Well! WTI below $50 and Brent below $53 when I start writing this. Who knows where they’ll be by the time I’m finished?! The euro down below $1.20, US stocks flirting with -2%, major European ones off -3%, Italy and Greece over -5%. Welcome to the real world, baby! Didn’t think you’d see it again so soon, did you? Welcome to the world where the Kool-Aid recovery does not reign supreme.
Not that you’re not going to hear that anymore, and 24/7 incessantly so, but there’s no recovery with these oil prices, no matter what anybody says. The damage must be gargantuan by now. Everybody’s invested in oil. Sure, lots of shorts and stuff by now, but that’s not going to do much good. Not for pensions funds, or for governments. This thing will not blow up or over softly.
There’s not an oil major or minor or a producing country left that makes a profit at these prices, and there’s no sign anywhere to be seen that the drop will stop. If this keeps going, someday soon somebody’s going to go to war. Maybe domestically, maybe across a border, but it’ll happen.
There are dozens of regimes out there for whom oil prices have become a huge threat to their powers, their status, their lives, and there are dozens of others waiting in the wings, eager to take over. The move is just too big not to lead to bloodshed.
The eurozone is perceived as a major threat to the global economy, but not necessarily for the right reasons. Sure, that looming Grexit is not good for Brussels, but Germany and its courts might be a bigger issue. Mario Draghi will need to announce something along the lines of a QE-like measure on January 22, but can he even without risking to blow up the whole casino?
What’s more, with oil and the euro where they are, and especially where’s they’re headed, what good would any new Draghi policy do, however big it is? Europe today, like the rest of the world, has bigger problems to deal with than yesterday’s inflation rates.
Oil below $50 and falling is bigger than any other political or economic issue. Remember when they all said low oil prices would boost the economy through higher consumer spending? Heard anything much about that lately?
For western countries like Norway, Britain, Holland, oil and gas producers, the loss in – tax – revenue is debilitating. For US states like North Dakota, Texas, Alaska, it’s worse. These are not the kind of entities that can turn on a dime, they write long term budgets, the same way oil companies do. There’s a time lag in consequences, but that doesn’t mean it’s unwise to be ready to get out of Dodge.
Thing is, prices DO turn on a dime. And now they’re stuck with a zillion broken promises to investors and voters. And while the executives and politicians will at worst get thrown out, the other side of the equation is going to be stuck with the tab. And in order to save their skins, the ‘leaders’ will raise that tab wherever they see fit.
This oil thing is the real deal. There’s no Plunge Protection for that. And for all we know nobody that counts wants any. For all we know the American behind the curtain wizard convention plans to use it to destabilize a whole list of additional countries. And for all we know Russia – and perhaps China- have seen that coming from miles away.
If and when an oil producing (!) nation like Turkmenistan devalues its currency by 19% against the dollar, something’s really amiss, and tectonic plates are shifting in a part of the world where balances were already, and always, delicate. And once plates start shifting, who’s to tell where they will end up?
It’s no longer about which factors bring down oil prices, that’s old news; it’s about what oil prices bring down. You know, the next – logical -step. And they bring down more than anybody seems to be aware of. Good luck with saving a dollar a day on your gasoline bill. The world’s power brokers feel they have it all under control – they don’t, nobody has the means to control the entire world – , and they have no qualms about sacrificing you to get what they want.
The oil price drop is a much bigger event than the US subprime housing crisis, it’s bigger than everything put together that happened in 2008. And this time, central banks are lame sitting ducks. Omnipotence is a harsh mistress. She tends to backfire.