to rise 0.6%.
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.
In November, OPEC agreed to cut oil production by 1.2 million barrels per day to 32.5 million barrels per day for the whole cartel from next year.
“Intergovernmental agreements will be fully implemented, since cuts are slight and companies will be able to compensate via other activities,” Novak told journalists. Russian Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich added that the deal would not affect oil supplies on the domestic market and stressed that companies would supply as much oil as was demanded, without any substantial rise in prices. On December 10, OPEC finished a meeting with non-OPEC countries in Vienna, at which non-OPEC countries decided to cut oil output by 558,000 barrels per day, with Russia cutting the output by 300,000 barrels per day from January 2017.
The global oil market will move into deficit as soon as the first half of 2017 if Opec and countries outside the cartel successfully execute the global supply pact agreed in recent days.
The International Energy Agency, the Paris-based global energy advisory body, said in its monthly report that the planned output cuts could lead to demand outstripping supply by as much as 600,000 barrels a day.
“If Opec promptly and fully sticks to its production target, assessed at 32.7m b/d, and non-OPEC producers deliver the agreed cuts of 558,000 b/d outlined on 10 December, then the market is likely to move into deficit in the first half of 2017 by an estimated 0.6 mb/d.”
The IEA’s closely watched monthly report is the first major assessment of the oil market’s supply demand balance since Opec first agreed to reduce production on November 30.
Previously the agency had forecast the oil market would not move into deficit until the second half of 2017 at the earliest, with the prospect of the market remaining in surplus for a fourth straight year.
With oil prices surging to 17-month highs following this weekend’s OPEC-NOPEC deal and Saudi promises to cut still more, many Wall Street analysts are skpetical with Goldman Sachs warning that the Saudis are wrong to think U.S. shale production won’t respond to higher prices. However, Nomura and Bernstein see little threat to OPEC from rising U.S. shale production in 2017.
As The Saudis enabled yet another major short-squeeze… (Money managers slashed short bets on lower West Texas Intermediate crude prices by the most in five years after OPEC’s Nov. 30 accord to reduce supply.)
Oil prices surged to their highest level since July 2015 on Monday raising concerns about inflation and helped push the US 10-year Treasury yield above the 2.5 per cent mark.
The yield on the US 10-year, which moves inversely to price, climbed above 2.5 per cent for the first time in two years to 2.5005 per cent.
“The bearishness in the bond market is even more acute than the bullishness on equities,” David Rosenberg at Gluskin Sheff, said.
He added: “A wall of money is exiting the bond market into the stock market — bond fund outflows in the past five weeks are at the highest in three-and-a-half years.”
Alongside energy prices, Peter Tchir at Brean Capital also said the weakness in Japan “is concerning to global bond investors”. He noted the Bank of Japan had pledge in September to keep the 10-year yield on the Japanese government bond at or below zero per cent. Instead, the JGB is now at nearly 0.8 per cent. That “might be an indication of Central Banks losing their ability or willingness to suppress interest rates,” he said.
Despite the run up in oil prices, the S&P 500 was down 0.1 per cent to 2,257.67, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average was flat at 19,760.14 — less than 300 points shy of breaching the 20,000 level. The Nasdaq Composite was down 0.5 per cent to 5,420.70.
Investors appear to be pausing for breathe following the sharp run up in stocks in recent weeks.