Monday, April 30, 2012

Gasoline: How to Trade the 2016 Presidential Election (Plus: conspiracy theories about 2012)

You read that right, 2016.
From Platt's The Barrel blog:
High gasoline prices? All politics, according to a pundit
If you're a trader, be prepared to take a position in the options market for the November 2016 RBOB contract soon after a winner is declared in the US presidential race.

Here's the guideline: if Mitt Romney wins, go short. If Barack Obama wins, go long. Because if the former happens, traders will want him to be re-elected, lower gasoline prices will help that, and traders will make it happen. If Barack Obama is wrapping up his second term, traders will want to damage the prospects of whatever Democrat is looking to succeed him. High gasoline prices will make that more difficult to occur.
It has come to our attention recently that there is a lot of this conspiracy floating around the internet. David Baker, who writes about energy for The San Francisco Chronicle and often quotes Platts, wrote about it a few weeks ago. You can see his writeup here.

David said he was spurred by encountering a raging debate over this issue on DailyKos, a left-wing website. If you search "gasoline prices" and "DailyKos," it's stunning how active the discussion is. Here's a good example of it.

This conspiracy theory took a huge boost this past weekend when Keith Olbermann, who recently has been fired again, so he isn't working anywhere, brought it up during the roundtable on ABC's This Week. For those of you who aren't familiar with the roundtable, it is populated by very important, very smart, very profound pundits, saying important/smart/profound things. Conspiracy theories aren't normally heard.
But there was Olbermann this past Sunday, essentially saying that there's a relationship between the political desires of traders, whom presumably he assumes are all Republicans, and the price of gasoline. In the annals of energy discussions during the roundtable, it was right up there with comedian Bill Maher declaring on the roundtable a few years ago that Brazil had "gotten off oil," which would be of great interest to Petrobras...MORE