Showing posts with label API. Show all posts
Showing posts with label API. Show all posts

Monday, September 06, 2010

From a Sobering August to Sept's Crude Forecast!

August has been a sobering month of sorts for the crude market. Overall, the average drop in WTI crude for the month was well above 8% and the premium between Brent crude and WTI crude futures contracts averaged about US$2. The market perhaps needed a tempering of expectations; poor economic data and fears of a double-dip recession did just that.

Even healthy US jobs data released last week could not stem the decline; though prices did recover by about 2% towards the end of last week. On Friday, the crude contract for October delivery lost 0.6% or US$0.41 to $74.60 a barrel on NYMEX. This is by no means a full blown slump (yet!) given that last week’s US EIA report was bearish for crude. It suggests that stocks built-up by 3.4 million barrels, a figure which was above market consensus but less than that published by the API. This is reflected in the current level of crude oil prices.

Looking specifically at ICE Brent crude oil futures, technical analysts remain mildly bullish in general predicting a pause and then a recovery over the next three weeks. In an investment note discussing the ICE Brent crude oil contract for October delivery, Société Générale CIB commodities technical analyst Stephanie Aymés notes that at first the market should drift lower but US$74.40/73.90 will hold and the recovery will resume to 77.20 and 77.70/78.00 or even 78.80 (Click chart above).

On the NYMEX WTI forward month futures contract, Aymés also sees a recovery. “73.40 more importantly 72.60 will hold, a further recovery will develop to 75.55/90 and 76.45 or even 77.05/77.25,” she notes. By and large, technical charts from Société Générale or elsewhere are not terribly exciting at the moment with the price still generally trading pretty much within the US$70-80 range.

Elsewhere in the crude world, here is a brilliant article from BBC reporter Konstantin Rozhnov on how Russia’s recently announced privatisation drive is sparking fears of a return to the Yeltsin era sale of assets.

On a crudely related note, after a series of delays, Brazil’s Petrobras finally unveiled its plans to sell up to US$64.5 billion of new common and preference stock in one of the largest public share offerings in the world.

A company spokeswoman said on Friday that the price of new shares would be announced on September 23rd. The IPO could well be expanded from US$64.5 billion to US$74.7 billion subject to demand; though initially Petrobras would issue 2.17 billion common shares and 1.58 billion preferred shares. The share capital will finance development of offshore drilling in the country’s territorial waters.

Lastly, the US Navy and BP said late on Sunday that the Macondo well which spilled over 200 million gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico poses no further risk to the environment. Admiral Thad Allen, a US official leading the government’s efforts, made the announcement after engineers replaced a damaged valve on the sea bed.

Concurrently, The Sunday Times reported that BP had raised the target for its asset sales from US$30 billion to US$ 40 billion to cover the rising clean-up cost of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill. The paper, citing unnamed sources, also claimed that BP was revisiting the idea of selling a stake in its Alaskan assets.

© Gaurav Sharma 2010. Graphics © SGCIB / CQG Inc. Photo: Alaska, US © Kenneth Garrett / National Geographic Society

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Crude Price Seen Factoring In Survey Data

Crude oil futures rose over 3% on average in week over week terms and for a change that is not chiefly down to a stand-alone argument that black gold is higher because the commodity is cheaper in U.S. Dollar terms.

To be fair, the 5-day cycle I examine began with the usual market conjecture over the position of the dollar. However, survey evidence indicates that manufacturing activity is picking-up. This morning, the Philadelphia Federal Reserve said its index of manufacturing activity rose to 17.6 in February from 15.2 in January; a sixth consecutive monthly rise. Across the pond, UK’s Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) reported its biggest monthly increase in auto production in year over year terms since May 1976. It said 101,190 cars were produced in January, up from 85,316 in December.

Trawling back the economic calendar, manufacturing purchasing managers’ indices (PMI) on either side of the pond are positive, especially the Eurozone PMI released on February 1st. It came in at 52.4 for January, versus 51.6 at the end of 2009; the highest level in two years. Admittedly, difference between the zone’s healthiest and weakest economies is widening, but overall picture is improving. Furthermore, Indian and Chinese economic activity remains buoyant. Yet, market commentators correctly opine that global economy is not quite out of the woods yet. From a British standpoint, Kate Barker, a member of the Bank of England’s rate setting monetary policy committee, summed up the City of London’s fears best in an interview with the Belfast Newsletter.

“Do I think that it’s possible we (in the UK) will have another quarter of negative production at some point? I do think it’s possible and I think the recovery will be quite hesitant but I wouldn’t necessarily describe that as a double dip,” Baker said.

That argument could be used for a number of OECD economies which have emerged from the recession over the last two quarters. Not to mention that Spain is yet to come out of a recession. David Moore, Chief Commodities Strategist at Commonwealth Bank of Australia, sees a gradual rebound in economic activity as the recovery takes hold which would then reflect in crude oil consumption patterns supporting crude prices to the upside.

Energy markets have always had to contend with volatility and that will not change. As Greece’s debt weighs on the Euro, the Dollar is seen strengthening which would in turn have a bearing upon crude prices. Moore opines that had the Dollar not strengthened against the Euro, crude oil price seen this week would have been even higher than current levels.

U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) and American Petroleum Institute (API) data did not really temper this morning’s climb. A few hours ago, the EIA said U.S. crude inventories rose by 3.1 million barrels over the week ending February 12, while the API said late on Wednesday that crude supplies declined by 63,000 barrels last week. However, it also reported that gasoline stocks rose by 1.4 million barrels over the corresponding period.

Following the EIA data, NYMEX crude contract for March settlement stood at $78.15 up 84 cents or 1.09% at 17:00 GMT, trading in the circa of 76.32 to 78.71. Across the pond, London Brent Crude’s April settlement contract stood at $76.03 up 66 cents or 0.87% trading in the circa of $75.27 to $77.65. The Dollar’s strength remains a factor, but there are others to consider too.

© Gaurav Sharma 2010. Photo Courtesy © BP Plc