I mentioned PetroChina in the very first blog entry, when the stock was trading at $155 in New York. It seemed to me to typify the new mood of confidence that I was finding as I travelled in Asia on the 10th anniversary of the Asian financial crisis. Little did I think that just 3 months later, it would be trading at $260.

This meteoric rise in the Chinese stock market has left me feeling more than a little uneasy, as to whether confidence has now turned into pure speculation. And this concern has been amplified by news this week that legendary investor Warren Buffett has sold his entire 11% holding in PetroChina, for a $3.5bn profit. Agreeing that, as usual, he sold ‘a little too soon’, he told Fox Business News yesterday that the sale was due to his concern over valuation.

Buffett clearly feels that the best of the China stock market run is behind us, at least for the moment. It will be interesting to see how much longer the present surge can last, and what the impact will be if (when?) it tumbles back to reality.

And in the meantime, it was also interesting to see that in the same interview Buffett denied that he had ever been interested in buying troubled investment bank, Bear Stearns. He added that he was still steering clear of the housing market and US housing stocks, as ‘prices still didn’t seem low enough’. As Buffett tends to buy and sell early, this is a salutary warning that there may well be more trouble ahead for this critical area of chemicals demand.

PREVIOUS POST

Policymakers turn more downbeat

18/10/2007

There has been a noted change of tone from leading policymakers in the past few ...

Learn more
NEXT POST

Budgeting for a downturn

22/10/2007

The ‘consensus forecast’ for 2008 is very optimistic, as I commented in my p...

Learn more
More posts
The New Normal for global industry
31/05/2020

The global chemical industry is the third largest sector in the world behind agriculture and energy,...

Read
Debt, deflation, demographics and Brexit set to challenge London house prices
17/05/2020

London property websites haven’t used the word “reduced” for many years. But it...

Read
The bill for two decades of doomed stimulus measures is due
03/05/2020

The Financial Times kindly made my letter on the risks now associated with central bank stimulus the...

Read
Local supply chains replace global trade as world starts to “do more with less”
26/04/2020

Something quite dramatic is happening in the global economy.  Of course, Wall Street analysts still...

Read
Financial markets enter their Convulsion phase
19/04/2020

Many companies and investors are still comparing today’s downturn to the 9-month hiccups seen afte...

Read
World risks moving from Denial into Anger as the Paradigm of Loss moves forward
12/04/2020

The head of the IMF has warned again on the likely scale of the economic depression ahead: “Gl...

Read
The world has wasted 3 months – there is little time now left to avoid a Covid-19 catastrophe
05/04/2020

It is now 3 months since China’s state television broadcast the first news of the Wuhan virus,...

Read
China’s property sector is at the epicentre of the crisis
29/03/2020

A branch of Centaline Property Agency in Hong Kong © Bloomberg Indebted Chinese property developers...

Read

Market Intelligence

ICIS provides market intelligence that help businesses in the energy, petrochemical and fertilizer industries.

Learn more

Analytics

Across the globe, ICIS consultants provide detailed analysis and forecasting for the petrochemical, energy and fertilizer markets.

Learn more

Specialist Services

Find out more about how our specialist consulting services, events, conferences and training courses can help your teams.

Learn more

ICIS Insight

From our news service to our thought-leadership content, ICIS experts bring you the latest news and insight, when you need it.

Learn more