“Within 20 years, we will be an economy that doesn’t depend mainly on oil“. With that one statement, deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (pictured above), changed the outlook for oil and energy markets. The world’s major oil producer, with the lowest cost, was signalling that the kingdom will no longer be supply-driven, focused on […]
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Yesterday’s failure of the Doha oil producers meeting will hopefully reintroduce a note of sanity into oil markets. After all, Saudi leaders have made it clear, time and time again, that they were no longer interested in operating a cartel where they take the pain of cutting production, and everyone else gains the benefit of […]
“Within 20 years, we will be an economy or state that doesn’t depend mainly on oil“. This critical statement from Saudi Arabia’s deputy Crown Prince has been lost in the hype surrounding Q1′s hedge fund-inspired rally in oil, commodities and Emerging Markets. There has seldom been a better example of markets failing to see the […]
Oil markets are entering a very dangerous phase. Already, many US energy companies have gone bankrupt, having believed that $100/bbl prices would justify their drilling costs. Now the pain is moving downstream. The problem is the central banks. Hedge funds have piled into the oil futures markets since January, betting that there would be lots […]
Its mid-winter in Russia, and the snow is deep in some parts of Moscow. Meanwhile in Venezuela the economy is close to meltdown, and its hard to find even essentials in Caracas. So it is no real surprise that this month saw their Oil Ministers head for “important discussions” in the warmer climate of the […]
Oil markets are the proverbial “canary in the coalmine”. They are showing us what happens when the rose-tinted glasses provided by stimulus policy are removed. Now markets have to return to their true role of price discovery, based on the fundamentals of supply and demand. This makes them very dangerous indeed. Some large players in […]
Oil markets finally entered their “give-up phase” last week. Amazingly, it is now nearly 18 months since the start of the Great Unwinding of policymaker stimulus in August 2014, when Brent was still $105/bbl. On Friday night, Brent closed at $29/bbl. As ICIS Chemical Business (ICB) notes in its latest editorial: “International eChem’s Paul Hodges […]
Yesterday, oil prices reached my long-held $30/bbl forecast level. And suddenly, it seems, all the leading analysts have begun to forecast lower oil prices. As Reuters reported: “Adjusting to the price rout, analysts have been shifting their price outlooks downward, with Barclays, Macquarie, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Standard Chartered and Societe Generale all cutting […]
Last year’s ‘Chart of the Year’ was headlined “China’s auto sales bubble begins to burst“. Few would disagree with this view today. Similarly, there is little doubt about 2015′s Chart of the Year. It has been the focus of industry and analyst attention all year: Those who believed that argument that the world faces an […]
Both the US and Iran are likely to be moving oil into world markets early in the New Year. The lifting of the US export ban has led to early announcements of oil sales: Vitol will move the first cargo via the Enterprise terminal in Houston in early January. Iran is expecting to have sanctions lifted around the same […]
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Paul Hodges is Chairman of International eChem, trusted commercial advisers to the global chemical industry.
The aim of this blog is to share ideas about the influences that may shape the chemical industry over the next 12 – 18 months. It will try to look behind today’s headlines, to understand what may happen next in important issues such oil prices, economic growth and the environment. We may also have some fun, investigating a few of the more offbeat events that take place from time to time. Please do join me and share your thoughts.
Between us, we will hopefully develop useful insights into the key factors that will drive the industry's future performance.