Phil Flynn is writer of The Energy Report, a daily market commentary discussing oil, the Middle East, American government, economics, and their effects on the world's energies markets, as well as other commodity markets. Contact Mr. Flynn at (888) 264-5665
No Reserve. The Energy Report 03/24/2023
Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm helped sink oil by saying that it might take years to refill the Strategic Petroleum Reserve. That, along with renewed banking crisis fears now surrounding Deutsch Bank, is allowing the oil market to ignore current supply and demand fundamentals.
Deutsche Bank AG saw shares plunge by 11% with their default-swaps on Deutsche Bank’s euro. Senior debt surged to the highest level since being introduced in 2019 according to Bloomberg. The renewed banking concerns are hitting oil fears that central bankers have no clue as to what they are doing with their historic rate increase campaign.
Energy Secretary Granholm admitted that fixing the SPR might be harder than fixing the banks and it might not be as easy to refill the reserve as this administration led some to believe. She said, “This year will be difficult to refill oil reserves in the $70 range.” She is right, but if the banks keep failing, it might get easier. Granholm said that, “Refilling our reserve will take a few years.” So maybe they should go long Dec 23 crude.
Quantum Commodity Intelligence reminded us that Amos Hochstein, US special presidential coordinator for Biden said that, “The President would like to replenish the SPR in full of what we released and when prices start reaching towards that $70 (per barrel) mark that’s when we’ll look to increase and repurchase oil into the SPR,” Hochstein told CNBC, although added the $72-$73/b WTI range might also be considered. “We still have 400 million barrels, we still can manage any emergency,” said the advisor, but conceded that the SPR needs to be higher than current levels for national security and economic reasons. Hochstein said that tapping the SPR was critical in bringing prices down this year. “Oil prices are still a bit higher than they should be,” although he noted the administration was happy with the trajectory of oil prices. That was before but now he said, “Why don’t we take this one day at a time,” “We should take a deep breath and wait and see how this crisis right now impacts the oil and gas industry.”
Maybe the White House should take credit for the banking crisis as it may be the best tool they have to lower gas prices.
Treasury Secretary Yellen Seemed to take my advice regarding how she answered questions about bank guarantee. Instead of suggesting that bank guarantees were off the table, US Treasury Secretary Yellen said, “I am prepared for additional deposit actions if warranted”. That caused the stock market to snap back after a sell-off. Great job. Now if she could go to Germany and help Deutsch Bank that would be nice.
The ECB is raising rates but that is proving to be a policy mistake based on bank stress and recent economic data. Reuters is reporting that “EUROZONE manufacturers have reported a widespread decline in business activity so far in March, the ninth consecutive monthly decline since July 2022. The preliminary purchasing managers’ index fell to 47.1 (17th percentile for all months since 2006) in March from 48.5 (25th percentile) in February:”
Gasoline crack spreads came back to diesel levels to compete and make up for supplies of gasoline that are well below average. Of course, if the global banking system has a crisis, it might not matter.
Natural Gas is also taking pressure from banking conerns. Things are fluid but the story is the same. If the banking system stabilizes, then all energy is woefully underpriced. If it does not and this turns into a full-blown rout like 2008, then you had better get ready for a wild ride.
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