Thursday, February 18, 2016

My Thoughts Exactly: The Build Was Unexpected, And Other Thoughts; Say What You Want: I Dare You To Find Any Data Points That Reflect US Economy Better Than These Two Data Points -- February 18, 2016

The "teaser": crude oil / petroleum products / gasoline much greater than expected. Wow. My sentiments exactly. Platts is reporting:
  • Imports surged 795,000 barrels per day (b/d), driving stocks higher
  • Crude runs rose 338,000 b/d to 15.848 million b/d
  • Gasoline, distillate stocks each showed surprise build
  U.S. commercial crude oil stocks rose 2.147 million barrels in the week that ended Friday, Energy Information Administration data showed Thursday.

Stocks have risen nearly 22 million barrels over the last six reporting periods, pushing inventories into record-high territory. At 504.105 million barrels, crude stocks sit 36.3% above the five-year average for this time of year.

Analysts surveyed Tuesday by Platts expected a slightly larger build of 3.3 million barrels last week.

Crude runs increased 338,000 b/d to 15.848 million b/d, helping offset the size of last week's build. It was the first time the amount of crude processed by refiners rose on a week-on-week basis since late December, raising the possibility that facilities have returned from performing seasonal maintenance.

Refinery utilization rose 2.2 percentage points to 88.3% of operable capacity. Analysts expected a decrease of 0.5 percentage point.

On the U.S. Gulf Coast, home to more than half of U.S. operable crude distillation capacity, refinery utilization increased 3.1 percentage points to 87.8%.
This is quite incredible. There had been expectations that the global crude oil glut could be "burned off" within this calendar year and things would turn a bit "better" by the end of the year. This has to be particularly bad news for everyone but perhaps Saudi Arabia has to be most concerned.

Venezuela would be concerned but that country appears to be as bad off as Puerto Rico, if not worse. And, Puerto Rico has no oil.

Bad, bad news. Very, very surprising

Some Good News, However

I still think this is the most important data point for tracking health of the US economy:

The second most important data point is diesel fuel demand, and that is simply very, very concerning. Janet Yellen might understand this, but not only does President Obama not understand this, he is not interested, he is not briefed on it, and he has more important things to do than listen to diesel fuel demand.

Perhaps there won't be a recession in the US within the next year, but those folks who work in the world of diesel fuel are already in a recession, if not a depression. The third most important data point to reflect the health of the US economy might be the sales of cheap beer.

Zika and Global Warming

I am surprised that we haven't seen any reports that Zika may be related to global warming. My hunch: just a matter of time. 

[Update, February 19, 2016, 7:01 a.m. Central Time: that didn't take long. In the New York Times:
The global public health emergency involving deformed babies emerged in 2015, the hottest year in the historical record, with an outbreak in Brazil of a disease transmitted by heat-loving mosquitoes. Can that be a coincidence?
Scientists say it will take them years to figure that out, and pointed to other factors that may have played a larger role in starting the crisis. But these same experts added that the Zika epidemic, as well as the related spread of a disease called dengue that is sickening as many as 100 million people a year and killing thousands, should be interpreted as warnings.
Over the coming decades, global warming is likely to increase the range and speed the life cycle of the particular mosquitoes carrying these viruses, encouraging their spread deeper into temperate countries like the United States.]
Yellow Legal Pads

Right Side
  • Presidents don't do funerals; vice presidents do funerals
  • I won't be the center of attention; a dead judge will be front and center
  • This guy did more to scuttle my vision for America than any other single individual
  • He's a Republican; I'm not
  • He's a Catholic; I'm not
  • He's white; I'm not
  • The mainstream media won't care or notice
  • Only Drudge nuts will notice
  • The security detail will be less onerous / less expensive if I'm not there (yes, that's what the White House actually said)
  • Golfing with donors has already been scheduled
  • Saturday Democratic caucus in Nevada; I'll be needed for telephoning voters
  • My speech writers refuse to write an eulogy for this nut-job
  • Michelle told me not to go
  • I would have to sit next to Joe
  • I might have to set next to Roberts
  • Farrakhan would be furious 
  • Reagan was a great actor; I'm not; I couldn't fake a sad face for three hours
  • I can watch it on CNN and have better hors d'oeuvres anyway
  • I don't want to shake hands with Roberts
  • What if Ginsburg dies during the service; then there would be two folks getting more attention than I would be getting
  • I wasn't invited in the first place; the family doesn't want me there
Left Side
  • It would be the right thing to do

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