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 […]
Tag Archives | Brent oil prices
China’s move towards self-sufficiency is radically changing global oil and petrochemical markets,as I describe in my latest post for the Financial Times, published on the BeyondBrics blog Markets used to cheer when China’s exports rose, believing this showed the global economy was in good shape. They are still hopeful today, despite the 25 per cent fall in February’s […]
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 […]
More than $2.3tn was wiped off the value of global stocks last week as China’s slowing economy and currency depreciations spooked investors around the world, leading to the worst start to a year for markets in at least two decades. This is the Great Unwinding of policymaker stimulus in action. Worse is likely to come. […]
Its not been a great start to the year for those who have trusted in conventional wisdom: Western stock markets have been reeling, with the US S&P 500 Index down sharply since Monday It has been the worst opening for world stock markets since 2008 – not a good year for investors China’s currency has […]
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 […]
Media hype over the potential for a 0.25% interest rate rise by the US Federal Reserve is well underway. But as often happens these days, this is missing the bigger picture. The issue is simple: developments in China are far more important to the global economy than anything the Fed might, or might not, do […]
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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.