Why OPEC, Led by Saudi Arabia, Is Trying to Crash the Oil Market


Oil tried to rally Thursday, only to fall in the face of weakling demand expectations and reports of Ebola in New York City.

The market seemed to rally after a misinterpreted report on Saudi oil production. While the report suggested that Saudi exports had slowed, production actually went up.  The Saudis actually supplied 9.36 million barrels of oil which was 328,000 lower than the previous month. Yet production actually went up by 100,000 barrels. The reduction in exports was really a bearish sign as the demand for Saudi oil is obviously faltering. Some of that can be directly related to refinery maintence planned and unplanned, but also due to a shaky economic outlook.

Oil also had to ponder a hit to longer term demand expectations, as EU leaders in Brussels plan to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 40% by 2030, compared with 1990 levels with 27% of that to come from renewable fuels.  As the world tries to wean itself off of oil, producers will try to maneuver to maintain market share. This is another reason that OPEC led by Saudi Arabia is trying to crash the oil market in an attempt to put off any new shale projects that are the biggest threat to their long term economic health. OPEC is also feeling the heat from Russian production that hit 10.61 million barrels a day, a post-Soviet era high last month.

The natural gas injection number fell short of expectations, but still had an above average injection. The Energy Information Administration showed that working gas in storage was up 94bcf to 3,393 Bcf. Warm weather forecasts in the Midwest are hoping in the next week they can build more inventory where stocks are still 9% below the five year average. Still, this is the season  when you should be looking at calls going into winter. Longer term, the Wall Street Journal points out that “Next year will see a swath of coal-fired power plants shut down as a result of tighter environmental standards. Some 30 gigawatts of coal-fired capacity is slated to be retired or at risk of this in 2015, according to Sanford C. Bernstein.

That is 60% of the amount expected to close through 2020, still this year with the record production and cool summer it may take a polar vortex to get a spike.

Friday Commodity wrap: Beans and the grain markets have come back from the dead. Late harvest a scattered report of yield that has not quite lived up to billing is giving the complex a boost.  Dry weather in Brazil helped soybeans and have led the grain comeback as exports stayed strong in the face of a rising dollar, yet we are seeing strength in corn as well.  Oats are also on a tear as fears that a cold winter may restrict rail space to move oats in a couple of months.

Beans are so hot that someone may be selling hot beans. It was reported someone stole about $18,000 worth of beans from a farm in Illinois that was owned by an Iowa farmer.

Cattle prices rallied ahead of what could be a make or break cattle on feed report today, which is expected to show  that September placements were slightly larger than last year.

The Price Links Video series gives insight across the financial spectrum.  https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLDq9JQANqxRxCBaHqunzBT4Frxitjw-XV

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