The bear market in crude

Really quickly here: WTI has traded down into bear market territory today. I see it quoted at $61.38. The high was $76.90. Brent is also down to $71.81 from a high of $86.74. That’s not official bear market territory yet. But it’s coming close.

And so, while equities and high yield have recovered since the October rout, oil continues to slump. My view on this is clear: it reflects not just a commitment by the Saudis to pump and record output from the US, but also a worry about slowing global growth.

The chart from Gavyn Davies says it all:

World economic growth 2017 vs 2018.png

We have seen a full two percentage point reduction in global growth since the peak a year ago, when the flattening yield curve in the US told us to start worrying.

What happened then is that the Republicans passed a stimulus bill that stopped the worries about growth, at least in the US. And the yield curve even steepened a bit this past summer. But this phase is over now. And the fall in oil prices tells us this.

The worry now has to be about slowing. And that’s bearish for oil.

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