Submitted by Michael Pento – Pento Portfolio Strategies
The pervasive narrative on Wall Street is that the collapse in oil prices will, any second now, restore consumers to their profligate spending ways. In fact, financial pundits have been calling for plunging energy prices to imminently rescue the economy for the past 18 months. Most importantly, these same gurus, who love to espouse the benefits of a collapse in oil prices, never connect the dots to what this collapse says about the state of global growth. Instead they argue it is solely a function of a supply glut that is the result of increased production.
West Texas Intermediate Crude (WTI) fell from $105 a barrel in June of 2014, to well below $30 in January of this year. The cratering price of WTI did not occur from a sudden surge in crude supply, but rather due to the market beginning to discount future plummeting demand coming from a synchronized global deflationary recession. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, world crude oil production has increased by just 3.3% since June 2014. Therefore, it is sheer quackery to maintain that such a small increase in crude production would result in prices to drop by 75%.
Oil prices are either discounting an unprecedented surge in supply, or a rapid destruction in demand. The Baker Hughes Rig count on an international basis is down by 218 rigs y/y. Therefore, despite any marginal increase in new supply from the lifting of Iranian sanctions, the drop in prices has to be due to the market’s realization that demand for this commodity is headed sharply south.
It’s not just the oil price that has tanked. Stock market cheerleaders have to ignore commodity prices in aggregate and a plethora of economic data to claim the global economy is faring well. Nearly all commodities are trading at levels not seen since the turn of the millennium. It’s not just energy that has crashed but base metals and agricultural commodities as well. In addition, half of US stocks are down more than 25% and the equity market carnage is much greater in most foreign shares. High-yield debt spreads to Treasuries also indicate a recession is nigh. Continue reading