Tag Archives | crude oil prices

US polyethylene and PVC exporters focus on margin, not volume

2013 has seen 3 types of markets develop for the blog’s IeC Downturn Monitor portfolio as the chart above shows: Financial assets such as the S&P 500 (purple) have soared, as did the US$ against the yen (orange) Crude oil (blue) and naphtha (black) tried to follow, but found it difficult to pass though the higher prices Benzene (green) and […]

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Iran talks offer hope on oil prices

Iran has been at the centre of all the major oil market price spikes in the past few decades: Today’s record prices on an annual basis are partly due to market fears over supply disruptions due to the Iran/Israel nuclear issue Fears over a nuclear showdown also led prices to jump to $150/bbl in July 2008, when the […]

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Benzene markets suggest BabyBoomer growth will not reappear

Benzene has always been one of the blog’s favourite leading indicators for the global economy.  The reason is simple, in that it has been around a long time, and is now used in a very wide range of industries.  So it provides us with a broad-based picture of the global economy. The chart above highlights another important […]

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High-frequency trading continues to take markets higher

The blog was very pleased to see the Nobel Prize awarded jointly to Robert Shiller, whose words of wisdom on housing and stock markets it has cited many times. Shiller’s key insight, in his book Irrational Expectations and since, has been to confirm Ben Graham’s famous saying: “In the short term, the market is a […]

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‘The Trend is Your Friend’, until it isn’t

The blog still owns the lapel button it was given when running ICI’s feedstock and petchem trading office in Houston, Texas. Its advice for any trader is excellent – ‘The Trend is Your Friend’. But as all traders learn over time, there are moments when the trend can change. And sometimes, when change happens, it […]

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“A word means just what I choose it to mean”

‘When I use a word,’ Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, ‘it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less.’ This quotation from Lewis Carroll’s great novel ‘Through the Looking-Glass‘ rather seems to sum up policymakers’ current approach to financial markets. Two recent examples highlight the issue: • […]

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Oil markets risk rapid repricing – Part 2

As the blog discussed yesterday, central banks have now kept oil prices above the historical $10-30/bbl range for 10 years. But can they remain there forever? What might bring them back in line with the fundamentals of supply/demand? And what would be the risks if this happened? The background can be simply stated: • Investors […]

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Oil markets risk rapid repricing – Part 1

Since 1900, as the chart shows, oil prices have never been so high for so long as now. Until 2003, they had only been above $30/bbl for 4 years between 1979-1982, during the OPEC production cuts in the Iran crisis. But since 2004, they have been continuously above this level. The reason is the misguided […]

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“Surplus oil is filling inventories worldwide” – Reuters

Have you ever wondered, as you pay your energy bill or fill the fuel tank in your vehicle, just why oil prices have risen so much on the past decade? The question occurred to the blog when reading a Reuters report of the latest Outlook from the International Energy Agency (IEA). It notes the IEA […]

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High oil prices present recession risk

Oil prices are heading for a second successive year of record annual prices. Last year, Brent averaged $111/bbl and it is averaging similar levels so far in 2012. History suggests this is very bad news for consumers, for companies and for the global economy. The reason is that consumers in most major economies are now […]

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