Oil Update (Including a Chart of the Decade)

Back in July, I noted that we had exited many energy positions, and would like to see Oil pull back to $105-110 to re-enter them.

This was a tactical, not secular, repositioning.

Why not secular? Well, for a few reasons. Commodities rallies tend to run decades, not years. And the rise of China and India means huge new demands on global energy reserves are going to keep prices elevated far above the old days of $30 oil.

But the biggest reason is this simple chart, via ITF Interim Report on Crude Oil:

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World_gdp_vs_oil_prod

Sources: Federal Reserve, IAE, ITF

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Note that these aren’t projections, but are actually based upon data.

You don’t have to be a technician to look at that chart and recognize something new is going on. Back in 2003, global GDP began pulling away from Oil production. Note that Oil broke out over $32 shortly thereafter, and never looked back. In the annual BusinessWeek forecasts (2004), I was one of a handful of strategists that picked energy as my top sector.

Its also pretty clear that all of the hullaboo on Off Shore drilling is just so much political nonsense. Yes, we should be drilling. No, it wont make much of a difference in prices. Here’s the usually circumspect John Berry, explaining why:

"It’s absurd to argue that ending the
moratorium on drilling off parts of the U.S. coasts would quickly
bring down the high price of gasoline.

This chimera is being touted by President George W. Bush and other Republican politicians, including the party’s presumptive presidential nominee, Senator John McCain of Arizona, to deflect blame for what it’s costing for a fill-up.

To get around the fact that it would be a decade or more
before any oil would be likely to flow, a few partisan analysts
have said that the cost of gasoline would fall right away. They
argue that the prospect of additional oil supply in the future
would lead oil companies to produce more oil immediately because
they would expect prices for crude to be lower later on.
 

Well, wouldn’t that depend on whether a producer had the
capacity to pump more oil today, and whether it thought lifting
the moratorium would add a significant amount of oil to future
supply relative to future demand?    

There are good reasons to question whether another 1 million
or 2 million barrels of crude a day would make much difference in
prices when world consumption is running at 85 million barrels a
day.

About a fourth of all U.S. oil production is already coming
from offshore wells, primarily in the central and western
portions of the Gulf of Mexico that aren’t covered by the
moratorium."    

Such silliness.

We should be doing more of everything — alt energy, nukes, conservation, tax credits, solar, etc. Focusing on this one issue is simply to the exclusion of all else is childish ignorance. In this country, we keep refusing to make the difficult decisions. Everything requires a quick and painless fix.  (We better wise up fast).

Hence, the pullback in Oil may be viewed as a short term trading opportunity.

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Sources:
ITF Interim Report on Crude Oil
Interagency Task Force on Commodity Markets
July 2008
http://www.cftc.gov/stellent/groups/public/@newsroom/documents/file/itfinterimreportoncrudeoil0708.pdf

Offshore Drilling Claims Are a Political Hoax
John M. Berry
Bloomberg, Aug. 1 2008
http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601039&refer=columnist_berry&sid=air._Othgtuc

CFTC Report on High Oil Prices – "Speculation My A$$"
Nate Hagens
The Oil Drum July 23, 2008
http://www.theoildrum.com/node/4334

Category: Commodities, Economy, Energy, Technical Analysis

Fuzzy Numbers

Interesting discussion on some of my favorite pet peeves: CPI, Unemployment, NFP, etc. via Chris Martenson’s Crash Course.

click for video
Fuzzy_numbers

Category: Data Analysis, Employment, Inflation, Video

Bank Lending Practices Tighten as Loan Demand Falls

Category: Consumer Spending, Credit, Federal Reserve, Real Estate

Google Maps StreetView House on Fire

Category: Digital Media, Web/Tech

MBIA DESERVES to Go Belly Up

Category: Corporate Management, Credit, Derivatives, Legal, Valuation

Betting on Bear’s Bust

Category: Options, Psychology, Short Selling, Valuation

Is the Market Still a Future Indicator?

Category: Apprenticed Investor, Hedge Funds, Markets, Trading, Valuation

U.S. Poised for Weak End to Year

So much for the decoupling:

Source:
U.S. Poised for Weak End to Year
Consumer Caution and Global Slowdown Confound Forecasts
KELLY EVANS
WSJ, August 11, 2008   
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB121840429062728035.html

Category: Economy, Video

Meet The Press: Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson

Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson gets grilled by Tom Brokaw — live from Beijing.



Running time, 07:36 minutes

Thank to VJ for alerting TBP about this this video, who posted the following comment:

"Brokaw repeatedly splashes Paulson in the face with reality on this morning’s Meet the Press: * Tells him the stimulus checks that his Treasury sent out "had about as much effect as a BB gun on a bear". * Displayed his ‘CONTAINED’ quote up on the screen, "I don’t see [subprime mortgage market troubles] imposing a serious problem. I think it’s going to be largely contained." * Showed the video of Chimpy saying that "Wall Street got drunk". Paulson said that in 5 months, he exits, stage Right."

Who knew Brokaw had the stones to grill a senior politico?

UPDATE: August 10, 2008 7:12pm

It looked much harder hitting on NBC than it does on the web. There were more pull quote — they all looked rather foolish. Perhaps that gave the audio interview a tougher appearance than warranted

Category: Credit, Economy, Video

Category: Financial Press