Tag Archives | liquidity

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Selling the Rallies

There was a sustained rise in the number of wealthy Western BabyBoomers entering their peak consumption years between 1980-2000. In turn, stock market multiples rose (the US Dow Jones price/earnings ratio rose from 8 to 32), as investors valued earnings more highly. ‘Buying the Dips’ in the market became the easy way to make money. […]

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Speculators begin to leave crude oil markets

Speculators, assisted by the US Federal Reserve, have driven crude oil prices to unsustainable levels over the past year. Now, the Fed is withdrawing the liquidity that has financed this rise. The above chart from Petromatrix shows the surge in crude oil speculation on the Chicago futures market since August. The light blue line shows […]

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Bernanke says no QE3 planned

The chairman of the US Federal Reserve, Ben Bernanke, has issued a sober update on the current state of the US economy. Expressing his disappointment that growth this year “has been somewhat slower than expected“, he then listed a number of key problem areas: • “Supply chain disruptions” caused by the Japan disaster • “The […]

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The crude oil mania has its own illusion

The blog spent much of 2007/8 warning of the likely impact of high oil prices on chemical demand. It was then renamed ‘The Crystal Blog’ in November 2008, as the full extent of the problems finally became clear. Today we are back in the danger-zone. The chart above shows annual oil prices since 1970 – […]

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Speculative volume soars in oil markets

Crude oil has been a speculators’ paradise for the past 9 months. Central banks have been making large amounts of cash available at 0% interest. In turn, this has funded larger and larger speculative positions in financial and commodity markets. CME, the world’s largest derivatives market, saw volume up 31% in March vs 2010. The […]

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US Fed’s QE2 programme hits consumer confidence, raises mortgage rates

Last November, the Chairman of the US Federal Reserve justified his $600bn QE2 programme to boost financial markets by claiming “higher stock prices will boost consumer wealth and help increase confidence“, whilst also leading to “lower mortgage rates“. And stock prices have indeed risen. As the above chart from PetroMatrix shows, there has been an […]

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Aromatics ‘spreads’ remain stable

Benzene has always been the blog’s favourite indicator for the economic outlook. It has the most number of applications, due to its head-start in being a major product when coal was the main feedstock. Equally, paraxylene (PX) is an excellent indicator of demand in emerging economies, as their rise in living standards leads to greater […]

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China tightens lending: Saudi may pump more oil

Recent days have seen some signs that the tectonic plates under current chemical and polymer markets may be starting to shift. The most important has been the rapid rise in inter-bank lending rates in Shanghai. As the chart shows from Petromatrix, these have begun to rocket. A year ago, the rate at which banks could […]

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Pressure mounts on US Fed’s QE2 Lifeboat

The US Fed’s new QE2 Lifeboat programme designed to raise asset prices got off to a bad start last week, with most stock markets falling, rather than rising. It has also begun to run into major opposition from advisors to the new Republican-dominated Congress, with an open letter published Monday in the Wall Street Journal […]

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US wages continue to stagnate

The US Fed’s move to launch its QE2 Lifeboat continues its policy of focusing on measures to boost liquidity. Yet as the blog has long argued, today’s problems are based on a lack of solvency not liquidity. Therefore it worries that the Fed’s efforts are likely to miss the mark, again. The above slide, based […]

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