Travel stocks rally, China PPI shrugged off for now

Morning Note

European markets opened mixed but broadly remain calm as they have for the whole week. Everyone’s waiting for signals on inflation – investors seem to be largely shrugging one from China today. Having led the way higher yesterday, the FTSE 100 is weaker today, whilst European indices are just in the green as they chop sideways ahead of tomorrow’s ECB and US CPI double-header. The Tiggerish outgoing chief economist of the Bank of England, Andy Haldane, said this morning that the UK economy is going gang-busters and inflation pressures are strong.

 

It was a mixed bag over the US in yesterday’s session as the Dow slipped a modest 30pts, the S&P 500 stayed flat as it struggles to make a new all-time high, and the Nasdaq rose 0.3%. The S&P 500 rose by less than 1pt to 4,227.26, a whisker below the record 4,238.04 reached on May 7th. 10yr Treasury yields slipped to 1.513%, the lowest level in a month. Remember payrolls data last week showed strong but not too strong job creation – enough to keep tapering talk at bay, or at least so the market seems to think. Yesterday’s huge JOLTS jobs openings report highlighted that the US economy is booming but a shortage of the right labour in the right places could a) force up wages and b) restrain growth (stagflation?). But, in the words of Mario Draghi, this is a ‘high class’ problem to have.

 

China’s producer price index, a key leading indicator of global inflation, rose at its fastest pace in 13 years as base effects from last year’s pandemic and a boom in commodity prices fed into higher prices paid by businesses. PPI in China rose at 9% in May, the highest it’s been since 2008, and a signal that inflationary pressures are not going away soon. It’s not a major surprise – expectations were for 8.5%: we know inflation is here right now. The question remains about the degree to which this is a transitory force or a lasting shift. There is another question: can companies pass these on to the consumer? If so, it runs the risk of stagflation; if not it could means slowing earnings growth. Does this favour the value trade still? We’ve seen a big rotation already, but growth and inflation this year ought to continue to be supportive. Cathie Wood of Ark thinks otherwise. “The rotation back to growth is probably close at hand,” she said at an Ark Invest webinar on Tuesday.  

 

Travel stocks popped up a touch on news the EU parliament has approved vaccine passports to ease travel this summer. We saw the likes of TUI, IAG, EasyJet and Ryanair all jump as the news broke on the wires. WH Smith also ticked higher, dependent as it is now on travel sales. SSP, the operator of food and beverage outlets in travel locations worldwide, should also be pleased. It reported a £300m loss this morning as revenues declined by almost 80%. Management say they don’t think sales will return to pre-Covid levels until 2024. Shares dropped at the open on the big loss but turned higher as the EU travel news broke. Meanwhile, the US eased travel restrictions for 61 countries, but not the UK. Nevertheless, there is a real sense that vaccines are working to open up the US, EU and UK to travel this summer, albeit not quite how it once was.

Oil pushed to fresh highs ahead of the EIA inventory report later and tomorrow’s OPEC monthly report. WTI drove on beyond $70 to mark an almost-three-year high overnight amid encouraging signs of demand recovery. Meanwhile fears of Iranian supply hitting the market later this year subsided after the US secretary of state Anthony Blinken said hundreds of sanctions would remain on the regime in Tehran, even if the two countries reach a nuclear deal. Whilst vaccines and the reopening of economies have left the market in deficit, helping to drive prices up 35% this year, the persistence of cases in some parts of the world combined with ongoing travel restrictions in Europe/US means there are still doubts about how quickly demand will recover this year.  Nevertheless, prices hit their highest since Oct 2018 after the API reported a draw of 2.1m barrels last week. 

Thursday sees the release of the latest OPEC monthly oil market report.  Last month’s report saw the cartel reiterate its belief in a strong recovery in world oil demand in the second half of 2021. This month’s report is not expected to show much change from the previous version, which said demand will rise by 5.95m bpd this year, up 6.6% from 2020 levels. Ahead of this, traders will look to today’s inventory report from the Energy Information Administration (EIA). Last week’s EIA inventory report showed stockpiles declined by 5.1m barrels, a larger-than-expected draw that helped to support the bullish view on oil prices as demand in the US recovers. Analysts expect a draw of 3.3m barrels to be posted today.

Elsewhere, Bitcoin trades at $34k after touching $31k yesterday. A SEC official expressed concern about the US financial regulator’s push to enforce stricter rules around cryptos. GBPUSD continues to hold below 1.42, but a breakout of the triangle to the upside needs to be monitored with MACD (1hr) crossover still supportive of a nudge up to 1.42 – failure at 1.4180 could beget a drop to the 1.4120 area.

US EIA Oil Stocks preview: Oil rattled as Trump cancels stimulus talks

Commodities

US oil stockpiles rose by more than expected during the week ending October 2nd.

Data from the American Petroleum Institute showed that oil inventories had grown by 951,000 barrels – more than double the 400,000 barrel build analysts had predicted.

The larger-than-expected build follows a smaller-than-expected draw the week before, casting doubts over the robustness of demand in the US.

While gasoline stocks fell by -867,000 barrels during the same period, this was a little short of forecasts and only just over half the size of the build reported the week prior. Distillate inventories fell by just over a million barrels after the previous week’s -3.4 million barrel drop.

Trump tweets: No stimulus discussions until after the election

Also weighing on crude oil sentiment today is the abrupt cancellation of negotiations over a new stimulus package.

President Trump, fresh out of hospital following his Covid-19 diagnosis, tweeted that the Democrats were ‘not negotiating in good faith’ and that talks would not resume until after the election.

Although markets still expect stimulus regardless of who wins the election, the cancellation of talks adds more waiting time to the already delayed second dose of fiscal support.

US EIA Crude Oil Inventories report on tap

Oil traders will be looking for an upside surprise today when the official US Energy Information Administration data is published.

Last week’s report showed a drop in oil stockpiles of nearly -2 million barrels. Analysts this week are expecting to see an increase of nearly 300,000 barrels.

The report is due at 14.30 UTC.

EIA oil inventories preview: Crude struggles after mixed API data

Commodities

Crude oil and Brent oil are struggling below opening levels today after a bearish inventory report from the American Petroleum Institute.

Both benchmarks headed back towards the two-week lows hit yesterday before returning to trade just under opening levels.

Crude is on track to record its first monthly loss in five months, while Brent looks set to end lower for the first time in six months.

API: Oil draw falls short, surprise gasoline build

The API reported a smaller-than-expected draw in crude oil inventories and a surprise build in gasoline inventories.

Crude oil inventories fell by 831,000 barrels in the week ending September 25th, against analyst forecasts of a 2.256 million barrel drop.

Gasoline inventories also disappointed forecasts, rising by 1.623 million barrels during the same period, instead of falling by 1.3 million barrels as expected.

In more supportive news, US oil production fell to 10.7 million barrels per day.

Rising coronavirus cases raise questions over global recovery

The rising number of coronavirus cases as winter approaches in the Northern Hemisphere has heightened fears of new restrictions that could curb economic activity and therefore demand for oil.

While certain parts of the global economy are bouncing back, others continue to be hammered by the pandemic. Airlines are a key market for oil and various restrictions combined with a general fear of air travel given the current circumstances has seen a huge drop in bookings.

On Tuesday the global Covid-19 death toll passed the 1 million mark, up from 500,000 three months ago, with the number of infected exceeding 33 million.

Traders are also worried that the US Presidential Election may not produce a clear winner on November 3rd, leading to more disruption for the world’s largest economy as both Trump and Biden contest the results.

US EIA oil inventories preview: Crude edges higher on mixed API report

Commodities

Crude and Brent oil have recovered early losses and are trending higher this morning despite the downside pressure from USD as the dollar index hits a two-month peak.

Crude oil has moved off from the day’s lows of $39.30 to test $40.00, while Brent has risen back towards $42.50 after earlier falling towards yesterday’s intraday lows around $41.61,

Mixed API report shows unexpected oil build, large gasoline draw

The latest US oil inventories report from the American Petroleum Institute showed a surprise build in crude stockpiles.

US oil inventories rose by just shy of 700,000 barrels in the week ending September 18th, according to the latest API report. Analysts had predicted that crude stockpiles fell by 2.256 million barrels.

Although moving in the wrong direction the build is relatively small, especially considering the dent to inventories made by the previous week’s 9.517 million barrel draw.

The report revealed that US oil production increased during the period, but at 10.9 million barrels per day is still 2.2 million bpd below the highs of 13.1 million bpd seen in March.

Sentiment had also been supported by a much larger-than-expected draw in gasoline, with stockpiles falling by 7.735 million barrels compared to analyst’s expectations of a 614,000 barrel drop. Distillates fell by over 2 million barrels.

The official US oil inventories report from the Energy Information Administration is due out later today.

EIA crude inventories preview: Oil up after API report smashes estimates

Commodities

Crude oil and Brent oil are moving higher for a second session today after another massive draw in US oil stockpiles.

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

Commodities

Crude and Brent oil tanked yesterday, hitting the lowest levels since mid-June as markets continued to react to news Saudi Arabia is slashing its export prices for customers in Asia and the US.

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.

US EIA Oil Inventories Preview: Crude edges higher after sixth straight API draw

Commodities

Crude and Brent oil have moved slightly higher this morning after data from the American Petroleum Institute revealed another huge drawdown in US oil stockpiles.

WTI has edged up $0.17, or 0.4%, and Brent oil has added $0.24, or 0.5%. Both benchmarks are trading above their recent long-term ranges, although below the highs struck last week when prices reached levels not seen since early March.

API oil inventories: another huge decline for US stockpiles

The latest API report revealed another large draw from US crude oil stockpiles in the week ending August 28th.

As has become usual recently due to the highly unusual conditions in the market, the actual draw of 6.360 million barrels hugely outpaced the 1.887 million barrel drop that analysts had predicted.

Last week the API reported a 4.524 million barrel drop against expectations of a 3.694 million barrel decline.

Last week was the sixth consecutive week that oil stockpiles declined. Gasoline inventories also fell, with the draw of 5.761 million barrels representing only a slight moderation from the 6.392 million barrels the week before. Analysts had expected gasoline stocks to fall by just over 3 million barrels.

Distillates were down 1.424 million barrels, erasing a bit over half of the build seen the previous week.

Official data from the US Energy Information Administration is due for release during today’s New York session.

US manufacturing uptick supports crude

Oil market sentiment has also been lifted by recent US manufacturing data. The ISM manufacturing index for August climbed to 56.0 from 54.2. Analysts had expected the index to register a mild uptick to 54.5.

The reading is the third month of growth after the sector was hammered by the coronavirus lockdowns, and is also the highest reading since November 2018.

US EIA Crude Oil Inventories preview: Oil eases back with OPEC+ in focus today

Oil prices were a tad softer Wednesday having struck 5-month highs in the previous session with traders looking ahead to today’s EIA inventories, which are complicated by the OPEC+ meeting also taking place. Prices remain supported by ongoing optimism about the economic recovery with equity markets striking fresh record highs on Wall Street.  

API draw  

The American Petroleum Institute (API) reported a draw in crude oil inventories of 4.264 million barrels last week, which beat expectations for a fall of 2.67m barrels. Market participants today expect the EIA to show a draw of –2.9m barrels, a smaller drop than last week’s -4.5m. 

OPEC+ meeting 

Today’s inventory figures come on the same day as the OPEC+ Joint Ministerial Monitoring Committee, which is set to reaffirm the 7.7m bpd cuts.  

It follows OPEC’s latest monthly report, published last week, which indicated the cartel will continue with production cuts for longer. 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 the market. 

US EIA Crude Oil Inventories preview: Oil erases losses on broad inventory drawdown

Commodities

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.

US EIA oil inventories preview: Crude rises on massive API draw

Commodities

Crude oil and Brent oil have broken out of their recent trading ranges today, helped by data from the American Petroleum Institute that pointed to a huge draw in US stockpiles.

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.

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