‘Books will be written about today’ — Oil’s incredible plunge leaves people shocked, searching for answers

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No, your monitor is not malfunctioning.

Oil prices CLK20, -104.17% made history Monday, finishing in negative territory and implying that investors will need to pay buyers to take a barrel of crude. That’s what happens when the world shuts down in the face of a pandemic and oil companies are left to store surplus in rented tankers.

“It’s like trying to explain something that is unprecedented and seemingly unreal!” wrote Louise Dickson, oil markets analyst Louise at Rystad Energy, in emailed comments.

Longtime commodities trader Peter Brandt tried to put the move in perspective:

Peter Brandt

@PeterLBrandt

How much blood will be on the street b/c of Crude Oil?

Bankrupt trading firms
NYMEX — margin calls not met
Futures Commission Merchants

This is going to be ugly. Books will be written about today.

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929 people are talking about this

As did other notable voices on Finance Twitter:

Joe Weisenthal@TheStalwart

I took my eye off of oil for a second, because I thought all the fireworks kind of happened when it went negative.

But I have to admit that seeing it trade at *-$40* a barrel is quite something!! https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-04-19/oil-drops-to-18-year-low-on-global-demand-crunch-storage-woes?srnd=premium&sref=vuYGislZ 

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426 people are talking about this

Sven Henrich

@NorthmanTrader

Negative rates: Mortgage companies pay us to live in our homes.
Negative oil: Gas stations pay us to fill up.
The Fed will save them all.

Who needs a job anyways.

493 people are talking about this

Mir Mohammad Alikhan@MirMAKOfficial

Why is oil price down ?

1. Corona has evaporated the demand. Air travel. Sea cargo. Road travel. Energy. Etc

2. Low demand is creating pile ups of inventories

3. No Storage facilities to keep the oil

4. Russia KSA arrogance of not cutting production EARLIER

EXPLAINED SIMPLY

617 people are talking about this

Then there were those with an agenda:

Cameron Winklevoss

@winklevoss

After today, oil can no longer be considered a reliable store of value. Your next best options are the U.S. dollar (gulp), gold (scarce), or Bitcoin (fixed).

574 people are talking about this

Eric Holthaus

@EricHolthaus

The takeaway here is clear, for those of us who care about climate: This system is unsustainable.

We knew that oil was worthless before today. Now it’s literally true. Whatever emerges in the wreckage of the fossil fuel industry, it can’t continue on like it was before.

Eric Holthaus

@EricHolthaus

Right now, the price of oil is negative. It’s less than worthless.

Now is the time to imagine alternatives to the fossil fuel industry. The old world has collapsed. What comes next is up to us.https://thecorrespondent.com/385/we-arent-just-stopping-coronavirus-were-building-a-new-world/50968856015-625b9768 

We aren’t just stopping coronavirus. We’re building a new world

We must pressure our leaders to take the long view in any coronavirus economic recovery package, even if this feels like a short-term emergency.

thecorrespondent.com

557 people are talking about this

For the most part, confusion reigned across social media:

Katie Hill

@KatieHill4CA

Negative oil price… I don’t even know what that means https://twitter.com/faisalislam/status/1252303015501070339 

Faisal Islam

@faisalislam

The Crude oil price (West Texas Intermediate)…

Has turned NEGATIVE….

MINUS $10 for a barrel of WTI oil… as they can’t find places to store it…

via @Refinitiv

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243 people are talking about this

Prof. Steve Hanke

@steve_hanke

Today, crashed from an open of $17.85/ barrel to a low of -$40.32/ barrel.

What is going?

Oil storage tanks are full to the brim.

Mark this day on your calendar. You will never see a day like it again.

1,504 people are talking about this

Josh Jordan

@NumbersMuncher

OMG: WTI crude oil for May delivery ends the day at NEGATIVE $37.63 per barrel.

It was $63 in early January – this is hard to even comprehend.

180 people are talking about this

It’s not really a laughing matter, according to The Blaze’s Jessica Fletcher:

Jessica Fletcher

@heckyessica

before you make a joke about oil prices, remember that the industry employs many, many Americans, and they (and their families) are scared while you’re laughing.

656 people are talking about this

But, of course, the jokes were flying anyway:

Wild Geerters@classiclib3ral

me going door to door trying to sell the oil barrels I bought at negative prices

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284 people are talking about this

neontaster@neontaster

Use your $1,200 to buy a couple thousand barrels of oil.

160 people are talking about this

Adam Serwer🍝

@AdamSerwer

Call me when OLIVE oil is under $2 a barrel

3,516 people are talking about this

And it didn’t take long for the buzz to turn political:

Rick Wilson

@TheRickWilson

I thought President Bigly Dealmaker had this in hand! https://twitter.com/business/status/1252286893720551424 

Bloomberg

@business

BREAKING: Oil drops below $3 a barrel https://trib.al/o219x5F 

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3,875 people are talking about this

Tea Pain@TeaPainUSA

Donald Trump has managed to do somethin’ no other president could. Destroy the oil and gas industry.https://www.cnn.com/2020/04/20/investing/premarket-stocks-trading/index.html 

American oil crashes below $0 a barrel — a record low

The spectacular collapse in oil markets is showing no signs of easing, as the coronavirus crisis saps demand and producers run out of places to store all their excess barrels of crude.

cnn.com

3,337 people are talking about this

Michael McKean

@MJMcKean

To a guy who can bankrupt a casino multiple times, crashing the oil business is a piece of cake. https://twitter.com/business/status/1252293838795878400 

Bloomberg

@business

BREAKING: Oil drops below $1 a barrel https://trib.al/l9YLU35 

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Originally Published on MarketWatch
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