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Analys

Handelsbanken Jordbruk, 21 februari 2014

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Handelsbanken - Råvarubrevet - Nyhetsbrev om råvaror

USDA spår fortsatt prisfall trots minskad areal

Kvartalsrapport för råvaror från HandelsbankenIgår och idag anordnar det amerikanska jordbruksdepartementet, USDA, den årliga konferensen Agricultural Outlook Forum i Arlington, Virginia, USA. Här presenteras den första officiella prognosen för skörd år 2014. Tyvärr ingen munter läsning för de som hoppas på högre spannmålspriser, för alla de tre stora grödorna väntar sig USDA prisfall ned till nivåer vi inte sett på fem år. Här nedan några korta kommentarer om vad som sades under gårdagen:

Total veteareal i USA säsongen 2014/15 väntas uppgå till 55,5 miljoner acres – ned 1,2 procent jämfört med säsongen 2013/14. Inhemska priser på vete i USA beräknas under säsongen, som startar 1:a juni, nå ett genomsnitt om $ 5,30 per bushel. Igår stängde decemberterminen i Chicago på $ 6,3875 per bushel.

Den amerikanska majsarealen för säsongen 2014/15 beräknas uppgå till 92 miljoner acres – ned 3,6 procent jämfört med säsongen 2013/14. Även om det är en ganska stor nedgång jämfört med arealen som såddes under våren 2013 så är det historiskt sett en stor areal – den fjärde största sedan andra världskriget och med alla möjligheter att nå en rekordskörd. Inhemska priser på majs i USA beräknas under säsongen nå ett genomsnitt om $ 3,90 per bushel. Decemberterminen stängde igår på $ 4,6875 per bushel i Chicago.

För sojan uppskattar USDA att de amerikanska bönderna kommer så en areal om 79,5 miljoner acres under våren 2014 – upp 3,9 procent jämfört med år 2013, delvis på bekostnad av den minskande majsarealen. Som vi skrivit flera gånger förut en väntad följd av att sojan med rådande prisrelation majs/soja ger en bättre kalkyl än majsen. Genomsnittliga prisnivån för sojabönor under säsongen 2014/15 uppskattar USDA till $ 9,65 per bushel. Novemberterminen stängde igår i Chicago på $ 11,4650 per bushel.

Som sagt, ingen munter läsning för spannmålsproducenter. Glöm dock inte att ovanstående är en prognos främst över grödor som ännu inte ens såtts (förutom höstvetet) och väldigt mycket kan hända dels innan/under sådd men framförallt innan skörd. Förutsatt någorlunda normala väderförhållanden finns dock inga större skäl att ifrågasätta ovanstående.

Om vi snabbt vidgar vår vy och ser på kommande spannmålsproduktion ur ett globalt perspektiv så finns det idag få problem rent odlingsmässigt – de flesta grödorna på norra halvklotet är i ett generellt sett gott skick. Frågetecken finns dock, bland annat över hur stor den ryska veteproduktionen kan bli? Med en höstsådd areal omkring 10 procent lägre än föregående säsong, en till stor del sen sådd och med marginell möjlighet att kompensera med ökad vårsådd känns det givet att anta en minskad produktion – frågan är hur mycket lägre, 10%? 15%? Ett annat frågetecken är utvintring av höstvetet i USA – nästa vecka ser ut att bjuda på kallare väder med ökad risk. Inte att förglömma är också problemen i Ukraina. Landet är klart viktigt på exportmarknaden och fortsatta konflikter kommer tveklöst leda till stora problem i landets infrastruktur och således även för spannmålsexporten.

Sammanfattningsvis ser den långsiktiga trenden fortsatt negativ ut för prisnivån, som vanligt dock med vissa frågetecken. Vi vill här också återigen poängtera vikten av att hantera era risker. Vi har haft år där skillnaden mellan att agera (prissäkra) eller inte agera för många har resulterat i skillnaden mellan en stor vinst och en tillfredsställande vinst – vi lär också få år då skillnaden mellan att agera och att inte agera kommer innebära skillnaden mellan vinst och en i efterhand onödig förlust.

[box]Handelsbanken Jordbruk är producerat av Handelsbanken och publiceras i samarbete och med tillstånd på Råvarumarknaden.se[/box]

Ansvarsbegränsning

Detta material är producerat av Svenska Handelsbanken AB (publ) i fortsättningen kallad Handelsbanken. De som arbetar med innehållet är inte analytiker och materialet är inte oberoende investeringsanalys. Innehållet är uteslutande avsett för kunder i Sverige. Syftet är att ge en allmän information till Handelsbankens kunder och utgör inte ett personligt investeringsråd eller en personlig rekommendation. Informationen ska inte ensamt utgöra underlag för investeringsbeslut. Kunder bör inhämta råd från sina rådgivare och basera sina investeringsbeslut utifrån egen erfarenhet.

Informationen i materialet kan ändras och också avvika från de åsikter som uttrycks i oberoende investeringsanalyser från Handelsbanken. Informationen grundar sig på allmänt tillgänglig information och är hämtad från källor som bedöms som tillförlitliga, men riktigheten kan inte garanteras och informationen kan vara ofullständig eller nedkortad. Ingen del av förslaget får reproduceras eller distribueras till någon annan person utan att Handelsbanken dessförinnan lämnat sitt skriftliga medgivande. Handelsbanken ansvarar inte för att materialet används på ett sätt som strider mot förbudet mot vidarebefordran eller offentliggörs i strid med bankens regler.

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Analys

Nat gas to EUA correlation will likely switch to negative in 2026/27 onward

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SEB - analysbrev på råvaror

Historically positive Nat gas to EUA correlation will likely switch to negative in 2026/27 onward

Bjarne Schieldrop, Chief analyst commodities, SEB
Bjarne Schieldrop, Chief analyst commodities, SEB

Historically there has been a strong, positive correlation between EUAs and nat gas prices. That correlation is still fully intact and possibly even stronger than ever as traders increasingly takes this correlation as a given with possible amplification through trading action.

The correlation broke down in 2022 as nat gas prices went ballistic but overall the relationship has been very strong for quite a few years.

The correlation between nat gas and EUAs should be positive as long as there is a dynamical mix of coal and gas in EU power sector and the EUA market is neither too tight nor too weak:

Nat gas price UP  => ”you go black” by using more coal => higher emissions => EUA price UP

But in the future we’ll go beyond the dynamically capacity to flex between nat gas and coal. As the EUA price moves yet higher along with a tightening carbon market the dynamical coal to gas flex will max out. The EUA price will then trade significantly above where this flex technically will occur. There will still be quite a few coal fired power plants running since they are needed for grid stability and supply amid constrained local grids.

As it looks now we still have such overall coal to gas flex in 2024 and partially in 2025, but come 2026 it could be all maxed out. At least if we look at implied pricing on the forward curves where the forward EUA price for 2026 and 2027 are trading way above technical coal to gas differentials. The current forward pricing implications matches well with what we theoretically expect to see as the EUA market gets tighter and marginal abatement moves from the power sector to the industrial sector. The EUA price should then trade up and way above the technical coal to gas differentials. That is also what we see in current forward prices for 2026 and 2027.

The correlation between nat gas and EUAs should then (2026/27 onward) switch from positive to negative. What is left of coal in the power mix will then no longer be dynamically involved versus nat gas and EUAs. The overall power price will then be ruled by EUA prices, nat gas prices and renewable penetration. There will be pockets with high cost power in the geographical points where there are no other alternatives than coal.

The EUA price is an added cost of energy as long as we consume fossil energy. Thus both today and in future years we’ll have the following as long as we consume fossil energy:

EUA price UP => Pain for consumers of energy => lower energy consumption, faster implementation of energy efficiency and renewable energy  => lower emissions 

The whole idea with the EUA price is after all that emissions goes down when the EUA price goes up. Either due to reduced energy consumption directly, accelerated energy efficiency measures or faster switch to renewable energy etc.

Let’s say that the coal to gas flex is maxed out with an EUA price way above the technical coal to gas differentials in 2026/27 and later. If the nat gas price then goes up it will no longer be an option to ”go black” and use more coal as the distance to that is too far away price vise due to a tight carbon market and a high EUA price. We’ll then instead have that:

Nat gas higher => higher energy costs with pain for consumers => weaker nat gas / energy demand & stronger drive for energy efficiency implementation & stronger drive for more non-fossil energy => lower emissions => EUA price lower 

And if nat gas prices goes down it will give an incentive to consume more nat gas and thus emit more CO2:

Cheaper nat gas => Cheaper energy costs altogether, higher energy and nat gas consumption, less energy efficiency implementations in the broader economy => emissions either goes up or falls slower than before => EUA price UP 

Historical and current positive correlation between nat gas and EUA prices should thus not at all be taken for granted for ever and we do expect this correlation to switch to negative some time in 2026/27.

In the UK there is hardly any coal left at all in the power mix. There is thus no option to ”go black” and burn more coal if the nat gas price goes up. A higher nat gas price will instead inflict pain on consumers of energy and lead to lower energy consumption, lower nat gas consumption and lower emissions on the margin. There is still some positive correlation left between nat gas and UKAs but it is very weak and it could relate to correlations between power prices in the UK and the continent as well as some correlations between UKAs and EUAs.

Correlation of daily changes in front month EUA prices and front-year TTF nat gas prices, 250dma correlation.

Correlation of daily changes in front month EUA prices and front-year TTF nat gas prices
Source: SEB graph and calculations, Blbrg data

EUA price vs front-year TTF nat gas price since March 2023

EUA price vs front-year TTF nat gas price since March 2023
Source: SEB graph, Blbrg data

Front-month EUA price vs regression function of EUA price vs. nat gas derived from data from Apr to Nov last year.

Front-month EUA price vs regression function of EUA price vs. nat gas derived from data from Apr to Nov last year.
Source: SEB graph and calculation

The EUA price vs the UKA price. Correlations previously, but not much any more.

The EUA price vs the UKA price. Correlations previously, but not much any more.
Source: SEB graph, Blbrg data

Forward German power prices versus clean cost of coal and clean cost of gas power. Coal is totally priced out vs power and nat gas on a forward 2026/27 basis.

Forward German power prices versus clean cost of coal and clean cost of gas power. Coal is totally priced out vs power and nat gas on a forward 2026/27 basis.
Source: SEB calculations and graph, Blbrg data

Forward price of EUAs versus technical level where dynamical coal to gas flex typically takes place. EUA price for 2026/27 is at a level where there is no longer any price dynamical interaction or flex between coal and nat gas. The EUA price should/could then start to be negatively correlated to nat gas.

Forward price of EUAs versus technical level
Source: SEB calculations and graph, Blbrg data

Forward EAU price vs. BNEF base model run (look for new update will come in late April), SEB’s EUA price forecast.

Forward EAU price vs. BNEF base model run
Source: SEB graph and calculations, Blbrg data
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Analys

Fear that retaliations will escalate but hopes that they are fading in magnitude

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SEB - analysbrev på råvaror

Brent crude spikes to USD 90.75/b before falling back as Iran plays it down. Brent crude fell sharply on Wednesday following fairly bearish US oil inventory data and yesterday it fell all the way to USD 86.09/b before a close of USD 87.11/b. Quite close to where Brent traded before the 1 April attack. This morning Brent spiked back up to USD 90.75/b (+4%) on news of Israeli retaliatory attack on Iran. Since then it has quickly fallen back to USD 88.2/b, up only 1.3% vs. ydy close.

Bjarne Schieldrop, Chief analyst commodities, SEB
Bjarne Schieldrop, Chief analyst commodities, SEB

The fear is that we are on an escalating tit-for-tat retaliatory path. Following explosions in Iran this morning the immediate fear was that we now are on a tit-for-tat escalating retaliatory path which in the could end up in an uncontrollable war where the US unwillingly is pulled into an armed conflict with Iran. Iran has however largely diffused this fear as it has played down the whole thing thus signalling that the risk for yet another leg higher in retaliatory strikes from Iran towards Israel appears low.

The hope is that the retaliatory strikes will be fading in magnitude and then fizzle out. What we can hope for is that the current tit-for-tat retaliatory strikes are fading in magnitude rather than rising in magnitude. Yes, Iran may retaliate to what Israel did this morning, but the hope if it does is that it is of fading magnitude rather than escalating magnitude.

Israel is playing with ”US house money”. What is very clear is that neither the US nor Iran want to end up in an armed conflict with each other. The US concern is that it involuntary is dragged backwards into such a conflict if Israel cannot control itself. As one US official put it: ”Israel is playing with (US) house money”. One can only imagine how US diplomatic phone lines currently are running red-hot with frenetic diplomatic efforts to try to defuse the situation.

It will likely go well as neither the US nor Iran wants to end up in a military conflict with each other. The underlying position is that both the US and Iran seems to detest the though of getting involved in a direct military conflict with each other and that the US is doing its utmost to hold back Israel. This is probably going a long way to convince the market that this situation is not going to fully blow up.

The oil market is nonetheless concerned as there is too much oil supply at stake. The oil market is however still naturally concerned and uncomfortable about the whole situation as there is so much oil supply at stake if the situation actually did blow up. Reports of traders buying far out of the money call options is a witness of that.

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Analys

Fundamentals trump geopolitical tensions

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SEB - analysbrev på råvaror

Throughout this week, the Brent Crude price has experienced a decline of USD 3 per barrel, despite ongoing turmoil in the Middle East. Price fluctuations have ranged from highs of USD 91 per barrel at the beginning of the week to lows of USD 87 per barrel as of yesterday evening.

Ole R. Hvalbye, Analyst Commodities, SEB
Ole R. Hvalbye, Analyst Commodities, SEB

Following the release of yesterday’s US inventory report, Brent Crude once again demonstrated resilience against broader macroeconomic concerns, instead focusing on underlying market fundamentals.

Nevertheless, the recent drop in prices may come as somewhat surprising given the array of conflicting signals observed. Despite an increase in US inventories—a typically bearish indicator—we’ve also witnessed escalating tensions in the Middle East, coupled with the reinstatement of US sanctions on Venezuela. Furthermore, there are indications of impending sanctions on Iran in response to the recent attack on Israel.

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen has indicated that new sanctions targeting Iran, particularly aimed at restricting its oil exports, could be announced as early as this week. As previously highlighted, we maintain the view that Iran’s oil exports remain vulnerable even without further escalation of the conflict. It appears that Israel is exerting pressure on its ally, the US, to impose stricter sanctions on Iran, an action that is unfolding before our eyes.

Iran’s current oil production stands at close to 3.2 million barrels per day. Considering additional condensate production of about 0.8 million barrels per day and subtracting domestic demand of roughly 1.8 million barrels per day, the net export of Iranian crude and condensate is approximately 2.2 million barrels per day.

However, the uncertainty surrounding the enforcement of such sanctions casts doubt on the likelihood of a complete ending of Iranian exports. Approximately 80% of Iran’s exports are directed to independent refineries in China, suggesting that US sanctions may have limited efficacy unless China complies. The prospect of China resisting US pressure on its oil imports from Iran poses a significant challenge to US sanctions enforcement efforts.

Furthermore, any shortfall resulting from sanctions could potentially be offset by other OPEC nations with spare capacity. Saudi Arabia and the UAE, for instance, can collectively produce an additional almost 3 million barrels of oil per day, although this remains a contingency measure.

In addition to developments related to Iran, the Biden administration has re-imposed restrictions on Venezuelan oil, marking the end of a six-month reprieve. This move is expected to impact flows from the South American nation.

Meanwhile, US crude inventories (excluding SPR holdings) surged by 2.7 million barrels last week (page 11 attached), reaching their highest level since June of last year. This increase coincided with a decline in measures of fuel demand (page 14 attached), underscoring a slightly weaker US market.

In summary, while geopolitical tensions persist and new rounds of sanctions are imposed, our market outlook remains intact. We maintain our forecast of an average Brent Crude price of USD 85 per barrel for the year 2024. In the short term, however, prices are expected to hover around the USD 90 per barrel mark as they navigate through geopolitical uncertainties and fundamental factors.

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