1. Deep capex cuts for shale
- A group of 33 U.S. shale companies cut capex to just $5.8 billion combined in the third quarter, according to a new report.
- That was down from $13.9 billion for the same period a year earlier, a 58% decline in spending
- The cut in spending allowed the group to post $2.6 billion in free cash flow for the third quarter, the best collective result ever.
- But the decent result may prove temporary. “[I]nvestors will likely see little reason to cheer in last quarter’s results. Shale wells quickly decline after an initial gush, so shale-focused companies must continually drill new wells to maintain production,” the authors of the report wrote. “The steep capex cuts over the last two quarters foretell dwindling oi land gas output in the future – suggesting that the U.S. shale sector has stopped investing in its own growth.”
2. China’s copper spending spree slows
- China’s November customs data shows a dip in imports for commodities, including copper.
- China imported 561,000 tons of copper last month, up 17% from year-ago levels, but down 9% from October.
- It was actually the second consecutive month of declining import volumes, and the lowest volume of copper imports since May. This is likely due to a sharp increase in prices, according to Commerzbank.
- As a result of the dip in imports, copper prices were sluggish this week.