Last week, ahead of the OPEC meeting, BofA commodity analyst Francisco Blanch said the oil cartel faced three specific choices ahead of its May 25 meeting in Vienna, when it is widely expected to extend the November 2016 production cut:
First, OPEC could cut production beyond the 1.2mn b/d agreed in December and encourage non-OPEC members to deepen the cuts.
Second, OPEC could increase output aggressively and restart the oil price war.
And third, OPEC could keep the cuts at the current levels for the next 6 to 9 months and hope for oil market demand conditions to improve.
BofA also presented the following table adding the proposed likelihoods of any given choice of action, of which a simple deal extension had the highest probability of taking place.
Despite the rise in US shale oil production, the expected extension of the OPEC oil extraction caps will provide a moderate support to global oil prices in the near-term, with boom or bust scenarios almost ruled out as the global energy market balances gradually.
Kristian Rouz – OPEC member-states and other oil-producing nations are meeting on May 25 to discuss, among other things, the extension and deepening of oil extraction caps in order to support crude prices and ease the supply-side glut issue.
An oversupply of oil has been affecting the global oil producers since the second half of 2014, when US shale production skyrocketed, proving disruptive to the existing structure of global oil trading.
Even though, according to the Saudi Energy Minister Khalid Al-Falih, all oil producers have agreed to extend oil caps by nine months, also possibly decreasing the current levels of extraction, global oil prices are not expected to post a significant rally in the near-term. The main reason is that the OPEC and non-OPEC oil cuts might be effectively offset by an increase in US shale oil production.
Last year, the US lifted a 40-year oil export embargo, and this February, the US shipped record-high volumes of crude overseas. While OPEC oil cuts have resulted in a decrease in the global market share occupied by members of the energy cartel (most notably Saudi Arabia), US oil started to fill this niche.
We’ve had a good two-way crude oil market since the first of the year which has helped hold crude oil in a relatively narrow range as aggressive traders continue to play the long side, in anticipation of a balance between supply and demand.
This year began with an oversupplied crude oil market, but with a bullish tone set by OPEC when they decided to start reducing output in an effort to trim supply and stabilize prices. On paper, the idea seemed bullish. What they didn’t expect, however, was the surge in U.S. production that skewed their forecasts and timetables for global supply and demand to reach a balance.
For nearly six months, traders have been pelted with stories nearly every day telling them about OPEC supply cuts and increased U.S. production. The stories seem to have neutralized the markets to a point where crude oil prices have become range bound.
In order for a market to become range bound, some major market player has to be selling enough crude oil to stop a rally and some major market player has to be buying enough crude oil to stop the decline.
However, inside the trading range we’ve seen several pockets of volatility and these moves can only be blamed on the speculators and namely, the hedge funds.
If you’ve traded speculative markets, I’m sure you’ve noticed that markets come down faster than they go up. Essentially, this is because speculative buyers tend to be very careful about where they buy or enter the market, but when it’s time to sell, they don’t care what they pay to get out.
In the clearest indication yet that OPEC jawboning no longer has an effect on markets, and especially headline scanning algos, following numerous headlines from Saudi energy minister Khlaid Al-Falih overnight warning that the oil rebalancing is imminent, and in case it isn’t, it will come in 2018 when OPEC and Non-OPEC producers may extend their production cuts, this morning oil is firmly hugging the flatline after a failed attempt to push higher earlier in the session.
As Bloomberg reports, Saudi Arabia and Russia signaled they may extend production cuts into 2018, doubling down on an effort to eliminate a supply surplus as oil prices continue to drop.
In separate statements just hours apart on Monday, the world’s largest crude producers said publicly for the first time they would consider prolonging their output reductions for longer than the six-month extension widely expected to be agreed at the OPEC meeting on May 25. “We are discussing a number of scenarios and believe extension for a longer period will help speed up market rebalancing” the Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak said in a statement.
Speaking in Kuala Lumpur earlier Monday, Saudi energy minister Khalid Al-Falih said he was “rather confident the agreement will be extended into the second half of the year and possibly beyond” after talks with other nations participating in the accord.
Following last week’s massive inventory build (and hope for improved gasoline demand), API reports another much bigger-than-expected build (Crude +9.94mm versus +3.5mm exp) and WTI and RBOB prices tumbled.
Crude +9.94mm (+3.5mm exp)
Cushing -1.27mm (+500k exp)
This wil be the 6th weekly build in a row for crude (and 3rd week of major builds)…
If the DOE data is anything loike the API data then this will be a new record for US crude inventory…
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.
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.
Companies are going to face a potentially peculiar situation following demonetisation, if the recently released inflation data are any indication. While a demand slowdown following the cash crunch could force producers to either cut or hold prices, their input prices are tending to go up owing to rising global commodity rates.
Latest data revealed retail inflation touched a two-year low of 3.63% in November, while wholesale price inflation eased to 3.15% from 3.39% in October. However, the Thomson Reuters/CoreCommodity CRB Commodity Index, which tracks the movement of 19 major commodities, has advanced 11.1% in the past one year and 8.6% so far in 2016.
Pronab Sen, former chairman of the National Statistical Commission, told FE: “The demand slowdown following demonetisation should put a downward pressure on prices, while the increase in input prices due to rising global commodity rates will put an upward pressure on prices. And what the net effect will be is very difficult to predict now. But companies may have to recalibrate their (pricing) decisions accordingly.”
Key global oil-producing countries’ decision to cut back on output has already driven up crude oil prices. Also, although China’s appetite for raw materials has been strained since last year, a renewed focus on manufacturing (along with services) by the US under President-elect Donald Trump has only complicated outlook of global commodity demand. “As more firms shift from the informal to the formal sector following demonetisation, “there is also a risk that tax increases are passed to consumers,” Nomura’s Sonal Varma said.
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.)