The Mother of All Contangos

by Rick Ackerman

Crude oil prices are collapsing, but not quite as shockingly as commentators with little understanding of the markets would have us believe. Expiring May Crude futures ended the day at minus $37.63, meaning anyone stuck with a contract when the music stopped had to pay someone that much per gallon to take a contract off his hands. A single contract covers 1,000 barrels of oil, or 42,000 gallons — enough to fill quite a few swimming pools in Scottsdale if you are an at-home trader unfortunate enough to have held a dozen contracts when today’s extraordinary long squeeze climaxed. Assuming one’s Arizona neighbors would not be keen to help out, there is just no good place to put all that oil. Storage facilities, including tankers at sea, are filled to the brim even as demand is still falling because of the pandemic.

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