It only took 2 days for a shocking example to confirm my concern on Monday about the volatility being created by central bank stimulus: As the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) chart shows, a major oil price move took place early in Wednesday’s trading US WTI oil had been trading below $44/bbl, when suddenly prices jumped from […]
Tag Archives | high frequency trading
Central banks have acted as the proverbial tooth fairy towards financial markets in recent years. But they have not just left a small amount of money under the pillow when a child lost its first tooth. Instead they have printed trillions of dollars via Quantitative Easing (QE), to persuade investors to buy shares and commodities, […]
Whisper it quietly to your friends in the futures markets, who are convinced oil prices will soon surge higher. We don’t want to upset them as they work at their spreadsheets, and send their electronic trades down specially constructed lines at near the speed of light. But global oil demand growth has already more than […]
An astonishing coup appears to have begun 10 days ago, in the last 45 minutes of trading in US oil markets. Yet we still don’t know who master-minded it, or their full objectives. . What happened to oil prices? Prices jumped 8% in the last 45 minutes of trading on Friday 30 January, taking Brent to $53/bbl and […]
In olden days, highwaymen would hang around stagecoach inns, waiting to see when wealthy people were travelling. Then they would hide out along their likely route, getting wet and cold, in order to take their cash. Today the arrival of electronic trading has changed all this. High-Frequency Traders (HFT) now have computer programmes to act as their lookouts, […]
The blog is busy preparing its presentations for its World Aromatics and Derivatives Conference later this month, co-organised as always with ICIS. As well as looking at the impact of the transition to the New Normal, it will be investigating the current state of benzene markets. These are always an excellent leading indicator for the global […]
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 […]
As the Financial Times wrote on Saturday: “Earlier this year, it all seemed so straightforward. Central banks printed money and proffered soothing words, and markets went up. Now, it’s getting more complicated.” In fact, nervous readers might want to stay away from financial markets for a while. Just 2 weeks ago, crude oil prices suddenly […]
Do any blog readers routinely trade on the basis of Twitter comments? Or more specifically, do any trade within milliseconds of receiving a tweet? The answer of course is “no”, as readers have no ability to trade in milliseconds. But last week the computers did just that. As the Financial Times chart shows, the US […]
Trading volumes in financial markets are very low these days. Many ordinary investors are on holiday, and others are focused on the Olympics. So it is easy for the high-frequency computers to create major volatility – and large profits for their owners. Thus they managed to create a 1.5% fall in the S&P 500 on […]
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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.