In options trading, a straddle is literally a sit-on-the-fence strategy. By purchasing a put and a call at the same strike (price of underlying commodity) for the same time period, an investor isn’t making a conventional directional bet; rather the investor is looking for a big move either up or down. The rub is that the big move must be greater than the sum of the two option premia or the bet goes south. But that is in the nature of the trade.
If shale is so good then why are the oil stocks so bad? Downgrades across the energy sector raise real questions about the ability of shale producers to operate with prices in the low $40s per barrel. It also questions the perception that shale operators have become so efficient that they can operate at almost any price. While the downgrades are coming fast and furious, it is probably a sign that the market has bottomed out.
Crude oil’s ongoing oversupply woes reached an ear-piercing crescendo during Tuesday’s trading session as WTI crude plunged into a bear market after growing signs of rising production across the globe. WTI Crude was already extremely sensitive and vulnerable to losses amid the bearish sentiment with reports of an unexpected supply increase by Libya sending prices below $43.
July crude oil futures go away today and it will be up to the August crude futures to find a bottom. As U.S. oil production is showing signs of faltering (up only 12,000 barrels in June as opposed to an expectation of 120,000 barrels) and seeing we are past the pain of many shale producers, U.S. rig counts will slow in coming weeks and we may see the count start to fall. Maybe that is why Saudi Arabia is not so worried about the uptick in oil production from Nigeria and Libya.
Saudi energy minister, Khalid Al-Falih, was touring Russia over the weekend and suggested that there could be a further cut in oil production if oil inventories did not start to drop dramatically. While Al-Falih believes we will start to see inventory tightening accelerate in the coming weeks, he said that if we don’t see inventory drop, then an extension of cuts or a larger cut may be implemented and said that nothing, when it comes to getting the oil market in line, will be off the table.