Just four days ago, on Monday afternoon, "legendary" oilman T Boone Pickens said that crude has hit bottom at $26 per barrel, and predicted that prices should double within 12 months.
Pickens then doubled-down on his wrong call from last year, telling CNBC's "Squawk Box" that oil prices will rise to at least $52 per barrel by the end of the year. That said, he was at least honest enough to admit that his virtually identical call from last year, when he thought prices would strongly rebound, was wrong.
Whether it's $50 or $70 by the end of 2016 will largely be determined by the global economy, he added, reiterating the same flawed thesis he used to justify his bullishness a year ago: "We're still building inventories, and we will for the next several months. And then we'll start to draw," Pickens said. "Once you start to draw, you're not going to start back building again. The draw will come here in the next few months. It'll become pretty clear."
He was wrong then, and he will be wrong this time again for the simple fact that while historically OPEC exercised a rational production strategy, as of the 2014 OPEC Thanksgiving massacre, there is no more OPEC, as can be seen by the relentless attempts by roughly half the members to call an OPEC meeting unsuccessfully, confirming what we said in late 2014 - OPEC no longer exists, which means it is every oil producer for themselves.
Putting T Boone's forecasts in context, in a CNBC commentary in October, Pickens conceded his prediction for $70 oil by the end of 2015 wasn't going to happen, because worldwide demand did not go up as much as he thought and supply did not markedly go down. Oil closed the year at $37: his prediction was off by 50%.
Yet while being merely wrong is excusable, being a "legendary" hypocrite is not.
Earlier today, literally days after he predicted oil would double from its $26 "bottom", Pickens told Bloomberg that he has cashed out.
But, but, what happened to oil prices will double from their bottom? And did he just liquidate all his holdings just $4 above this so-called bottom?
Pickens has sold all his oil holdings and is waiting for the best moment to get back in, he said Thursday in an interview on “Bloomberg Go.” With prices low, mid-size U.S. oil companies such as Pioneer Natural Resources Co., Anadarko Petroleum Corp. and Apache Corp. are acquisition targets for larger firms like Exxon Mobil Corp., he said.
So low, that he would be delighted if others first took advantage of these low, low, offers.
But what is most fascinating is that the broken record continues:
"The low is in,” he said. “Just don’t get in a rush here. You’re going to have plenty of opportunity. The market is going to be volatile. it’s not going to go straight up, so there will be good entry points.”
And, at least as far as Pickens is concerned, exit points.
So for anyone who listened to the CNBC and BBG commentator, and bought oil thinking he knows what he is talking about, our condolences:
Pickens won’t start investing again until crude inventories start to fall. In the U.S., commercial stockpiles have risen in 16 of the past 19 weeks and now stand at more than 500 million barrels for the first time since 1930, at the height of the East Texas oil boom.
“I will not re-enter, I’m sure, until we start to draw on inventories,” Pickens said. “That’s a key point.”
And just like that another rider of the dumb-luck momentum trade has been exposed for the "expert" charlatan he is.
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