Western financial markets are getting nervous that the US Federal Reserve will cut off their supply of cheap money. They went through the same panic in 2011. Now they again have to wait to see what happens. The chart of the new IeC Boom/Gloom Index above highlights the parallels: Markets were strong through April 2011, with the […]
Tag Archives | QE2
The last few days have seen financial markets rallying, whilst the news from the real economy gets worse. US GDP growth in Q2 was just 1.5%. And the Wall Street Journal notes the recovery since 2009 has been the weakest in the post-War period. But that doesn’t matter to the computerised trading systems that now […]
‘Waiting for Godot’, the great play by Irish writer and Nobel Literature Prizewinner, Samuel Beckett, deals with the meaning of existence. Written just after the Second World War, its two characters wait endlessly for the arrival of Godot. US financial markets are currently staging their own version of the play: • They no longer see […]
Financial markets cannot make up their minds about the outlook. As this month’s IeC Boom/Gloom Index shows, sentiment (blue column) remains exactly at the dividing line between optimism and pessimism. This parallels the behaviour of the S&P 500 Index (red line). It had recovered strongly from March 2009, but has since found it very difficult […]
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 […]
A year ago, Petromatrix highlighted the short-term ‘triangle’ that was being drawn by oil prices. This describes a period when sellers and buyers are evenly balanced, and neither side can gain momentum to take prices in their favoured direction. It usually leads to a sharp move, either up or down, when one side wins. At […]
As promised yesterday, the blog looks today at the impact of high frequency trading (HFT) on oil markets. This now takes place in micro-seconds. It is algorithm-driven via ‘black boxes’, and so fast that as Andy Haldane of the Bank of England notes: “Around 40,000 back-to-back trades can take place in the blink of an […]
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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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 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.