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Tuesday, 15 March 2016

OIL Prices Promise Volatility for Months Ahead

 No terrible economic news has surfaced in recent weeks but that does not change the profound weakness of a global economy that is burdened with debt and weak demand. The announcement last week by the People’s Bank of China that it sees room for more quantitative easing may have comforted stock markets but it only added to my anxiety about reduced oil consumption and future downward shocks in oil prices.... 
Art Berman, Energy Specialist

Oil Prices Should Fall, Possibly Hard

Oil prices should fall, possibly hard, in coming weeks. That is because fundamentals do not support the present price.

Prices should fall to around $30 once the empty nature of an OPEC-plus-Russia production freeze is understood. A return to the grim reality of over-supply and the weakness of the world economy could push prices well into the $20s.

 A Production Freeze Will Not Reduce The Supply Surplus 
Chart-US-RUSSIA-SAUDI Incremental Prod MAR 2016
An OPEC-plus-Russia production cut would be a great step toward re-establishing oil-market balance. I believe that will happen later in 2016 but is not on the table today.
In late February, Saudi oil minister Ali Al-Naimi stated categorically, “There is no sense in wasting our time in seeking production cuts. That will not happen.”
 Arabia or Russia have the spare capacity to increase production much beyond present levels making the proposal of a freeze cynical rather than helpful.

There is money to be made on vaccines and GM mosquitos, and money to be lost if sales of pesticides and other chemicals are reduced. It is clear in which direction the politics will lean.
The Zika virus should remind us of other strange activities in the financial world.

The local perspective was provided by UC Berkeley's Deborah Sunter, who works on modeling the future US electrical grid. Dr. Sunter argued that Assembly Bill 32, passed by California in 2007, was a key moment in the US' energy transition. With that legislation, California committed to cut emissions to 1990 levels. Soon after, a number of Northeast states formed the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, the US' largest carbon emissions trading market.

The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and non-members have intermittently held discussions since November 2014, when OPEC first signaled it was unwilling to cut production on it own to support prices. Saudi Arabia, Venezuela, Russia and Mexico assembled in Vienna that month without reaching any deal. A tour of oil capitals from Moscow to Riyadh last month by Venezuelan Energy Minister Eulogio Del Pino failed to produce an accord.

Morgan Stanley Cuts S&P 500 Target as Recession Fears Rise

Morgan Stanley strategists are growing increasingly concerned about the risk of a global recession, slashing forecasts for all major equity markets and advising investors to sell stocks that have recently rallied.
In a report out on Monday, the bank’s global strategy team cut its 12-month target for the S&P 500 index SPX, -0.13%  to 2,050 from 2,175, indicating the U.S. benchmark over the next year only will rise 1.4% from its close of 2,022.19 on Friday. This comes after the index rallied 8.4% over the past month, driven in part by a rebound in oil prices and upbeat economic data from the U.S.
However, there’s nothing to indicate the rally will continue, neither in the U.S. or elsewhere, according to the Wall Street bank.
“Weaker growth forecasts and rising political risk lead us to close our positive tactical stance and lower exposure in global equities,” the analysts said in the note. “The probability of a global recession has risen.”
Other big bank strategists also have been dialing back their predictions for U.S. stocks.

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