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Computerised trading dominates crude oil markets

The purpose of liquidity in financial markets is to enable price discovery. But when super-fast computers take over the trading, that purpose disappears. Instead, we have today’s “correlation trading“. Olivier Jakob of PetroMatrix demonstrates this with the above chart, which shows Tuesday’s detailed trading patterns in WTI and the Dow Jones Index. Clearly, they are […]

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The limits of central bank lending

Over the past year, much of the Western financial system has been on life support. Now the European Central Bank (ECB), like its peers, is grappling with the question of ‘What happens next?’ ECB Board member Lorenzo Smaghi set out the key issues yesterday: • “Our role (as a central bank) is limited to the […]

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Webinar access details for Thursday

Thursday’s free Budget Outlook Webinar will be held at 15:00 GMT (16:00 CET, 11:00 EDT, 19:00 Dubai). The format will be a 30-40 minute presentation, followed by online discussion. To make registration easy, it will now be hosted using Microsoft Live Meeting. If you would like to join the Webinar for the presentation, please click […]

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Buffett focuses on long term value-creation

The BBC had a very interesting interview last night with Warren Buffett, the world’s most successful investor and wealthiest man. Buffett stakes out a clear position on the relative unimportance of financial services in the economy, and on whether there is a need to “motivate” bankers via large bonuses: • “The idea that people who […]

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Japan says economic recovery “unpredictable”

The blog has learnt to be sceptical when new political leaders announce new directions for their country, after winning elections. But its Japanese friends emphasised at EPCA that real change might be taking place in Japan, after 50 years of LDP government. This, of course, could have a major impact on Asian politics. Japan is […]

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Thursday’s Free Webinar on the Budget Outlook

The blog’s new Budget Outlook is an independent view of the key issues which will impact chemical sales and margins in 2010. Previous Outlooks have stimulated much debate within the industry. We are therefore arranging a free 1 hour Webinar for blog readers, on Thursday at 15:00 GMT (16:00 CET, 11:00 EDT, 19:00 Dubai). The […]

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China exports deflation as it adds capacity

China will pump loans worth $1.3trn into its economy this year, equal to 1/3rd of GDP. Equally, by tying the yuan to the US$, China has achieved a major devaluation against major currencies such as the euro. The result has been that China’s Q3 GDP rose less in “nominal” terms than in “real” terms. Normally […]

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Leverage returns to financial markets

Gillian Tett, the blog’s favourite financial journalist, highlights today the rampant speculative behaviour in financial markets around the world. Quoting a senior banker, she notes that “highly leveraged short-term trades are back in vogue“. She adds that “traders feel stupid if they don’t leverage up“. The basis for the speculation is that “central bankers have […]

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Wilton update

9 months ago, the blog reported on the resilience being shown at the UK’s Wilton chemical site, one of the world’s largest. It noted that “the power of the teams being created there could be immense“. It is therefore delighted to see that the North East Process Industry Cluster (NEPIC) is now moving forward on […]

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Quote of the year

“Never in the field of financial endeavour has so much money been owed by so few to so many. And, one might add, so far with little real reform.” Bank of England Governor, Mervyn King, proposing that banks should be split up. He argues that high-risk trading activities should be split off from low-risk utility […]

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