The 3 month trend of Brent oil price volatility has reached its highest level since the 2008 financial crisis and before that, the 1st Gulf War in 1990/91. As the chart shows, it is even higher than after 9/11. Yet there have been no developments in oil markets themselves to justify such a level. […]
Tag Archives | US $
Greece, Iran, China – suddenly real world issues are starting to dominate the headlines. And few people now believe that printing more money is the way to solve these issues. Instead, political leaders are being forced to take the hard decisions they have ducked for so long. Financial markets are clearly reflecting the change. They […]
Attention has rightly been focused on the collapse of oil prices over the past 6 months. These have further to fall, but the major part of the move must now be behind us. After all, Brent was at $104/bbl when I first forecast the move in mid-August, and closed at $56/bbl last night, so probably “only” has $20/bbl-$30/bbl further downside. […]
EU policymakers like to pretend that the Eurozone debt crisis was resolved by the adoption of last March’s new Treaty. An even more disturbing thought is that they might even believe their own propaganda. Who knows? But on the ground, it is crystal clear that the problems continue to multiply. Latest data from the Bank […]
The US government used to depend on China to fund its deficit. In 2006, China bought 47.4% of all US bonds issued. But last year, as the chart from the NY Times shows, China bought just 4.6%, leaving US investors to buy the rest. This is a yet another indicator of the profound changes underway […]
Oil markets are looking increasingly uncertain as we come to year-end. One example of this is a new survey of floating storage by oil brokers, Gibson. This found 42 ships in use, up from the 29 seen in September. Normal levels are just 5 – 7 vessels. Another is OPEC’s weaker discipline on quotas, which […]
Pity your poor CFO. As well as keeping cashflow positive, they are also coping with major US$ volatility. In July 2008 it was trading at $0.63: €1, but then rose 43% to $.80: €1, before declining 28% to $0.68: €1 today. The catalyst for this volatility seems to be oil price movements. As the chart […]
Does the US Treasury read the blog? Just hours after the chart below was posted, rumours began to circulate of a major government initiative to try and stabilise financial markets.
The US Fed’s decision to keep cutting interest rates is causing a major change in Asian investment behaviour. This will slow world economic growth quite significantly, and is bad news for chemical industry sales. It also means that the informal Bretton Woods II system of currency management has broken down.
Volatility has been rising in the crude oil and feedstocks markets. This is because individual players have completely different strategies. In turn, this makes it difficult for chemical companies to forecast short-term feedstock costs. It also makes it difficult to maintain margins. Last Monday, crude reached a new high of $111/bbl. Then, as the scale […]
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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.