September 7, 2017

Perspective

WSJ – Daily Shot: WEF – National per capita GDP without capital cities 9/5

Worthy Insights / Opinion Pieces / Advice

WSJ – Workers: Fear Not the Robot Apocalypse – Greg Ip 9/5

FT – Will stability become the new watchword for the oil market? – Anjli Raval 9/5

  • “The oil world is divided into two camps.”
  • “There are those who believe the crude price will eventually spike higher, repeating the boom-bust pattern that has defined the market for more than a century. Lined up against them are those betting prices will defy history, staying low and rangebound.”
  • “Complicating the debate is that it hinges on a US shale industry that is barely a decade old and accounts for little more than 5% of global supplies. Can it really eliminate the risk of a price spike by growing fast enough to meet forecasts for rising demand?”
  • “Of total global production at about 98m barrels a day, US crude output makes up 9.2m b/d with the country’s fast-growing shale segment comprising just 5.6m b/d, energy data show “
  • “The mismatch is why drastic cuts to investment in future production have forced global energy bodies and exporter countries, such as Opec’s de facto leader Saudi Arabia, to warn of a looming supply gap.”
  • “Historically about 15bn barrels of new supplies from conventional resources are approved for development each year, the International Energy Agency says. This fell to 8bn in 2015 and 5.5bn in 2016. Despite a rise to 8bn-9bn barrels this year, the IEA expects that global oil supply will still struggle to keep pace with demand after 2020.”
  • “Global oil consumption is expected to grow on average by 1.2m b/d each year to 2022. The IEA’s forecasts also account for unconventional supplies as well as declining output rates from existing fields.”
  • “Tim Gould, the IEA’s long-term supply analyst, accepts that US shale supply could increase ‘significantly’ from today’s levels. ‘But after that, large scale increases will be difficult to achieve. There is less of a chance that it can ramp up to fill any gap.'”
  • “Proponents of this view, including hedge fund manager Pierre Andurand, say oil will return to $100 a barrel.”
  • “But those confident the price will stay rangebound are not convinced. The fear — or hope — of an emerging supply gap is exaggerated, they say, and fails to acknowledge shale supply as a transformational force.”
  • “’The oil market is indeed the most competitive it has ever been,’ said Ed Morse at Citigroup, who argues that US shale has broken the historically oligopolistic market structure.”
  • “Rather than Opec’s production determining market balances, US shale is the new source of responsive supply. Mr. Morse argues the shale deniers are underestimating its prowess, from the geology to the technology allowing this oil to be unlocked.”
  • “’There is just an unwillingness to understand shale. It’s a world that many still find alien,’ said Mr. Morse, who believes $45-$65 oil is likely to persist for years.”
  • “Those pushing the lower-for-longer — and maybe forever — thesis also question the willingness of Opec producers and their allies to maintain supply curbs as production from the US to Canada’s oil sands and Brazil’s deepwater fields thrives.”
  • “Unquestionably, US shale’s resilience has enabled it to surpass even the most bullish expectations. But Bob McNally at consultancy Rapidan Group said the industry had yet to prove itself as a ‘swing producer’, able to put a floor as well as a ceiling on prices. Volatility, he said, is the only certainty.”
  • “Perpetual $50-$60 is as wrong now as endless $100 was four years ago.”

Real Estate

WSJ – Daily Shot: The 12 Most Expensive Rental Markets 9/5

Australia

Economist – How Australia broke the record for economic growth – E.A.D.W. 9/6

  • “The last time Australia suffered a recession the web browser had just been invented and Bryan Adams topped the charts. Figures released today will show that its economy has racked up the longest stretch of growth in modern history: 104 quarters. The Netherlands, the previous title-holder, dipped into recession—defined as two consecutive quarters of contraction—after 103. In these 26 years, Australia has navigated the Asian financial crisis, the collapse of the dotcom bubble and the Great Recession, largely without scars. Its once-in-a-generation mining boom ended in 2014. Yet it has managed to avoid a bust…”
  • “The luck seems set to continue. The central bank predicts that GDP growth will pick up to about 3% in the next couple of years. But families have reason to feel less optimistic. Unemployment rates have flat-lined above their equivalents in America, Britain and Japan. Underemployment (the number of people who would like more work) is close to record highs. Rising national income is not trickling down to workers: wage growth has fallen to about 1.9%, its slowest pace since the last recession. This is all the more uncomfortable because household debt has ballooned. Its ratio to GDP is close to 190%, one of the highest in the world. If the central bank raises interest rates, many families will have difficulties repaying their mortgages. For now, it is likely to do nothing—and the growth will go on.”

Europe

FT – Polish president warns ‘multi-speed’ EU will collapse – James Shotter and Jim Brunsden 9/5

  • “Andrzej Duda says bloc would lose attractiveness for countries deemed ‘second class.'”

South America

NYT – Brazilian Corruption Case Ensnares Ex-Presidents da Silva and Rousseff – Shasta Darlington and Ernesto Londono 9/5

  • “Brazil’s attorney general on Tuesday charged former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva; his successor, Dilma Rousseff; and several other senior figures of the Workers’ Party with running a ‘criminal organization’ that raked in hundreds of millions in bribes during the party’s nearly 14-year reign.”
  • “The attorney general, Rodrigo Janot, whose term ends this month, described the governments of Mr. da Silva and Ms. Rousseff as essentially fronts for a criminal enterprise through which senior politicians collected roughly $450 million from entities that included the state-run oil company Petrobras and the Brazilian National Development Bank. In addition to his conviction, Mr. da Silva has been charged in several other cases in which he stands accused of accepting bribes of relatively modest sums.”
  • “But the 230-page charge sheet released Tuesday puts him at the center of a huge conspiracy. Mr. Janot wrote that the allegations should not be seen as a sign that the judiciary was ‘criminalizing politics’ or routine ‘political negotiations,’ but rather as a record of a ruling elite that systematically used public money to ‘buy popular support.’”

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