Commodities & Currencies

(New York)

Until the market downturn over the last couple of weeks, the oil price had been rising strongly for a period of several months. OPEC’s strategy to cut supply to the market seemed to have balanced supply and demand, which boosted prices. However, one big beneficiary of the cuts was the US shale industry, which has been boosting output to the highest levels ever. This big surge might be the ultimate unwinding of the price rise, however, as US output is surging to levels not seen since oil was at $100 per barrel. This is likely to once again flood the market with supply, sending prices back downward.


FINSUM: We think this oil output growth is unsustainable, both because it will lead to oversupply, but also because it will eventually crack OPEC’s resolve to contain their own output (as the benefits are disproportionately flowing to the US).

(Houston)

MLPs can perform well during periods of rising rates, such as in the last tightening cycle. While they are broadly more risky than bonds, they can provide good returns. Many MLPs collect inflation hedged payments, so they should perform better than bonds in a tightening environment. As an asset class, MLPs have been holding back on payouts, but these should accelerate in 2019 and 2020. Three names to look at are Enterprise Product Partners, yielding 6.1%, Magellan Midstream Partners, yielding 5.2%, and Antero Midstream Partners, yielding 4.8%.


FINSUM: Those yields look really juicy don’t they? And they are moderately inflation hedged, which is also quite promising. Worth a look.

(Houston)

Oil prices have been rising strongly on the global market. However, those gains took a breather yesterday when eye-opening new info emerged on the oil market—the US is now producing more than 10 million barrels of crude oil per day. The mark was hit in November, and arrived much sooner than anyone expected. The US has only broken that threshold twice in the past, both times in 1970.


FINSUM: Okay so our big concern with the oil market right now is that these higher prices are not sustainable. The fundamental oversupply of oil has not been solved. The only thing holding up prices is the fact that OPEC members, for the moment, are happy to let the US benefit disproportionately from their output cuts. This output figure might change that.

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