Dreariness and Downgrades
Ben Bernanke, bank downgrades and unrest in Saudi Arabia. You know things are bad when the market seems to be relieved that Italy was downgraded. Is that all? Such is the fate of the global oil market that is now living and dying with the wild mood swings of perception on the outlook for the stability of the global economy. Stories that oil traders use to live and die with somehow seem not to matter quite as much. Oil prices took out the low for the year just to spite me, but are rebounding as global stock markets try to rebound. If there is a sense of economic stability, oil prices may focus on some of the things that might have rallied us yesterday. The market that is fighting fear and seasonal weakness was able to ignore reports of riots in Saudi Arabia and some bullish American Petroleum Institute data.
You know the market seems comfortable with the supply side when unrest in Saudi Arabia only seems to barley register on price. Had this happened just a few months ago, oil might have rallied $5 or $10 a barrel or more. A Shiite uprising in the oil producing Eastern Provence led to injuries to at least 11 Saudi Arabian security forces and the Saudis are inferring that perhaps Iran is to blame. The Iranians would love to cause chaos in Saudi Arabia as the Iranian regime is becoming a greater threat to the region.
Maybe that proves that money can't buy you love or security as the Saudis have spent big bucks trying to make the discontented happy. Of course when you have the scourge of Iran trying to foster unrest and instability in the region it does not help. Now that the OPEC crude oil basket fell below $100 a barrel for the first time since the beginning of the Libyan uprising, perhaps they may have to find other ways to buy love.
The API added some bullish support with numbers that surprised the most bullish among us. The market should be shocked as the API reported a 3.07 million barrel drop in crude supply and a whopping 4.97 barrel drop in gasoline supply. To round off the bullish report we saw a 1.97 million barrel drop in distillates. These are the type of numbers that should give us a short term bottom unless we get the feeling that we will see a disorderly Greek default or something.
With Ben Bernanke telling us he stands ready to act if bad things happen, it should make oil bulls feel pretty good at least for a little while. Ben helped restore a bit of confidence but still many markets are disjointed and people are questioning traditional market relationships. Is gold a safe harbor if we go into a deflationary tailspin or is it safe if things heat up in Saudi Arabia? Can you hide in oil as alternative? Or are bonds the only safe place to run to? The twist is working rate rise but will it put money back to work and make banks lend? The topsy-turvy mood swings mean one thing! Get ready for some major moves!
Phil Flynn is senior energy analyst for PFGBest Research and a Fox Business Network contributor. He can be reached at (800) 935-6487 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.