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 […]
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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 […]
Oil prices are just $1 or so away from falling back into the $10 – $35/bbl range that has dominated most of history. Thus we are now reaching a second critical moment in oil markets since Stimulus began in 2009, as the chart shows: The first was the end of the Stimulus rally which ran […]
Shell Chemicals General Manager, Kate Johnson, asked a great question at our Conference last week, to which not a single hand went up in reply, as everyone had forecast an oil price around $100/bbl : “How many of your companies used $60/bbl as their oil price forecast in the 2015 Budget?” “Group think” is clearly […]
Did your company or investment manager use $50/bbl as a forecast Scenario price for oil this year? If not, why not? And has this question even been asked, as you finalise forecasts for 2016? In recent months, many readers have told me despairingly of their efforts to suggest alternative Scenarios to last year’s “consensus” view […]
It only took 2 days for a shocking example to confirm my concern on Monday about the volatility being created by central bank stimulus: As the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) chart shows, a major oil price move took place early in Wednesday’s trading US WTI oil had been trading below $44/bbl, when suddenly prices jumped from […]
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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 as 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.