Chinese oil demand is reportedly almost back to pre-coronavirus crisis levels

Bloomberg reports on the matter

The report says that Chinese oil demand is all but back to levels last seen before nationwide lockdown measures were imposed to curb the spread of the coronavirus outbreak, according to people with inside knowledge of the country’s energy industry.

Adding that consumption of gasoline and diesel has fully recovered as factories reopen and commuters drive rather than use public transport.
The exact level of oil demand in real time – according to executives and traders who monitor the country’s consumption – is said to be about 13 million bpd, which is just shy of the 13.4 million bpd seen around May 2019 and the 13.7 million bpd seen in December 2019.
For some context, the apparent drop in Chinese oil demand was seen at around 20%:
However true the figures are from this report, it is certainly giving hope to oil bulls that the market can recover from the severe imbalance – and perhaps more quickly than thought – that we are seeing currently. WTI crude is now up by over 8% on the day to $31.85.

China refineries reportedly processing 25% less oil than they were last year

Bloomberg reports on the matter

The report highlights that Chinese refineries are cutting back on output even further to cope with weak demand and a lack of workers due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Throughput is now reported to be 25% below the average in 2H 2019 and the low run rates are expected to last through February at the very least. The run rates have fallen to just about 10 mil bpd this week – the lowest since 2014.

China oil
That certainly won’t give oil bulls much encouragement and this is another warning sign to overseas oil suppliers to China surely.
This headline alone may not be one that impacts the market too heavily but just note that all of these things add up when you weigh up the potential impact of that the coronavirus outbreak is having on the global economy.

Will China GDP matter more to assets than any US-China deal?

Via Bloomberg

The title of this post was a good question on Bloomberg’s Markets live blog at the end of last week. Mark Cranfield phrased the question as follows:

China’s 3Q GDP is due Oct 18 and it could be the first time on record that it prints below 6%. That could have a greater long-term impact on assets than a partial trade deal. Especially, as Bloomberg Economics expect policy makers to step up stimulus in response to stabilise the mainland economy.

If so, will that make China equities an asset class that become less correlated to the direction of Wall Street and global stocks? Would it trigger an asset swicth away from China bonds that spills over to other fixed income markets?

My assessment is that Firstly.  China’s GDP growth is going to be slowing due to reasons of growth. It is not the norm for developed countries to have double digit growth in the GDP. As China joins those developed nations it is only normal that GDP slows in pace.
Secondly, on a more general note, I think that the US-China deal matters more than the GDP figures. No deal – bad GDP would have been the worst outcome. With the US and China together making up 40% of the world’s GDP and the US on it own about 25% a good deal between those two countries should ultimately put positivity back into asset classes. It feels like the disaster outcome has avoided for now.
What is your take on it?

Asset Managers With $74 Trillion on Brink of Historic Shakeout

This is quite amazing via Bloomberg:

“The industry that gave rise to investing titans Peter LynchBill Miller and Bill Gross is facing an existential crisis.

For years, mom-and-pop investors frustrated by high fees and subpar returns from big-name money managers have been shifting their savings into ultra-cheap funds that simply mimic the returns generated by benchmark stock and bond indexes. Passive investing, as it is known, was in. Active was out.

At first, few noticed the trickle of money out of funds run by star money managers into cheaper index products. But now, no one can ignore the flood. The exodus from active funds has sent fees inexorably lower, led to the loss of thousands of jobs and forced large-scale consolidation among firms. That’s pushing the industry, with $74 trillion in assets as measured by Boston Consulting Group, towards a shakeout where only the strongest will survive.”


The graphic tells the story:

Sharpen Your Trading With Occam's Razor

 Would you believe that a 14th century priest, and his concepts, can help make you a better trader?  Well, English logician and Franciscan friar William of Ockham really can make you a better trader.

Ockham developed the concept commonly referred to as Occam’s Razor.  Simply put, this principle favors the simple over the complex, when there is a choice to be made, or a path to be followed.

How can this apply to trading? A few different ways.

First, if you are a system trader, perhaps your approach has too many rules, too many parameters, or too much optimizing.  While every parameter you add might make your system better historically, the more parameters you have, the less prone the system is to work going forward.  Simpler concepts and simple rules tend to be based on fundamental market principles – ones that aren’t as likely to change.

Second, if you are a discretionary trader, you might trade off of news reports from Blue Channels  and multiple other sources.  Multiple news sources might give you more data, but does it really give you more knowledge?  You might find that with multiple, conflicting pieces of information, you actually can’t trade at all – rather, you are a victim of “analysis paralysis.”

Third, maybe your trading office looks like the control room for the Space Shuttle. If you try to trade off all of the information shown on all the screens, you might just find yourself overwhelmed.  It is better to stick to a few monitors of information, and know that information very well.  The best traders don’t need a dozen monitors to trade well – usually 1 or 2 monitors is plenty.

Many new traders tend to think that that more complicated they make trading, the easier it will be to “solve” the markets.  Instead, they should be listening to William of Ockham, and making things simpler.  Simple, done correctly, can lead to more profits, and stand the test of time better than complicated approaches.

Jim Rogers: Stocks To Be Crushed Any Day Now

Governments need to tighten their monetary policies more according to Jim Rogers. Such tightening will result in stocks being crushed nevertheless.

Bloomberg: “We’re overdue for a correction” said Rogers, chairman of Rogers Holdings, said in an interview in Hong Kong. “Stock markets around the world have been going up for the past 10 months.”

“I don’t think anybody has tightened enough. I think everybody should tighten more,” he told Bloomberg. “We have huge amounts of money printed throughout the world. It’s going to cause currency instability. It’s going to cause more inflation. It’s going to cause higher interest rates.”

An extended, related video of Jim Rogers with Bloomberg is below, start from 11:00 for Jim Rogers. He talks across stocks, stimulus, commodities, and gold in particular.

One of the oddest things discussed however, toward the very end of the video, at 27:00, is how Jim Rogers is long both the U.S. dollar and gold. He’s also long the Japanese yen even though in his own words, it, like the dollar, is a ‘terribly flawed currency’.



Links worth reading

  • The secrets of the Afghan war released (WSJ)
  • BP set to announce Hayward departure (FT)
  • Must read: The death of paper money (Telegraph)
  • European Banking’s Next Focus Is Funding (WSJ)
  • U.K. Growth Forecast Cut on Budget Curbs, Ernst & Young to Say (BusinessWeek)
  • Taleb: Government Deficits Could Be the Next ‘Black Swan’ (BusinessWeek)
  • Deficits Don’t Matter as Geithner Growth Gets Lowest Yield (Bloomberg)
  • When will the US go the way of Rome (RCM)
  • Why Do More People Just Not Say: Hypocrite


    From Bloomberg Nov 4, 2011:

    Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (BRK/A) said third-quarter profit fell 24 percent as derivative bets declined in value.

    From BBC March 4, 2003:

    Mr. Buffett argues that such highly complex financial instruments [derivatives] are time bombs and “financial weapons of mass destruction” that could harm not only their buyers and sellers, but the whole economic system. Some derivatives contracts, Mr. Buffett says, appear to have been devised by “madmen”. In his letter Mr. Buffett compares the derivatives business to “hell…easy to enter and almost impossible to exit”…

    He might be rich, but let’s face it: he is one manipulative character.

    From $8 a Month to $20 Billion

    “Twenty-five years ago, when Zong Qinghou was 42, he made his living selling soft drinks and popsicles to schoolchildren. He says he earned about $8 a month — less than a third of China’s average wage at the time — and was so broke that he once slept in a tunnel under the streets of Beijing rather than spend on a hotel.

    “Today, Zong, 67, is still selling soda — and lots of other things — as the wealthiest man in mainland China, Bloomberg Markets magazine reports in its December cover package, “The World’s Richest People.” His net worth of $20.1 billion as of Oct. 5 ranks him No. 30 in the world…”

    – Bloomberg, Zong Tops China Billionaires as Communist-to-Capitalist

    The responsible trader puts risk control first. That means staying clearheaded in respect to potential outcomes, refusing to “drink the kool-aid” while everyone else chugs it.

    Given the need for realism, though, it’s good to temper cynicism with awareness of what’s possible… the potential in what could happen, with hard work, if things really go right.

    In that regard, extreme success outliers are not to be envied or copycatted — obviously one needs a lot of fortuitous circumstance (plus the hard work) to do what Zong did.

    Instead, fat tail successes serve as a useful reminder that perhaps, just perhaps, outlandish aspirations are not so outlandish… and could even be modest in respect to what’s been done.

    After all, if a man in China can go from making $8 a month at age 42, to being worth $20 billion at age 67, who is to say what you or I might achieve? 

    Taleb Says ‘Every Human’ Should Short U.S. Treasuries

    TalebFeb. 4 (Bloomberg) — Nassim Nicholas Taleb, author of “The Black Swan,” said “every single human being” should bet U.S. Treasury bonds will decline, citing the policies of Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke and the Obama administration.

    It’s “a no brainer” to sell short Treasuries, Taleb, a principal at Universa Investments LP in Santa Monica, California, said at a conference in Moscow today. “Every single human being should have that trade.”

    Taleb said investors should bet on a rise in long-term U.S. Treasury yields, which move inversely to prices, as long as Bernanke and White House economic adviser Lawrence Summers are in office, without being more specific. Nouriel Roubini, the New York University professor who predicted the credit crisis, also said at the conference that the U.S. dollar will weaken against Asian and “commodity” currencies such as the Brazilian real over the next two or three years.

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