Oil Going To $30 Says Sanford C. Bernstein & Co.

Discussion in 'Trading' started by ByLoSellHi, Feb 14, 2007.

  1. http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601087&sid=aGufnFpahVqU&refer=home

    Oil May Drop to $30 as Investors Flee, Bernstein Says (Update1)

    By Nicholas Larkin

    Feb. 14 (Bloomberg) --
    Oil will fall to $40 a barrel by March and may drop to $30 as rising storage costs widen the gap between spot and future prices, leading to a `breaking point' at which passive investors will flee, Sanford C. Bernstein & Co. said.

    Oil will slide because greater investment in commodity futures has driven the market into contango, according to analysts led by London-based Neil McMahon. The phenomenon occurs when futures prices rise above spot prices, often reflecting handling or storage costs.

    ``As storage fills up, storage costs rise and the contango widens,'' the analysts said in a February report. ``At some point, investors will reallocate money away from the commodity funds, causing futures prices to fall.''

    Last month, New York-traded crude fell to $49.90 a barrel as warmer-than-expected weather spread across the U.S. and fuel inventories surged. Crude has since risen on a second production cut by the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and a cold snap in the U.S., the world's largest energy consumer.

    The ``breaking point'' could come in March if Saudi Arabia, OPEC's largest producer, fails to cut production below 8 million barrels per day, the level needed to keep the market balanced, the Bernstein analysts said. Spare capacity would rise, widening the contango and driving investors out.

    Crude oil for March delivery fell as much as $1.36, or 2.3 percent, today to $57.70 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange and traded at $58.02 at 12:08 p.m.

    `Staggering' Flow

    ``The funds flow into commodities in recent years is staggering,'' McMahon and colleagues said. Net assets invested in the Goldman Sachs Commodity Index rose to almost $70 billion in 2006 from $15 billion in 2003, they said. ``The bubble is bound to burst.''

    McMahon, 36, joined Bernstein from McKinsey & Co, in 2003. He previously spent three years in the geology departments of BP Plc and BG Group Plc.

    ``You've got a lot of money coming into commodities from people who want to diversify from bonds and equities,'' Bernstein analyst Ben Dell said by phone today from New York. ``To some extent the bubble has burst. Making money on commodities is not as easy as it was.''

    Bernstein has been looking at the problem of passive investment since June 2006, after the market curve changed into contango in Oct. 2005, according to Dell.

    ``After four years of fund flow into commodity futures, investors in oil are now struggling with how to generate a return with the curve in contango and a negative roll yield,'' he said. Investors can lose money even as oil rises when funds sell expiring contracts and then pay more for future contracts.

    Goldman Bullish

    Among analysts predicting an increase in oil prices, Goldman Sachs Group Inc. says New York futures may rise to $71.50 a barrel this year because producer investment is ``significantly'' short of requirements.

    The price of West Texas Intermediate, the benchmark U.S. crude, may average $69 this year, Goldman economist James Gutman said Feb. 8. The fuel reached a record $78.40 a barrel in New York on July 14.

    Royal Bank of Scotland Plc agrees with Bernstein that oil will fall. Prices may drop to $45 a barrel by 2011 because ``the risk of severe supply disruption has receded'' and demand growth is slowing, RBS analyst Thorsten Fischer said Jan. 28. Production investment over the last few years will boost supply, he said.

    ``Even if Saudi Arabia cuts production, it is effectively creating underground storage, exacerbating the problem by encouraging further oversupply and making any future correction even worse,'' the Bernstein analysts said.

    To contact the reporter on this story: Nicholas Larkin in London at nlarkin1@bloomberg.net
    Last Updated: February 14, 2007 12:08 EST
  2. Excellent Commentary

    Thank you for the article....

    For many countries....$40 is still too high....These countries live in the $200 to $800 world...

    Templeton Group has for some time used the mid $40s as an expectation...and even Venezuela uses $29 for planning...

    Certainly ...the belief that the Iraq War could cause new issues of supply interruption....this thrill has gone...

    The US is also doubling its reserves....and the flow of funds seeking returns is not going to repeat a 15 to 75 level change...in fact this is going to reverse...

    Guess what happens when leverage has to unwind because of redemption requests...

    And again it was the bottleneck that created the most bullish fervor...which is becoming a non issue...

    And the future for cars does not point to the same gas guzzling models...and in fact is going to be moving away from petroleum as a fuel...

    Let er rip !!!!!!!! Good riddance !!!!!!!!!