Believe it or not the globe is headed for an oil shortage. I know many find that hard to believe, especially in this shale-crazed world where there is the belief that shale oil will fill all voids, even as investment in oil exploration falls to the lowest level since the 1940s.
Rising yields and rising oil production is causing oil to plunge even as U.S. oil stockpiles drawdown at a record rate. The rebound in U.S. oil production of 88,000 barrels a day according to the weekly Energy Information Administration and was the key data factor that is causing the selloff. The market says that the 100,000 barrel drop in U.S. oil production was just a storm-related fluke and that U.S. oil production will continue to rise even as many producers at this price level will struggle financially.
Crude oil prices sold off almost 5% on what many people attributed to a story that some unnamed Russian oil company source said that Russia was against a production cut. Today those sources are still unknown, but really the sell-off in oil probably had more to do with the fact that Saudi Arabia cut prices to Asia as the kingdom was losing market share to Iraq and Iran that has been raising output and taking away business from the Saudis.
Crude oil prices are under pressure after an unconfirmed report was released that Russia would oppose and additional output cut and instead would stay the course on current cuts. Yet, an unsourced story from Bloomberg was enough to break oil that had been on a streak of eight up days in a row, one of the best runs in oil in seven years.
In options trading, a straddle is literally a sit-on-the-fence strategy. By purchasing a put and a call at the same strike (price of underlying commodity) for the same time period, an investor isn’t making a conventional directional bet; rather the investor is looking for a big move either up or down. The rub is that the big move must be greater than the sum of the two option premia or the bet goes south. But that is in the nature of the trade.