Monday, April 27, 2020

Op-ed:
The Stock Market, Oil Prices and COVID-19
By: Diane Sori / The Patriot Factor / Right Side Patriots on Right Side Patriots Radio

And so the COVID-19 fallout continues on but with some interesting new twists. First, last week Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin stated that most, if not all, of the U.S. economy should be reopened by later in the summer and second, public health officials and scientists at Stanford University and the University of Southern California have released studies that show the estimates of the number of people infected by COVID-19 were way higher than the number of actual confirmed cases...something I've been saying since day one. And this simply means that not only was the virus less deadly than CDC health officials, politicians, and the media talking heads said it would be, it also means that the fatality rate for COVID-19 does in fact more closely resemble that of the seasonal flu than it does of a true pandemic...again something I've been saying all along.

How did I, a layman, know this...simply by my comparing the number of those sick, hospitalized, and dying from this season's flu to the number of those actually confirmed as having COVID-19...as in those sick and/or hospitalized due to the the virus along with those who have died from the virus not those who might have had the virus but who actually died of an underlying disease like cancer, a heart attack, diabetes, or other such diseases that result in a compromised immune system.

In other words, I comparing the number of those who died "with COVID-19 but not of COVID-19." And that is key for we now know that the current numbers indeed have been padded to not only keep the panic, and let's be honest here by saying the control over “We the People,” ongoing...I cannot say it any plainer or more directly than that.

And with forced control comes casualties not always of the literal body count kind, but of the kind that wrecks havoc on a country's economy and freedoms. And sometimes it's a country's economy that sets both the pace and tone of its freedoms and in our case...in America's case...we've seen our booming economy...thanks to President Trump's leadership...coming to a screeching halt because we were told...we were lied to...that this virus had the potential to if not kill us all at least to sicken and kill an overwhelming number of us. And we fell for it by complying to the whims of partisan so-called health experts and politicians, but the days of their crying wolf are winding down as our economy will start to recover, as shows of protest across our country scream we are no longer buying what you...which includes the media...are selling.

Our once booming Trump-ignited economy now basically lays at a stand still but is beginning to see subtle signs of it eventually coming roaring back, but will the related and adjunct casualties of this overblown pandemic be able to do the same? Probably yes, but it might take a bit more time for many of those casualties work hand-in-hand with each other. Take for example how the stock market as well as the per barrel price of both crude oil and gasoline both help to boost America's economy in good times while helping to slowdown our economy in bad times...times like we're going through now because of COVID-19.

So let's begin with the virus' affect on the U.S. stock market, which is but one key indicator of how well or poorly our economy in general is doing. And while the stock market reflects only how listed companies are doing, if those companies are doing well it translates into investors being confident enough to purchase more stocks, stock mutual funds, and/or stock options, thus adding fuel not only to help keep our economy stable but to allow for it to grow. And it's this, what is basically an economic vote of confidence, that allows small investors and small business owners the ability to invest in our economy as well via their buying of stocks which, again, helps to provide additional fuel for economic growth.

While on the other hand, a major stock market downturn or crash does negatively affect our country's economic growth. How so...because lower stock prices obviously translates into less profit for businesses, pension funds, and individual investors with said businesses now being unable to get much needed funding for both operations and hoped for expansion. And it's this cut in funding that directly aids in setting the stage for economic collapse if it continues on for an extended period of time, with the outcome being that our gross domestic product starts to fall what with personal consumption...as in consumer buying power...and business investment being integral parts of the GDP, as well as the fact that COVID-19 itself negatively affected the U.S. stock market by prompted tens of millions of job layoffs here in our own country.

And when combined, this allowed for the infamous March market downturn...a downturn where for every two steps forward the market took...as in trying to close higher than the previous day's sinking numbers...it was forced to take yet another step backwards because of the then and still ongoing call to panic by the COVID-19 doomsday sorts. In fact, no matter the attempts by not only the U.S. but the world's governments as well as the central banks to try and limit the financial damage COVID-19 had caused, investor panic still sent Wall Street into the fastest bear-market plunge in history. And this directly led to the Dow Jones industrial average of 30 leading U.S. company shares falling by more than 20% from its previous peak as traders panic-sold out of fear. And that plunge reached rock bottom in just 20 days, exceeding the drop rate of the infamous Stock Market Crash of 1929.

And so a virus out of China ending the longest bull market run in U.S. stock market history, with the above stated rock bottom happening on March 16th when the Dow dropped by almost 3,000 points, wiping 12.9% off the main index. And this happened no matter that the Federal Reserve put emergency interest rate cuts into effective, in fact, cutting said rates almost to zero while at the same time promising to buy government bonds in unlimited amounts. And all this was done in an attempt to calm panicked market investors while COVID-19's numbers were indeed being blown out of proportion.

So with the stock market slowly beginning to rise, as was fully expected it would do...in fact today as I write this finds the Dow closing up at 23,775.27...know that there is still yet another casualty of COVID-19 but not in the way most people think. And that casualty comes in the guise of a drastic drop in the cost per barrel of oil which equates to prices falling at the pump, which is a good thing, except for the fact that while prices at the pump might fall we as a country are still in lock down mode with no place to go let alone people to visit.

Translation: while the supply of oil is readily available the demand for oil simply is not because fewer people are traveling by car let alone traveling by air, meaning we consumers cannot take advantage of the current lower at the pump gas prices.

And how and why did this now drastic drop in oil price happen? How about with the fact that with no place to go a glut of unwanted and still to be used oil was sure to flood the market. And last week, after a 30 percent cut in demand for fuel we saw the per barrel price of oil being in the negative range...upwards of minus $40 per barrel...leaving oil producers actually having to pay buyers to take take their surplus oil off their hands or at least to try to store it. And this oil mess all started when crude oil prices began declining after the Saudis moved to start a price war with Russia after Moscow said “no” to the steep production output cuts being proposed by OPEC...the main influencer of oil price fluctuations along with the always ongoing political instability in the Middle East. And this was no matter that OPEC and its allies had already agreed to “historic production cuts” to stabilize prices what with COVID-19 continuing on with its worldwide march, and with said production output drop being at a 20-year low.

And while currently this appears to be but a short-lived drop what with the per barrel price slowly starting to rise, know that another per barrel drop is being predicted to happen within but a month's time as the oil surplus will remain as is what with the travel restrictions now in place most likely not being canceled anytime soon. And with the lack of much needed storage space also remaining a key issue, we find many smaller oil producers still being unwilling to drastically reduce their production output, for to do so would have them risking being unable to pay their workers or keep enough cash on hand to go full steam ahead on production once market demand increases...once COVID-19 either naturally goes away during the heat and humidity of the upcoming summer months (as I've also been saying all along but the supposed experts are only saying now) or a treatment and/or vaccine becomes readily available if or when the virus was to return in the fall or winter.

So where do we go from here what with the media, some politicians, overtly partisan health experts obviously being anything but, and with U.S. emergency oil storage tanks now happily being filled up? Simply, we need to look at the actual true unpadded COVID-19 numbers as proof positive as to why our economy needs to be reopened post-haste, thus allowing “We the People” to get back to work, and with that the stock market will recover and oil prices will stabilize, and America can be then America again.

Copyright @ 2020 Diane Sori / The Patriot Factor / All Rights Reserved.
 
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For more political commentary please visit my RIGHT SIDE PATRIOTS partner Craig Andresen's blog The National Patriot to read his latest article, Tipping Point - The New Abnormal.
 
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Tomorrow, Tuesday, April 28th from 7-9pm EST, RIGHT SIDE PATRIOTS Craig Andresen and Diane Sori discuss 'The Stock Market, Oil Prices and COVID-19'; 'Tipping Point - The New Abnormal'; and important news of the day.

Hope you can tune in to RSP Radio at: https://streamingv2.shoutcast.com/right-side-patriots

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