Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Oil Prices -- Where is the floor?

If I knew I would be a rich man!  One thing for sure is that there's still lots of long position out there. Every Tom, Dick and Harry saw the "easy trade" of going long oil because the forward curve was steep -- a cannot lose trade, that is losing lots of money for a lot of people.

Where will it end?  A very good question, demand is simply not rising -- Europe, which is a net importer of all energy things should be rejoicing, but in fact things are getting serious there.  Greece remains a basket case -- and the yields have recently started rising again.  The European banking sector seems to be facing a very difficult times and the word on Italian banks is "Get Out Now".  It never made sense that Italian debt was priced inside that of the US.

Europe is in a difficult place, deflation (especially imported from China) is a problem, the Southern countries problems that were swept under the rug are coming back to the foreground and Germany's mind is elsewhere -- the refugee problem is becoming a serious social problem.  From the mayor of Cologne that told that women who were attacked only had themselves to blame to other attacks from migrants that were hidden by the police across the country (clearly this was a political decision), Germany's leaders are otherwise busy -- and will have a hard time spending political capital on the economic problems of the south.

None of this is good, the smart money seems to be on the sideline -- why take a chance when the markets are so very unnerved.  The US high yield market is poised to take a major hit -- maybe not in the oil and gas sector -- because prices have moved too much, but in other asset classes.  In a crisis you don't sell what you want, you sell what you can.

In the US the prime buyer of stocks -- corporations have stopped the buy back cycle -- the debt is simple not that cheap anymore (and harder to sell).  So US stock prices are in a down cycle (maybe).

Things are getting interesting -- could we be in for a major correction


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