By Lorcan Roche Kelly
Yesterday’s unprecedented collapse far into negative territory of the West Texas Intermediate contract for May delivery is starting to feed into June prices. This morning this far more actively traded future briefly dipped below $12 a barrel, while a similar Brent contract was under $20 a barrel. The warning from the IEA last week that the world is close to running out of places to hold oil is ringing true, with the biggest independent storage company saying space has all but run out. President Donald Trump said he wants to add as much as 75 million barrels of oil to the Strategic Petroleum Reserve and that he’ll consider banning imports from Saudi Arabia.
Speaking of Trump banning things, the president tweeted that he will sign an executive order temporarily suspending immigration into the U.S. He offered no specifics, and the White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Also in Washington, the Senate is planning to meet today for a potential vote on an emergency stimulus package of as much as $500 billion, with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi saying she hopes for a vote there tomorrow. In Europe, meanwhile, Italy is set to present plans this week to start easing the lockdown as new cases in the country continue to decline.
Buying, buying, buying
The numbers are starting to add up after central banks around the world embarked on massive asset purchases programs last month. Monetary authorities in the Group of Seven countries purchased $1.4 trillion of financial assets in March, with the pace showing no signs of slowing this month. In the week though April 15 the Federal Reserve expanded its balance sheet by $41 billion per day. Analysts at Morgan Stanley estimate that the holdings of the biggest central banks will have increased by $6.8 trillion when all is said and done.
The collapse in oil prices, manifest uncertainty over the duration of shutdowns and unconfirmed reports on the deteriorating health of North Korea’s leader all add up to lower global equity prices. Overnight, the MSCI Asia Pacific Index dropped 1.9% while Japan’s Topix index closed 1.2% lower. In Europe, the Stoxx 600 Index was down 2% by 5:50 a.m. Eastern Time, with oil and gas stocks leading the losses in a session which has every industry sector in the red. S&P 500 futures point to another lower open, the 10-year Treasury yield was at 0.577% and gold dropped.
U.S. existing home sales for March are expected to show a significant drop from February’s number when the data is published at 10:00 a.m. President Trump is scheduled to meet New York Governor Andrew Cuomo later today in the White House. It is a big day for earnings with Coca-Cola Co. already reporting better-than-expected earnings this morning, while Netflix Inc., Snap Inc., Philip Morris International Inc., Lockheed Martin Corp. and Texas Instruments Inc. are among the many companies due to announce later.