Uncertain Waters: Saudi's Oil Production Commitment and Global Economic Jitters

Uncertain Waters: Saudi's Oil Production Commitment and Global Economic Jitters

Saudi's commitment is not written into a law

By Ipek Ozkardeskaya, Senior Analyst | Swissquote Bank  

Markets are on an emotional rollercoaster ride this week. The slightest data is capable of moving oceans. Yesterday, the significantly softer-than-expected ADP report, and the announcement that 75'000 healthcare workers at Kaiser went on strike sparked a positive reaction from the market in a typical 'bad news is good news' day. The US economy added only 89K new private jobs in September, much less than 153K penciled in by analysts. It was also the slowest job additions since January 2021. The rest of the data was mixed. US factory orders were better than expected in August, but the services PMI came close to slipping into the contraction zone, and the ISM's non-manufacturing component also hinted at slowing activity. Mortgage activity in the US fell to the lowest levels since 1995, as the 30-year mortgage rates spiked higher toward 8%. Housing and services are among the biggest contributors to high inflation besides energy prices, therefore, seeing these sectors cool down has a meaningful impact on inflation expectations, hence on Federal Reserve (Fed) expectations. As such, yesterday's soft-looking data tempered the Fed hawks, after the stronger-than-expected JOLTs data triggered panic the day before. The US 2-year yield took a dive toward the 5% mark, the 10-year yield bounced lower after flirting with the 4.90% level, while the 30-year hit 5% for the very first time since 2007 before bouncing lower on relieving news of soft job additions. Hallelujah. 

The US dollar index retreated across the board, and equities rebounded. The S&P500 jumped from the lowest levels since the beginning of June. The score is now one to one. One good news for the US jobs market, and one bad news. Everyone is now holding his or her breath into Friday's jobs data, which will determine whether we will end this week with a sweet or a sour taste in our mouth. Sweet would be loosening jobs data, sour would be a still-strong jobs data which would fuel the hawkish Fed expectations and further boost US yields while the US yields are at a critical moment.  

For the first time since 2002, the US 10-year yield comes at a spitting distance from the S&P500 earnings. The index is just about 60 points above its critical 200-DMA. Looking at the seasonality chart, the S&P500 could dip at about now. In this context, there is a chance that soft jobs data from the US marks a dip in the S&P500 selloff. But one thing is sure: the yields and the US dollar must come down to keep the S&P500 on a rising path. Profits at the S&P500 companies are inversely correlated with the US dollar as their international profits account for about a third of the total. If the yields and the US dollar continue to rise, the S&P500 will face severe headwinds into the year end. 


Oil fell nearly 6%! 

Rising suspicions that the global economy is headed straight into a wall didn't spare oil bulls yesterday. The barrel of American crude dived almost 6%, slipped below the 50-DMA ($85pb), and below the positive trend base building since the end of June. The 6.5-mio-barrel build in gasoline stockpiles last week helped bring the bears back to the market even though the data also showed a more than 2-mio-barrel draw in crude inventories over the same week.  

Yesterday's move shows that what matters the most for intraday moves is the rhetoric. This summer, the market focus was on the tightening global oil supply and how the US will 'soft land' despite the aggressive Fed tightening. Now we start talking about slowing economies and recession worries.  

OPEC decided to maintain its oil production strategy unchanged at yesterday's decision. Saudi and Russia repeated that they will keep their production restricted to maintain the positive pressure on oil. But if global demand cools down and volumes fall, both Saudi and Russia will be tempted to increase profits by selling more oil at a cheaper price. Saudi Arabia shouldering all the production cuts for OPEC is not written into a law, it could become uncertain if market conditions turn sour.

Uncertain Waters: Saudi's Oil Production Commitment and Global Economic Jitters

Ipek Ozkardeskaya

Ipek Ozkardeskaya provides market analysis on FX, leading market indices, individual stocks, oil, commodities, bonds and interest rates.
She has begun her financial career in 2010 in the structured products desk of the Swiss Banque Cantonale Vaudoise. She worked in HSBC Private Bank in Geneva in relation to high and ultra-high net worth clients. In 2012, she started as FX Strategist in Swissquote Bank. She worked as Senior Market Analyst in London Capital Group in London and in Shanghai. She returned to Swissquote Bank as Senior Analyst in 2020.
She is passionate about the interaction between the economy and financial markets. She has been observing and analyzing a wide variety of relationships between the economic fundamentals and market behaviour over the past decade. She has been privileged to live and to work in the world's most exciting financial hubs including Geneva, London and Shanghai.
She has a Bachelor's Degree in Economics and a Master's Degree in Financial Engineering and Risk Management from the University of Lausanne (HEC Lausanne), Switzerland.