201807.12
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COT Black: Futures Curve Twisting

There is an interesting, ongoing academic debate about what shape the crude oil futures curve “should” take. Quite naturally, it seems backwardation is the market baseline. Most people, I think, presume otherwise because of their familiarity with commodities like gold. Backwardation in that market implies a physical shortage. Unlike that precious metal, crude oil is…

201805.23
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COT Black: Diverging Like ’13?

During the week of February 21, 2017, Money Managers (MGR) in the WTI futures market went all the way for higher oil prices. The CFTC Commitment of Traders (COT) report showed a then-record 405k net to the long side. For whatever reason(s), oil prices didn’t necessarily follow at least not in the same nearly direct…

201705.04
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About Those Secondary Speculators

Back when the WTI curve was at its steepest contango, who was it that was buying up all that oil? A sheer vertical curve is an invitation to almost free money, very much like other curves everywhere else during the “rising dollar.” You could simultaneously buy crude at spot and sell it for delivery years…

201701.25
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The Inconvenience of Oil

For the first time in three years, oil inventories in the United States are not rising precipitously more than the seasonally expected. At the start of both 2015 and 2016, oil stocks exploded higher as oil prices crashed, all related to the “dollar” flex on the front end of the futures curve creating sufficient contango…

201607.22
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The Narrative of Energy Inventories

While there is a direct relationship between the steepness of contango in the oil futures curve and the amount of crude siphoned from the market to storage, it is not an immediate one. When crude prices originally collapsed starting in late 2014, twisting the WTI curve from backwardation to so far permanent contango (of varying…

201601.11 2

Reading Curves and Finding Only the Death of Money

When analyzing the full and true nature of the dissonance between the idea of continued recovery and the financial markets’ scenario for something much worse you realize that this is not a new occurrence. In curve after curve, negativity has been building for years. Financial curves are important because they tell us the health of…

201512.16
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Physical Crude Demand Backs Fed’s IP Estimates, Not Fed’s Economic Outlook

Like industrial production, the condition of oil inventory in the US was updated today in contradiction of the expectations driving Federal Reserve models expecting “transitory” weakness to simply pass into history. Unlike the virtual conditions for the FOMC, crude oil markets are obliged to respect both the eurodollar and the physical realities of physical commodities….

201512.07
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The Dramatically Shifted Baseline

Crude oil prices are exhibiting all the signs of an increasingly difficult funding environment. The front end of the futures curve is being bent dramatically in relation to even close maturities just outside the next few months. Such contango is the obvious imprint of finance, though that is not to say that economic expectations are…

201508.19
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It’s Small, But Gold Sticks Out

It was, apparently, just a one-day “dollar” reprieve for the crude complex as oil prices are pounded today across the board even after the FOMC statement (leak) release. Unsurprisingly, copper joined the depression as the September futures price traded as low as $2.2605 this morning ($2.273 as of this writing). That is, of course, a…

201508.06
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No ‘Dollar’ Bottom Yet

By most accounts, crude oil prices are still nearing their March lows. That would suggest that this version of “dollar” turmoil might be yet working its way toward levels of disorder previously seen in that last episode. That is misleading, as even crude prices are appreciably more stressed now than they were in March. From…