Tag Archives | PTA

Brent Mar12.png

Oil prices near Q2 2008′s record level

Finally, and far too late, policy makers are waking up to the damage that today’s high oil prices are doing to the global economy. Q1′s oil price averaged $119/bbl, just 7% below Q2 2008′s record $127/bbl ($2012). Thus Saudi Oil Minister, Ali Naimi, last week told the Financial Times: “High international oil prices are bad […]

Continue Reading
Benzene Mar12.png

Why benzene trumps traditional economic indicators

The blog is very pleased to have been invited to contribute to the Financial Times’ new FT Data blog. Its first post looks at benzene’s excellent forecasting record during the current crisis. It also looks at what PTA may be telling us about the strength of China’s economy. Please click here if you would like […]

Continue Reading
D

Petchems ‘sailing towards a storm’

Q1 should have been a strong quarter for global petchem demand: • Buyers had to restock in the New Year, as CFOs had cut working capital for year-end reasons • In the West, Easter is delayed until April, and the USA has benefited from the warmest winter in 50 years • China’s holidays took place […]

Continue Reading
D

Financial and petchem markets differ on the outlook

“Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,And sorry I could not travel both“ The opening of Robert Frost’s famous poem ‘The road not taken’ aptly sums up today’s market situation:•Financial markets continue to be supported by the Fed’s Operation Twist•Petchem markets are slowing in reaction to weaker consumer spendingBoth of them cannot be right. Either […]

Continue Reading
D

Benzene, PTA warn new downturn may be close

As regular readers know, the blog regards benzene as an excellent leading indicator for petchem markets and the global economy. Its track record since the start of the crisis in 2008 has continued to be strong. The reason is probably two-fold: • It is one of the oldest, and widely used, chemicals. In many ways […]

Continue Reading
Index Mar12.png

Markets wait for oil price lead

The March IeC Boom/Gloom Index confirms the blog’s sense that markets are sitting on a fence, waiting for something to happen. As the chart shows (blue column), it has risen back to 4.1, just at the point which divides strong from weak markets. Similarly the US S&P 500 Index (red line) is stuck at 1369, […]

Continue Reading
D

Demand declines as Federal Reserve fuels oil price rise

The Wall Street Journal carried an interesting opinion piece on Friday, assessing current market conditions from the viewpoint of the film character, Forrest Gump. Gump’s key insight is that “Stupid is as stupid does”. Thus the Journal noted: “Oil staged its last price surge along with other commodity prices when the Fed revved up its […]

Continue Reading
D

Déjà vu all over again in petchem markets

This time last year, the petchem industry stood on the edge of an unseen precipice. Life seemed good. Prices were racing ahead and demand appeared buoyant. But in reality the buyers were only buying forward to protect margins, whilst end-user demand was slowing fast. This year, the blog fears, we may be about to take […]

Continue Reading
Oil demand Feb12.png

IEA forecasts show high oil prices destroy demand

Over the past 18 months, the main investment analysts have argued that high oil prices would have no impact on the global economy. Now, new forecasts suggest their optimism has been misplaced. The chart above gives the International Energy Agency’s latest forecast of likely oil demand growth this year: • It has been reduced by […]

Continue Reading
C8 Feb12.png

Paraxylene starts to dominate the polyester chain

Last April, China’s polyester market provided an early warning signal that the current downturn was about to start. Now, it is flagging an important change in relative positions within the value chain. 9 months ago, the divergence between crude oil prices and those for the C8 chain highlighted slowing end-user demand. The chart above updates […]

Continue Reading