Crude oil and the major commodity markets have been a “fool’s paradise” in the past 4 years, created by the arrival of the central banks’ massive liquidity programmes. Pension funds rushed to buy, in the belief they would be a “store of value”. Hedge funds followed them as a momentum play, encouraged by analyst reports […]
Tag Archives | natural gas
Brent oil prices have just finished a record sequence of 240 days above $100/bbl. This was longer than the 170 days in 2008. And longer, on an inflation-adjusted basis, than in any previous period of high oil prices. In Europe, prices were actually higher than in 2008 due to the lower value of the euro […]
Parabolic price movements are great fun whilst they last. The dot.com technology stock boom was a great example, when prices would jump 1% or 2% a day towards its end. And then, sadly, it all collapsed. The NASDAQ technology index doubled in a year to reach 5000 during its final, parabolic run-up to March 2000. […]
The blog’s argument that there is no shortage of crude oil seems finally to be going mainstream. Equally, its concern over the impact of today’s high prices, especially by comparison with natural gas, is also now starting to be highlighted. Thus the Wall Street Journal notes: “Oil inventories in the Western world are now high. […]
The International Energy Agency (IEA) confirmed the blog’s worst fears this week, with its announcement that crude oil demand actually fell by 300kbd in Q4. Not only is this “quite rare” as the IEA noted, but they went on to warn: “We’re flagging that there are clearly downside risks to the global economy and to […]
ExxonMobil’s annual energy review is always a fascinating read. This year’s issue looks out to 2040 for the first time. It thus forecasts the relative share of the major fuels over the next 30 years. Interestingly, it also shares the blog’s belief, as set out in our ‘Boom, Gloom and the New Normal‘ eBook, that […]
There has been a dramatic shift in cracker feedstocks in the USA over the past 2 years, as crude oil prices have risen. Many US producers have been able to switch to ethane feed, and as a result have become some of the lowest-cost ethylene producers in the world. As the chart* shows: • In […]
Cracks have begun to appear in commodity markets as QE2 ends. Crude oil has now fallen $12/bbl on demand worries since the blog suggested a top might be close. And the Wall Street Journal has confirmed that the super-computers who have driven prices skyward, are now beginning to retire from the party. This builds on […]
An unnatural calm continues to dominate crude oil trading. Prices may move up or down by $2/bbl or $3/bbl a day, but then they always return to where they started, between the upper red line and the lower green one. The blog has kept its promised eye on developments, since this trend of ‘trading in […]
Natural gas markets, so important in relation to chemical feedstock availability and pricing, are undergoing major change as we transition to the New Normal. The Middle East, which had been in surplus, is now moving to a more balanced position in some countries, such as Saudi Arabia. But the USA, which had expected to need […]
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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.