As Oil Plunges, Energy Junk Bonds Turn Dangerous — Again

By John Rubino – Re-Blogged From Dollar Collapse

Back in 2014 oil was falling and hundreds of billions of dollars of energy junk bonds and leveraged loans looked to be at risk. Wolf Street had this to say at the time:

Oil and Gas Bloodbath Spreads to Junk Bonds, Leveraged Loans. Defaults Next

The price of oil has plunged nearly 40% since June to $65.63, and junk bonds in the US energy sector are getting hammered, after a phenomenal boom that peaked this year. Energy companies sold $50 billion in junk bonds through October, 14% of all junk bonds issued! But junk-rated energy companies trying to raise new money to service old debt or to fund costly fracking or off-shore drilling operations are suddenly hitting resistance.

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Fill the US Strategic Petroleum Reserve

cropped-bob-shapiro.jpg   By Bob Shapiro

The US created a Strategic Petroleum Reserve in 1975, after the arab oil embargo (and a stupid US rationing scheme) caused supply disruptions. Today, this reserve holds a little over 1 month’s worth of oil.

Assuming that there is a real need for this Reserve, I would hope that it would be run using some basic economic and market principles. Right up at the top of the list of Market Principles is the Commandment: “But Low, and Sell High.”

The Price of Oil today is on the low side over the last 40 years, on an inflation adjusted basis. Back in ’73-’74, the Price of Oil went from under $10 a barrel to the mid-$30s. While the nominal Price today is in the low $40s, adjusted for the CPI, oil is under $8 a barrel in 1975 Dollars. (The CPI is a low-ball number, so maybe $5 is closer.)

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