Can Energy Costs derail markets ?

April 1, 2024 3 min read

The CNX Energy Energy index has been on a remarkable upward trajectory, especially in the aftermath of COVID-19. Over the past four to five years, it has soared, nearly quadrupling in value since its 2020 low. This surge is particularly noteworthy considering the increasing costs associated with energy production and consumption, especially in AI data centers, which heavily rely on energy.

Rise of Energy Sector Funds

Notably, energy sector funds, as depicted by the white line in Tabi Costa’s chart from Crescent Capital, have experienced significant growth both in the US and internationally. Since 2020, international energy ETFs have nearly tripled in value, signaling a robust trend that, while currently not impacting industry margins, could have broader implications if energy costs continue to escalate.

Potential Impact on Margins

The surge in energy prices could lead to higher inflation and margin squeezes across various industries. Despite the recent outperformance of energy equities compared to WTI oil prices, there’s a growing anticipation that oil prices may soon catch up. Analysts are even predicting the possibility of triple-digit oil prices, fueled in part by discussions around regulating output, particularly in light of recent geopolitical events.

Source : Crescat Capital

Market Concerns Amidst Euphoria

While the overall market sentiment appears optimistic, it’s essential to remain cautious and vigilant, especially as signs of potential challenges emerge. Ground-level observations indicate that margins in the FMCG sector are under pressure, and there’s a notable slowdown in car sales and real estate transactions. These indicators call for a balanced outlook characterized by cautious optimism.

Navigating Potential Challenges

As investors, it would be nice to monitor the trajectory of WTI oil prices, as they could serve as a key determinant of market performance in the near future. Any significant surge in oil prices could present challenges for various sectors, including transportation, manufacturing, and consumer goods. Staying informed and prepared to adapt to changing market conditions is essential for safeguarding investment portfolios.

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    Can Energy Costs derail markets ?