Commodity Collapse Has More to Go – ” long winter’ for prices lasting years

  • Morgan Stanley sees `long winter’ for prices lasting years

  • Open interest posts fourth straight monthly drop in September

Even with commodities mired in the worst slump in a generation, Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Morgan Stanley and Citigroup Inc. are warning bulls that prices may stay lower for years.

Crude oil and copper are unlikely to rebound because of excess supplies, Goldman predicts, and Morgan Stanley forecasts that weaker currencies in producing countries will encourage robust output of raw materials sold for dollars, even during bear markets. Citigroup says the sluggish world economy makes it “hard to argue” that most prices have already bottomed.

The Bloomberg Commodity Index on Sept. 30 capped its worst quarterly loss since the depths of the recession in 2008. The economy in China, the biggest consumer of grains, energy and metals, is expanding at the slowest pace in two decades just as producers struggle to ease surpluses. Alcoa Inc., once a symbol of American industrial might, plans to split itself in two, while Chesapeake Energy Corp. cut its workforce by 15 percent. Caterpillar Inc. may shed 10,000 jobs as demand slows for mining and energy equipment.


“It would take a brave soul to wade in with both feet into commodities,” Brian Barish, who helps oversee about $12.5 billion at Denver-based Cambiar Investors LLC. “There is far more capacity coming on than there is demand physically. And the only way that you fix the problem is to basically shut capacity in, and you do that by starving commodity producers for capital.”

Investors are already bailing.

Open interest in raw materials, which measures holdings of futures and options, fell for a fourth month in September, the longest streak since 2008, government data show. U.S. exchange-traded products tracking metals, energy and agriculture saw net withdrawals of $467.8 million for the month, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

The Bloomberg Commodity Index, a measure of returns for 22 components, is poised for a fifth straight annual loss, the longest slide since the data begins in 1991. It’s a reversal from the previous decade, when booming growth across Asia fueled a synchronized surge in prices, dubbed the commodity super cycle. Farmers, miners and oil drillers expanded supplies, encouraged by prices that were at record highs in 2008. Now, that output is coming to the market just as global growth is slowing.

Over-investment in new supplies in the past decade and favorable growing conditions for crops caused gluts, Citigroup analysts led by Ed Morse, the global head of commodities research, said in a report Sept. 11. The bank is bearish on crude oil, aluminum, platinum, iron ore, cocoa and wheat in the next three to six months.

Investors need to brace for a “long winter,” with the commodities bear market predicted to last for many years and oil dropping to as low as $35 a barrel, said Ruchir Sharma, who helps manage $25 billion as the head of emerging markets at Morgan Stanley Investment Management in New York. Crude futures traded Tuesday at $46.19, down from about $90 a year earlier.

Goldman Sachs has an even dimmer outlook.

The odds are increasing that oil will slump near $20 because the market is more oversupplied than initially forecast, analysts led by Jeffrey Currie, the head of commodities research, said in a Sept. 11 report. Currie, in an interview days later, said prices could stay low for the next 15 years. The bank also forecasts that copper will remain in surplus through at least 2019 and fall 13 percent to $4,500 a metric ton by the end of next year.

Still, future production isn’t assured. Miners are already scaling back on spending, and extreme weather can cause surprise reductions in farm output.

Rice, one of only a handful of commodities to rise this year, gained 14 percent as a record-wet May in Texas and above-average temperatures in July in other growing states eroded U.S. yield prospects. Companies from Glencore Plc to Freeport-McMoran Inc. are cutting metal output, and Royal Dutch Shell Plc announced it would abandon its drilling campaign in U.S. Arctic waters after spending $7 billion.

“Once you get to a certain price, you’re going to lose a lot of the players,” said Karyn Cavanaugh, a senior market strategist at Windsor, Connecticut-based Voya Investment Management, which oversees $205 billion. “And at that point then, prices will go up.”

Even if demand rebounds, there are still a lot of excess inventories to work through.

U.S. crude-oil stockpiles remain almost 100 million barrels above the five-year average. Copper inventories tracked by the London Metal Exchange have more than doubled in the past 12 months, and the International Grains Council sees wheat reserves climbing to a record next year.

Investors are punishing producers. Glencore has lost about 60 percent in market value this year, and credit markets already view its debt as junk. Seven of the 10 worst performers in the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index this year are commodities-related businesses.

In the case of Caterpillar, the world’s most valuable machinery producer, share prices slumped 23 percent last quarter, as the company struggled to cope with the ripple effects of the slump in oil. The Peoria, Illinois-based company is cutting as much as 9 percent of its workforce through 2018 to lower costs.

“The global infrastructure and supply of commodities still needs to be re-balanced, and it will probably take a couple more years to resolve itself,” said Jack Bass, chief strategist for Jack A. Bass and Associates, Vancouver, Canada.

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Gold ETF ‘Killed The Primary Reason For Owning Gold Miners’ : Barry Ritholtz



Gold miner stocks are the cheapest relative to gold in more than three decades, but bottom fishing might not do you any good.

Barry Ritholtz  contends that the relationship between gold prices and miner stocks has gone haywire since the advent of the SPDR Gold Shares exchange-traded fund (GLD) more than one decade ago:

“Gold miners were once a fair proxy for physical bullion. If it were impractical for you as a fund manager to own bars of gold, which entails transportation, storage and security, you had an easy alternative. You bought shares of the miners. The (theoretical) gold reserves they owned was a component of their book value, and was an indirect way to own gold with none of the other costs.

Similarly, if you were an individual investor, and you didn’t want to play the futures markets — high leverage and risk of losses beyond your original investment — you also could buy shares of the various miners.”

Then along came the GLD, the largest ETF that owns physical gold, back in 2004. Its popularity soared right away. More from Ritholtz:

“The ETF killed the primary reason for owning gold miners. Why bother investing in a company saddled with the overhead cost of running a mine and error-prone management — all a drag on returns — when you could instantly buy a stake in gold without any of the complications? …

There may be some price at which the gold miners become attractive. But it seems like it will be impossible to undo the fact that the reason for owning the miners has been displaced by a less expensive, more efficient investment vehicle for gold.

In that case, good luck figuring out at what price the miners are actually cheap.”

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Atlantic Crude Adds to Seasonal Pressure on Prices : Bloomberg -Russia Rules Out Deal With OPEC


  • North Sea output set to reach highest level in over 3 years
  • Abundant supply comes as refiners poised to start maintenance

The North Sea and Nigeria will ship the most crude in more than three years in October, adding to downward pressure on oil prices just as demand wanes from refiners shutting down for seasonal maintenance.

Output of North Sea grades will reach the highest since May 2012 next month, according to loading programs compiled by Bloomberg. Supplies from Nigeria, the biggest oil producer in Africa, are set to reach a level not seen since August of that year.

“It’s directionally bearish for crude,” Vikas Dwivedi, an analyst at Macquarie Capital Inc. said by e-mail. “The large loading programs will need buyers.”

Production in the North Sea is rising as projects come online that were sanctioned with oil prices above $100 a barrel, according to the International Energy Agency. This coincides with the end of a shutdown in Nigeria caused by a pipeline leak, allowing supplies to flow back to the market, Dwivedi said. Demand for crude will weaken as refiners shut down for seasonal maintenance, although this year’s schedule will belighter than usual as companies take advantage of high profit margins.

Shipments of Brent, Forties, Oseberg and Ekofisk and other North Sea grades, will average 2.1 million barrels a day in October, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Nigerian supplies will total 2.2 million and Angola will ship 1.77 million, the data show.

There is an “existing overhang of the crude in the northwest of Europe, as well as in West Africa,” Abhishek Deshpande, an analyst at Natixis SA said by phone. Together with refiners going offline for seasonal maintenance, that “only tells you one story — pressure on Brent and West African prices.”

Persistent Surplus

Brent crude fell 59 cents to $49.02 a barrel on the at 12:09 p.m. on London-based ICE Futures Europe Exchange. The North Sea benchmark has fallen more than 50 percent in the past year amid a persistent global production surplus.

Refineries in Europe are expected to halt an average of 162,000 barrels a day of processing capacity from this month through to the end of the year compared with 768,000 a day in the same period of 2014, energy consultancy Wood Mackenzie said on Aug. 25. Maintenance, which usually starts in the third week of September or first week of October, may also be pushed back, Deshpande said.

The current increase in North Sea production is temporary relief for an industry facing long-term decline in output from aging fields and high production costs.

The collapse in oil prices has forced companies in the region to cut costs costs, resulting in the loss of about 5,500 jobs since late 2014, the U.K. Oil & Gas Authority, the industry regulator, said in a report Monday. The organization was set up to lay out a plan for improving the competitiveness of the North Sea.

Oil declined for a second day after another Russian official ruled out cooperation on production cuts with OPEC, adding to signs that a global oversupply will persist.

Brent lost 4 percent in London. Russia won’t join the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and isn’t able to cut production in the same way, said OAO Rosneft Chief Executive Officer Igor Sechin. Russia’s Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich said last week there is no way the country can artificially reduce supply.

Oil has fluctuated the past three weeks as concerns over slowing demand in China fueled volatility in global markets. Prices are down more than 25 percent from this year’s closing peak in June on signs the surplus will persist. OPEC members are sustaining output and U.S. crude stockpiles remain almost 100 million barrels above the five-year seasonal average.

Russia Rules Out Deal With OPEC

“Russia’s comments on the market are having some impact on prices today,” Bjarne Schieldrop, Oslo-based chief commodities analyst at SEB AB, said by phone. “There’s some positive data coming from U.S. rig counts for example, and that could be positive for oil prices this week.”

Brent for October settlement lost $1.98 to settle at $47.63 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange. The European benchmark crude traded at a premium of $3.37 to West Texas Intermediate. Prices have decreased 17 percent this year.

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The Bear Market Has Just Begun


Today the narrow-minded canyons of Wall Street are littered almost entirely of trend-following bulls and cheerleaders who don’t realize how little there is to actually cheer about. Stock values are far less attractive than they were on that day back in 2009 and this selloff has a lot longer to run. There are hordes of perma-bulls calling for a V-shaped recovery in stocks, even after multiple years of nary a downtick.

Here are six reasons why I believe the bear market in the major averages has only just begun:

1) Stocks are overvalued by almost every metric.One of my favorite metrics is the price-to-sales ratio, which shows stock prices in relation to the company’s revenue per share and omits the financial engineering associated with borrowing money to buy back shares for the purpose of boosting EPS growth. For the S&P 500 (INDEX: .SPX), this ratio is currently 1.7, which is far above the mean value of 1.4. The benchmark index is also near record high valuations when measured as a percentage of GDP and in relation to the replacement costs of its companies.


2) There is currently a lack of revenue and earnings growth for S&P 500 companies. Second-quarter earnings shrank 0.7 percent, while revenues declined by 3.4 percent from a year earlier, according to FactSet. The Q2 revenue contraction marks the first time the benchmark index’s revenue shrank two quarters in a row since 2009.

S&P 500
  • Virtually the entire global economy is either in, or teetering on, a recession. In 2009, China stepped further into a huge stimulus cycle that would eventually lead to the largest misallocation of capital in the history of the modern world. Empty cities don’t build themselves: They require enormous spurious demand of natural resources, which, in turn, leads to excess capacity from resource-producing countries such as Brazil, Australia, Russia, Canada, et al. Now those economies are in recession because China has become debt disabled and is painfully working down that misallocation of capital. And now Japan and the entire European Union appear poised to follow the same fate.

This is causing the rate of inflation to fall according to the Core PCE index. And the CRB Index, which is at the panic lows of early 2009, is corroborating the decreasing rate of inflation.


But the bulls on Wall Street would have you believe the cratering price of oil is a good thing because the “gas tax cut” will drive consumer spending – never mind the fact that energy prices are crashing due to crumbling global demand. Nevertheless, there will be no such boost to consumer spending from lower oil prices because consumers are being hurt by a lack of real income growth, huge health-care spending increases and soaring shelter costs.

4) U.S. manufacturing and GDP is headed south. The Dallas Fed’s manufacturing report showed its general activity index fell to -15.8 in August, from an already weak -4.6 reading in July. The oil-fracking industry had been one of the sole bright spots for the US economy since the Great Recession and has been the lead impetus of job creation. However, many Wall Street charlatans contend the United States is immune from deflation and a global slowdown and remain blindly optimistic about a strong second half.

Unfortunately, we are already two-thirds of the way into the third quarter and the Atlanta Fed is predicting GDP will grow at an unimpressive rate of 1.3 percent. Furthermore, the August ISM manufacturing index fell to 51.1, from 52.7, its weakest read in over two years. And while gross domestic product in the second quarter came in at a 3.7 percent annual rate, due in large part to a huge inventory build, gross domestic income increased at an annual rate of only 0.6 percent.

GDP tracks all expenditures on final goods and services produced in the United States and GDI tracks all income received by those who produced that output. These two metrics should be equal because every dollar spent on a good or service flows as income to a household, a firm, or the government. The two numbers will, at times, differ in practice due to measurement errors. However this is a fairly large measurement error and it leads one to wonder if that 0.6 percent GDI number should get a bit more attention.

5) Global trade is currently in freefall. Reuters reported that exports from South Korea dropped nearly 15 percent in August from a year earlier, with shipments to China, the United States and Europe all weaker. U.S. exports of goods and general merchandise are at the lowest level since September of 2011. The latest measurement of $370 billion is down from $408 billion, or -9.46 percent from Q4 2014. And CNBC reported this week that the volume of exports from the Port of Long Beach to China dropped by 10 percent YOY. The metastasizing global slowdown will only continue to exacerbate the plummeting value of U.S. trade.


6) The Fed is promising to no longer support the stock market. Back in 2009, our central bank was willing to provide all the wind for the market’s sail. And despite a lackluster 2 percent average annual GDP print since 2010, the stock market doubled in value on the back of zero interest rates and the Federal Reserve ‘s $3.7 trillion money-printing spree. Thus, for the past several years, there has been a huge disparity building between economic fundamentals and the value of stocks.

But now, the end of all monetary accommodations may soon occur, while markets have become massively over-leveraged and overvalued. The end of quantitative easing and a zero interest-rate policy will also coincide with slowing U.S. and global GDP, falling inflation and negative earnings growth. And the Fed will be raising rates and putting more upward pressure on the U.S. dollar while the manufacturing and export sectors are already rolling over.

I am glad Ms. Yellen and Co. appear to have finally assented to removing the safety net from underneath the stock market. Nevertheless, Wall Street may soon learn the baneful lesson that the artificial supports of QE and ZIRP were the only things preventing the unfolding of the greatest bear market in history.

Michael Pento produces the weekly podcast “The Mid-week Reality Check,” is the president and founder of Pento Portfolio Strategies and author of the book “The Coming Bond Market Collapse.”


Shilling : “Oil is headed for $10 to $20 a barrel.”

If crude’s slump back to a six-year low looks bad, it’s even worse when you reflect that summer is supposed to be peak season for oil.

U.S. crude futures have lost 30 percent since the start of June, set for the biggest drop since the West Texas Intermediate crude contract started trading in 1983. That beats the summer plunges during the global financial crisis of 2008, the Asian economic slump in 1998 and the global supply glut of 1986.

It even surpasses the decline of 2011, when prices fell as much as 21 percent over the summer as the U.S. and other large oil-importing nations released 60 million barrels of oil from emergency stockpiles to make up for the disruption of Libyan exports during the uprising against Muammar Qaddafi.

WTI, the U.S. benchmark, fell to a six-year low of $41.35 a barrel Friday. It may slide further, according to Citigroup Inc.

“Summer is when refineries are all running hard, so actual demand for crude is as good as it gets,” Seth Kleinman, London-based head of energy strategy at Citigroup Inc., said by e-mail.

OPEC’s biggest members are pumping near record levels to defend their market share and U.S. production is withstanding the collapse in prices and drilling. The oil market is still clearly oversupplied and “it will get more so as refiners go into maintenance,” Kleinman said.

Oil demand usually climbs in the summer as U.S. vacation driving boosts purchases of gasoline and Middle Eastern nations turn up air-conditioning.

Crude has sunk this year even U.S. gasoline demand expanded, stimulated by a growing economy and low prices. Total gasoline supplied to the U.S. market rose to an eight-year high of 9.7 million barrels a day last month, according to U.S. Department of Energy data.

Crude could fall to $10 a barrel as the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries engages in a “price war” with rival producers, testing who will cut output first, Gary Shilling, president of A. Gary Shilling Co., said in an interview on Bloomberg Television on Friday.

“OPEC is basically saying we’re not going to cut production, we’re going to see who can stand lower prices longest,” Shilling said. “Oil is headed for $10 to $20 a barrel.”

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Oil Bear Market Will Be Prolonged : Goldman Sachs

Oil dropped to the lowest in more than four months in New York on expectation a global glut that drove prices into a bear market will be prolonged.

Goldman Sachs Group Inc. estimates the global crude oversupply is running at 2 million barrels a day and storage may be filled by the fall, forcing the market to adjust, analysts including Jeffrey Currie said in a report dated Thursday. U.S. crude supplies remain about 100 million barrels above the five-year seasonal average, Energy Information Administration data on Wednesday showed.

Oil moved into a bear market in July on signs the global surplus will persist as the U.S. pumps near the fastest rate in three decades and the largest OPEC members produced record volumes. The Bloomberg Commodity Index, which fell almost 11 percent in July, has resumed its decline.

“Prices are under pressure because we’ve got more and more crude coming out of the ground,” Michael Corcelli, chief investment officer of hedge fund Alexander Alternative Capital LLC in Miami, said by phone. “Questions about storage capacity have already been brought up.”

WTI for September delivery fell 49 cents, or 1.1 percent, to settle at $44.66 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It’s the lowest close since March 19. Prices are down 16 percent this year.

Supply, Demand

Brent for September settlement dropped 7 cents to end the session at $49.52 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange. It touched $48.88, the lowest since Jan. 30. The European benchmark crude closed at a $4.86 premium to WTI.

“It’s the familiar theme of oversupply and shaky demand,” John Kilduff, a partner at Again Capital LLC, a New York-based hedge fund, said by phone. “The negative reaction to yesterday’s inventory report set up for another drop today. We clearly have more than ample supply.”

About 170 million barrels of crude and fuel have been added to storage tanks and 50 million to floating storage globally since January, according to the Goldman report. Global oil oversupply has risen from 1.8 million barrels a day in the first half of 2015, Goldman said. The balance between supply and demand may only be restored by 2016, Goldman said.

Shoulder Months

“While we maintain our near-term WTI target of $45 a barrel, we want to emphasize that the risks remain substantially skewed to the downside, particularly as we enter the shoulder months this autumn,” the Goldman analysts said.

Crude supplies in the U.S. fell 4.4 million barrels to 455.3 million last week, the EIA said. Output expanded by 52,000 barrels a day to 9.47 million a day, the first gain in four weeks. Refinery utilization rose by 1 percentage point to 96.1 percent, the highest level since 2005.

Inventories of distillate fuel, a category that includes diesel and heating oil, rose 709,000 barrels to 144.8 million, the most since February 2012, the EIA report showed.

Ultra low sulfur diesel for September delivery rose 1.14 cents, or 0.7 percent, to settle at $1.5499 a gallon in New York. On Monday it closed at its lowest level since July 2009.

“Diesel isn’t up because of the fundamentals,” Tom Finlon, Jupiter, Florida-based director of Energy Analytics Group LLC, said by phone. “It’s getting support from the upcoming refinery-maintenance season, the harvest season and anticipation of thermal needs later this year.”

The Bloomberg Commodity Index of 22 raw materials dropped 0.3 percent. Eighteen of the components, which include gold, have declined at least 20 percent from recent closing highs, meeting the common definition of a bear market.

Braggin’ Rights In Oil Sector Avoid Call : A Race To The Bottom


We received the most angry email at with our articles to sell the sector and in particular Chesapeake ( then at $22), Linn Energy and Chevron-now here are today’s’ results:

Brent oil dropped below $50 a barrel for the first time since January as Iran vowed to boost production immediately after sanctions are lifted and manufacturing in China slowed.

Futures in London fell as much as 5.2 percent, extending July’s 18 percent drop. Irancan raise output by 500,000 barrels a day within a week of sanctions ending, the state-run Islamic Republic News Agency reported. A Chinese private factory gauge released on Monday slipped to a two-year low in July, while an official index on Saturday dropped to a five-month low.

Crude slid into a bear market last month, joining a broader slide in commodities amid expanding supplies and signs of slower Chinese growth. Iran’s nuclear deal with world powers fueled speculation about when and by how much it will lift output. Sanctions against the nation should be lifted by late November, the Iranian Oil Ministry’s Shana news agency said.

“The quick recovery of the market is becoming more of a mirage,” Helima Croft, chief commodities strategist at RBC Capital in New York, said by phone. “Right now we’re in a race to the bottom. Oil producers are pumping what they can in the hopes that someone else will cut first.”

Brent for September settlement dropped $2.23 to $49.98 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange, at 12:48 p.m. in New York. The contract touched $49.52, the lowest level since Jan. 30. Prices are more than 20 percent below this year’s high on May 6, meeting a common definition of a bear market.


West Texas Intermediate for September delivery fell $1.72, or 3.7 percent, to $45.40 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It reached $45.11, the lowest intraday price since March 20. The U.S. benchmark crude traded at a $4.58 discount to Brent.

“We’re in a commodity downdraft and it’s spreading to other asset classes,” Mike Wittner, head of oil market research at Societe Generale SA in New York, said by phone. “China, Iran and Greece were the triggers for the move down. We’re not paying much attention to Greece anymore but China and Iran are still in the forefront.”

Iran plans to double exports, IRNA reported, citing Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh in an interview with state TV. The Islamic Republic produced an average of 2.85 million barrels a day last month, compared with 3.6 million at the end of 2011, according to estimates compiled by Bloomberg.

Iranian Payoff

BP Plc and Royal Dutch Shell Plc are among the energy companies that have expressed interest in developing Iran’s reserves, the world’s fourth-biggest, once sanctions are removed. Iran had the second-biggest output in OPEC before U.S.- led sanctions banned the purchase, transport, finance and insuring of its crude began July 2012.

“The biggest winner in OPEC over the past year is Iran,” Croft said. “‘They are getting a financial payoff as a result of the deal.’’

A China factory index for July released Monday by Caixin Media and Markit Economics came in at 47.8, a decline from 49.4 in June, indicating the effects of easier monetary policy have yet to kick in. The country’s official Purchasing Managers’ Index was 50 in July, down from 50.2 in the previous month. Numbers above 50 indicate expansion.

‘‘The Chinese data continues to look grim, which with the Iran headlines makes for a one-two punch for the oil market,” John Kilduff, a partner at Again Capital LLC, a New York-based hedge fund, said by phone.

Hedge funds reduced bullish bets on WTI to the lowest level in five years. The net-long position in WTI contracted 7 percent in the week ended July 28, U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission data show. Money managers cut their bullish stance on Brent during the same period by 37,527 contracts, the most in a year, according to data on Monday from ICE.

Portfolio Management : Engagement Process for Jack A. Bass Managed Accounts

Portfolio  Management : Engagement Process for Jack A. Bass Managed Accounts

The Engagement Agreement authorizes us to officially act on your  behalf and also provides for protection of confidentiality in regards to the dissemination and distribution of your sensitive financial information.Generally you will name Jack A. Bass as a person allowed to trade your portfolio – BUT without any authority to remove funds from your account.

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