Financialist:油价走势将趋于稳定
2016-03-15 17:00:27
Financialist:油价走势将趋于稳定(2016.03.15)

  提要:瑞信认为,油价低迷的原因在于石油供应过剩,而非需求不足。瑞信认为,油价有望在40美元/桶的水平上走稳。但另一方面,在未来2、3年之间,石油价格难以明显超过50美元/桶。这将符合历史的标准,自1960年以来石油平均价格为45美元/桶。虽然油价有望走稳,但现在还不是买进一体化石油和天然气股票的时机。

  (外脑精华·北京)油价暴跌的原因是供应过剩而非需求不足

  过去18个月之中,布伦特原油价格由115美元/桶跌至35美元/桶。而且,油价暴跌产生了深远而广泛的影响:高收益债券与美国国债的利差扩大;美国通胀预期大跌;相比防御股,周期股走势明显恶化。

  本轮油价大跌之初,主流观点认为油价下滑有助于刺激全球经济增长:消费者的燃料开销减少,大多数企业的能源成本降低,只有能源企业和能源出口国会是受害者。然而,进入2016年,主流判断已经发生了逆转:当下大多数投资者认为油价持续低迷是件坏事,因为这意味着全球需求(不只是石油需求,也包括各种其它产品的需求)低迷不振。然而,瑞信全球股票策略师不赞成这种观点。

  瑞信策略师认为,油价低迷的原因在于石油供应过剩,而非需求不足。事实上,不仅国际能源署的数据显示,2015年全球石油需求将达到5年来的最高点,而且油价的低迷走势也与美国供应管理学会的制造业采购经理指数脱节。如果油价仅仅反映了全球需求不足,那么美国采购经理指数理应像油价那样疲软。

  不过,当前市场的主流判断是可以理解的。在过去18个月内,能源公司大力削减运营支出和资本支出,令全球增长率损失1.4个百分点、美国增长率损失1个百分点。但瑞信股票策略师认为,能源企业削减支出的高峰期已经结束。美国消费者也存在一些问题,他们逐步花光了汽油带来的意外之财。去年家庭储蓄整体在1000亿美元,尽管汽油和汽车燃料支出降低了550亿美元,这意味着他们不仅将低天然气和石油节省下来的钱存入银行,除此之外他们存入了更多。瑞信相信美国消费者在20世纪80年代就是这样的做法,拖延支出直到他们更为舒适,石油价格下降不再是暂时的。银行策略师认为,个人储蓄率将从5.5%降至4%,使得消费提升1.6%。最终,较低石油价格应该促进全球增长处于0.8%至1.4%之间。

  油价将走稳,但难以强势反弹

  如何才能转变悲观主义者?第一步是油价走稳。瑞信预计,油价有望在40美元/桶的水平上走稳。沙特阿拉伯在过去18个月,放弃了其传统的生产调节者的角色,在2月16日与卡塔尔、俄罗斯和委内瑞拉达成协定,将生产保持在1月份的水平上。沙特一直在努力维持市场份额,面临着非欧佩克生产上升,阻止美国能源独立,这可能损害超级大国的军事和政治支持。新协议使得沙特生产不大可能进一步提升。

  为什么产油国在这个时候达成协定?瑞信策略师认为,全球石油价格高于35美元/桶低于50美元/桶,对于沙特是最为有利的--足够低对于高成本美国生产者产生压力,并且足够高能够减轻沙特政府上升的财政压力。虽然债务较低,外汇储备健康,经济增长相对强劲,今年王国预算赤字预计将达到13.5%,即便政府支出减少了20%。

  石油价格稳定是一回事,但油价强势反弹则是另一回事。瑞信股票策略师认为,在未来2、3年之间,石油价格难以明显超过50美元/桶。这将符合历史的标准,自1960年以来石油平均价格为45美元/桶。

  买进油气股的时机尚未到来

  那么,投资者应如何应对这种前景?低成本美国页岩气生产者和欧洲银行在任何稳定的情况下有良好的定位。油价小幅上涨减少了能源企业贷款的风险,趋向推动更高的债券收益并减少信贷利差,这些对于银行都有好处。

  但现在还不是买进一体化石油和天然气股票的时机,尽管其估值大跌,很大程度上因为中间自由现金流在石油企业的收益仅为1.7%。虽然石油公司可能出售资产或发行新的债务用于避免削减或暂停分红,市场不再青睐该公司,加上其债务负担和目前售卖资产的合约价格。同时,企业实际上已经削减分红,比如康菲公司和恩尼集团,相比同行表现不佳。综合性石油公司也有较高的生产成本并遭受不成比例的价格下降。最终,简单的削减经营和资本支出将实施,任何进一步削减将开始减少稳定的长期增长潜力。对于最大的能源企业,复苏的道路并不明朗。

  

  英文原文:Oil Prices: Where Will They Go From Here?

Over the last 18 months, the price of a barrel of Brent crude has dropped from $115 to $35. And the effects of that steep decline have rippled far and wide: spreads between high-yield bonds and Treasuries have opened up; U.S. inflation expectations have plummeted, and cyclical stocks have handily underperformed defensive ones.

Early on in the decline, the consensus opinion was that lower oil prices would serve as a catalyst for global economic growth. Consumers would save at the pump, companies would enjoy lower energy costs, and the only folks left holding the bag would be the energy companies (and energy-exporting countries) themselves. Fast-forward to 2016, however, and the consensus has been flipped on its head. At this point, most investors have come to see the continued weakness in the price of oil as a bad thing, and the lack of price support as an indication that global demand (for oil, and for anything else) is weak. Credit Suisse’s global equity strategists do not share that view.

Low oil prices, say the bank's strategists, are the result of oversupply, not a lack of demand. Not only has the International Energy Agency stated that demand likely hit a five-year high in 2015, but oil prices have decoupled from the ISM Manufacturing Index, a key indicator of industrial activity. If oil prices were simply a reflection of global demand, the two would be moving together.

Still, it's easy to understand where the consensus comes from. Dramatic cuts to energy companies' operating and capital expenditures over the last 18 months have taken 1.4 percentage points off of global growth and 1 percent from U.S. growth. But Credit Suisse's equity strategists believe the worst of these cuts are over. And then there's the issue of U.S. consumers, who have been slow to spend their gasoline-savings windfall. Households saved a total of some $100 billion over the past year, despite seeing their bills for gasoline and motor fuels drop $55 billion, which means they not only banked their savings from low gas and oil prices, they saved even more on top of that. Credit Suisse believes that American consumers will do as they did in the 1980s, holding off on spending until they became comfortable that the oil price decline wasn't temporary. The bank's strategists think the personal savings ratio will drop from 5.5 percent to 4 percent this year, driving consumption up 1.6 percent. Ultimately, low oil prices should boost global growth by between 0.8 and 1.4 percentage points.

What's it going to take to turn the pessimists around? A leveling in the price of oil would be a start, and Credit Suisse believes a stabilization around $40 per barrel is, in fact, in the offing. Saudi Arabia, which had abandoned its traditional role as swing producer over the last 18 months, cut a deal February 16 with Qatar, Russia, and Venezuela to freeze production at January levels. The Kingdom has been trying to maintain market share in the face of rising non-OPEC production and keep the U.S. from achieving energy independence, which could conceivably jeopardize the superpower’s military and political support. The new accord makes further production increases from the Kingdom unlikely. (U.S. shale oil production is relatively high cost, and if a prolonged period of low prices forces some American exploration and production companies out of business, the U.S. will naturally have to rely more on oil imported from Saudi Arabia.)

Why make a deal now? Credit Suisse's equity strategists believe that global oil prices above $35 and below $50 are in Saudi Arabia's best interests - low enough to put pressure on high-cost American producers, but high enough to alleviate the mounting fiscal pressure on the Saudi government. Though it has little debt (7 percent of GDP), healthy foreign exchange reserves (84 percent of GDP), and relatively strong economic growth (3.4 percent in 2015), the Kingdom’s budget deficit is expected to reach 13.5 percent this year, despite a 20 percent reduction in government spending.

Stabilization in oil prices is one thing, but a sharp rebound that would turn investors bullish again on risky assets is quite another. Credit Suisse's equity strategists doubt oil prices will rise much above $50 over the next two to three years. That would be in keeping with historical norms, as the average price of oil since 1960 is just $45.

So is there an energy angle for investors looking to play the turn? Low-cost U.S. shale producers and European banks are well positioned in the case of any stabilization. Even a slight rise in oil prices reduces the risk associated with loans to energy companies and tends to push bond yields higher and reduce credit spreads, both of which are good for banks.

But it's not yet time to buy integrated oil and gas companies, despite their rock-bottom valuations, in large part because the median free cash flow yield among oil majors is just 1.7 percent. While oil companies would likely sell assets or issue new debt to avoid cutting or suspending dividends, the market is no longer rewarding companies that add to their debt loads, and assets are selling for bargain prices in the current environment. Meanwhile, companies that have actually cut dividends, such as Conoco Phillips and ENI, have underperformed their peers. Integrated oil companies also have relatively high production costs and would suffer disproportionately from any further price declines. Finally, the easy cuts to operating and capital expenditures have already been made, and any further reductions will likely start to cut into firms' long-term growth potential. For the largest energy companies, the path to recovery isn't yet clear.

来源:Financialist,作者:Ashley Kindergan
作者:Ashley

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