Jihadist Group Blows Up Oil Pipeline In Iran, In Midst Of Protests

In the year that President Donald Trump pulled out of the Paris accord and downplayed global warming as a security threat, the US received a harsh reminder of the perils of the rise in the planet’s temperature: a destructive rash of hurricanes, fires and floods.
According to Bloomberg, the US recorded 15 weather events costing $1 billion or more each through early October, one short of the record 16 in 2011, according to the federal government’s National Centers for Environmental Information in Asheville, North Carolina. And that tally doesn’t include the recent wildfires in southern California, one of which grew to be the largest fire in state history, according to Bloomberg.
Among the most devastating events were hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria and wildfires in northern California. The killer storms caused economic losses of more than $210 billion in the U. S. and across the Caribbean, and about $100 billion in insured damages, according to Mark Bove, a senior research scientist with Munich Reinsurance America in Princeton, New Jersey.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Sat, 12/30/2017 –.

The Biggest Oil Story of 2017

US oil exports boom as OPEC cuts production.
There have been plenty of eye-catching stories in the energy industry this year, but one notable development has been the rise of the U. S. as a crude oil exporter. The ban on crude exports from the U. S. was lifted at the end of 2015, and exports ticked up in the following year, but only modestly. 2017, however, was the year that the floodgates opened.
In the first half of the year, there were several weeks when the U. S. topped 1 million barrels per day (mb/d), but exports averaged about 750,000 bpd between January and June.

This post was published at Wolf Street by Nick Cunningham ‘ Dec 29, 2017.

Hong Kong Ship Seized After Transferring Oil To North Korea

Just days after we showed satellite images which indicated that Chinese ships were trading oil with North Korean ships in a blatant violation of UN Security Council sanctions, South Korea said Friday that it was holding a Hong Kong flagged ship suspected of doing just that.
The Lighthouse Winmore is believed to have “secretly transferred” about 600 tons of refined petroleum products to the North Korean ship, the Sam Jong 2, in international waters in the East China Sea on Oct. 19, according to Bloomberg and the Associated Press.

The Hong Kong vessel had previously visited Yeosu port on Oct. 11 to load up on Japanese oil products and departed the port while claiming its destination was Taiwan. Instead, it transferred the oil to the Sam Jong 2 and three other non-North Korean vessels in international waters

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Fri, 12/29/2017 –.

Despite Being “Caught Red Handed”, China Denies Secretly Selling Oil To North Korea

An official statement from Chinese officials tonight smacks of Obi Wan Kenobi – ‘these are not the secret oil trades you are looking for’.

After being ‘caught RED HANDED’…according to South Korea’s Chosun Ilbo, U. S. recon satellites have photographed around 30 illegal transactions involving Chinese vessels selling oil to North Korea on the West Sea in October. The images allegedly showed large Chinese and North Korean ships transacting in oil in a part of the West Sea closer to China than South Korea. The satellite pictures even showed the names of the ships.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Thu, 12/28/2017 –.

Trump Warns China – “No Friendly Solution” If They Keep Cheating On Korean Oil Exports

Caught RED HANDED – very disappointed that China is allowing oil to go into North Korea. There will never be a friendly solution to the North Korea problem if this continues to happen!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 28, 2017

President Trump took aim at President Xi this morning in a very clear tweeted warning that follows US spy satellite evidence that showed China allowing oil exports to North Korea.
Trump exclaimed “caught red-handed” and said he was “very disappointed” by China’s actions. Perhaps more notable is that he explained “there’s no friendly solution” if this continues…
As a reminder, this is what President Trump is upset about, according to South Korea’s Chosun Ilbo, U. S. recon satellites have photographed around 30 illegal transactions involving Chinese vessels selling oil to North Korea on the West Sea in October. The images allegedly showed large Chinese and North Korean ships transacting in oil in a part of the West Sea closer to China than South Korea. The satellite pictures even showed the names of the ships.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Thu, 12/28/2017 –.

Venezuela Oil Industry Collapsing & May Take the Gov’t With It

Venezuela has the largest proven oil reserve in the world. However, they are out of gasoline. The government has attributed this to poor management which has led to the stoppage of 80% of the country’s refineries. So much for socialism. The assumption that government is competent of managing anything is proven by this very example.
My old friend, Milton Friedman, said it best:
‘If you put the Federal Government in charge of the Sahara desert, in 5 years there’d be a shortage of sand.’

This post was published at Armstrong Economics on Dec 28, 2017.

Global Stocks Rise, Copper Soars In Thin Holiday Volumes

European stocks are steady in post-Christmas trading if struggling for traction after a mixed session in Asia, amid trading thinned by a holiday-shortened week and ongoing worries about the tech sector; however a strong rally in commodities – including copper and oil – buoyed expectations for a strong 2018 and helped offset concerns over the technology sector triggered by reports of soft iPhone X demand.
U. S. equity futures nudged higher while the dollar weakened against most G-10 peers as investors await the release of U. S. consumer-confidence data, with much of the spotlight falling on commodity currencies. The OZ dollar holds onto gains as copper surges to a three-year high; oil retreats after reaching the highest close in more than two years following a pipeline explosion in Libya on Tuesday. Treasuries and core European core bond yields are a touch lower.
The Stoxx Europe 600 Index edged lower, with tech stocks hit for the third day amid rumors of weak iPhone demand and leading the decline as chipmakers slumped after analysts lowered iPhone X shipment projections, sending the Nasdaq Composite Index lower overnight. While mining and oil stocks strengthened due to a surge in copper prices to a 3.5 year high (see below), the European STOXX 600 index slipped 0.1% as European tech stocks tumbled on reports that demand for Apple’s iPhone X may be weaker than expected. The equity benchmark index is poised for an annual gain of 8.1%, the best advance in four years. Elsewhere, Volvo rose as China’s Geely bought Cevian’s stake in the truckmaker, making it Volvo AB’s largest stakeholder. IWG surged the most since 2009 after confirming it has received a a non-binding takeover offer from a consortium backed by Brookfield Asset Management and Onex.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Dec 27, 2017.

The Chinese: Liars In Trade AND Sanctions

Tell me again why we don’t toss our so-called “free trade” with China right here and now…..
According to South Korean government sources, the satellites have pictured large Chinese and North Korean ships illegally trading in oil in a part of the West Sea closer to China than South Korea.
The satellite pictures even show the names of the ships. A government source said, “We need to focus on the fact that the illicit trade started after a UN Security Council resolution in September drastically capped North Korea’s imports of refined petroleum products.”

This post was published at Market-Ticker on 2017-12-27.

THE U.S. SHALE OIL INDUSTRY: Swindling & Stealing Energy To Stay Alive

While the U. S. Shale Energy Industry continues to borrow money to produce uneconomical oil and gas, there is another important phenomenon that is not understood by the analyst community. The critical factor overlooked by the media is the fact that the U. S. shale industry is swindling and stealing energy from other areas to stay alive. Let me explain.
First, let’s take a look at some interesting graphs done by the Bloomberg Gadfly. The first chart below shows how the U. S. shale industry continues to burn through investor cash regardless of $100 or $50 oil prices:

This post was published at SRSrocco Report on DECEMBER 26, 2017.

US Spy Satellites Catch Chinese Ships Illegally Selling Oil To North Korea

According to South Korea’s Chosun Ilbo, U. S. recon satellites have photographed around 30 illegal transactions involving Chinese vessels selling oil to North Korea on the West Sea in October. The images allegedly showed large Chinese and North Korean ships transacting in oil in a part of the West Sea closer to China than South Korea. The satellite pictures even showed the names of the ships.
REA MORE

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Dec 26, 2017.

Saudi Economy Contracts For First Time In 8 Years, Unveils Record Spending Spree To Boost Growth

Back when oil was at $100 and above, the Saudi economy was firing on all cylinders, and nobody even dreamed that the crown jewel of Saudi Arabia – Aramaco – would be on the IPO block in just a few years. However, with oil stuck firmly in the $50 range, things for the Saudi economy are going from bad to worse, and today Riyadh – when it wasn’t busy preventing Yemeni ballistic missiles from hitting the royal palace – said its economy contracted for the first time in eight years as a result of austerity measures and the stagnant price of oil, as the Kingdom announced record spending to stimulate growth.
OPEC’s biggest oil producer said 2017 GDP shrank 0.5% due to a drop in crude production, as part of the 2016 Vienna production cut agreement, but mostly due to lower oil prices. The last time the Saudi economy contracted was in 2009, when GDP fell 2.1% after the global financial crisis sent oil prices crashing. Riyadh also posted a higher-than-expected budget deficit in 2017 and forecast another shortfall next year for the fifth year in a row due to the drop in oil revenues: the finance ministry said it estimates a budget deficit of $52 billion for 2018.
More surprising was the Saudis announcement of a radically expansionary budget for 2018, projecting the highest spending ever despite low oil prices in a bid to stimulate the sluggish economic, saying it expects the GDP to grow by 2.7%. While we wish Riyadh good luck with that, we now know why confiscating the wealth of ultra wealthy Saudi royals was a key component of the country’s economic plan…

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Dec 19, 2017.

A Nightmare Before Christmas: China Set to Launch Yuan-Denominated Oil Contracts

China wants to dethrone the dollar and it could take a step in that direction before the end of the year.
According to numerous reports, China is prepared to launch a yuan-denominated oil futures contract before Christmas. Last week, the Shanghai International Energy Exchange successfully completed a fifth round of yuan-backed oil futures testing. According to a report by RT, the organization has met all the listing requirements and is set for an official launch.
Chinese trader Yuan Quwei told Bloomberg the holiday season would be the perfect time to get oil trading in yuan off the ground.
An official launch during Christmas would be appropriate. The Western market would be quiet and allow the Shanghai exchange as well as Chinese investors to adjust in the early days.’
This could be a nightmare before Christmas for the petrodollar.

This post was published at Schiffgold on DECEMBER 19, 2017.

Will Myanmar Embrace Market Reforms?

The economic growth in Myanmar is now among the highest in Asia, and it’s come a long way since the 1960’s when it was considered one of the world’s most impoverished countries. It’s instructive to understand how this change took place, what some of the current economic metrics indicate, and current pressures being placed on Myanmar from the outside.
For starters, the general history of Myanmar (also known as Burma, and the reason for the two names is interesting in itself) is long and fascinating. More recently, Myanmar was conquered by Great Britain (it was actually a part of British India, which was responsible for much of the administration) in 1855, and became relatively affluent in this part of the world, primarily due to the trade of rice and oil.
However, even before British rule, Myanmar was already relatively well off due to its strategic location along important trade routes. Myanmar is located between India and China – Indian influence is still present, even today, and was resented, along with British control – and this trading activity helped offset a country based on self-sufficient agriculture and centralized control via a king.
Britain ruled Myanmar until independence in 1948, when a series of nationalization and central planning efforts created a welfare state. The results were disastrous. Rice exports fell by two-thirds in the 1950’s, along with a 96% decline in mineral exports. In order to maintain central planning efforts, the government resorted to printing money, and runaway prices resulted from this inflation of the money supply.

This post was published at Ludwig von Mises Institute on Dec 18, 2017.

The Great Oil Swindle

When it comes to the story we’re being told about America’s rosy oil prospects, we’re being swindled.
At its core, the swindle is this: The shale industry’s oil production forecasts are vastly overstated.
Swindle: Noun – A fraudulent scheme or action.
And the swindle is not just affecting the US. It’s badly distorted everything from current geopolitics to future oil forecasts.
The false conclusions the world is drawing as a result of the self-deception and outright lies we’re being told is putting our future prosperity in major jeopardy. Policy makers and ordinary citizens alike have been misled, and everyone — everyone — is unprepared for the inevitable and massive coming oil price shock.
An Oil Price Spike Would Burst The ‘Everything Bubble’
Our thesis at Peak Prosperity is that the world’s equity and bond markets are enormous financial bubbles in search of a pin. Sadly, history shows there’s nothing quite as sharp and terminal to these sorts of bubbles as a rapid spike in the price of oil.
And we see a huge price spike on the way.
As a reminder, bubbles exist when asset prices rise beyond what incomes can sustain. Greece is a prime recent example. In 2008 when the price of oil spiked to $147/bbl, Greece could no longer afford imported oil. But oil is a necessity so it was bought anyway, their national balances of payments were stressed to the point that they were exposed as insolvent and then their debt bubble promptly and predictably popped. The rest is history. Greece is now a nation of ruins and their economy might as well be displayed alongside the Acropolis.

This post was published at PeakProsperity on Friday, December 15, 2017,.

Goldman: These Are the Hottest Commodities in 2018

Goldman Sachs continues to ratchet up predictions for commodities, laying out a bullish case for commodities of all stripes in 2018.
The investment bank said that its forecast a year ago for higher commodity prices ‘played out much better than expected.’ The bank pointed to industrial metal prices, which are up 24 percent this year, plus the 13 percent increase in oil prices.
But looking forward, Goldman sees plenty of room to run. ‘The demand backdrop today is now even stronger than a year ago, with robust and synchronous global growth clearly evident,’ Goldman analysts, led by Jeffrey Currie, wrote in a December 11 research note. The extension of the OPEC deal also led the bank to revise up its forecast for oil prices, as inventories should continue to fall throughout 2018.
There are other reasons to be bullish on commodities. The investment bank argues that commodities tend to outperform other asset classes when central banks move to tighten rates. That is because rate hikes typically occur when demand is exceeding supply – the higher prices resulting from that mismatch are why central banks are trying to raise rates, but it is those higher prices that support the investment case into commodities.
The report concluded that “a positive carry in key commodity markets and already strong global demand growth across the commodity complex reinforces the case for owning commodities. And hence we maintain our 12-month overweight recommendation, now with a forecasted return of almost 10 percent.”

This post was published at FinancialSense on 12/15/2017.

Russia May Turn To Oil-Backed Cryptocurrency To Challenge Sanctions & The Petrodollar

The gradual acceptance of digital currencies, with major exchanges about to launch bitcoin futures trading, may prompt some oil producing nations to ditch the US dollar in crude trade in favor of cryptocurrencies, an oil analyst says.
***
As RT reports, Russia, Iran and Venezuela have more than one thing in common.
All three are major oil producing nations dependent on the dollar since the global crude market is traditionally dominated by contracts denominated in US currency.
Moscow, Tehran and Caracas are also facing US sanctions; penalties which are proving effective since the sanctioned countries are dependent on the US dollar to sell their crude.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Dec 11, 2017.

US Futures Hit New All Time High Following Asian Shares Higher; European Stocks, Dollar Mixed

U. S. equity index futures pointed to early gains and fresh record highs, following Asian markets higher, as European shares were mixed and oil was little changed, although it is unclear if anyone noticed with bitcoin stealing the spotlight, after futures of the cryptocurrency began trading on Cboe Global Markets.
In early trading, European stocks struggled for traction, failing to capitalize on gains for their Asian counterparts after another record close in the U. S. on Friday. On Friday, the S&P 500 index gained 0.6% to a new record after the U. S. added more jobs than forecast in November and the unemployment rate held at an almost 17-year low. In Asia, the Nikkei 225 reclaimed a 26-year high as stocks in Tokyo closed higher although amid tepid volumes. Equities also gained in Hong Kong and China. Most European bonds rose and the euro climbed. Sterling slipped as some of the promises made to clinch a breakthrough Brexit deal last week started to fray.
‘Strong jobs U. S. data is giving investors reason to buy equities,’ said Jonathan Ravelas, chief market strategist at BDO Unibank Inc. ‘The better-than-expected jobs number supports the outlook that there is a synchronized global economic upturn led by the U. S.”
The dollar drifted and Treasuries steadied as investor focus turned from US jobs to this week’s central bank meetings. Europe’s Stoxx 600 Index pared early gains as losses for telecom and utilities shares offset gains for miners and banks. Tech stocks were again pressured, with Dialog Semiconductor -4.1%, AMS -1.9%, and Temenos -1.7% all sliding. Volume on the Stoxx 600 was about 17% lower than 30-day average at this time of day, with trading especially thin in Germany and France.
The dollar dipped 0.1 percent to 93.801 against a basket of major currencies, pulling away from a two-week high hit on Friday.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Dec 11, 2017.

Is Oil About to Collapse?

US producers simply don’t play along with OPEC and Russia.
WTI really does look like it is about to collapse. Let’s be clear, I am not necessarily talking about a return to the sub-$30 of the beginning of 2016 here, but a return to the more recent lows around $42 before too long is distinctly possible, and if that happens, who knows where we go from there? There are, as I have noted in the past, reasons to believe that the long-term path of oil is still upward, but more immediately there is one dominant factor that keeps adding downward pressure, large and still growing supply from North American shale producers.
Some say, as in this FT piece, that there are signs that U. S. shale production has peaked, but then that was also supposed to be the case in 2015 and 2016. I am sure that if I could bother to go back further I would find that the same thing was said in previous years too. The fact is though, that as the EIA chart below shows, after dropping off as price declined at earlier this year, U. S. crude production is growing again and will be higher this year than last and is expected to be higher again in 2018.

This post was published at Wolf Street by Martin Tiller ‘ Dec 9, 2017.

Are US Shale Stocks Finally Set for a Rebound?

After years of meager returns and overspending to boost production at all costs, US shale explorers and drillers are finally about to see their share prices rise next year, according to veteran energy investor Shawn Reynolds.
The new wave of a more disciplined approach to spending and the focus on higher returns will benefit mostly the exploration and production companies. Drilling firms and oilfield services providers are also set to benefit, Reynolds told Bloomberg in an interview published on Friday.
Read Energy Analyst: “Meaningful Upside” for Oil Prices…
Shale companies have already started to realize the need to finally reward their shareholders, and firms are now planning within their means, not just spending to grow production at any cost.
Shale companies now have more growth potential than conventional oil and gas producers, because shale firms face lowered risks in resources extraction, said Reynolds, a fund manager at Van Eck Associates.
‘With shale, you have incredible visibility on growth, possibly the best visibility of any industry in the entire market, and lower risk,’ Reynolds told Bloomberg.

This post was published at FinancialSense on 12/08/201.