Ultra bears are starting to change their tune on oil as weak Chinese manufacturing data and strong manufacturing data in Germany both point to better demand. China's demand may rise as the Chinese government will be forced to act swiftly to reach their growth target and should soon add stimulus increasing oil demand. Factory activity in China fell to 49.2, according to HSBC, a number that should force the Chinese government's hand.
In Germany, we are already seeing the QE impact on oil demand. The Purchasing Managers Index for the manufacturing and services industries across the region rose to a much stronger than expected 54.1 ked by a 0.4 percent expansion in Germany. Germany is the beneficiary of being the strongest economy in the Eurozone at a time when the ECB central bank has launched unprecedented stimulus. On top of that you see the U.K. inflation rate come in at the lowest rate in history. The inflation rate fell below zero for the first time in history and all of a sudden this QE madness is likely to continue.
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Now one might think that might be bearish as the dollar might continue its historic upward move as the rate differential outlook could cause continued safe haven buying. But now it seems that the Fed may be influenced into not rating rates quickly as the dollar strength is causing more problems. We saw in the FOMC that Fed Chair Janet Yellen warned that the Fed will not be impatient in raising rates. The Fed's Stanley Fischer suggested that the Fed will be data, and perhaps dollar dependent on raising rates and warned that there would not be a "smooth upward path" for interest rates hikes.
Oil bears are also counting on another big inventory increase. Yet data from Genscape, the private forecaster, is suggesting that the build might be much less than the 4 million barrel builds that is being bandied about. Genscape reports that the increase of less than 2 million barrels are around 1.6 million. That should reduce fears of storage over flowing. In fact the Energy Information Administration reported that although inventory levels at Cushing are at their record high, storage utilization (inventories as a percent of working storage capacity) are not at record levels. Capacity utilization at Cushing is now 77%, a large increase from a recent low of 27% in October 2014. However, utilization reached 91% in March 2011, soon after EIA began surveying storage capacity twice a year, starting in September 2010."
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