by Zero Hedge - May 26th, 2016 8:13 am
Submitted by Tyler Durden.
WTI and Brent Crude oil prices have both broken above $50 for the first time since October 2015 this morning – almost doubling off its Feb 11th 26.05 lows. The immediate catalyst appears to be a combination of inventory drawdowns in US crude, continud US production cuts, and further supply disruptions (Nigeria specifically), none of which scream demand or growth is going to make a dent in the glut.
July WTI tops $50…
“The immediate driver is a good draw on U.S. crude stockpiles, helping to nudge the price up a bit further,” says Ric Spooner, chief analyst at CMC Markets in Sydney. “The market hasn’t had any bad news to knock it off its perch but the price is likely to struggle if it gets into the $50s. There is still quite a bit of inventory around”
With July WTI back at its highest since 11/5/15…
As Bloomnerg notes, other factors seen driving prices higher include:
- Canada wildfires said to cut 1m b/d or more of oil sands output; output still returning
- Nigeria oil output slumps to 20-yr low amid series of attacks
- Venezuela has difficulties maintaining output amid power cuts, restriction of field services and theft
- U.S. active oil rig count shrinks to least since Oct. 2009
- IEA raises 2016 world oil demand fcast by 100k b/d to 95.9m b/d, non-OPEC supply to drop 800k b/d to 56.8m; “global supply surplus of oil will shrink dramatically later this year”
But we note that while everyone celebrates the recent rally, the curve has actually flattened notably since Nov 2015…
And we are getting an awful case of deja vu again…
by Zero Hedge - May 26th, 2016 8:07 am
Submitted by Tyler Durden.
Recently we presented a profile of the latest scourge to haunt Africa’s former oil producing powerhouse Nigeria, namely the Niger Delta Avengers, who not only maintained a regularly updated blog following the February launch of their Godaddy-hosted website which even includes a Contact Us section…
… but are perhaps the most social media savvy “freedom fighting” organization in the world today, with a twitter account that constantly updated on the group’s ongoing activities. In fact, just yesterday the NDA may have been the first such group to pre-announce a terrorist act before any of the major media outlets caught it.
— Niger Delta Avengers (@NDAvengers) May 25, 2016
It wasn’t a joke.
As Reuters reported this morning, Chevron’s onshore activities in Nigeria’s Niger Delta have been shut down by a militant attack at its Escravos terminal, the company confirmed on Thursday.
As Reuters observes, the Niger Delta Avengers, which has told oil firms to leave the Delta before the end of May, said late on Wednesday it had blown up the facility’s mains electricity feed.
“It is a crude line which means all activities in Chevron are grounded,” the source told Reuters, without elaborating. There was no immediate official confirmation from Chevron.
Zebo Austin, who lives nearby, told Reuters: “We heard a loud blast at the Abiteye to Escravos crude pipeline which was blown up last night by yet-to-be identified militant group.”
The Avengers and other militants, who say they are fighting for a greater share of oil profits, an end to pollution and independence for the region, have intensified attacks in recent months, pushing oil output to its lowest in more than 20 years and compounding the problems faced by Africa’s largest economy.
Abuja has responded by moving in army reinforcements but British Foreign Minister Philip Hammond said this month President Muhammadu Buhari needed to deal with the root causes of the conflict.
Crude oil sales from the Delta account for 70 percent of national income but residents in the area, some of whom sympathize with the militants, have long complained of poverty. Buhari has extended an…
by Zero Hedge - May 26th, 2016 7:47 am
Submitted by Tyler Durden.
In his latest market commentary, presented by Reuters on Tuesday night, Gundlach remained skeptical on the stock market. Specifically, he said that the rally in U.S. stocks, which began on Monday, feels like a short squeeze and characterized U.S. stocks as “dead money.”
He also mocked the return of the rate hikes are good fabulation, which has reemerged in recent days following the Fed’s hawkish shift, and which is a carbon copy of what happened late last year when the Fed’s first rate hike was also spun as positive: “I feel like we are back in December again, where everyone thinks that there is a super secret that some Fed officials have this knowledge that the economy is really good.”
But back to the market, which the DoubleLine manager said an interview with MarketWatch on Wednesday that he’s not ready to endorse, even as the S&P 500 index has climbed 1.9% over the past week.
So is there anything that would make a gloomy Gundlach bullish? As it turns out the answer is yes, but it is a big bogey.
As MarketWatch quotes, Gundlach needs to see a truly breakout level for the S&P 500 to get excited about this market. The DoubleLine chief executive said a climb above 2,200 for the S&P 500 would be a bullish sign. Then again, the S&P 500 has never hit 2,200, with an all time high of 2,131 set on May 21, 2015.
“The market has been going sideways for 18 months, and when it breaks, either up or down, it should be a large move. So let the market prove itself. If it breaks to the upside, which I define as accelerating above 2,200, it is a good, low-risk, ‘go with’ buy.” Aka, chase the momentum in either direction. In a market as broken as this, where momentum-ignition algos have been the trend leaders for years, one might as well listen.
In other words, as MarketWatch adds, Gundlach is saying the S&P 500 not only needs to set a fresh record, but it also needs to trade more than 3% above its highest closing level. As of Wednesday, the index is 1.9% off its record close, which as we showed recently is a 18x non-GAAP multiple and…
by Zero Hedge - May 26th, 2016 7:29 am
Submitted by Tyler Durden.
- Wall Street Crime: 7 Years, 156 Cases and Few Convictions (WSJ)
- Japan’s Abe points to 2008 crisis as G7 leaders debate global risk (Reuters)
- Brent Crude Rises Above $50 a Barrel (WSJ)
- New York financial regulator gearing up to probe online lenders (Reuters)
- At Swinging Wall Street Parties, the Feds Are Now on the Prowl (BBG)
- Do U.S. Killings of Militant Leaders Work? (WSJ)
- Fed’s Bullard: global central bank policy divergence has been priced in (Reuters)
- Insurers Seek Big Premium Boosts (WSJ)
- The Little-Known Alibaba Unit That Prompted an SEC Probe (BBG)
- No Treasuries Left for Wall Street Dealers Amid Blowout Auctions (BBG)
- Migrant numbers growing again at Calais camp (Reuters)
- China’s economic planner warns against irregular offshore debt issuance (Reuters)
- China central bank to keep policy slightly loose (Reuters)
- Qatar Stuns Mideast Debt Market With Record $9 Billion Bond (BBG)
- Greece’s Journey to Redemption Remains a Long One After Aid Deal (BBG)
- Atomic bomb survivors to attend Hiroshima event for Obama visit (Reuters)
Overnight Media Digest
- Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server and her lax record keeping while secretary of state violated the department’s policies, an independent watchdog said, a rebuke that keeps the issue alive as she campaigns for president. (http://on.wsj.com/1WkWoYk)
- Twitter Inc on Wednesday confirmed it is curtailing an advertisement effort that encouraged people to purchase products from merchants without leaving the social-media service. (http://on.wsj.com/25iWph3)
- Eleven states, led by Texas, are suing the Obama administration over a new policy saying public schools must let transgender students use the bathroom of their choice – calling the directive “a massive social experiment” running roughshod over “common-sense policies”, according to the complaint. (http://on.wsj.com/1WkWvDf)
* British Prime Minister David Cameron urged young people to register to vote for the EU referendum scheduled next month.
* Microsoft Corp said on Wednesday it will cut back and take a charge of about $950 million for its smartphone business, just two years after it bought handset maker Nokia.
by Zero Hedge - May 26th, 2016 7:10 am
Submitted by Tyler Durden.
While the G7 summit in Japan continued to press well-known themes, with the general consensus being that world leaders would continue pushing against competitive FX devaluations (a jab pointed once again at Japan as suggested by this weekend’s meeting of finance ministers and central bankers), Merkel adding that there is hardly any leeway left for monetary policy and Abe saving some face by adding that the G7 agreed the global economy is facing big risks, the biggest surprise out of this latest statement was Obama’s comments on Donald Trump.
In a statement to the press, Obama said that world leaders are “rattled” by Republican nominee Donald Trump’s public statements. “They are paying very close attention to this election,” the president told reporters. “I think it’s fair to say they are surprised by the Republican nominee. They are not sure how seriously to take some of his pronouncements, but they are rattled by it.”
Obama added that Republican nominee has displayed “ignorance of international affairs or a cavalier attitude or an interest in tweets and headlines rather than thinking through what is required” to keep the world safe.
On the other hand, Obama confirmed that both Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders would be a continuation of the status quo by saying “both pointing in the same direction” with policy proposals. “I guarantee you that the eventual nominee sure wishes it were over now because this is a grind. It’s hard.”
And as has been repeatedly the case, in further bracketing Trump as not only an anti US establishment candidate, but one who is disliked by the entire global community, Obama likely just earned the New York billionaire some more votes; it will also provide Trump with further ammo to push his own specific policy agenda.
by Zero Hedge - May 26th, 2016 6:55 am
Submitted by Pivotfarm.
A buck’s a buck, right? Well, it should be. The value of a greenback in the United States should have the same value all over the country. Except, depending on where you live that dollar bill will get you more…or less…of what you need every day. So, no a dollar just ain’t a dollar, is it? Data from the Bureau of Economic Analysis provides statistic for the entire country to determine just how far that dollar can go for goods and services everywhere. Whatever it is you’re buying, the price of food, drink, housing, and local services all differ according to the income levels of people in the state. So, if you earn more, then your dollar isn’t going to go as far as somewhere where the inhabitants of the state are earning a lot less.
So where would your dollar get you more for your money? That doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re going to want to live there, because if you do, you’ll be earning less. So, which would you prefer: earning more and end up paying through the nose for something or getting it on the cheap and earning a lot less than you would maybe like to?
States where your dollar goes a little bit further…or not at all!
50. Hawaii: the value of the dollar here is the lowest in the country. It’s only worth $0.86 by comparison with all of the other states in the USA for food, goods and services, as well as housing. The value of the dollar changed by +9.3% between 2008 and 2013. That means that the price of housing affected the value of the dollar, probably. The fall in the housing market meant that the value of the dollar increased. But, at the same time, the people lost their money despite the increase because they lost their homes or the price of them plummeted. Median household income stands at $69,592 and it is the 5th highest in the country. The poverty rate is just 11.4% and that means it’s the 7th lowest in the United States today.
by Zero Hedge - May 26th, 2016 6:48 am
Submitted by Tyler Durden.
In what has been another quiet overnight session, which unlike the past two days has not seen steep, illiquid gaps higher in US equity futures (the E-mini was up 3 points and accelerating to the upside as of this writing so there is still ample time for the momentum algos to go berserk), the main event was the price of Brent rising above $50 for the first time since November with WTI rising as high as $49.97.
As shown in the chart below, Brent crude surpassed $50 a barrel for the first time since November, lifting commodity companies and buoying currencies where oil is produced.
A drop in U.S. stockpiles and shrinking output in Nigeria and Venezuela contributed to the gains in Brent, which is up more than 80 percent from January’s low of $27.10. The Bloomberg Commodity Index rose to the highest in a week as metals also advanced, and miners in the Stoxx Europe 600 Index headed for their biggest three-day jump in more than a month.
Brent is recovering after tumbling to a 12-year low in January. Now, the International Energy Agency and Goldman Sachs Group Inc. say a glut is dissipating as low prices take their toll on supplies. That may leave prices high enough to alleviate the threat of deflation and still low enough that they don’t impinge on economic growth. “It could well be that we have arrived at a ‘sweet spot’ — low enough to support consumers and curtail industry job cuts, but not high enough to rile central banks and bond markets.” said Michael Ingram, a market strategist at BGC Partners.
Well, if US consumers didn’t benefit from low oil, they sure will benefit from higher “sweet spot” soil, supposedly.
As for markets, even the bulls are looking for an end to the latest torrid short squeeze: “It’s to be expected after the gains we’ve seen this week,” said Michael Hewson, a market analyst at CMC Markets in London. “The real test is whether or not we can sustain the gains of the last two days. There is a lack of conviction on the part of investors with respect to the overall direction of European stocks. I don’t see where that catalyst is coming from at the moment.”
by Zero Hedge - May 26th, 2016 5:58 am
Submitted by Sprott Money.
I sat down with John Rubino of Dollar Collapse to discuss the current state of our economic world. In a very lively conversation, we hit some of the more pressing items of the day. John has done a fantastic job of documenting the demise of the dollar since he co-authored ”The Collapse of the Dollar” with James Turk back in 2004. John’s insights and analysis are top shelf and he should be on everyone’s list of people to follow.
How many “emergency” “secret” meetings do the central planners around the world need to have before the citizens of the respective countries begin to fully understand and take notice that something is very, very wrong? This year alone there have been several off-calendar meetings with, at least, one more now added to the docket.
The G-20 central planners have scheduled an “emergency” meeting for summer 2016. What will the topics be? Could it possibly be the fact the global economy is on the verge of total collapse? With the Baltic Dry Index, Shanghai Containerized Freight Index, not to mention commodities, all spiraling out of control to the downside, do you think there may be a reason for these people to be concerned? My guess is they could care less and are simply meeting in order to determine how the remaining wealth, in their respective countries, will be divided as the global economy continues grinding to a halt.
If one simply looks at the following line-items, it is clear for anyone to see something is about to hit the fan and it’s not anything anyone wants hitting the fan.
- 45 million people in the U.S. on food stamps
- some estimates as high as 10 million refugees flooding into the European Union
- non-stop wars of aggression involving NATO, Russia, Syria and several other countries
- financial crisis that began in 2008 has not been addressed and the problems that started that year have grown larger and far deeper
- banking system in the European Union, especially Italy, is under enormous stress due to faulting/fraudulent accounting
- Federal Reserve balance sheet
Former McDonalds CEO Crushes The Minimum Wage Lie: “It’s Cheaper To Buy A Robot Than Hire At $15/Hour”
by Zero Hedge - May 26th, 2016 5:18 am
Submitted by Tyler Durden.
While this should come as no surprise to any rational non-establishment-teet-suckling economist (and certainly not to our readers), former McDonalds’ CEO Ed Rensi continued his crusade against the naive “solution” to poor living standards that has been peddled by a clueless administration in the form of a higher federal minimum wage, and after he patiently explained one month ago that “the $15 minimum wage demand, which translates to $30,000 a year for a full-time employee, is built upon a fundamental misunderstanding of a restaurant business just do the math” Rensi found that nobody has still done the math.
Which is perhaps why the ex-CEO reappeared on Fox Business yesterday to explain to Maria Bartiromo that as fast-food workers across the country vie for $15 per hour wages, many business owners have already begun to take humans out of the picture, McDonalds most certainly included.
As Rensi admitted, “I was at the National Restaurant Show yesterday and if you look at the robotic devices that are coming into the restaurant industry – it’s cheaper to buy a $35,000 robotic arm than it is to hire an employee who’s inefficient making $15 an hour bagging French fries - it’s nonsense and it’s very destructive and it’s inflationary and it’s going to cause a job loss across this country like you’re not going to believe.”
“It’s not just going to be in the fast food business. Franchising is the best business model in the United States. It’s dependent on people that have low job skills that have to grow. Well if you can’t get people a reasonable wage, you’re going to get machines to do the work. It’s just common sense. It’s going to happen whether you like it or not. And the more you push this it’s going to happen faster,” the former McDonalds Chief Executive added.
Rensi also said that we should do away with the federal minimum wage and leave it up to the states, which is quite logical. It’s also why it will never happen.
by Zero Hedge - May 26th, 2016 4:00 am
Submitted by Tyler Durden.
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Obama administration set a record for the number of times its federal employees told disappointed citizens, journalists and others that despite searching they couldn’t find a single page requested under the Freedom of Information Act, according to a new Associated Press analysis of government data.
In more than one in six cases, or 129,825 times, government searchers said they came up empty-handed last year.Such cases contributed to an alarming measurement: People who asked for records under the law received censored files or nothing in 77 percent of requests, also a record. In the first full year after President Barack Obama’s election, that figure was only 65 percent of cases.
New York Times public editor Margaret Sullivan recently had some choice words for the liberal Potemkin Village that is President Barack Obama.
What follows are some excerpts from her cutting Washington Post op-ed, published yesterday.
After early promises to be the most transparent administration in history, this has been one of the most secretive. And in certain ways, one of the most elusive. It’s also been one of the most punitive toward whistleblowers and leakers who want to bring light to wrongdoing they have observed from inside powerful institutions…
On Monday, during a visit to Vietnam, the president spent some quality time with the media — in the form of Anthony Bourdain, the celebrity chef. A couple of years ago, he did a heavily publicized interview with the comedian Zach Galifianakis on the faux talk show “Between Two Ferns,” and last year he made a visit to podcaster Marc Maron’s garage for a chat about fatherhood and overcoming fear.
But his on-the-record interviews with hard-news, government reporters have been relatively rare — and, rather than being wide-ranging, often limited to a single subject, such as the economy.
Remarkably, Post news reporters haven’t been able to interview the president since late 2009. Think about that. The Post is, after all, perhaps the leading news outlet on national government and politics, with no in-depth, on-the-record access to the president of the United States for almost all of his two terms.
I couldn’t get anyone in the White House