QuickHit: $70 Crude & $5 Copper are coming
Returning guest Tracy Shuchart graced our QuickHit this week with interesting and fresh insights about oil and gas. What is she seeing on the industry — is it coming back to the normal levels, or better? Why she thinks oil will reach 70+ USD per barel? What’s happening on copper and why does its price going up? And is she seeing any surprises under the Biden administration?
Tracy Shuchart is the energy and material strategist for Hedge Fund Telemetry and she is a portfolio manager for a family office. She’s pretty active on Twitter with a large following. Check out her on Twitter: https://twitter.com/chigrl
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This QuickHit episode was recorded on November 24, 2020.
The views and opinions expressed in this QuickHit episode are those of the guests and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Complete Intelligence. Any content provided by our guests are of their opinion and are not intended to malign any political party, religion, ethnic group, club, organization, company, individual or anyone or anything.
TN: We’re seeing a lot happening in markets on the energy side and in things like industrial metals. We’re starting to see some life back into energy not just food but even in energy companies who come a fair bit off of their loads that we saw in Q2 and Q3. Can you help us understand what’s happening there? Why are we seeing, if we see people walking down again in the US and locking down in Europe, why are we starting to see life in energy?
TS: Part of that reason is we are seeing a little bit of that rotation into value from growth and the energy sector has been really beat up. It’s finding a little bit of love just from that kind of rotation. But also, we’re seeing these lockdowns and things like that, but what people aren’t really realizing, because of all these lockdowns and things of that nature, we’re actually seeing demand up in other areas where there really was not so much demand before.
So everyone’s talking about nobody’s driving anymore. Nobody’s flying anymore. When you know in fact, everybody’s online, e-commerce, we’ve got cargo ships full in the port of Los Angeles. They’re lined up there. That’s shipping fuel. And it’s not just in Los Angeles. Asia’s seeing the exact same thing. Singapore. Trucking has become huge if you you know look at the truck index. It’s basically exploding from 2019-2018 levels because you you have trucks that have to go from the port of LA to all the way to Atlanta. You have everybody ordering on Amazon so you have all sorts of trucking going on. And even down to the little things like propane. They’re actually seeing double propane demand right now merely because everybody’s dining outside and it’s getting cold.
So demand showing up in these little places that typically didn’t have as much demand before. Recently, they were talking about the airlines this holiday season. That air travel is picking up in the United States. Domestic travel is almost completely back to normal in Asia and in China, particularly. So things aren’t as bad as it seems.
TN: So when we talk about oil and gas companies, we’re really starting to see some of those oil and gas companies to come back as well. We’ve spoken over the past six or nine months a couple times and it seemed like there were fundamental operating issues with those companies. Are you seeing those oil and gas companies cycle through their issues?
TS: A lot of the Q3 calls that I was on, a lot of these companies are changing their tune a little bit. We’ve also had a lot of of mergers and acquisitions in this space. We’ve had a lot of bankruptcies in the space. That pile, it’s gotten smaller. Only stronger surviving and not that I don’t think that they’re 100 in the clear, but the bigger names and the bigger companies are finding a little bit of love right now especially you see that in refining right now, because heating oil is actually pulling up that whole sector right now. The whole energy sector. Refiners were the first ones to really take off because refining margins are getting better as oil prices get higher and things of that nature. So that kind of started leading and then of course, they’re the safe havens likePBX, XOM, BP, Equinor…
Once people see oil getting some sort of footing, they’re more likely to move into those stocks. They’re beaten up. If you’re looking for value stocks, you want to look for something that’s 80 percent off the ties. It’s a bargain.
TN: We had also talked about crude prices would stay depressed into Q2 or something of next year of 21. Does that seem about right, still? Do we still expect things to stay in the low to mid 40s until Q2? Obviously, we’ll see bouncing around. I’m not saying I’ll never go above that. But do you expect people will think to stay in that range for the next two quarters or has that moved forward a little bit?
TS: That’s moved forward a little bit. I remember when we spoke last, we were talking it to the end of this year and I saw the upper 38s. Obviously that averaged this quarter so far. We’ll be a little bit higher. So I think that we’re still in that range. We’re not going to see a huge bounce in oil. Not yet, but it’s coming.
TN: You say it’s coming. What brings that about? Is it demand? Is it supply? Is it a massive shortfall? Where’s the pressure that would bring about that 70 plus?
TS: We’re going to have a supply shock just like we had a demand shock this time. We’ll have a supply shock just because of the sheer lack of Capex in the market and the sheer amount of companies that have gone under. I don’t think that you’re going to see shale back at 13.5 million barrels per day anytime in the near future ever again. A lot of those wells are closed. They’re gonna open them up again. It’s just not cost effective. So we lost a lot of producing capacity just because that. So as we move on and we move forward in time and flights come back and we start having more and more demand, I think we’re gonna find a shortfall so I wouldn’t be surprised if we see 60, 70 dollars a barrel in 2022.
TN: We’ve seen copper have just a stellar few months and given the demand issues that we’ve seen in the markets probably a little bit surprising. So can you talk us through some of those dynamics and help us understand is this here to stay? Are these elevated prices here to stay? Or is this something that we’ll see for a relatively quick cycle then it will turn back?
TS: With copper, we really had a supply issue because a lot of the mines were closed during the summer. China by that time had already been pretty much back up and running and ordering what they normally order. That’s kind of lifted prices off of that like two dollar level initially because we had a supply problem and then I think the expectation is, there’s a lot riding on electric vehicles, which require a lot of copper.
Manufacturing is rebounding in a lot of places. Maybe not Germany. But it is rebounding here. It is rebounding in Asia, not just China. It’s rebounding in Australia. There is that anticipation of demand. We’re starting to get supply back online and yet you know prices are still going higher. I don’t think we’re gonna go straight to five dollars by stretching the imagination. But that’s kind of where copper lost its disconnect with the market. When you know markets started coming down, copper’s still shooting up because it’s generally considered a gauge of the health of the global economy. But that kind of correlation went out of whack when we had a whole bunch of supply problems.
TN: And based on copper prices today, I would think everyone was back to work, we’re all traveling, probably with disposable income. So there is that weird disconnect right now and I’m not sure that it’s necessarily an indicator that a lot of people really point to.
So we’ve just had a big change in the US as well with the election and some shifting around. What are you expecting over the next few months? Are you expecting big surprises, big moves or what are you looking at over the next few months?
TS: Everybody pretty much knows Biden. Everybody knows his voting record. I looked at it as an energy strategist, obviously. I’m looking at his voting record and went on his past history and is the new green deal going to dictate the markets or how is he prone to be? He’s been in the office since the 70s. So we already know him. All his picks so far have been in been in DC forever, right. Whether it’s in an Obama administration, etc. So I don’t think there’s really a whole lot of surprises, which is why I think the market is so calm right now, because the election’s basically over. We don’t have that anymore. We’ve got this vaccine and the people that are going to be taking office in January are people that everybody’s familiar with. So I think that’s also giving the markets a little bit of complacency at this point.
TN: Right. It does feel a little bit complacent to be honest. I think you’re right. I think you’re right. So let’s see if there’s a surprise over the next few months.
TS: Right? You never know.
TN: Tracy, hey, thanks again for your time. It’s always great to talk to you. We really appreciate everything you say. I just want to ask everyone watching if you could follow us on YouTube. We look forward to seeing you next time. Great! Thanks.