Junk Bonds Finally Capitulate to Lower Oil Price Environment [Chart]
High-yield bond ETFs are down double-digits since the summer.
The Chart of the Week is a weekly Visual Capitalist feature on Fridays.
Over the month of December, the market for high-yield bonds (also known as junk bonds) had a mini-meltdown that’s raised some eyebrows.
Junk bonds, which are non-investment grade debt instruments that are issued by companies with poor credit ratings, are both high-risk and high-reward. If the companies don’t default on their payments, the bonds pay a nice premium to the investor. In fact, the risk and return on junk bonds is generally comparable with that of stocks.
However, sometimes these companies can and will default on their debt obligations, and here’s where the risk comes in. This time, it is the energy sector that is the culprit.
When low oil prices hit last year, many fringe oil and gas producers believed that it would be possible to wait out the market for better prices. Some of these companies even issued risky junk bonds to raise capital to sustain operations until better times.
The recent action in oil and commodity markets have made it clear that oil prices could be low for a long time. Now, these fringe shale producers that have been holding on for better times may get a different type of medicine.
Standard & Poor’s recently warned that a stunning 50% of energy junk bonds are “distressed,” meaning they are at risk of default. That’s about a total of $180 billion distressed debt, which is the highest level since the Financial Crisis.
Investors began pulling money out of the credit markets fast. Last week, investors pulled a record $5.1 billion out of mutual funds and ETFs investing in junk bonds. Investment-grade bond and junk bond yields are now at their highest since 2012.
On top of that, several funds announced they would be locking out investors from withdrawing their funds. Third Avenue has blocked investors from retrieving money from its credit fund, Stone Lion suspended redemptions in its credit hedge funds, and Lucidus Capital Partners liquidated its holdings to try and get money back to investors.
What does this mean for ordinary investors?
Jeffrey Gundlach, the “Bond King”, talked about this in his latest presentation for DoubleLine Capital:
I’m sure many people on the call have never seen the Fed raise rates. And I’ve got a simple message for you: It’s a different world when the Fed is raising interest rates. Everybody needs to unwind trades at the same time, and it is a completely different environment for the market.
In 2016 we will be sailing into some uncharted territory.
Charted: The World’s Biggest Oil Producers
Just three countries—the U.S., Saudi Arabia and Russia—make up the lion’s share of global oil supply. Here are the biggest oil producers in 2022.
Charted: The World’s Biggest Oil Producers in 2022
In 2022 oil prices peaked at more than $100 per barrel, hitting an eight-year high, after a full year of turmoil in the energy markets in the wake of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Oil companies doubled their profits and the economies of the biggest oil producers in the world got a major boost.
But which countries are responsible for most of the world’s oil supply? Using data from the Statistical Review of World Energy by the Energy Institute, we’ve visualized and ranked the world’s biggest oil producers.
Ranked: Oil Production By Country, in 2022
The U.S. has been the world’s biggest oil producer since 2018 and continued its dominance in 2022 by producing close to 18 million barrels per day (B/D). This accounted for nearly one-fifth of the world’s oil supply.
Almost three-fourths of the country’s oil production is centered around five states: Texas, New Mexico, North Dakota, Alaska, and Colorado.
We rank the other major oil producers in the world below.
|YoY Change||Share of
|2||🇸🇦 Saudi Arabia||12,136||+10.8%||12.9%|
|36||🇸🇸 South Sudan||141||-7.6%||0.2%|
|51||Other Middle East||210||+1.2%||0.2%|
|54||Other Asia Pacific||177||-10.6%||0.2%|
|55||Other S. &|
Behind America’s considerable lead in oil production, Saudi Arabia (ranked 2nd) produced 12 million B/D, accounting for about 13% of global supply.
Russia came in third with 11 million B/D in 2022. Together, these top three oil producing behemoths, along with Canada (4th) and Iraq (5th), make up more than half of the entire world’s oil supply.
Meanwhile, the top 10 oil producers, including those ranked 6th to 10th—China, UAE, Iran, Brazil, and Kuwait—are responsible for more than 70% of the world’s oil production.
Notably, all top 10 oil giants increased their production between 2021–2022, and as a result, global output rose 4.2% year-on-year.
Major Oil Producing Regions in 2022
The Middle East accounts for one-third of global oil production and North America makes up almost another one-third of production. The Commonwealth of Independent States—an organization of post-Soviet Union countries—is another major regional producer of oil, with a 15% share of world production.
|YoY Change||Share of
|South & Central|
What’s starkly apparent in the data however is Europe’s declining share of oil production, now at 3% of the world’s supply. In the last 20 years the EU’s oil output has dropped by more than 50% due to a variety of factors, including stricter environmental regulations and a shift to natural gas.
Another lens to look at regional production is through OPEC members, which control about 35% of the world’s oil output and about 70% of the world’s oil reserves.
When taking into account the group of 10 oil exporting countries OPEC has relationships with, known as OPEC+, the share of oil production increases to more than half of the world’s supply.
Oil’s Big Balancing Act
Since it’s the very lifeblood of the modern economy, the countries that control significant amounts of oil production also reap immense political and economic benefits. Entire regions have been catapulted into prosperity and wars have been fought over the control of the resource.
At the same time, the ongoing effort to pivot to renewable energy is pushing many major oil exporters to diversify their economies. A notable example is Saudi Arabia, whose sovereign wealth fund has invested in companies like Uber and WeWork.
However, the world still needs oil, as it supplies nearly one-third of global energy demand.
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