Crafty predictions of note takers
Most of all, of course, they talked about oil, the market of which has been bringing more and more new surprises to the world economy for a year and a half. Aleksey Kudrin said this arrogantly: “Neither the presidential aides, nor I believed that there would be a new such big collapse in oil prices - this created a new reality.” New Kudrin reality - oil at $ 18 or even $ 16 per barrel, albeit for a short time. Not kept in Davos from forecasts and German Gref. As always, Gref’s forecasts did not concern the prospects of the bank he headed, but related markets, and above all - oil. The head of Sberbank predicted oil prices in the first half of the year not higher than 35 dollars per barrel.
Our note-takers from the housekeeper did not make any discovery. The game for a fall in oil prices has been going on for a long time and seriously. The goals of this action are different. More precisely, there are several of them. Two stand out. First of all, low oil prices are dragging down all commodities, which undoubtedly provides strong support to the stagnating economies of developed countries. In addition, cheap oil hurts across Russia, holds back its development, which is good news for overseas strategists. Some analysts put the game against Russia first, but this is a matter of taste and mood. In general, the sum does not change from the change of the mentioned components: the low prices for oil benefit mainly the economies of the leading countries of the world.
Therefore, not only the predictions of Kudrin and Gref, but also numerous forecasts of Western experts, politicians, bankers and the media continue to push oil down. Here are analysts of the American JPMorgan Chase (note for ourselves this bank, we still have to remember about it) on the threshold of Davos significantly lowered the forecast for oil prices of reference brands. They expect the North Sea Brent to have an average of 31,25 dollars per barrel in a year, while the American WTI expects 31,5 dollars.
Revised the outlook for the oil price in 2016-2017 for the downside of the American bank Morgan Stanley. According to his estimates, during this period a barrel of Brent oil will cost 41,9 dollars per barrel (the previous forecast is 51,9 dollars). Sandra Grabenweger-Straka, executive director of the Frankman branch of the American company Goldman Sachs Asset Management, said that world oil prices have not yet reached the bottom.
We note for ourselves that in exercises with forecasts for lowering oil prices, Russian “experts” compete mainly with American “soothsayers”. The United States has been working on this for a year. Oil was pushed down by expectations of a rise in the interest rate of the US federal reserve. This game was constantly. Once a quarter it was announced that the Fed is going to raise the rate by 0,5 percent, and therefore it is more profitable to return dollars from commodity markets to financial markets - in the USA. Raw materials and oil became cheaper, and the interest rate remained unchanged until the end of the year. In December, it was finally raised to the promised heights, once again pushing oil down.
What was the bottom line? Over the past year, the price of oil collapsed three times, in return, investors were able to place the released funds on the American financial market under symbolic 0,5 percent. (Moreover, according to expert estimates, they had at least 55 per annum on oil transactions.) Here you can already speak, if not about collusion, then at least about the manageability of the financial market of the United States.
When oil is not needed for nothing
In mid-January, Nikolai Tokarev, president of Transneft, the Russian oil transport company, said at a meeting with journalists that the oil market is politicized and manipulative. Tokarev said then: “When it was necessary to“ lower ”Russia, the price of oil was lowered. AT stories we know many examples of this. " The recognition of the head of Transneft once again confirms: today there are no objective prices on the oil market. This conclusion has long been reached by responsible analysts, but even they are kept from harsh assessments by polite. After all, whatever one may say, the world oil market is not just manipulated, it is destroyed today.
How else to explain that, for example, the cost of heavy oil from North Dakota fell below zero. In 2014, the brand was given $ 47,60 per barrel, in 2015 - $ 13.50, and now Flint Hills Resources is engaged in processing Dakota oil only if it is paid for each barrel of 50 cents. This writes the American news agency Bloomberg, with reference to the corporate price list of the company.
The message Bloomberg can be treated as a curiosity or economic foppiness of the owners of the processing company. However, it is better to estimate oil in a different coordinate system. In America, it has long been said in full voice that oil has become twice cheaper than milk. Engaged in mathematical calculations in the Russian segment of the Internet. The conclusion was shocking - “a barrel of Brent oil now costs less than a barrel of ordinary water that Russians buy for home or office coolers.” Repeat these calculations. Drinking water of the highest category is now worth about 350 rubles per 19 liters. Per barrel (159 liters) is obtained 2928 rubles. On Friday, by the end of trading, oil rose to $ 32,18, while the ruble stopped at 77,51 per dollar. Simple multiplication gives us 2494 rubles and the result - a barrel of water in the evening on Friday cost 434 rubles more expensive than a barrel of oil.
You can, of course, explain such a grimace of the market by nonsense that the authorities of Saudi Arabia are doing, trying to keep their share in the hydrocarbon trade. We can recall the promise of Iran to increase oil supplies to 500 thousand barrels per day by March. (This, by the way, is a new horror story, which the Americans have replaced, has exhausted the story of the interest rate increase.) On closer examination, it turns out that the Iranians will add to the world supply no more than 0,5 percent, and last year oil production in the world, according to the Saudi newspaper Al-Ictisadia increased by only 1,8 percent. All this does not correspond to the current deep collapse in oil prices.
In the same Davos, the president and co-owner of the Russian oil company Lukoil, Vagit Alekperov, told reporters that taking into account the supply of oil (production and accumulated reserves) and demand for it, the price should be at least $ 50 per barrel. However, real life forces Lukoil to correct plans and make several scenarios of actions in 2016, as market events are now developing in an unpredictable way.
Where did the product go?
Alekperov can understand. For him, the forecast of oil prices is not an abstract exercise in economic rhetoric. From the accuracy of the analysis depends largely on the market prospects of his oil company. Therefore, the head of Lukoil speaks of a fair, balanced, and not speculative oil price, but even he showed surprising modesty. After all, reputable Western experts have repeatedly stated publicly that "the price, based on the net supply-demand ratio, should be at the level of $ 60-70 per barrel." Everything else is from the evil one. The fall in oil prices is the work of speculators, or, as head of JP Morgan Chase James Dimon said in Davos, “These are emotional actions of market players and purely financial factors.”
The American banker knows what he is talking about. In the early seventies of the last century, oil on the market was worth some two dollars per barrel. That was the time when the American currency had a gold equivalent. Soon, the United States made a "revolutionary" move - untied the dollar from gold and began to correlate its course on the mass market. At the beginning of his, then - the world.
The new approach demanded the utmost responsibility and discipline from the American authorities, imitating the world currency, the dollar. But the golden age of stock market dealers has arrived. They began to trade not so much oil, metals, industrial raw materials or food, as derivatives. So called financial substitutes, giving the right to purchase commodities. As for oil, a variety of these surrogates is involved - futures. They reflect only the level of prices and delivery time. Volumes of supply of goods are displayed outside the brackets of the transaction, which creates a basis for exchange manipulations.
Futures and similar financial instruments have long become an independent exchange commodity, having emanated from the classical money-commodity-money market formula, the commodity itself. On the new non-commodity formula, the American currency is now flourishing. The financial crisis of 2008 of the year was caused by a surplus on surrogate derivatives exchanges, which more than ten times exceeded the commodity volume of the world market ($ 600 trillion against $ 58 trillion of global GDP).
That crisis, as we remember, was flooded with new money, launching trillions more into the economy. This turned out to be a half-measure, the market pendulum swung in the direction of genuine commodities, raising their price to transcendental heights (oil at its peak cost $ 135). It took several years to reverse the situation (they raised the proposal at the expense of shale deposits and increased production in Saudi Arabia, eliminated restraining balances like oil OPEC, etc.). On the street derivatives came again holiday.
Came, it seems, for a long time. It is not by chance that responsible analysts talk about long-term low oil prices. Such assessments have recently been expressed by the head of the Central Bank of Russia, Elvira Nabiullina, the Minister of Energy Alexander Novak, the Minister of Economic Development Alexei Ulyukayev, and other officials who are in control of the market situation. They recognize that the balance of supply and demand will come in the 2016 year, but this will not drastically change prices.
A pessimist is said to be a well-informed optimist. Russian officials, as they say, are in the subject and really represent the whole of Everest of surrogate and genuine money, which is pressing today on the commodity markets in favor of the countries of the “golden billion”. This problem will not be resolved soon. After all, which has become a "thing in itself" all derivatives trading is now going through US banks processing dollar payments. Here, JPMorgan Chase, Morgan Stanley, already familiar to us, you can add Bank of America, Citigroup, Goldman Sachs Group, other largest banks with trillion-dollar turnover in dollars. It is not only nationality that binds them, but, as independent experts admit, non-transparency of payments, including in oil futures.
Authorities sometimes pay attention to this. Occasionally even banks are fined, which generally does not change the picture. Discipline and responsibility, so important to world financial centers, have long since left American bankers. And today there is nothing more for them than money — even if it is surrogate. The world has only problems, crises and uncertainty ...