Recession almost certainly now underway

Asian naphtha spreads versus crude oil have fallen to all-time lows. Dubai crude was reported at c$80/bbl last week, whilst naphtha was $30/bbl lower, at a price of only $50/bbl. This shows an extreme lack of demand for naphtha, and hence for petrochemicals. In turn, this is a leading indicator of economic downturn. ICIS news tonight is reporting European naphtha at $474/t, compared to Brent at $67/bbl. So it seems likely that Europe is following Asia’s lead. A global recession, defined by the IMF as GDP growth of less than 3%, is almost certainly underway.

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