New article from Tatton Investment Management: News of a reverse oil price shock rattles markets bey

6 March 2020

Oil price plunge adds to stock markets pressures from Coronavirus

While most people spent the weekend dealing with the prospect of the COVID-19 epidemic taking hold of UK life, the financial community woke up this morning to another, different – even if slightly more familiar – type of upset: an oil price shock that unfolded over the weekend.

Oil prices have plunged by more than 30% since last week. Together with recent declines, this means that the price of oil has more than halved since the beginning of the year. At the same time, a flight to the perceived safety of government bonds has pushed up bond prices, leading to the lowest yields ever seen on US Treasuries as a result of the inverse relationship between bond prices and their yields.

As a consequence of the double whammy, the already highly nervous stock markets have reacted with what can only be described as panic selling. After falls of around 5% in Asia, European stock markets are opening down by at least as much and in some cases more.

Altogether this news flow will lead many to feel slightly apocalyptic – or at least as anxious as they might have during the darkest days of the financial crisis back in 2008/2009.

But pause for a moment and it becomes clear that this oil price collapse is a total reverse of the most significant oil crisis that took place in the 1970s. This time around, the Saudis decided to push the oil price down, not up, and falling yields take pressures off borrowers, rather than increase it.

This is very different territory compared to previous oil price shocks. So, what is going on?

Following the already significant declines in the oil price since the beginning of the year, there had been widespread expectations that OPEC (plus Russia) would agree to production cuts to stabilise the oil price. It therefore came as a shock to oil traders and their positioning towards rising prices when the opposite outcome occurred over the weekend. Essentially, this means that Saudi Arabia and Russia opted for a resumption of the price war of 2015/2016. Just as now, this strategy was aimed at decimating the competition of US shale oil and gas producers, which require a higher oil price threshold than Saudi and Russia to remain profitable. Just as Trump pursued a strategy of ‘kick ‘em when they are down’ with China last year, it appears the same tactic is now being applied to US oil producers.

Given that the shale producer defaults and the resulting stress in credit markets caused a stock market correction back in Q1 2016, it is not overly surprising that capital markets are following the same script now. Is it likely then that history repeats itself and we are about to witness an even bigger crash than 2016, due to the double whammy of Coronavirus disruptions and oil market upset?

Well, that’s possible in the very short term, but the overall financial, political and economic environment is a different one compared to four years ago. First and foremost, a repeat of the oil price war tactics from back then will no longer carry the same surprise factor. We can expect a much better-informed reaction by the US central bank and government to this renewed onslaught.

Back then, the biggest issue was that mass defaults across the US oil industry would increase the yield costs of corporate credit for all US businesses. Therefore, it is reasonable to expect the Fed will react very quickly to minimise this risk and use its immense quantitative easing (QE) firepower to sell US government and mortgage bond holdings and buy corporate credit to counter any selling pressures. This would also have the effect of easing any ‘flight to safety’ induced supply shortages within government bond markets.

What is more, neither commodity markets nor commodity producers are coming from bubble territory as they did four years ago. This time, there is unlikely to be a similar demand decline from resource industries for manufactured goods, which have already been forced to scale back expansion plans. On the other hand, a halving of the oil price, together with a significant reduction in the cost of borrowing, constitutes a significant stimulus for the global economy and in particular emerging markets, which will additionally benefit from an accompanying fall in the US$.

Our take on this morning’s stock market rout is that faced with this shock surprise action by oil exporters, market participants have become overwhelmed by a doubling up of concerns from the virus disruptions and memories of what happened the last time when oil prices traded at these levels.

We expect some decisive actions from central banks, or at least announcements in this direction. Such actions are unlikely to amount to another round of monetary QE from the Fed, but rather a swapping of government bonds already on its balance sheets with direct purchases of corporate bonds, given that the big falls in government yields from the increased demand in bonds allows them to take supportive action without pushing up yield levels. The Fed has the means to put out this specific fear driven ’fire’, while the economic stimulus effect from the lower cost of energy and of capital should prove to be a very welcome relief over the coming months for the virus disrupted global economy.

At the end of a tumultuous time for stock markets last week, the US stock market rallied hard into the close, leading to a slight weekly gain in those markets overall. This week may well prove similar as there are many more seasoned investors sitting on vast amounts of uninvested cash following years of overextended prices for risk assets.

Perhaps it is worth mentioning that due to unattractively high valuation levels, Warren Buffet’s Berkshire Hathaway fund was at the beginning of the year sitting on uninvested cash of around £130billion. As Warren Buffett is fond of saying: “Price is what you pay; value is what you get. Whether we’re talking about socks or stocks, I like buying quality merchandise when it is marked down.”

News Archive

13 July 2020

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Fast and freewheeling

3 July 2020

New article from Tatton Investment Management: H1 2020 offers meaningful lessons

29 June 2020

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Support balances increasing strains - for how long?

22 June 2020

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Equity valuations follow bond valuations' lead

15 June 2020

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Stock markets suffer altitude sickness

8 June 2020

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Markets are enjoying an uncomfortably benign pandemic

1 June 2020

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Optimistic markets despite second wave lockdown threa

26 May 2020

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Just as the sun comes out, clouds appear in the East

22 May 2020

New video from Tatton Investment Management

18 May 2020

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Us-China cold war: Threat or blessing?

11 May 2020

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Most welcome, if feeble, signs of pulling together

4 May 2020

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Opening-up will be slower than locking down

27 April 2020

New article from Tatton Investment Management: V or U-shaped recovery scenarios - the jury is out

20 April 2020

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Lifting lockdown remains a delicate balancing act

20 April 2020

New video from Tatton Investment Management: Stock markets between hope and despair

15 April 2020

New video from Tatton Investment Management: Is now the time to invest?

13 April 2020

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Fading threat of financial crisis re-opens old divide

6 April 2020

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Unprecedented quarter or calm before the storm?

30 March 2020

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Extraordinary: bear and bull market all in one

24 March 2020

New video from Tatton Investment Management: Why have stock markets appeared to rally on the lock-do

23 March 2020

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Government ordered recession

19 March 2020

New video from Tatton Investment Management: Confusion reigns in Capital Markets

18 March 2020

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Why aren't you doing something?

17 March 2020

New video from Tatton Investment Management: From euphoric recovery to depressed tumble

16 March 2020

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Notes on a crash: the short, the medium and long term

13 March 2020

New video from Tatton Investment Management: Panic equity selling or panic raising of precautionar

12 March 2020

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Forced sellers and other distractions

9 March 2020

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Dark times or glimpse of light at the end of the tunn

6 March 2020

New article from Tatton Investment Management: News of a reverse oil price shock rattles markets bey

2 March 2020

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Coronavirus - hitting too close to home

28 February 2020

New article from Tatton Investment Management: This week's market correction requires perspective

26 February 2020

New article from Tatton Investment Management: COVID-19 and the reaction of markets to pandemic fear

24 February 2020

New article from Tatton Investment Management: US markets hit new all-time highs and a 'bump'

17 February 2020

New article from Tatton Investment Management: V-shaped recovery for Valentine

10 February 2020

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Markets show no fear - should they?

3 February 2020

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Looking through the noise of the week

27 January 2020

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Short break to Goldilocks?

20 January 2020

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Parallels and differences to January 2018

14 January 2020

Appointment of Joint Broker

13 January 2020

New article from Tatton Investment Management: So far so good

8 January 2020

Tatton: Woodford & M&G suspensions have driven IFAs to us

6 January 2020

New article from Tatton Investment Management: 2020 starts with a Trump card

23 December 2019

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Goodbye 2019 - welcome 2020 and a new decade!

16 December 2019

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Brightening horizons - 2020 Outlook

8 December 2019

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Can Trump derail the 2020 economic upturn?

2 December 2019

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Markets are driving the markets

25 November 2019

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Markets pause for reality check

18 November 2019

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Swilling cash eases the market mood music

11 November 2019

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Recession concerns retreat

11 November 2019

Interim Results for the six months ended 30 September 2019

4 November 2019

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Crucial October period safely behind

28 October 2019

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Slowly turning

21 October 2019

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Brexit breakthrough versus Brexit fatigue

17 October 2019

Trading Statement

17 October 2019

Acquisition of Sinfonia Asset Management Limited (SAM)

14 October 2019

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Market sentiment rebound

7 October 2019

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Stall speed economy fears spreading

30 September 2019

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Ominous US-Dollar strength

23 September 2019

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Diverging economic trends - catalyst for trade war re

16 September 2019

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Market sentiment rebound

9 September 2019

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Choppy water but no storm, yet...

2 September 2019

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Fattening 'tails'

27 August 2019

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Populism politics reversing austerity?

19 August 2019

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Market spat between bond and equity markets

11 August 2019

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Bond markets unnerve equity markets - again

5 August 2019

New article from Tatton Investment Management: The Elephant and the Little Old Lady

29 July 2019

New article from Tatton Investment Management: The quick and the not-so-quick

22 July 2019

New article from Tatton Investment Management: ...'Twere well it were done quickly

15 July 2019

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Positioning for a summer of wait and see

8 July 2019

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Liquidity drives stock markets to new highs

1 July 2019

New article from Tatton Investment Management: The middle of the year - a tipping point?

24 June 2019

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Battle of the ‘doves’

17 June 2019

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Mixed messages

10 June 2019

New article from Tatton Investment Management: The return of the central bank put?

3 June 2019

Appointment by Tenet Group

3 June 2019

Appointment by Frenkel Topping

3 June 2019

Preliminary Results For the year ended 31 March 2019

3 June 2019

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Bond rally musings

27 May 2019

New article from Tatton Investment Management: It is getting warmer

20 May 2019

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Market support for Trump or unwarranted equanimity?

13 May 2019

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Geopolitics re-enter market stage

7 May 2019

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Central banks disappoint expectations

29 April 2019

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Waning market stimuli put stock markets on notice

23 April 2019

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Spring time from here?

16 April 2019

Trading Statement for 12 months ending 31 March 2019

15 April 2019

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Brexit in-limbo aside sentiment is improving

8 April 2019

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Happy 10th birthday, choppy bull market

1 April 2019

New article from Tatton Investment Management:29 March 2019 – quarter end

25 March 2019

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Brinkmanship and extensions

18 March 2019

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Bits & Pieces

11 March 2019

New article from Tatton Investment Management: ECB stimulus U-turn leaves markets unimpressed

4 March 2019

New article from Tatton Investment Management: £-Sterling ‘applauds’ prospect of Brexit delay

25 February 2019

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Progress?

18 February 2019

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Investment perspectives for different Brexit outcomes

15 November 2018

Interim Results for the six months ended 30 September 2018

15 October 2018

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Autopsy of a stock market sell-off

1 October 2018

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Poor politics containing bond market risks?

27 September 2018

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Brexit clamour vs. real market new

7 September 2018

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Interesting times ahead

31 August 2018

New article from Tatton Investment Management: “Not the end of the world”

24 August 2018

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Steady markets vs. noisy politics

17 August 2018

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Political strongman tactics come home to roost

10 August 2018

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Summer heat wave makes way for return of political he

3 August 2018

New article from Tatton Investment Management: A gentle deceleration?

27 July 2018

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Hot air for a hot summer?

20 July 2018

New article from Tatton Investment Management:Earnings are growing, why worry?

13 July 2018

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Hard Brexit demonstration potential?

6 July 2018

Notice of Annual General Meeting

6 July 2018

New article from Tatton Investment Management: It is getting hot

29 June 2018

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Digesting or consolidating?

27 June 2018

Preliminary Results for the year ended 31 March 2018

22 June 2018

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Fragile recovery

15 June 2018

New article from Tatton Investment Management: No surprises

8 June 2018

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Delicate equilibrium

1 June 2018

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Ignore politics at your peril

25 May 2018

New article from Tatton Investment Management: GDPR? No - far more interesting news!

18 May 2018

New article from Tatton Investment Management: What's the economic reality of this week's news?

11 May 2018

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Batten-down-the-hatches?

4 May 2018

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Past the peak?

27 April 2018

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Confusing signals?

20 April 2018

New article from Tatton Investment Management: A mixture of messages

6 April 2018

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Could do better

6 April 2018

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Peaking, plateauing or dimming – and how about that

29 March 2018

New article from Tatton Investment Management: End of a stormy quarter

23 March 2018

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Now we know it's risky!

16 March 2018

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Back to Normal?

9 March 2018

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Tariffs to growth

2 March 2018

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Time to take some profits

23 February 2018

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Change of direction or gradual normalisation?

16 February 2018

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Breathing easier for the moment

9 February 2018

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Meteoric stock markets crash bac

6 February 2018

Tatton Investment Management's Stock Market Correction Assessment

2 February 2018

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Good news turns bad news - again!

26 January 2018

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Surprises

19 January 2018

New article from Tatton Investment Management: US$ weakness versus Bitcoin and Carillion

12 January 2018

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Bullish sentiment rings alarm bells

5 January 2018

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Encouraging kick-off

15 December 2017

New article from Tatton Investment Management: 2017 - taking stock

8 December 2017

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Progress versus Bitcoin

5 December 2017

Interim results for the six months ended 30 September 2017

1 December 2017

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Sudden, but not entirely unexpected

24 November 2017

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Invincible markets?

17 November 2017

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Yield-curve flattening: a bad omen?

10 November 2017

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Nervous investors herald more volatile markets

3 November 2017

New article from Tatton Investment Management: UK rate rise: ‘one and done’ or beginning of rate

27 October 2017

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Trick or treat season

13 October 2017

New article from Tatton Investment Management: All-time highs and Q3 results outlook: Reasons to be

6 October 2017

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Bad news – good news

29 September 2017

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Movements

22 September 2017

New article from Tatton Investment Management: QT to reverse QE and 2-year transition period to soft

15 September 2017

New article from Tatton Investment Management: BoE guides for year-end rate hike - Bluff or real?

8 September 2017

New article from Tatton Investment Management: ‘Back to school’ amidst hurricanes, earthquakes

1 September 2017

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Bad news, Good news

25 August 2017

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Summer low or summer lull?

18 August 2017

New article from Tatton Investment Management: More sellers than buyers

11 August 2017

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Stocks take note of North Korea crisis - or do they?

4 August 2017

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Consolidated base but momentum dwindling

28 July 2017

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Summer thoughts about the ‘longer term’

21 July 2017

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Summer lull - delayed

14 July 2017

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Pre summer-holiday investment check

7 July 2017

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Global growth ploughs on while markets take a breathe

23 June 2017

New article from Tatton Investment Management: Quo Vadis Britain?