Just as Reuters’ John Kemp warned, it seems the hedge funds have abandoned OPEC. In the good ol’ days (of the last year), one mention of production cut deal extensions, or high production cut compliance rates, would have been enough to see levered buying with both hands and feet, self-reinforcing the ‘success’ of OPEC’s plan. Today – that failed!
WTI plunges below $50 and we tweet that OPEC is due any time now…
OPEC headline generator activated
— zerohedge (@zerohedge) April 21, 2017
Sure enough seconds later the folowing headline drop…
- *OPEC COMMITTEE SAID TO SEE MARCH CUTS COMPLIANCE AT ABOUT 98%
- *OPEC TECH COMMITTEE SAID TO SEE NEED FOR 6-MO CUTS EXTENSION
But the reaction was a disaster…
As we noted previously, reported stocks need to start falling soon if hedge fund managers’ confidence in rebalancing is to be maintained.
Which is why the daily jawboning by OPEC in the form of its recurring messaging about high levels of compliance has lost much of its effectiveness and is no longer enough to justify a bullish position in crude.
As a result, reported stock changes now matter more for oil prices and calendar spreads than compliance assessments by OPEC’s secondary sources.
Kemp’s conclusion: “OPEC’s credibility is on the line: stocks need to show a significant draw during the second and third quarters or many hedge funds are likely to give up on the bullish narrative prevailing since late 2016.“