201708.18
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Commitment of Traders: Crude Confounding Confusion

The price of oil can’t seem to climb out of the $40’s despite a lot going for it at the moment. Oil prices matter right now as much as three years ago when they signaled serious trouble ahead. For them to get above $50 and then continue on would indicate for a lot of important…

201706.16
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Oil Price is Oil Inventory is Reflation is Economy

Drillers are going to drill. What else can they do? OPEC can discuss cuts and maybe even stick to them for a while, but the rest of the world isn’t bound by those tactics. That is what they are, PR aimed at firming up prices. In the end, this story, as it has been from…

201706.07
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All About Inventory

Andy Hall has been called the God of Oil. As chief of Astenbeck Capital, he has proven at times that even gods can be mortal. In the “rising dollar” period, for example, after making money on the way down Mr. Hall went bullish. That was March 2015: We suspect their projection of current prices into…

201705.25
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Almost Certain

It doesn’t appear as if the OPEC decision went as the oil ministers might have hoped. Agreeing to a nine-month extension, more than the usual six months, it was still less than the whispered year that had been rumored and seemingly supported as late as yesterday. Still, Saudi Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih was encouraged. We…

201705.24
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There Is Clarity In Oil’s Increasingly Cloudy Forecast

Problems aren’t supposed to be always intractable, are they? It has gone on so long that maybe long ago memories of minor adjustments are a bit fuzzy, but seemingly no matter what over the last decade every that issue arises and is met by the usual, standard efforts, is instead of being solved by them…

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…

201703.22
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Economics Through The Economics of Oil

The last time oil inventory grew at anywhere close to this pace was during each of the last two selloffs, the first in late 2014/early 2015 and the second following about a year after. Those events were relatively easy to explain in terms of both price and fundamentals, though the mainstream managed to screw it…

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…

201609.13
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More Bad Economic News From The Oil Patch

At the end of August, the US Energy Information Administration reported that it had been overstating domestic demand for oil and energy products to a considerable degree. Using imprecise and lagging data, the calculations for the amount of product being exported overseas was understated by an average of 16%. That meant more output was being…

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…