Less than 24 hours after Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke reiterated that higher energy prices were
likely to be “temporary,” crude oil prices plunged when the International Energy Agency
(IEA) announced 60 million barrels of oil would be released onto the world market during the next month. 30 million barrels of the oil being released will come from the U.S. Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR).
In its FAQ, the IEA said releasing the equivalent of 2 million barrels of oil per day will
compensate for the 1.5 million barrels a day lost since the conflict erupted in Libya. The timing of the release along with the additional 500,000 barrels of oil per day into the market is to ensure there is enough supply to meet increased demand now that Summer has arrived in the northern hemisphere. The IEA did not rule out the possibility of releasing more oil in the future “if supply remains disrupted and markets remain tight.”
Mars is action and Neptune rules oil. Mars and Neptune in a frictional (square) relationship at
the time of the Summer Solstice motivated action over oil. As I wrote in the Weekly Forecast:
“Mars moves into Gemini Monday night until August 3, squaring Pisces’ planetary ruler Neptune early Wednesday morning. Traders have to be especially nimble with their fingers to ensure their gains don’t disappear and remateralize as staggering losses. What is reported vs. what is happening behind the scenes could be two completely different things. Although there have been occasions when challenging alignments between Mars and Neptune have been bullish, Mars squaring Neptune has a greater tendency to be bearish. Information usually leaks out that shatters illusions and causes the market to swiftly sell off.”
The Moon represents the mood of the market. The Sun entering Cancer at the Summer Solstice
elevates the energies of the Moon. The Moon transiting Neptune-ruled Pisces as Mars squared Neptune Wednesday followed by the Moon moving into Mars-ruled Aries in its “crisis in consciousness” (Last Quarter) phase of the monthly lunar cycle further energized the strength of this alignment. The Moon conjoining Uranus in Aries reflected the “surprise” shock and swift selloff in oil and other commodities, dragging the stock market down with it. It also described the “unusual” trading in oil futures just prior to the IEA’s announcement. (There is a greater tendency for “leaks” when Neptune’s energies are strong; now the CFTC is examining whether the IEA’s 9:00 AM EDT announcement in Paris was “leaked” to certain traders in advance.)
After dropping to an intraday low of $89.69 June 23, WTI Crude closed down $4.39 to $91.02, its lowest level since February 18; Brent Crude declined $6.75 to $107.26, a level not seen since February 22. Thursday’s declines also marked the largest price moves since the price spike following the February 20 conjunction of Mars and Neptune which began a new two year cycle of action in oil. WTI Crude spiked to 2.5 years highs, closing up $7.37 to $93.57 as fighting erupted throughout Libya.
Frictional relationships between Mars and Neptune can represent aggressive action that can lead to waging war over oil. As I’ve written many times before, Mars squaring Neptune when the USA was born describes the nation's penchant for going to war over oil. Mars squaring Neptune June 23 recreates this energy for the entire Summer season.
Mars/Neptune alignments can also indicate action taking place behind the scenes. Mars in Gemini the sign of the twins indicates there are multiple reasons behind such action that might not be readily apparent. Following the IEA announcement, the White House cited the twin reasons for the action were due to increased seasonal demand and OPEC’s June 8 decision not to expand oil production.
According to The Wall Street Journal (“Before Oil Move, a Secret U.S. Delegation to Saudi Arabia”), President Obama first became concerned about the price of crude oil in late January when the cost of gasoline climbed above $3 a gallon. Mercury was squaring Saturn in Libra then as Saturn turned retrograde. This increased concerns the economy was slowing down as oil prices took another climb up as uprisings began to spread through the Middle East.
On April 26 (the day before the previous FOMC meeting), President Obama met with his
advisors to discuss releasing oil reserves from the SPR. The price of WTI Crude closed at $113.93 April 29 and began to decline with the stock market. In early May the President telephoned Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah and secretly sent senior Administration officials from the Energy and Treasury departments to the kingdom to essentially obtain their blessing for releasing the reserves. (The WSJ notes Saudi Arabia had raised objections during prior occasions when the U.S. wanted to release reserves from the SPR.)
With WTI crude back below $100 as the Sun squared Neptune May 19, an IEA report described an urgent need for expanding supplies which President Obama discussed with other world leaders at the G8 summit.
OPEC met at the First Quarter Moon on June 8 as Jupiter favorably aspected Neptune. The
opportunity to expand oil production was dashed after Algeria, Angola, Venezuela, Iran, Iraq and Libya dissented. (Saudi Arabia agreed to expand their production by 1.5 million barrels a day.) The Moon in its “crisis in action” phase of the monthly lunar cycle prompted the Administration into action.
The June 15 Total Lunar Eclipse in Jupiter-ruled Sagittarius signaled that global issues and globally
coordinated efforts would be front and center during the next two weeks. (Being a total eclipse,
the issues grabbing our attention at the Full Moon will continue to linger during the next six months.)
Jupiter/Sagittarius and Neptune/Pisces are inflationary as Jupiter expands and Neptune knows no boundaries. In one way or another, oil flows through most things we consume. As predicted, higher food and energy costs have spilled into the core consumer price index which in May experienced the highest increase in almost five years. On an annual basis, current core CPI is running at 2.4% year over year, exceeding the Fed’s unofficial 2% inflation target. Sagittarius and Gemini rule travel. Airfares are a component of core inflation and airlines hedge their fuel costs using higher priced Brent Crude.
The Full Moon marked the culmination point of nearly six months of behind the scenes action by the Administration to expand global oil supplies in an effort to deflate the price of oil. After meeting with his economic advisors, President Obama agreed to start talks with the IEA to release reserves. As Mars entered Gemini hours before the Summer Solstice, the countries that had requested the IEA issue a report assessing such a move had to respond whether they agreed global action should be taken to release reserves. Mars located in the sector of the Summer Solstice chart representing foreign affairs squaring Neptune in the sector ruling speculation reflects how the action would affect the markets.
With oil down about 18% since April 29, there are obviously other reasons beyond the government’s effort to lower costs for consumers so they have more money available for discretionary spending. The confusing nature of Mars square Neptune reflects it is unclear if the U.S. is swapping the 30 million barrels of oil as it done on previous occasions or is actually selling the oil. A sale instead of a swap would provide the Treasury with additional revenue thereby helping to delay when the deficit hits the debt ceiling (currently projected for August 2).
With the USA’s progressed Mars in Libra exactly conjoining Iran’s natal Pluto, a more likely scenario is that the Administration’s action serves as another form of economic sanctions on Iran for its defiance in continuing to develop its secret nuclear program. The USA progressed Mars in Libra also opposes Iran’s progressed Mercury/Mars conjunction in Aries. Mars in Gemini represents action on twin fronts. As the IEA announced the global oil reserves release, the Administration issued additional economic sanctions against Iran’s Revolutionary Guards and Ministry of Defense for providing support and weapons to Hezbollah.
The June 15 Sagittarius Lunar Eclipse squaring Iran’s Mercury/Mars conjunction in Pisces reflected coordinated global action that might have been in response to Iran voting against increasing oil production at the OPEC meeting. Saturn in Libra opposing Iran’s natal Sun can represent governments agreeing to exert economic pressure on Iran by increasing supplies to decrease the value of oil. The July 1 Solar Eclipse in Cancer squaring Iran’s natal Sun in Aries and the July 15 Full Moon squaring Iran’s progressed Mars in Aries could bring actions against Iran front and center.
I am concluding this post with an excerpt from the “all about oil edition” from the March 6, 2011 Weekly Forecast:
“Since there are no boundaries when it comes to Neptune and Pisces, it is easy to see the connection between oil prices and monetary policy. Oil prices have been climbing since the anticipation of QE2, with only the last 16% move related to Libya. This implies that the rise in oil prices has been primarily due to monetary policy as opposed to geopolitical events. Any tightening or perceived tightening of monetary policy would likely bring down oil prices regardless of what was going on in the Middle East, along with a collapse in stock prices.”
Last month I added to this conviction, noting:
“The Federal Reserve’s progressed Pluto conjoins Neptune (oil) in the chart for when NYMEX oil trading began. The Sun (speculation) exactly conjoins the Fed’s progressed Sun, indicating the Fed’s zero interest rates (Pluto)/ultra accommodative monetary policy is contributing to this growing bubble.”
Mars and Neptune reach opposition or their “Full Moon” phase on November 7, 2011 when Mars is in Leo and Neptune has briefly returned to Aquarius. The Moon is in Aries that day and Neptune is temporarily back in Aquarius, its energies more pronounced as Neptune switches from retrograde to direct motion November 9. This could mark the peak of oil prices largely being driven by speculation. Uranus in Aries makes its final square to the Federal Reserve’s natal Sun in Capricorn and Pluto in Cancer while conjoining the sector of the Fed’s chart representing its reputation. This could signal a reversal of the Fed’s ultra accommodative monetary policy that takes and the current cycle of speculative fervor.
Islamic Republic of Iran: April 1, 1979 3:00 PM Tehran