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Refineries earnings signal demand outlook
Oil outlooks continue to fluctuate but a few upcoming announcements may give some clarity.
Prices are holding around $38 per barrel for WTI while Brent crude is roughly $40 p/b.
Refineries are looking to announce their earnings this week, which may give indicators towards Q4 oil demand, specifically on gasoline, diesel and jet fuels.
Valero Energy reported an uptick in demand during Q3, up from Q2, but still way below 2019 volumes.
Q4 forecasts suggest 2.5mpd demand, which is 500,000 lower than Q4 2019’s numbers.
Inventories are thusly high while demand is low.
Majors ExxonMobil and Chevron will be reporting their quarterly earnings this week on October 20th. It will be interesting to see how the supermajors have coped. Exxon alone announced a first-quarter loss of $610m in May 2020. Its performance will be indicative of the industry as a whole.
40 North American oil & gas producers have declared bankruptcy this year. This may point towards a) further closures industry-wide or b) closer collaboration and mergers.
For instance, Conoco Phillips announced last week it was acquiring Concho Resources. Will this be an ongoing trend?
In Natural Gas, markets anticipate bullish natural gas prices in the short and mid. There are several factors at play here including:
- an unexpected jump in US LNG exports in the coming weekend
- Potential production drops
- A major temperature shift towards colder temperatures.
Resilience in natural gas prices is likely to emerge as we head into winter. Colder temperatures point towards stimulated demand for gas for heating and so on. Therefore, the coming months may prove beneficial for commodities traders – if a little cold.
EIA crude inventories preview: Oil up after API report smashes estimates
WTI has gained $0.70 (+1.8%) and Brent oil is $0.73 (+1.8%) higher. Crude oil has now almost erased the losses incurred since prices tumbled on September 8th.
Crude, Brent up on falling oil stockpiles
The latest oil report from the American Petroleum Institute revealed that US oil inventories fell by 9.517 million barrels in the week ending September 11th. Analysts had expected a draw of 1.271 million barrels.
While crude stockpiles fell last week, gasoline inventories rose. The Labor Day holiday marks the end of the US summer driving season and falling gasoline demand is expected heading into the winter months.
This may already be priced into the market, however, with crude and Brent having languished near their lowest levels since June at the start of the week. Both the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and the International Energy Administration revealed more bearish forecasts for the recovery in global oil demand this week.
Hurricane Sally to provide short-term boost for crude oil?
Oil is being leant short-term support thanks to the approach of Hurricane Sally, which is expected to cut between 3 million and 6 million barrels of energy production along the Gulf Coast.
However, the weather system has also shuttered some refineries, meaning that oil demand has also taken a hit.
Will US EIA oil inventories data contradict API numbers again?
While the API numbers are huge it’s worth remembering that latest week’s report was later contradicted by the official Energy Information Administration figures. While the API report showed a draw of nearly 3 million barrels for the week ending September 4th, the EIA data revealed a 2 million barrel build.
It seems unlikely that the EIA numbers would diverge so heavily from the API figures, but it is worth remembering that there are discrepancies between the two data sets.
US EIA oil inventories preview: Crude tries to claw back losses
Crude oil fell -7% yesterday to close at $36.88, while Brent closed -5% lower at $40.03. Both are moving higher today, with WTI up $0.60 and Brent up $0.53, but September losses are still in excess of -11%.
Saudi Aramco will cut prices for Asian buyers for a second consecutive month, and will cut prices for US refiners for the first time in six months. Chinese refiners have been snapping up cheap oil, importing record amounts recently, but it seems that stockpiles are now filling up.
It’s another worrying sign for the demand outlook, just a month after Aramco’s chief executive claimed Asia’s oil demand was almost back to pre-crisis levels.
Bank of America research adds to fears over oil demand recovery
At first it had been hoped that the global economy would pick up sharply once lockdowns were lifted, but the increasing numbers of coronavirus infections and some soft eco-data has put these assumptions into doubt.
Indeed, Bank of America Securities predicted yesterday that global oil demand won’t return to pre-pandemic levels for another three years. BofAS analysts point to the collapse in air travel, which they claim won’t be able to recover fully until a vaccine is developed – something they believe is still 12-18 months away.
US EIA crude oil inventories data delayed by Labor Day holiday
This week’s US crude oil inventories data is delayed by a day due to Monday’s Labor Day holiday. Figures from the American Petroleum Institute will be published at 20.30 UTC today, with the official Energy Information Administration data due at 15.00 UTC tomorrow (September 10th). EIA natural gas storage figures are released at 14.30 UTC as per usual.
France quarantine knocks travel & leisure stocks
European markets turned south on Friday led by a decline in travel and leisure stocks after the UK added France to its 14-day quarantine list. Yesterday, US stocks dipped after a run at the all-time highs failed again – the S&P 500 finished the day down 0.2%, but the Nasdaq eked out a small gain.
Asian markets ticked up amid a mixed bag of data and economic indicators and European stocks slipped in early trade after falling across the board on Thursday. After a decent start to the week it looks like equity markets are finishing off rather meekly.
Travel & leisure weaken as UK adds France to quarantine list
With France being added to the quarantine list for the UK, travel & leisure is under pressure. Shares in IAG, Ryanair, Tui and EasyJet were all sharply lower as the move will force a large swathe of cancellations right at the peak of the summer holiday season for one of the largest markets for UK tourists. Half a million Brits are thought to be in France right now. Related stocks were also hit.
WH Smith – purveyor of overpriced sweets and free Evian – slipped down the board as a result. Apart from the immediate damage this will do at the height of the school holidays and peak summer season, the quarantine decision also underlines the inherent risk you take in booking a holiday abroad right now, which will do nothing for consumer confidence.
US jobless claims under 1m
US jobless claims fell under 1m for the first time since the pandemic devastated the labour force, but unemployment levels remain exceptionally high and there remains the fear that too many temporary layoffs will become permanent. Initial unemployment claims dropped to 963k from almost 1.2m a week before, whilst continuing claims fell to 15.5m from more than 16m the previous week.
Unemployment fell but remains above 10% and the twofold worry remains – after the initial resurgence upon reopening, the sustainable pace of recovery is too slow, and that some portion of the labour force is lost forever. The situation in the UK looks even more stark as the life support machine of furlough gets switched off.
Later today comes the US retail sales report for July, which are expected to drop back sharply to +2% from +7.5% the prior month, with core +1.3% from +7.3%. A smaller increase in retail sales is expected as pent-up demand drove the unusually high demand in May and June following the collapse in March and April. Going forward, the destruction in the labour market will force consumers to tighten purse strings – unless there is free money ad infinitum.
On that front, progress is slow to non-existent – Congress has broken up for the summer recess with no fresh stimulus deal in the offing. The improvement in the jobless numbers and apparent improvement in some of the other high frequency data may make it even less likely that US politicians can agree to a package, particularly with the election starting to dominate thinking.
China posts surprise retail drop, Eurozone GDP to confirm sharp Q2 slump
Chinese retail sales slipped in July, declining 1.1% after a 1.8% drop in June, whilst industrial production rose a solid 4.8%, although this was also short of expectations. The disappointing retail sales number hit the luxury sector this morning but also underscores the weakness in the demand side of the recovery. Eurozone GDP figures later today are expected to confirm a sharp contraction in the second quarter as lockdown measures were in full force. This data is now pretty historic and won’t do anything for markets.
Gold is holding around $1950 but the bearish flag on the chart looks like there could be a further corrective move in the long-term uptrend. As US rates seem to be inclined to roll higher there is a risk of a further downswing. The yield on US 10yr Treasuries are above 0.7% and TIPS creep higher. Longer term you would feel that gold continues to be a strong winner from the pandemic.
Ex-divis hit FTSE, US stocks near record high, trade comes back in focus
US stocks rallied to close near its all-time highs yesterday amid what some are saying are signs of greater confidence in the economic recovery in the US. Or perhaps it’s just even speedier decoupling between Wall St and Main St. Nevertheless, bond yields pushed higher amid a faster-than-expected rise in US inflation, whilst the market is starting to focus again on trade and tariffs.
The fact that the broad stock market is at all-time highs is a testament to unbelievable amounts of monetary and fiscal stimulus – the patient is hooked, and only more drugs will do. The disconnect between the stock market and the real economy is too stark, too unjust and too indicative of a system that continues to favour capital over labour that, sooner or later, a change is gonna come.
Europe soft despite strong close on Wall Street, TUI posts earnings wipe-out
Never mind all that for now though, stonks keep going up. The S&P 500 rose 1.4% to end at 3,380, just six points under its record closing high at 3,386.15, with the record intraday peak at 3,393.52. Asian stocks broadly followed through, with shares in Tokyo up almost 2%.
European stocks failed to take the cue and were a little soft on the open, with the FTSE 100 the laggard at -1%, though 22.3pts are due to BP, Shell, Diageo, AstraZeneca, GSK and Legal & General among others going ex-dividend.
For a taste of the real economy, we can look at TUI, which said group revenues in the June quarter were down 98% to €75m. It’s a total wipe-out of earnings, but it’s not a surprise – the business was at a virtual standstill for most of the period and was only able to resume some limited operations from mid-May. Just 15% of hotels reopened in the quarter, whilst all three cruise lines remain suspended.
TUI posted an EBIT loss of €1.1bn for the quarter, taking total losses over the last nine months to €2bn, with €1.3bn due to the pandemic forcing the business to be suspended. Summer bookings are down over 80% but it has got another €1.2bn lifeline from the German government. Shares fell over 6% in early trade.
Trade in focus as US-China weekend talks approach
US-China tensions are rearing their head again. Officials meet this Saturday to review progress of the phase one deal. White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow the deal was ‘fine right now’. Sticking with trade, the US is maintaining 15% tariffs on Airbus aircraft and 25% tariffs on an array of European goods, including food and wine, despite moves by the EU to end the trade dispute.
Crucially it did not follow through with a threat to hike tariffs, however it still leaves the risk of further escalation when the EU is likely to win WTO approval to strike back with its own tariffs.
Strong US CPI raises stagflation fears
Yesterday, despite the optimism in the market, there was – for me at least – some potential signs of bad news for the real economy (not the stock market, remember) with US inflation picking up faster than expected. You can read this as the economy doing better than fared as consumers return, but you can equally take a glass half empty view and see this as a major worry that prices of essentials are going to rise whilst economic growth stagnates – which can be a cocktail for a period of stagflation.
Given the enormous amount of money being pumped into the system, there is a better than evens chance we get an inflation surge even if the pandemic was initially very disinflationary. Unlike in the wake of the financial crisis, the cash is not being gobbled up in the banking system as increased capital buffers etc, but is going into the (real) economy. Moreover, it’s being done in tandem with a massive fiscal loosening.
Short-lived pullback for USD?
Year-over-year, headline inflation rose from 0.6% to 1%, whilst core CPI was up 1.6% in July vs the 1.2% expected. Food prices rose 4.6%, whilst the cost of a suit is down a lot. The risk is that inflation expectations can start to become unanchored as they did in the 1970s when the Fed had lost credibility, this led to a period of stagflation and was only tamed by Volcker’s aggressive hiking cycle.
Investor optimism is keeping the dollar in check. The dollar index moved back to the 93 mark, whilst the euro broke above 1.18 against the greenback for a fresh assault on 1.19, twice rejected lately. Sterling is making more steady progress but is well supported for now above 1.30, however the dollar’s pullback may be short-lived. Gold held onto gains to trade above $1930 after testing the near-term trend support around $1865 yesterday.
US EIA data, OPEC report boost oil
Oil prices held gains after bullish inventory data and OPEC’s latest monthly report. WTI (Sep) moved beyond $42 after the latest EIA report showed a draw of 4.5m barrels last week. Meanwhile, as noted yesterday, OPEC’s new report indicated the cartel will continue with production cuts for longer.
In its monthly report, OPEC lowered its 2020 world oil demand forecast, forecasting a drop of 9.06m bpd compared to a drop of 8.95m bpd in the previous monthly report. But the report also sought to calm fears that OPEC+ will be too quick to ramp up production again. Specifically, OPEC said its H2 2020 outlook points to the need for continued efforts to support market rebalancing. Compliance was down but broadly the message seems to be that OPEC is not about to walk away from the market.
US inflation hot, stocks keep higher as bonds slip
US inflation was a little hot and certainly has a stagflation feel about it, but this won’t be a concern for the Federal Reserve in the slightest. CPI rose 0.6% month-on-month in July, unchanged from a month before and ahead of the 0.3% expected. Year-over-year, headline inflation rose from 0.6% to 1%, whilst core CPI was up 1.6% in July vs the 1.2% expected. Food prices were +4.6% YOY, with beef +14.2%.
Fed unlikely to worry if inflation heads higher
The Fed is going to become more relaxed about letting inflation run above its 2% target. Despite the indicators in the market like TIPs and gold prices suggesting that the massive dose of fiscal and monetary stimulus we have just had, combined with a supply constraint, the output gap is still huge and the economy will run well short of its potential for many years.
So that means the Fed should and could be relaxed about headline inflation running above 2% for a time, instead prioritising the employment level, but it also means inflation expectations can start to become unanchored as they did in the 1970s, which may have longer-term implications for the path of prices and relative values for gold and stocks.
In a nutshell, if inflation expectations lose their anchors then we are faced with a stagflationary environment like nothing we have seen for 50 years. High inflation, low growth for years to come is the unwanted child of a global pandemic meeting massive government intervention.
Treasury yields nudged up with the 5yr up to 0.307% from 0.269% and 10s up to 0.69%. Gold has largely held onto gains after a sharp turnaround this morning with spot trading around $1,935 after touching $1,949 this morning. Higher yields are bad for gold, but higher inflation is so good so the CPI numbers seem to be netting out for now.
EUR/USD moves off lows, SPX eyes all-time high
Earlier in the session, Eurozone industrial production rose over 9% in June but remains down 12% from pre-pandemic levels. EURUSD has moved up off its lows despite the print falling short of the 10% expected.
Stocks were well bid heading into the US session with Europe enjoying broad gains and the FTSE 100 leading the way at +1.5%. The S&P 500 is eyeing a fresh run at the all-time highs with the index only about 1.5% short; the scores on the doors are: record intraday 3,393.52, with the record close at 3,386.15.
The market came up a little short yesterday but you just sense bulls will push it over the line sooner or later. After yesterday’s reversal traders may be a little gun shy but the bulls have the momentum. The Nasdaq remains on the back foot pointing to the kind of rotation out of tech.
Oil heads higher after OPEC report
Crude oil rose with WTI (Sep) north of $42.50 after OPEC’s monthly report indicated the cartel will continue with production cuts for longer. In its monthly report, OPEC lowered its 2020 world oil demand forecast, forecasting a drop of 9.06m bpd compared to a drop of 8.95m bpd in the previous monthly report.
This report seemed to be quelling fears that OPEC+ will be too quick to ramp up production again. Specifically, OPEC said its H2 2020 outlook points to the need for continued efforts to support market rebalancing. Compliance was down but broadly the message seems to be that OPEC is not about to walk away from the market.
US EIA Crude Oil Inventories preview: Oil erases losses on broad inventory drawdown
Crude oil has erased yesterday’s losses and Brent is close to doing so as well after private oil inventories data yesterday showed a large draw.
WTI (SEP) has gained $0.40 (1%), although remains near the middle of its recent trading range at $42.14. Brent is $0.33 (0.7%) higher to trend just above $45.00. Both benchmarks had spiked to their second-highest levels since March yesterday in the wake of the latest data from the American Petroleum Institute.
Private data shows larger-than-expected oil, gasoline draws
API data released yesterday showed a drop in crude inventories of 4.4 million barrels during the week ending August 7th. Analysts had expected a drop of 2.875 million barrels.
The figures continue to point to strong demand recovery in the US, helping to counterbalance some of the downside pressure on crude as OPEC members begin scaling up production after cutting by record levels between May and July.
Further improving sentiment was a larger-than-expected draw from gasoline inventories. Stocks fell by 1.748 million barrels against expectations of a 674,000 decline.
US EIA Crude Oil Inventories forecasts
Forecasts for the US EIA Crude Oil Inventories report suggest a drop, but as we’ve seen previously both the direction and magnitude of the change often takes analysts by surprise. Predictions for the past four weeks’ worth of US EIA data have been way off the mark in terms of the size of the change, and wrong about the direction twice.
After the API data many traders will be expecting to see a similar decline in inventories when the EIA publishes its official figures.
As well as the latest inventories data, traders can also expect fundamental updates from today’s Monthly Oil Market Report published by OPEC, and tomorrow’s Oil Market Report from the International Energy Agency.
Week Ahead: UK GDP in focus, will labour data help ease recovery doubts?
There’s plenty of growth and labour market data in the docket this week to further improve the picture of the global economy, while sentiment data could provide some clarity on the outlook. The RBNZ will announce its latest policy decisions, and oil markets could see heightened volatility on reports from the International Energy Agency and OPEC.
UK Q2 GDP, smaller decline but longer recovery?
The first estimate of the UK’s Q2 GDP is due on Wednesday. Analysts have forecast a -20.4% drop on the quarter. Last week the Bank of England stated that it believes the Q2 drop will be “less severe” than initially predicted, although the timeframe for the recovery has been extended.
A second reading of Eurozone GDP is also due this week – the economy fell by a record -12.1% between April and June according to preliminary estimates and no changes are expected this time around.
Labour market data key as questions over recovery pace grow
Jobs data remains one of the key metrics used to measure the economic recovery from Covid-19 and the figures are coming under threat from fresh lockdowns in major cities and regions in the world’s largest economies.
The UK’s unemployment rate currently stands at 3.9% but some analysts are expecting the data for June to reveal a jump to 6%. The Bank of England’s latest forecasts predict the jobless rate will hit 7.5% by the end of the year. We’ll get figures for unemployment benefit claims for July as well.
Australia also releases monthly employment change and unemployment rate figures, while the weekly US jobless claims data remains a key focus.
Have fresh lockdowns hit consumer, business sentiment?
Consumer and business sentiment data this week includes Australia’s NAB Business Confidence and Westpac Consumer Confidence, the ZEW Economic Sentiment indexes for the Eurozone and Germany, and the latest US University of Michigan Consumer Sentiment index. Sentiment may have taken a knock from the new restrictions put in place to help control the spread of the virus.
Also of note this week are Chinese and US inflation rates and retail sales.
RBNZ interest rate decision
Recent economic data suggests the Reserve Bank of New Zealand may not need to make any further policy adjustments at this moment, although a rise in hedge funds betting against the Kiwi indicates the smart money is expecting more stimulus in the near future.
Q2 employment data showed a much smaller-than-expected drop in employment and, thanks to an upwards revision to the Q1 data, the jobless rate unexpectedly held steady at 4%.
Business inflation expectations have also risen from 1.2% to 1.4%, meaning the outlook for both areas the RBNZ is mandated to consider has improved.
IEA & OPEC oil market reports
As well as the weekly US EIA crude oil inventories data, commodity traders will also want to watch for the latest oil market reports from the International Energy Agency and OPEC.
Recent oil inventories data from the US has been bullish, showing a huge draw over the past two weeks. Traders will want to see that the IEA and OPEC expect a continued recovery in demand.
Highlights on XRay this Week
Read the full schedule of financial market analysis and training.
|07.15 UTC||Daily||European Morning Call|
|17.00 UTC||10-Aug||Blonde Markets|
|From 15.30 UTC||11-Aug||Weekly Gold, Silver, and Oil Forecasts|
|17.00 UTC||13-Aug||Election2020 Weekly|
|12.00 UTC||14-Aug||Marketsx Platform Walkthrough|
Key Events this Week
Watch out for the biggest events on the economic calendar this week:
|01.30 GMT||10-Aug||China Inflation Rate|
|01.30 GMT||11-Aug||Australia NAB Business Confidence|
|06.00 GMT||11-Aug||UK Claimant / Employment Change & Unemployment Rate|
|09.00 GMT||11-Aug||Eurozone / Germany ZEW Economic Sentiment|
|02.00 GMT||12-Aug||RBNZ Interest Rate Decision|
|06.00 GMT||12-Aug||UK Preliminary Q2 GDP|
|09.00 GMT||12-Aug||Eurozone Industrial Production|
|Pre-Market||12-Aug||Tencent Holdings – Q2 2020|
|12.30 GMT||12-Aug||US Inflation Rate|
|14.30 GMT||12-Aug||US EIA Crude Oil Inventories|
|12-Aug||OPEC Monthly Oil Market Report|
|After-Market||12-Aug||Cisco Inc – Q4 2020|
|01.30 GMT||13-Aug||Australia Employment Change / Unemployment Rate|
|06.00 GMT||13-Aug||Germany Finalised Inflation|
|08.00 GMT||13-Aug||International Energy Agency Oil Market Report|
|12.30 GMT||13-Aug||Initial Jobless Claims|
|14.30 GMT||13-Aug||US EIA Natural Gas Storage|
|02.00 GMT||14-Aug||China Industrial Production and Retail Sales|
|09.00 GMT||14-Aug||Eurozone Q2 GDP 2nd Estimate|
|12.30 GMT||14-Aug||US Retail Sales|
|14.00 GMT||14-Aug||University of Michigan Sentiment Index|
US EIA oil inventories preview: Crude rises on massive API draw
WTI has smashed through resistance at $42 and is now testing $44 after adding $1.65 (4%). Brent has added $1.60 (4.5%) to climb towards $46. Prices have risen after the latest API data, released yesterday, showed that US oil inventories fell 8.587 million barrels in the week ending July 31st.
This was over double the drawdown expected by analysts, and means that US inventories have declined by over 15 million barrels in the last two weeks.
Official data from the US Energy Information Administration is due during today’s New York session. Last week’s report showed a 10 million barrel decline, and a 3 million barrel drop is expected for the week ending July 31st although the API data suggests the real number could be much higher.
Is crude oil demand recovering?
Another large weekly draw suggests that oil demand is recovering in the United States, and traders will be hoping that this will offset the impact of increased output from OPEC and its allies as production cuts are scaled back from record levels. Markets have had to rein in their expectations for demand recovery, which looks set to be weaker during the second half of the year than initially predicted.
Oil prices have also been supported by another decline in the dollar. The Dollar Index (DXY) has fallen to test 93.00 today, close to the two-year lows seen at the end of last week.
Get more analysis on oil with XRay
Visit XRay in the Marketsx trading platform to get the latest oil news and price forecasts from commodities guru Phil Carr with the weekly Oil Outlook show.
Watch our exclusive XRay Talk on gold and oil with commodities guru Phil Carr
Gold has today surged to a new record high above $1,945.00.
Last week head of trading at The Gold and Silver Club Phil Carr joined Markets.com chief market analyst Neil Wilson to discuss the current state of the commodity markets and what’s on the horizon for gold and oil in the second half of the year.
You can watch the full video below.
We’ll be hosting more talks with leading industry figures on a range of topics over the coming months. Make sure you’re signed up to Marketsx to get your invite to our next exclusive conversation and to ask your trading questions.