Best of the Week
Most Popular
1.RED ALERT: Paris Terror Attacks - What to Expect Next - STRATFOR
2.Paris Terror Attacks, Death Pangs of a Dying Religion, and Impact on BrExit EU Referendum - Nadeem_Walayat
3.Paris Terror Attacks, Islamic State Attempting to Spark Civil War in France - Nadeem_Walayat
4.Three Shocking Charts That Prove Gold Price Rally Is Coming - Sean Brodrick
5.Stock Market Nifty-Fifty Becomes Fab-Five; Return of the 'Four Horseman' - Mike_Shedlock
6.Africa Population Explosion - Why Europe's Migrant Crisis is Going to Get A Lot Worse - Video - Nadeem_Walayat
7.Gold Mining Stocks May Be The Buy Of The Century - Jeff_Berwick
8.Grandmaster Putin Beats Uncle Sam at His Own Game - Mike_Whitney
9.BRICS? No, CRISIS - Raymond_Matison
10.UK Housing Market Affordability, House Prices Momentum and Trend Forecast - Nadeem_Walayat
Last 5 days
Turkey Downs Russian Jet to Draw NATO and US Deeper into Syrian Quagmire - 28th Nov 15
Stock Market Quiet Week as Primary 5 Continues - 28th Nov 15
Black Friday, Weekend for Europe's Migrants - 28th Nov 15
HUI and Gold - Who's Leading Whom? - 28th Nov 15
Gold And Silver - No Ending Action, But End May Be Near - 28th Nov 15
Social and Cultural Distress Dividing The Nation - Fourth Turning - 28th Nov 15
Sheffield Houses Prices 2015, Best Estate Agents As Rated by Buyers and Sellers - 28th Nov 15
Stock Market Top Valuations, at a Critical Juncture - 27th Nov 15
The Top Shopping Opportunity on Black Friday - 27th Nov 15
Economics Is About Scarcity, Property, and Relationships - 27th Nov 15
UK Immigration Crisis Hits New Extreme of 336k Net Migration, up 32% on 2014 - 27th Nov 15
Vauxhall Zafira B Fire Danger Recall - What to Do Video - 26th Nov 15
Triggers In US Dollar Collapse - 26th Nov 15
Apple Stock is a 10-Year Short - Bear Market Environment - 26th Nov 15
U.S. Federal Reserve Rate Hike - 26th Nov 15
George Osborne's War on Buy to Let Sector Trending Towards Doomsday - 26th Nov 15
Will Turkey Drag NATO into War With Russia in Syria? - 25th Nov 15
George Osborne’s Autumn Statement and Spending Review Full Text - 25th Nov 15
Will Fresh QE From ECB Boost Gold? - 25th Nov 15
Sheffield, Yorkshire and Humberside House Prices Forecast 2016-2018 - 25th Nov 15
Investors Watch Out For The Auto Industry… - 24th Nov 15
BEA Revises 3rd Quarter 2015 US GDP Economic Growth Upward to 2.07% - 24th Nov 15
Stock Market Supports Are Being Broken - 24th Nov 15
Is Gold Price on the Verge of a Breakout? - 24th Nov 15
Fed’s Tarullo: U.S. Interest Rates Liftoff Should Wait for Signs of Inflation - 24th Nov 15
Silver Price, COT, US Dollar Updates and More - 24th Nov 15
UK Regional House Prices Analysis - Video - 23rd Nov 15
Crude Oil Swinging For The Fences - A 20 to 1 Option Play - 23rd Nov 15
US Dollar, CRB, Oil, Gas, Copper and Gold - The Chartology of Deflation - 23rd Nov 15
UK Regional House Prices, Cheapest and Most Expensive Property Markets - 23rd Nov 15
Stock Market Rally Losing Momentum? - 23rd Nov 15
Will Gold Price Drop Below $1000 Soon? - 23rd Nov 15
Gold and Silver Sector Big Green Light and Low Risk Entry Setup... - 23rd Nov 15
Limits to Economic Growth - Challenge and Choices - 22nd Nov 15
Long Dollar Trade and Current Copper Price Below Cost of Production - 22nd Nov 15
UK Housing Market House Prices Affordability Crisis - Video - 21st Nov 15
The Fed Has Set the Stage for a Stock Market Crash - 21st Nov 15
Stock Market Primary V Wave Continues - 21st Nov 15
Gold And Silver - Value Of Knowing The Trend - 21st Nov 15
UK Footsie Bulls Set To Foot The Bill - 21st Nov 15
UK Housing Market Affordability, House Prices Momentum and Trend Forecast - 21st Nov 15
GDX Gold Miners’ Strong Q3 Results - 20th Nov 15
End of Schengen, Stock Market’s Technical Strength Grows - 20th Nov 15
Justice for All and The Curious Case of Zambia - 20th Nov 15
Paris, Sharm el-Sheikh, and the Resurrection of Old Europe - 20th Nov 15
Silver Prices and The Management of Perception - 20th Nov 15
Stock Market Nifty-Fifty Becomes Fab-Five; Return of the 'Four Horseman' - 20th Nov 15
Waiting for Goldot Again - 20th Nov 15
Michael Curran Goes Down-Market Shopping for Gold Stock Winners - 20th Nov 15
Why Isn’t This Incredibly Bearish Bond Market Development Making the News? - 19th Nov 15
SPX Appears to have Stopped its Rally - 19th Nov 15
The Great Fall Of China Started At Least 4 Years Ago - 19th Nov 15
Using Elliott Waves: As Simple As A-B-C - 19th Nov 15
Has Deflation Been Ddefeated? - 19th Nov 15
Dow Jones Stock Market Index is Not Going to Crash - 19th Nov 15

Free Instant Analysis

Free Instant Technical Analysis

Market Oracle FREE Newsletter

Reasons to Get Excited About Japanese Stocks

Crude Oil Price Forecast: The "Syrian Premium" Is Not Temporary

Commodities / Crude Oil Sep 12, 2013 - 01:37 PM GMT

By: Money_Morning


Dr. Kent Moors writes: By an apparent agreement to place its chemical weapons under international control, Syria seems to have dodged an imminent American military attack.

Yet even as the world takes a step back from the brink, three critical questions still remain:

  1. Will Syrian President Bashar Assad hand over all of his chemical weapons?
  2. Will the proposed international control mechanisms satisfy Washington?
  3. Will the final result contained in the U.N. report on the chemical weapons use outside of Damascus alter the outcome?

Of course, until the latest news hit, one result had seemed certain: The global oil market was bracing for higher prices. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) closed at a 28-month high on Friday, while Brent crossed the $116 a barrel level.

Following the agreement, that trend has reversed, sending oil prices in both New York and London lower.

But has this crisis really been defused?

Just look at oil prices, and where they're undoubtedly headed...

Calculating the "Syrian Premium"

The developing tensions have added a "Syrian Premium" to the price of oil. By my best estimate, this "crisis premium" was $4 a barrel in New York and $8 in London.

In other words, absent this premium, WTI should trade at about $103 a barrel, while Brent should trade near $107.

As of Tuesday, that premium stands at $4 in London and $3 in New York, down 50% and 30% respectively off of Friday's close.

Given Syria's place in the energy markets, that is the most direct way the crisis has impacted the energy sector.

But it is hardly the only effect.

The truth is the market has no genuine way to determine the degree of volatility resulting from what is an unknown level of instability.

Needless to say, that is usually a formula for an increase in price beyond what the market fundamentals would sustain.

How long the spike remains depends on the level of uncertainty. At the moment there are more questions than answers.

And despite this morning's news, that uncertainty is not likely to be receding anytime soon.

That is because, absent a "palace coup" to unseat Assad in Damascus, nothing was likely to happen this week to reduce the tension. Congress is back in session, but the Obama Administration is still faced with a very close vote on obtaining a Congressional approval for any strike. The specter of Iraq still weighs heavily on both sides of the aisle.

It is the same case in London, where Parliament has made it clear it will not agree to support a missile strike until the U.N. team reports findings that chemical weapons were used. That may well not take place until the end of the month, although there are likely to be leaks of the main points beforehand.

France and Saudi Arabia may have already declared support for military action, but there has been no approval for any other EU or Gulf Coordination Council member state.

Meanwhile, Moscow is pledging ongoing support for Assad (while also leaving the door open to apply U.N. Security Council-sponsored pressure against the Syrians should the U.N. report justify such a move).

In short, before the news, this week had been shaping up as one of accelerating rhetoric from the White House, considerable lobbying on both sides of the issue, and a continuing impasse.

What's Our "Goodbye Code?"

Of course, President Obama could authorize a strike without the permission of Congress. But the domestic political environment in the U.S. would not support that decision.

There are clear misgivings emerging these days over the proper American position in what is a civil conflict in Syria and little support for another open-ended military excursion into the region.

That seems to be the gravamen in all of this political maneuvering and rancor. It also reminds me of a basic rule in my earlier career.

You see, in the intelligence business, you always wanted to have what we called a "goodbye code."

A "goodbye code" was the way you intended to get out of whatever situation the higher pay grades were about to put you into. It was a basic element of strategy and the primary foundation for whatever tactics we introduced to meet our objectives.

Recent American excursions - Viet Nam, Iraq, and Afghanistan - have been light on this front. What is the objective? How do we limit our involvement to meet that end? And, most importantly, how do we prevent "mission creep?"

This is what happens when what is set up to reach an objective ends up having a life of its own. It expands into something more than initially contemplated. Means become an end in themselves, clouding the goals and the ability to wind down involvement.

Nobody in Washington wants another "boots on the ground" deployment, or a multi-year commitment to overthrowing another two-bit dictator.

For their part, the wide majority of the U.S. population needs something in addition to the acceptance that Assad is a nasty fellow. No argument there.

But what is the specific American objective, and what is our "goodbye code?"

To date, the administration has not been forthcoming here. A strike means we would be injecting U.S. power into a civil war in what is already a regional pressure cooker, a move that would certainly change the dynamics for all of the countries bordering Syria and the integrity of crude oil export routes.

No Quick Answers Here

That brings us back full circle to how this will play out for energy investors.

The truth is there will be no quick answer to anything in Syria. The talking heads will continue their banter on TV (I gave my views yesterday on Fox Business). However, there will be no resolution of the instability.

And that means oil prices will continue to rise.

It is too early to make any meaningful forecasts about how this will impact the economy as a whole. What we do know is this: There will be an observable negative pressure on economic recovery should those prices rise too quickly.

My guess this morning is that a level of $120 a barrel in New York would probably result in a market pullback, although hardly a move into another recession.

Still, hedge funds are already placing bets on higher gold prices in anticipation of higher oil levels. This is merely a result of something I identified here in Oil & Energy Investor several months ago about how oil is becoming the new "gold standard."

Oil is now playing the tune that gold dances to, with the rest of the market following closely behind.

At least until Tuesday...

Until the specifics are in, however, the proof this situation has been defused is in the details.

And those may now be set, at least initially, not in Washington or Damascus but in Moscow.

Next: Here's How to Play the "Syrian Premium"

Source :

Money Morning/The Money Map Report

©2013 Monument Street Publishing. All Rights Reserved. Protected by copyright laws of the United States and international treaties. Any reproduction, copying, or redistribution (electronic or otherwise, including on the world wide web), of content from this website, in whole or in part, is strictly prohibited without the express written permission of Monument Street Publishing. 105 West Monument Street, Baltimore MD 21201, Email:

Disclaimer: Nothing published by Money Morning should be considered personalized investment advice. Although our employees may answer your general customer service questions, they are not licensed under securities laws to address your particular investment situation. No communication by our employees to you should be deemed as personalized investent advice. We expressly forbid our writers from having a financial interest in any security recommended to our readers. All of our employees and agents must wait 24 hours after on-line publication, or after the mailing of printed-only publication prior to following an initial recommendation. Any investments recommended by Money Morning should be made only after consulting with your investment advisor and only after reviewing the prospectus or financial statements of the company.

Money Morning Archive

© 2005-2015 - The Market Oracle is a FREE Daily Financial Markets Analysis & Forecasting online publication.

Post Comment

Only logged in users are allowed to post comments. Register/ Log in

Biggest Debt Bomb in History