Showing posts with label Wall Street on oil. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Wall Street on oil. Show all posts

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Oil bust of 2015 worse than you thought

While much of Wall Street appears to be at peace with the ‘lower for longer’ oil price slant, new research suggests the industry slump of 2015 was not as bad as we thought stateside; it was actually much worse! 

According to ratings agency Moody's, the oil bust that began in 2015 may turn out to be on par with the telecoms industry collapse of the early 2000s, and worse still it continues to fester. 

Both in terms of the number of recorded bankruptcies, as well as the recovery rates for creditors – 2015 was annus horribilis, with 2016 showing signs of making it look tame.

David Keisman, Senior Vice President at Moody's, says the agency recorded 17 oil & gas bankruptcies in 2015, with 15 coming from the Exploration & Production (E&P) sector, one from oilfield services, and one from drilling. Furthermore, Moody's E&P bankruptcies have accelerated in 2016, with the year-till-date figure about double that for all of 2015.

"The jump in oil and gas defaults that was driven by slumping commodity prices, was primarily responsible for the increase in the overall US default rate in 2015 and continues to fuel it in 2016. When all the data is in, including 2016 bankruptcies, it may very well turn out that this oil & gas industry crisis has created a segment-wide bust of historic proportions," Keisman adds.

That’s because during the telecoms collapse, Moody's recorded 43 company bankruptcies in the three-year period between 2001 and 2003.

Revealing further data, the agency said firm-wide recovery rates for E&P bankruptcies from 2015 averaged only 21%, significantly lower than the historical average of 58.6% for all E&P bankruptcies filed prior to 2015, and the overall historical average of 50.8% for all types of corporates that filed for bankruptcy protection between 1987-2015.

At the instrument level, reserve based loans on average recovered 81%, significantly lower than the 98% recovered in prior energy E&P bankruptcies from 1987-2014. Similarly, other bank debt instruments also on average recovered much less than in previous bankruptcies. For their part, high yield bonds recovered a dismal 6%, compared to a recorded rate in the low 30% in previous E&P bankruptcies.

Finally, Moody’s also notes that “distressed exchanges did little to stave off bankruptcies. More than half of the E&P companies that completed distressed exchanges ended up filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection within a year.”

The agency's sobering take follows those of its ratings industry rivals, with Fitch noting that all European oil majors are likely to generate large negative free cash flows for the full-year 2016, and S&P observing that energy and natural resources segment has the highest concentration of global corporate defaults by sector accounting for 65 issuers, or 56%, of the 117 defaults worldwide in the year to August-end. 

Away from industry doom and gloom, and just before yours truly bids goodbye to the Big Apple, one had the invitation to attend the ICIS Kavaler Award Gala reception sponsored by the Chemists Club at the City’s Metropolitan Club. 

This year’s winner was British serial Industrialist Jim Ratcliffe, the founder of chemicals firm Ineos. According to ICIS, Ratcliffe is the first foreign winner of the award, decided by his peers in the chemicals business. 

Pre-gala, the Oilholic had a drink to that; albeit one which was shaken not stirred, quite like much of the oil & gas industry is at the moment. That’s all from New York folks, with Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania calling next! Keep reading, keep it ‘crude’!

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© Gaurav Sharma 2016. Photo 1: Wall Street Signage, New York, USA. Photo 2: The Oilholic in The Big Apple © Gaurav Sharma, September 2016

Views from Wall Street on oil market volatility

The Oilholic finds himself 3,460 miles away from London in New York, with Wall Street giving the crude market yet another reality check. In the last few months, money managers of all description, not just our friends in the hedge fund business, are scratching their heads having first seen a technical bear market in July, only for it to turn in favour of a technical bull market in August!

But now, with all that phoney talk of producers coming together to freeze oil production having fallen by the wayside, both Brent and WTI have started slipping again. 

Not one Wall Streeter the Oilholic has spoken to since arriving in the Big Apple seems to discount the theory that oil may be no higher than $50 per barrel come Christmas, and even that might be a stretch. 

In a desperate bid to keep the market interested in the production freeze nonsense, the Saudis and Russians pledged cooperation ensuring "oil market stability" at no less august a venue than the G20 summit in China earlier this month. Of course, as no clear direction was provided on how that "stability" might actually be achieved and nothing revealed by way of production alterations or caps, not many are quite literally buying it – not on Wall Street, not in the City of London.

Forget the shorts, even the longs brigade have realised that unless both the Saudis and Russians, who between them are pumping over 20 million barrels per day (bpd) of oil, announce a highly unlikely real terms cut of somewhere in the region of 1 to 1.5 million bpd at the producers’ informal shindig on the sidelines of International Energy Forum (due 26-28 September) in Algiers, price support would be thin on the ground.

In fact, even a real terms cut would only provide short-lived support of somewhere in the region of $5-10 per barrel. As a side effect, this temporary reprieve would boost fringe non-OPEC production that is currently struggling with a sub $50 oil price. Furthermore, North American shale production, which is proving quite resilient with price fluctuations in the $40-50 range, is going to go up a level and supply scenarios would revert to the norm within a matter of months.

A number of oil producers would substitute the hypothetical 1-1.5 million bpd Riyadh and Moscow could potentially sacrifice. That’s precisely why Wall Street is betting on the fact that neither countries would relent, for among other things – both are also competing against each other for market.

Another added complication is the uncertainty over oil demand growth, which remains shaky and is not quite what it used to be. Morgan Stanley and Barclays are among a rising number of players who think 2016 might well end-up with demand growth in the region of 625,000 to 850,000 bpd, well shy of market think-tank projections of 1.3 million bpd.

Trading bets are mirroring those market concerns. Money managers sharply decreased their overall bullish bets in WTI futures for the week to September 6th, and also reduced their net position for a second straight week, according to Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) data.

In numeric terms - "Non-commercial contracts" of crude oil futures, to be mostly read as those traded by paper speculators, totalled a net position of +285,795 contracts. That’s a change of -55,493 contracts from the previous week’s total of +341,288; the net contracts for the data reported through August 30th.

The speculative oil bets decline also dragged the net position below the +300,000 level for the first time in nearly a month. That’s all for the moment from New York folks, as the Oilholic leaves you with a view of Times Square! Keep reading, keep it ‘crude’! 

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To email: gaurav.sharma@oilholicssynonymous.com


© Gaurav Sharma 2016. Photo 1: Wall Street & New York Stock Exchange, USA. Photo 2: Times Square, New York, USA © Gaurav Sharma, September 2016

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For comments or for professional queries, please email: gaurav.sharma@oilholicssynonymous.com

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