Iran has been at the centre of all the major oil market price spikes in the past few decades: Today’s record prices on an annual basis are partly due to market fears over supply disruptions due to the Iran/Israel nuclear issue Fears over a nuclear showdown also led prices to jump to $150/bbl in July 2008, when the […]
Tag Archives | speculation
The blog is busy preparing its presentations for its World Aromatics and Derivatives Conference later this month, co-organised as always with ICIS. As well as looking at the impact of the transition to the New Normal, it will be investigating the current state of benzene markets. These are always an excellent leading indicator for the global […]
Pity for a moment those poor souls whose income depends on finding ever-more creative ways of justifying today’s record levels of oil prices. One by one, all their favourite stories have disappeared. Even the traditional summer warnings of record hurricane disruption have so far failed to deliver. How different it is from the start of the crisis, when the […]
The blog suspects that the above chart may not feature prominently in the New Year reports about to be published by the main oil market brokers. These will instead probably highlight the view that oil markets are very tight, and that prices should surely go higher. They have held this view for several years, and […]
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 – […]
What happens if you suddenly double bank lending in a country, and make it equal to 1/3rd of total GDP? And, as part of the experiment, add a further 13% of GDP via a $580bn stimulus programme? We don’t know yet, because it has never been done before. But we are about to find out. […]
Crude oil prices are now up 18% since the US Fed announced its QE2 Lifeboat policy at the end of August. This clearly justifies the blog’s faith in the ‘triangle pattern’ in September. The rise is mainly due to financial players, with the Large Speculators dominating the buy-side on the futures markets. But in turn, […]
Last week, the blog repeated its warning that crude oil was preparing for a big move, either up or down. And prices then jumped 7%, to a two-year high of $87.49/bbl. So the ‘triangle formation’ proved its predictive power again. As the above chart shows, from Petromatrix, the driver behind the move was the Large […]
China’s Dalian futures market has been attracting world headlines recently, with its status as China’s leading market for chemical futures being confirmed. As such, one would expect its pricing for the two major polymers traded, LLDPE (linear low density polyethylene) and PVC, to follow similar patterns. But this seems not to be the case. The […]
Anyone who followed supply/demand balances might look at the above chart from oil analysts Petromatrix, and conclude that crude oil markets should be relatively weak today. It shows that US oil stocks are only 2.2mb below the record level seen in September 1990, and have grown by 83mb since March. But this is not the […]
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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.