I was kindly invited last week to give a keynote address at the annual ME-TECH conference in Dubai. Naturally, there was intense interest in my argument that oil prices were most unlikely to recover to the $100/bbl level. Instead, I suggested they would likely return to their long-term historical average of $33/bbl (in $2014). And I argued that this would be good news […]
Tag Archives | Saudi Arabia
I imagine a version of this chart has been keeping ministers awake at nights in Riyadh and the other Gulf Co-Operation Countries (GCC) in recent months. “How did we ever allow Canada to supply more oil than OPEC to the US?” they must be worrying. ”What did we think we were doing?” This might not be quite […]
Does OPEC have a future? Or has it already disappeared as an effective force in oil markets? I am not the only one now asking this question. Saudi Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi asked the same question in the summer, suggesting OPEC Ministers should instead meet once a year, and have occasional videoconferences, adding: “We don’t need a meeting. […]
Yesterday’s post described how OPEC oil producers are seeing their export sales to the US start to disappear. But this, of course, is only one side of the story. As the chart from the Wall Street Journal shows, Saudi needs a $93/bbl oil price to balance its budget. Most of OPEC needs a higher price. Only Kuwait, UAE and Qatar need […]
Oil markets have weakened significantly since they fell out of their major ‘triangle’ formation earlier this month. WTI is already within the forecast $60-80/bbl range although, as the chart shows, Brent still maintains a $10/bbl premium at $90/bbl. Of course, charts can only display the change in sentiment and direction. They cannot explain why it […]
Remarkably, crude oil prices are continuing to trade in their triangle formation. As the chart shows, they tried to break out higher in recent weeks. But there was no follow-through. The high-frequency traders were clearly hoping the US Federal Reserve would announce a new round of quantitative easing (QE3), and provide the firepower for a […]
China’s surging demand led the chemical world out of recession and into boom territory. Its 53% increase in polyethylene (PE) demand between 2008 – 2010 (up 6.2 MT), was typical of the support it provided. But H1 2011 has not maintained this momentum, as the chart shows. Its PE demand was actually down 2.5% versus […]
The decision by S&P, the ratings agency, to put the USA’s AAA debt rating on review is a potential game-changer for US economic policy. It means that policymakers can no longer pretend the $5trn they have spent over the past 2 years on stimulus measures somehow “doesn’t count” in terms of needing to be repaid. […]
The IEA (International Energy Agency) is now very worried about the impact of today’s high oil prices on the global economy. Their chart above highlights the problem for the USA and EU. If oil prices average $100/bbl in 2011, then the EU (green column) will be paying more for its oil imports than in 2008, […]
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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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.