A little over a year ago, Paul Hodges was roundly mocked when in December 2014 he made a drastic call that “Oil May Drop To $25 On Chinese Demand Plunge, Supply Glut, Ageing Boomers.” After oil got as close as 40 cents away from the dreaded 2-handle, Paul had the last laugh.
But the bigger point is that not only is $20 oil not a shocker any more, it is largely expected and could be indeed welcomed, as first Goldman, then practically everyone else has now admitted it is just a matter of time before oil trades to levels not seen since the 20th century.
So, perhaps to make a name for himself, the head of commodity research at Standard Chartered, Paul Horsnell decided to lower the bar into even more dramatic territory, and overnight suggested that oil prices could drop as low as $10 a barrel.
“Given that no fundamental relationship is currently driving the oil market towards any equilibrium, prices are being moved almost entirely by financial flows caused by fluctuations in other asset prices, including the USD and equity markets,” Horsnell said. “We think prices could fall as low as $10/bbl before most of the money managers in the market conceded that matters had gone too far.”
When does he see oil bottoming? “in extreme case, price floor may be set when entire market believes oil has undershot.”
So with a new, and even lower bogey, that means that an upper, or even lower $20-print in oil will be the shocker so many bottom hunters are looking for, but instead after this expectations reset, oil may have to indeed drop another $10 before the BTFD algos can finally make some money.
So with a $10 oil bogey now in the books, here is what others are predicting, courtesy of Bloomberg. Spoiler alert: everyone is bearish.
- Even oil in $20s won’t speed market rebalancing
- Cost of halting and then restarting production makes output curbs unlikely, even at prices below $30/bbl
- Risk of further price declines “still on the cards”
ADIA head of research Christof Ruhl
- Conventional oil producers “can’t win” in battle to drive U.S. shale producers out of market
- U.S. oil shale showing relentless efficiency gains
- Natixis cuts 2016 Brent forecast by $8.30 to $39.50/bbl
- “We expect a very slow recovery in oil prices, thanks to the continued resilience of U.S. oil output”
- Strong demand may lead to gasoline shortage in summer
- Cites new refinery additions less tailored toward light products, increasing demand for petrol in Asia
- Cut Brent, WTI 2016 fcasts to $37/bbl on “marked deterioration” of mkt fundamentals
- Represents $23 cut to Brent fcast, $19 reduction on WTI
In short, peak pessimism is here. The only missing link is one major high-cost oil producer (like Venezuela for example) blowing up. It shouldn’t be too long.