Crude oil closed back above $70 a barrel as storms, both real and politically, started to develop. Prices were on the rise after U.S. oil supply fell 2.6 million barrels this week, which raised even more concerns about the market’s ability to replace plunging Venezuelan oil production and Iranian exports that reportedly already are facing falling oil supply. Now, you get Mother Nature involved with more storm activity brewing out in the Atlantic, and you have a very bullish outlook.
Crude oil is being driven by more plotlines than an afternoon soap opera. With upcoming sanctions on Iran, the Fed on pace for gradual interest rate increases, strikes in the North Sea and a big drop in the U.S. oil rig count (which fell by 9 rigs, the biggest drop since May of 201), there is enough drama for both the bulls and the bears.
If you get the dollar right, you will get a lot of things right. Hard-lined policy in Washington has created a safe-haven flight to the dollar. Trade policy and sanctions have resonated an uncertain atmosphere for growth in many areas of the world
Asian equities were trading mixed on Monday after a nervous last week, which saw wild swings in global equities and emerging market currencies. News that officials from Beijing are heading to the U.S. on Wednesday to restart trade negotiations is likely to provide some stability, however, don’t expect much to the upside as these talks are considered low level and won’t likely translate into immediate decisions.
Commodities tried to turn the corner on reports of low-level talks about a framework to end the trade war and this made everyone realize that perhaps some of the fears of the backlash from a trade war were overblown. China is feeling the pain of the trade war while the United States looks to be gaining. If recent trade trends continue, it is possible that the United States may find it harder and harder to lift tariffs.
The dog days of August that have set in on the moves in the commodities have been exaggerated. While crude oil holds the 200-day moving average, after a major seasonal sell-off, the concerns about a serious demand slowdown are most likely overblown. Turkey, of course, is a major oil producer and Consumer. NOT! The fears of contagion, steaming from the stepped upped pressure from the Trump Administration, has been overdone. We are in the dog days, and oil bears have begun licking their chops, mistaking seasonal weakness for a major bear turn in the market.
After a rough start to the week, Asian stocks seem to have found some support as the Turkish Lira steadied below 7 per dollar. Japan’s Nikkei 225 rose 1.8% with all sectors in green territory as the Yen gave up some of yesterday’s gains. Australia’s ASX 200 and the Korean KOSPI also edged higher but gains were limited.
Even in long-term bull markets, you are going to have a day like Wednesday. Crude oil and products crashed down to major support as it was hit with a confluence of headlines and bearish weekly Energy Information Administration data. Fears of the impact of sanctions on China, Iran, Russia and Turkey did not help and another big drop in U.S. gasoline demand has some worried that U.S. consumers were showing resistance to higher pump prices.
Fears of a full-blown trade war between the world’s two biggest economies are set to intensify after the Trump Administration announced another round of tariffs on Chinese products on Tuesday. In a move that is likely to cause the further deterioration of US-China trade relations, the United States will begin imposing 25% tariffs on $16 billion of Chinese imports starting from Aug. 23. With Beijing expected to fight back by targeting $16 billion worth of U.S. goods with equal tariffs, the US-China trade saga could get even messier.
Asian stocks rallied on Tuesday, following a surge on Wall Street that sent the S&P 500 to a near all-time high and the Cboe’s Volatility Index to its lowest level since late January. The strong earnings season has been the key factor lifting U.S. stocks. With 24.1% earnings growth and more than 79% of S&P 500 companies managing to beat profit forecasts it looks to be the best earning season in recent history.