Pro Perspectives 1/12/21

January 12, 2021

Global assets have been repricing over the past ten months, driven by the Fed's decision to go all-in to support the economy back on March 23rd. 

But oil has been a laggard, still about 20% off of the highs of last year. 

Remember, last year the May oil futures contract traded negative, deeply negative (as low as -$41/bbl).    

Why?  The largest oil ETF didn't factor in a scenario where the global economy would lockdown, and then two of the most powerful oil producers would collude to flood the world with oil supply.  

That created a situation where there was little-to-no storage around the world for oil.   And when this large ETF was forced to roll its May contract (i.e. sell it to move into the new front-month contract), there were no buyers.  Prices went negative. 

So, this was technical issue.  I suspect you were never paid to gas up the car.  And the price of oil has since made its way back to as high as $53 today. 

But this oil price recovery is in the face of structural headwinds for the oil industry.  
Remember, the money that has been pouring into the electric vehicle stocks (e.g. Tesla), has represented the anti-oil trade. 

The Biden clean energy plan vows to kill the fossil fuels industry in the U.S.

With that, most would expect oil prices to be heading toward zero.

As you can see in the chart, that's not the case.  In fact, since the election, it's risen alongside Tesla. 

Why?  If Biden regulates the U.S. shale industry into extinction, OPEC will be back in charge.  And oil prices will go much higher, even in a world that’s transitioning to cleaner alternatives to oil.