The world now faces a supply glut in almost every source of energy, including oil, gas and coal. It is also seeing major increases in output of key products including gasoline, diesel and petrochemicals. Yet as the International Energy Agency has warned, “the recent slowdown in demand growth is nothing short of remarkable.” The blog is therefore launching today a 3-part series […]
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The Great Unwinding of the central banks stimulus policies is underway, as discussed last week. Oil markets have been one of the first to feel the change, as the chart shows, with prices finally falling out of the ‘triangle’ shape built up since 2008. The value of the US$, interest rates and the S&P 500 […]
There is an alarming naivety about Western policymakers’ response to events in the Ukraine. They have simply chosen not to recognise that Russia’s strategic objectives are no longer about building links with Europe, but are instead about creating a Eurasian Economic Union (EEU). Thus they assume that Russia will always put its economic interests ahead of its political objectives. And […]
As discussed yesterday, energy markets are now going through major change. Many of the investment banks who led the move to higher prices post-2008 are closing their commodity trading desks and withdrawing from the markets. Equally, the physical traders recognise that trying to push prices higher, without a real geopolitical threat, is like trying to push water uphill. […]
As promised yesterday, the blog looks today at the impact of today’s high prices on oil consumption growth. As the chart, based on BP data shows, the ‘easy money’ policies of the central banks have only partially mitigated the impact of the oil price rally since 2009. Consumption growth has not fallen to the 0.8%/year level […]
Oil markets have been driven by speculative excess since 2009. None of the factors that were supposed to create supply shortages have ever occurred. Markets have never even been close to scrambling for product. And the rallies are getting shorter and shorter, as this simple fact is finally being better understood. Thus traders’ most recent efforts to create […]
When the world changes, companies either change with it or go out of business. The market for stagecoaches was never the same once cars came along. And not many students use slide rules today, now calculators are available. Usually, of course, these market changes are slow-moving. So companies often fail to respond in the hope the old world […]
Slowly but surely the myths over supposed supply shortages in the crude oil market are being exposed. As leading US investment magazine Barron’s wrote this week: “In May, U.S. production hit its highest monthly average level since 1988 and is projected to keep rising. Domestic supplies have piled up in storage, especially on the Gulf […]
The annual BP Energy Statistics publication is a treasure trove of information for anyone interested in global energy markets. One key area is the impact of today’s higher oil prices on consumption growth, as highlighted in the chart: It starts from 1965, and shows consumption growth for oil (red line), gas (blue) and total energy (green) Oil’s […]
History shows that that governments usually lose arguments with energy suppliers. UK premier Harold Macmillan summed up the position when talking about coal miners in the 1950s, warning: “There are three bodies no sensible man directly challenges: the Roman Catholic Church, the Brigade of Guards and the National Union of Mineworkers” Unfortunately, Europe now potentially faces an argument with its leading gas […]
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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.