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Interpreting trader talk

Current financial and chemical market volatility is a bonanza for good traders, as it gives them more opportunity to take positions, up or down. However, having traded on behalf of a chemical major in Houston, Texas, the blog knows from personal experience that not all traders get all their positions right, all of the time. […]

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The Drawn-Out Downtrend phase of the Crisis begins

“Humankind cannot bear very much reality” TS Eliot, 4 Quartets, 1936 Who now remembers the stock market rally that followed 1929’s initial collapse? By November 1929, the US Dow Jones Index had fallen to 195 from its September high of 386. But by April it had rallied 52% to 297. At the time, this seemed […]

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US junk bond issue hits record as GDP slows

As noted by a blog reader last week, retail investors are throwing caution to the winds. Unwilling, or unable, to adjust their lifestyles to cope with lower interest rates on government bonds, they have rushed to instead buy higher-yielding ‘junk bonds’. These are less than normal ‘investment’ grade, and offer increased yield in exchange for […]

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Global power shift to the East a “half-truth”

An interesting opinion piece in today’s China Daily suggests the concept that “the next few years will see a dramatic acceleration in the shift of global economic powers eastward” is “at best, a half-truth“. Yu Zhongwen notes that this theory has gained ground in recent years, as the media have speculated that “with a combined […]

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Oil Markets Quote of the Day

Yesterday, the blog worried that oil prices were well out of line with fundamentals. It argued that momentum trading, highlighted by MF Global’s energy VP, Mike Fitzpatrick, had created a speculative mania. Today, it looks as though Fitzpatrick might agree. Quoted in the Financial Times, he notes “As fundamentals come more into focus, it would […]

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Speculative mania continues to drive oil markets

Anyone who followed supply/demand balances might look at the above chart from oil analysts Petromatrix, and conclude that crude oil markets should be relatively weak today. It shows that US oil stocks are only 2.2mb below the record level seen in September 1990, and have grown by 83mb since March. But this is not the […]

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5 tips for surviving a period of deflation

The blog has been revisiting the Bank of England’s 2008 analysis of the likely impact of the financial Crisis. This reviewed 33 banking crises between 1977-2002 and found that: • The average length of each crisis was 4.3 years • The median loss of GDP was 7.1% • Major crises (such as today’s) caused GDP […]

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US consumer demand growth stalls

The American Chemistry Council has recently updated its invaluable work on US polymer chain inventories. Last December this led the blog to conclude that we would see “a strong H1“, as inventories were low, whilst demand was likely to rise supported by seasonal and stimulus factors. But the ACC’s latest analysis (above) leads to a […]

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Boom/Gloom Index slips to downturn level

There was good and bad news from the latest IeC Boom/Gloom Index. The good news was that the Austerity reading fell quite sharply. Markets have moved on from the Greek crisis. And confidence seems to have been restored, at least temporarily, by the results of the ‘stress tests’ on the major European banks. But the […]

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Investment tip of the week

Following on from the blog’s note yesterday, an investment banker reader passed on a similar insight from the high yield sector of the bond market. Currently, retail investors are desperate for income-producing assets, with global interest rates very low by recent historical standards. So to help supply meet demand, her bank’s high yield bond team […]

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