Tag Archives | Brent

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Mubarak’s departure may weaken oil prices

History doesn’t repeat, but it sometimes rhymes. That was the insight of the famed American writer, Mark Twain. 2 weeks ago, this led the blog to highlight the similarities between the geo-political concerns then developing in Egypt, and the Israel/Iran stand-off which had marked the oil price peak in June 2008. We still cannot be […]

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China’s gasoline at record highs, EU’s close to peak

Crude oil prices have been rocketing lately. In turn, they have produced the seemingly ‘strong’ year-end for the chemical industry forecast by the blog in early November. At this point, there is a clear divergence of view. The blog’s bullish friends see this as a sign of a major recovery in demand, and confidently forecast […]

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Crude oil prices tumble on S&P 500 weakness

Sometimes, the blog gets lucky with its timing. A week ago, it wrote bearishly on crude oil markets, and suggested that “chemical companies need to keep a close eye on changing sentiment in financial markets”. By Friday, oil prices had tumbled 11%, as the US S&P 500 index continued to weaken from its 12 June […]

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OPEC worries about weak oil market fundamentals

Back in April, the blog noted that stock markets had embarked on “their 7th bear market rally since October 2007″. So far, it has been the most impressive of them all, with the S&P 500 rising 40% between 6 March – 8 May, before falling 5% last week. And as the chart shows, crude oil […]

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Financial players increase their bets on crude

Financial investors are already quite disruptive in crude oil markets. And their influence is set to grow this year. That’s the message from surveys by Barclays Global Investors and JP Morgan. $120bn is now invested in commodities as a class, with oil a major target. Even your own pension fund may be about to invest, […]

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$100 crude – US manufacturing close to recession

Oil prices touched $100/bbl today, a new record in nominal and inflation-adjusted terms. At the same time, the US Institute of Supply Management (ISM) index signalled that the manufacturing sector ‘failed to grow in December’, with ‘industries close to the housing market struggling more than others’. All the ISM’s main indicators were negative, with inventories […]

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5 risks to 2008 budgets

The consensus viewpoint is an easy way of keeping up to speed on a variety of issues outside one’s daily experience. But the signs are that the consensus may be leading to complacency, when it comes to the assumptions being used to finalise 2008 budgets. There are a number of areas where some new thinking […]

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Uncertainty rules

Our annual European conference, organised with ICIS, always provides an excellent opportunity to gain a snapshot of industry views as we move into a new year. At this week’s event in Antwerp, Belgium, the prevailing mood was uncertainty, for the first time since 2002: • Oil prices are high, and volatile. This makes it difficult […]

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Budgeting for a downturn

The ‘consensus forecast’ for 2008 is very optimistic, as I commented in my post-EPCA note. It says oil will remain at $70/bbl, that debt market problems will be contained, and that petchem margins will remain at 2007 levels. This is unusual, as the consensus is normally a base case scenario, with upside and downside variants. […]

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OPEC and the IEA

The war of words between OPEC (the oil producers’ club) and the International Energy Agency (the rich countries energy watchdog), has intensified this week, ahead of the next OPEC Ministerial meeting scheduled for 11 September. Claude Mandil, director general of the IEA, told Arab Oil and Gas ‘the market has become aware’ that OPEC ‘has […]

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