The Financial Times reported last week that a third of energy debt bonds are classified as “distressed,” with some energy companies having to borrow just to pay the promised dividends. Some on Wall Street and in the banking community are taking a second look at such a strategy — a look that could result in turning off the spigot and sending those marginal drillers into oblivion along with their bond holders’ portfolios.
News from the Eurozone doesn’t bode well for higher oil prices, either. In its news release dated December 1, Markit showed major players in Europe continuing to experience serious economic difficulties. Wrote Markit’s Chief Economist Chris Williamson:
With the final PMI [Purchasing Managers Index] coming in below the flash reading, the situation in euro area manufacturing is worse than previously thought. Not only is the performance of the sector the worst seen since mid-2013, there is a risk that renewed rot is spreading across the region from the core.
The sector has more or less stagnated since August, but we are now seeing, for the first time in nearly one-and-a-half years, the three largest economies all suffering manufacturing downturns.
And then there’s China, the economic powerhouse that boasts a larger automobile market than the United States. But as new regulations to limit traffic jams and air pollution take hold, and revelations come to light that an astounding $6.8 trillion of its vaunted industrial development has been wasted, according to China’s own National Development Commission, China just in the last month has become a net crude oil exporter. Calling this an “unprecedented development,” Platts, a division of McGraw Hill Financial, noted that oil imports to China in October dropped by 22 percent while oil exports surged by 30 percent. Platts said further that China could now become a net exporter of oil into the future, reflecting the country’s growing internal industrial weakness.
Put all together then, lower crude oil prices are negatively impacting major international players in the energy market, including OPEC itself, once considered the big gorilla in the room. America’s oil producers, on the other hand, appear to be well-situated to live through the current volatility in oil prices, while consumers continue to enjoy the benefits at the pump and grocery stores.
FK – Does this mean we’re headed toward affordable gas again, like 75 cents a gallon or less so that the average person can travel and have something that resembles a life away from the place they waste their time in exchange for money?
I’m not holding my breath. I don’t trust the eco-commies and I sure don’t trust the oil ‘producers’ and I don’t understand how the ‘stock market’ or ‘dividends’ affects the price of something we all need to survive much less why it should or why we should allow it to.
I’m not against any business making a profit, maybe a crazy profit on a luxury. Gas ceased to be a luxury a long time ago if it ever was.