Thursday, June 11, 2015

Paradoxical Effects

Sometimes there are unexpected effects from changes that otherwise are interpreted to cause a particular change.

One of these may be the effect of a rise in interest rates on shale oil and gas producers. It is my understanding that the boom in shale and in fracturing technology over the last few years has been in great part a product of low interest rates. If rates start to rise, and in particular if they rise too rapidly as they have of late, those oil and gas producers with high borrowing costs and high debt levels may be impacted enough to destroy supply in this sector. This would be an example of a paradoxical effect. Normally rising interest rates are thought to constrain demand. But producers going broke would cause a supply constraint. Come to think of it, low interest rates and the general "supply side" emphasis over the last decades seems to have resulted in the commoditization of everything, with low prices worldwide. Not discounting the effect of cheap labor. A double whammy, perhaps? And deflation prompts lower interest rates. (See Soros on "reflexivity") If this phenomenon reverses there could be hell to pay. Someday......

I am making no predictions about these companies, the charts are just a couple of those that I watch, but are two that have had trouble keeping up despite the rising price of oil lately, and to a lesser extent do not seem to be well correlated with any small bounces in the price of natural gas.

just thinking,

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