Energy Report: Bubble Talk

Stocks and commodities had a bubble talk sell-off. China, raising concerns about a bubble not only in their country but in the EU and the U.S., is causing an overnight sharp swoon in oil and other markets. Reuters reported that China’s top banking and insurance regulator expressed wariness of the risk of bubbles bursting in foreign markets, and said Beijing is studying effective measures to manage capital inflows to prevent turbulence in the domestic market. 

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China says that global markets are starting to see side effects of fiscal and monetary policy steps in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, said Guo Shuqing, head of the China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission, at a news conference on Tuesday. “Financial markets are trading at high levels in Europe, the U.S., and other developed countries, which runs counter to the real economy,” Guo added. Guo also said relatively big bubbles are the core issue facing China’s property sector. “It is quite dangerous that many people are buying homes not for living in, but for investment or speculation.” If the housing market goes down, the value of properties held by people will suffer from huge losses, leading to a vicious cycle of unpaid mortgages and economic chaos, he said.

The warning shook oil prices that were already shaky based on concerns of slowing demand in China, as well as talk about another strain of the coronavirus. Zerohedge reported about the selloff that, “while the catalyst {for the oil selloff} is unclear, several market participants are pointing to a story in The Financial Times that warns the Brazil-variant of the virus has been found to evade natural immunity.

Some blamed the sell-off on the fact that the Biden administration says that they are open to sanctions on Saudi Arabia. MarketWatch reported that an intelligence report released by the Biden administration on Friday said Saudi Arabia’s crown prince likely approved an operation to kill or capture U.S.-based journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. The U.S. has sanctioned Saudi Arabia’s Intervention Force, called the ”Tiger Squad”, as well as a former Saudi intelligence officer for the involvement in Khashoggi’s murder, but has not sanctioned the prince. Phil Flynn, senior market analyst at The Price Futures Group, however, believes that any retaliation by the Saudis would likely come in the form of an attempt to “squeeze the Biden economy,” by holding output back and sending prices higher, as U.S. shale production might not have the ability to immediately respond. Sanctions on the Saudi prince would drive up oil prices, not down, as it would restrict U.S. supply, he said. Instead, Flynn attributed oil’s losses Monday to concerns that OPEC+ will raise production, as Chinese oil demand is just starting to recover.

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