Morgan Stanley Oil Warning: The Crash / Glut Continues

Morgan Stanley has been pretty pessimistic about oil prices in 2015,

drawing comparisons to the some of the worst oil slumps of the past three decades. The current downturn could even rival the iconic price crash of 1986, analysts had warned—but definitely no worse.

This week, a revision: It could be much worse

Until recently, confidence in a strong recovery for oil prices—and oil companies—had been pretty high, wrote analysts including Martijn Rats and Haythem Rashed, in a report to investors yesterday. That confidence was based on four premises, they said, and only three have proven true.

1. Demand will rise: Check 

In theory: The crash in prices that started a year ago should stimulate demand. Cheap oil means cheaper manufacturing, cheaper shipping, more summer road trips.

In practice: Despite a softening Chinese economy, global demand has indeed surged by about 1.6 million barrels a day over last year’s average, according to the report.

2. Spending on new oil will fall: Check 

In theory: Lower oil prices should force energy companies to cut spending on new oil supplies, and the cost of drilling and pumping should decline.

In practice: Sure enough, since October the number of rigs actively drilling for new oil around the world has declined by about 42 percent. More than 70,000 oil workers have lost their jobs globally, and in 2015 alone listed oil companies have cut about $129 billion in capital expenditures.

3. Stock prices remain low: Check 

In theory: While oil markets rebalance themselves, stock prices of oil companies should remain cheap, setting the stage for a strong rebound.

In practice: Yep. The oil majors are trading near 35-year lows, using two different methods of valuation.

4. Oil supply will drop: Uh-oh 

In theory: With strong demand for oil and less money for drilling and exploration, the global oil glut should diminish. Let the recovery commence.

In practice: The opposite has happened. While U.S. production has leveled off since June, OPEC has taken up the role of market spoiler.

OPEC Production Surges in 2015

Source: Morgan Stanley Research, Bloomberg

For now, Morgan Stanley is sticking with its original thesis that prices will improve, largely because OPEC doesn’t have much more spare capacity to fill and because oil stocks have already been hammered.

But another possibility is that the supply of new oil coming from outside the U.S. may continue to increase as sanctions against Iran dissolve and if the situation in Libya improves, the Morgan Stanley analysts said. U.S. production could also rise again. A recovery is less certain than it once was, and the slump could last for three years or more—”far worse than in 1986.”

“In that case,” they wrote, “there would be little in history that could be a guide” for what’s to come.

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Why Gold Miners Just Keep On Diggin’ A Deeper Hole For Themselves

What does Peter Schiff not understand?

If only gold mine operators could flatten their debt mountains as easily as they can the real things.

Mining companies built up record borrowings to boost gold output during a 12-year bull market in the metal that stopped dead in 2011. The 42 percent slump in prices since then leaves them effectively servicing the debt with devalued currency.

Gold mining companies boosted debt to take advantage of rising prices.

Output that might have fallen as gold sank has continued on to all-time highs as producers need to generate enough cash from sales at lower prices to keep up payments on what they owe.

That’s squeezed profitability and share prices, with a benchmark index of 30 of the biggest precious-metals miners falling to the lowest levels since 2001, when bullion was barely a quarter of its current rate of $1,110 an ounce.

Equities tumble to their lowest since 2001.
Equities tumble to their lowest since 2001.

“The industry is in a shocking state,” said Mark Bristow, head of Randgold Resources Ltd., the producer with the best share performance in the past decade. “Everyone is still focused on production and not on profitability.”

Growth in output has exacerbated an oversupply that makes a recovery in the bullion price harder to achieve, Bristow said.

Gold production continues to rise even as prices fall.
Gold production continues to rise even as prices fall.

Debt held by 15 of the biggest producers including Barrick Gold Corp. and Goldcorp Inc. hit a record $31.5 billion at the end of the first quarter, up from less than $2 billion in 2005, according to data compiled by Bloomberg Intelligence.

That was spurred by the dash for growth when prices were rising, including $8.5 billion for Barrick’s mine in the Andes mountains and C$8.2 billion ($6.3 billion) for Kinross Gold Corp.’s bet on Mauritania. In the past decade, world output expanded 24 percent to last year’s 3,114 metric tons.

“The whole industry is being encouraged to continue to live on hope,” Bristow said. “The question is how much cash flow do you need to expunge the debt? There’s nothing really left to create value for shareholders.”

Braggin’ Rights :Gold Reaches Lowest Since 2010

We sold and advised YOU to sell at $1800

We told you repeatedly Peter Schiff was leading you astray

For six years, investors have been guessing how much gold China owns. On Friday, they found out and the results were underwhelming.

China said it boosted bullion assets to about 1,658 metric tons, less than brokers at GoldCore Ltd and Sharps Pixley Ltd. expected. Futures dropped to the lowest since 2010 on Friday as signs of improving U.S. economic growth further diminished the metal’s appeal as a haven.

With investors in the U.S. scoffing at the precious metal, bulls were holding out hope that buying from China could help to buoy demand. The Asian country is the world’s biggest gold producer and vies with India as the top consumer. The price rout worsened the outlook for miners, with shares of Barrick Gold Corp. dropping to the lowest since 1991 on Friday.

“I’m shocked by how small the figure is,” Ross Norman, chief executive officer of dealer Sharps Pixley, said by telephone from London, referring to China’s gold reserves. “I don’t think I was alone in thinking they have accumulated three times as much.”

Gold futures for August delivery dropped 1.1 percent to $1,130.90 an ounce at 11:16 a.m. on the Comex in New York, after touching $1,129.60, the lowest since April 2010.

The reserve figures “were disappointing in some aspects and reflected that China isn’t adding gold as much as people thought it was,” Bernard Dahdah, a precious-metals analyst at Natixis SA in London, said in a telephone interview. “It begs the question of what’s been happening to the gold produced that hasn’t been taken by the central bank.”

Weekly Drop

Prices extended losses after a government report showed new-home construction in the U.S. climbed in June to the second-highest level since 2007. The metal is heading for a fourth straight weekly decline as Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen has indicated that the central bank will increase interest rates this year amid the improving economy.

Higher rates cut the appeal of precious metals because they don’t pay interest or give returns like other assets such as bonds and equities. Gold futures in New York fell for a seventh straight session, the longest streak since November.

Shares of Barrick Gold, the world’s biggest producer of the metal, fell as much as 6.5 percent in Toronto. The Philadelphia Stock Exchange Gold and Silver Index, a gauge of miners, slumped as much as 4.2 percent, reaching the lowest since January 2002.

“There is just no interest in the market to own gold,” Donald Selkin, the New York-based chief market strategist at National Securities Corp., which manages about $3 billion, said by telephone. “The Fed’s hawkish stance is the biggest culprit for the decline that we are seeing in the precious-metals market.”

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King Coal: The King Is Dead – here’s proof

 Signs That Coal Is Getting Killed

Coal is having a hard time lately. U.S. power plants are switching to natural gas, environmental restrictions are kicking in, and the industry is being derided as the world’s No. 1 climate criminal. Prices have crashed, sure, but for a real sense of coal’s diminishing prospects, check out what’s happening in the bond market.

Bonds are where coal companies turn to raise money for such things as new mines and environmental cleanups. But investors are increasingly reluctant to lend to them. Coal bond prices tumbled 17 percent in the second quarter, according to an analysis by Bloomberg Intelligence. It’s the fourth consecutive quarter of price declines and the worst performance of any industry group by a long shot.

Bonds fluctuate less than stocks, because the payoff is fixed and pretty much guaranteed as long as the borrower remains solvent. A 17 percent decline is huge, and it happened at a time when other energy bonds—oil and gas—were rising. Three of America’s biggest coal producers had the worst-performing bonds for the quarter:

  • Alpha Natural Resources: -70 percent
  • Peabody: -40 percent
  • Arch: -30 percent

Coal powered the industrial revolution and helped lift much of humanity out of poverty, but its glory days have reached an end. Here are four of the biggest pressures facing the industry:

1. The U.S. Grid Is Changing

About 17 percent of U.S. coal-fired power generation will disappear over the next few years, according to an analysis by Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF). Obstacles include age, the abundance of cheap natural gas, and new EPA rules to cut pollution. Here’s a great visual breakdown of what’s happening to U.S. coal power.

Coal Plants on the Way Out by 2020

Source: Bloomberg Business / BNEF

The map shows coal plants in 2010 that may be headed for retirement. Blue circles represent plants that will be shuttered by 2020, while yellow will convert to gas, and red have undetermined futures. Big coal won a small victory over the EPA’s new mercury restrictions at the Supreme Court in June, but it’s most likely a temporary reprieve.

2. Even China Is Approaching Peak Coal

The biggest power investments are now happening in renewable energy, but fossil fuels will be with us for decades to come. The global burning of coal won’t peak on a global scale until around 2025, according to BNEF. But that doesn’t indicate a thriving industry. Even China, the world’s biggest consumer of coal, wants to be rid of it.

While China’s electricity demand will soar in the coming decades, its coal use will remain relatively flat, peaking by 2030 and then declining, according to BNEF. The pollution is too thick and the alternatives too cheap for coal to flourish. The chart below shows China’s ever-falling price of wind power (blue) and solar (yellow) vs. the rising cost of coal (dark gray) and natural gas (light gray) over the next 25 years.

Wind and Solar Will Win the Price War

Source: BNEF

3. Financial Distress

The declining prices of bonds is a huge problem for U.S. coal companies. When bond prices fall, the cost of borrowing money goes up. And coal needs more money.

Coal companies are allowed to avoid costly insurance premiums by showing they have the capital to clean up after themselves. It’s called self-bonding. This year the federal government has started taking a closer look at whether the struggling coal companies still qualify.

In May, the Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality told Alpha Natural Resources it no longer qualifies for self-bonding in the state, and the company has until Aug. 24 to post collateral or cash against $411 million of reclamation liabilities. The department last week confirmed that Peabody, the largest U.S. coal producer, can continue to self-bond.

4. Renewables Are …

Coal is an industry in terminal decline, and financial markets are reflecting this new reality. Drastic new energy policies are still needed to avoid catastrophic climate change, according to nearly every credible analysis. But even setting aside the environmental and health issues, renewables are on a trajectory to outcompete fossil fuels, starting with coal. Between now and 2040, two-thirds of the money spent on adding new electricity capacity worldwide will be spent on renewables, according to BNEF. The table below forecasts the proportion of renewable electricity in select countries by 2040.

Winning

In the past year, global stock prices for coal companies are down almost 50 percent, but it’s in the bond market that coal is really getting hammered. The focus of energy finance has shifted from coal to renewables, and it’s not likely to turn back.

Saudi Arabia Opens Production Taps

Saudi Arabia told OPEC it raised oil production to a record as the organization forecast stronger demand for its members’ crude in 2016.

The world’s biggest oil exporter pumped 10.564 million barrels a day in June, exceeding a previous record set in 1980, according to data the kingdom submitted to the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries. The group sees “a more balanced market” in 2016 as demand for its crude strengths and supply elsewhere falters.

Source: Bloomberg

OPEC said it expects expanding oil consumption to outpace diminished output growth from rival producers such as U.S. shale drillers, whittling away a supply glut. The strategy is taking time to have an impact, with crude prices remaining 46 percent below year-ago levels and annual U.S. production forecast to reach a 45-year high.

“Saudi Arabia is still pursuing a market-share strategy,” Torbjoern Kjus, an analyst at DNB ASA in Oslo, said by phone. “They need more oil domestically for air conditioning in the summer, so they could choose to either produce more or reduce exports. Clearly they choose to produce more.”

Brent crude futures fell 1.7 percent to $57.70 a barrel at 1:24 p.m. local time on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange, extending a 2.6 percent loss last week.

Market Balancing

“Momentum in the global economy, especially in the emerging markets, would contribute further to oil demand growth in the coming year,” OPEC’s Vienna-based research department said Monday in its monthly market report.

Demand for the group’s crude will climb in 2016 by 900,000 barrels a day to average 30.1 million a day, according to the report. That’s still about 1.2 million less than the group estimated it pumped in June.

Even though the market will theoretically be more balanced next year, “you still have to deal with the legacy of oversupply in 2014 to 2015,” said Harry Tchilinguirian, head of commodity markets strategy at BNP Paribas SA in London. Global markets remain “massively oversupplied,” the International Energy Agency said on July 13.

Three-Year Peak

OPEC’s 12 members raised production by 283,200 barrels a day to a three-year high of 31.378 million a day last month, according to external estimates of output cited by the report. This data included a lower figure for Saudi production of 10.235 million barrels a day.

There was no total available for data submitted directly by OPEC members, because of omissions by Algeria, Libya and Venezuela.

Global oil demand will accelerate next year, to 1.34 million barrels a day, compared with 1.28 million in 2015, led by rising consumption in emerging economies, according to the report. Supply growth outside OPEC will slow to 300,000 barrels a day in 2016 from 860,000 a day this year with the gain concentrated in the U.S.

The International Energy Agency estimated demand would grow more slowly next year, with consumption expanding by 1.2 million barrels a day compared with 1.4 million in 2015, according to its monthly report July 10. The Paris-based adviser forecast no growth in non-OPEC supply next year.

World oil demand will average 93.9 million barrels a day in 2016, while non-OPEC supply will total 57.7 million barrels a day, according to the OPEC report.

Video: Top IRS Agents Discuss Tax Havens

Shipping Industry Bloomberg Update : Gloomiest Since 2009

 

The shipping industry is the most pessimistic in six years about its prospects as a fleet surplus persists, according to a survey by law firm Norton Rose Fulbright.

Two thirds of respondents working in the industry said they were pessimistic about its prospects, the most negative outlook since 2009, the London-based company said in a statement. The biggest contributor to their negative view was excess fleet capacity.

While parts of the maritime industry such as the market for hauling oil are surging this year, others are slumping. Rates for delivering Saudi Arabian crude to Japan, a benchmark route, just had the highest first half of a year since at least 2009. The Baltic Dry Index, measuring coal and iron ore freight, had the worst first six months ever.

“Shipping is a notoriously speculative business,” Harry Theochari, the firm’s global head of transport, who has worked in the industry for more than 30 years, said by phone. “We have this huge overcapacity but a lot of shipowners are still going out and ordering ships.”

The survey collated responses from 94 people working across the maritime industry. More than half saw over-capacity as shipping’s biggest challenge, and continuing orders for newbuild vessels has led to increased pessimism, according to Theochari.

Tanker rates from Saudi Arabia to Japan averaged $63,476 this year, according to Baltic Exchange data. The Baltic Dry Index averaged 627 points, the lowest for the start of a year since it was first published three decades ago.

 

Jack A. Bass Managed Accounts hold no shipping stocks – and we are not trying to guess where the bottom might be. We are content to invest in sectors with better prospects and watch the shipping sector for a revival.

Iron Ore Tumbles on Supply Jump as Goldman, Citi Prove Accurate

Iron ore capped the biggest weekly loss since April as shipments surged and data showed the slowdown in China’s steel industry deepened, vindicating banks from Goldman Sachs Group Inc. to Citigroup Inc. that had forecast declines.

Ore with 62 percent content delivered to Qingdao lost 0.7 percent to $55.26 a dry metric ton on Friday, falling for a seventh day, according to Metal Bulletin Ltd. Prices lost 11 percent this week to the lowest level since April. Producers’ shares sank, with Rio Tinto Group dropping to the lowest since 2009 in London and Anglo American Plc falling to a 12-year low.

Iron ore’s decline eroded gains seen in the second quarter, when prices rebounded from a decade-low as shipments missed expectations. The top suppliers, including Rio in Australia and Brazil’s Vale SA remain intent on increasing supply as they seek to boost volumes and reduce costs per ton, expanding a glut even as demand in China slows. Goldman and Citigroup said the gains in April and May wouldn’t last as low-cost production was set to increase further while demand growth slowed in China.

“The majors are continuing to push the tons,” Paul Gait, an analyst at Sanford C. Bernstein & Co. in London, said after data showed record shipments in June through Port Hedland, the world’s largest bulk-export terminal. “Clearly, that’s bad for prices, there’s no way that could be interpreted positively.”

Exports from the port that handles cargoes from BHP Billiton Ltd. and Fortescue Metals Group Ltd. jumped to a record 38.4 million tons last month, according to data on Thursday. Shipments from Brazil, the biggest exporter after Australia, surged to 32 million tons last month from 29.55 million a year earlier, the government said.

Largest Buyer

“We’ll still see prices dropping below $40,” Ivan Szpakowski, a commodities strategist at Citigroup in Hong Kong, said by phone on Friday. “Just like the weakness in exports were the main reason for the rally, now the recovery is likely to drive it lower.”

The purchasing managers’ index for China’s steel industry, which has contracted for more than a year, extended its decline in June to about a seven-year low of 37.4, government data compiled by Bloomberg showed. New orders slumped to 27.9 from 37.6 in May. A reading below 50 indicates contraction. China is the world’s largest buyer of seaborne iron ore.

Iron ore holdings at Chinese ports rose 2.8 percent this week to 81.6 million tons, the first increase since April, data from Shanghai Steelhome Information Technology Co. showed. Australia & New Zealand Banking Group Ltd. said last month that the declining trend in inventories would soon reverse and lead to lower prices.

Australia Shipments

Shipments from Australia may surge 10 percent next year, more than twice the pace forecast for 2015, the government said on Tuesday. The outlook cited expansions by producers including Rio as well as supplies from billionaire Gina Rinehart’s Roy Hill mine, which are set to commence this half.

The global surplus will expand to 151 million tons in 2018 from 34 million tons this year, according to UBS Group AG. Prices may tumble into the $30s in the second half as surging low-cost output swamps the market, Capital Economics Ltd. said.

Rio’s stock fell as much as 2.2 percent to 2,576 pence in London, while BHP was 1.9 percent lower, down 33 percent over the past 12 months. Anglo, which produces iron ore alongside materials from copper to diamonds, dropped as much as 2.7 percent to 893.20 pence, the lowest since April 2003.

In Sydney, Fortescue declined 4.7 percent to take this year’s drop to 34 percent.

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