crude oil

Oil prices start to reconnect with coal and gas

Oil prices are finally starting to reconnect with other fossil fuel prices, as the chart shows.  It compares US WTI prices in terms of $/MMBtu value (WTI/5.8), versus US natural gas and coal prices: In January 1990, WTI was $3.94 versus natgas at $2.30 and coal at $1.45 (all $/MMBtu) In January 2000, WTI was

Day of reckoning approaches for US polyethylene expansions, and the European industry

Planning for future demand in petrochemicals and polymers used to be relatively easy during the BabyBoomer SuperCycle. The team would consult the latest IMF forecast for global and regional growth, and then debate the right ratio to use to calculate product demand. For polyethylene (PE), the ratio was generally just above GDP at around 1.1x,

The End of “Business as Usual”

In my interview for Real Vision earlier this month, (where the world’s most successful investors share their thoughts on the markets and the biggest investment themes), I look at what data from the global chemical industry is telling us about the outlook for the global economy and suggest it could be set for a downturn. “We look at

US-China tariffs could lead to global Polyethylene price war

I was interviewed on Friday about the likely impact of President Trump’s trade wars on the global chemical industry by Will Beacham, deputy editor of ICIS Chemical Business. His interview is below. The introduction on Friday of trade tariffs by China and the US is the first step in a trade war that could turn into […]

The post US-China tariffs could lead to global Polyethylene price war appeared first on Chemicals & The Economy.

Plastics demand is peaking as circular economy arrives

The Stone Age didn’t end because we ran out of stones.  Similarly, coal is being left in the ground because we no longer need it any more.  And the same is happening to oil, as Saudi Arabia recognised last year in its Vision 2030: “Within 20 years, we will be an economy that doesn’t depend mainly […]

The world of $100/bbl oil is unlikely to return

Chemical markets are continuing to signal that the world faces major economic challenges in 2015.  The chart above highlights developments since August, when I first forecast that oil prices would see major falls, and that the value of US$ would see ”a strong move upwards“: Benzene, always my favourite indicator for industrial output, has suffered worst, down 56% (green) Brent […]

Why did nobody else forecast that the oil price would collapse?

Brent oil prices closed at $104.71/bbl on Friday 15 August.  On the following Monday morning, I published the first post in my Great Unwinding series, arguing that: “The Great Unwinding of the failed stimulus policies since 2008 has now begun…oil markets are starting to follow cotton and other commodities in refocusing on the fundamentals of supply and […]

Shell, Bayer, Tullow to speak at World Aromatics conference

Next month’s World Aromatics and Derivatives Conference in Brussels has a range of top-name speakers discussing key issues for the markets. Co-organised as always with ICIS, it features: Shell:  Global strategy manager Herbert Le Lorrain will present Shell’s new scenarios for the future, ‘Mountains and Oceans’ Bayer MaterialScience: New procurement head Christian Buhse will provide his first impressions […]

Supply shortages drive olefin market profitability

The above chart would have seemed unbelievable at any time in the past 30 years. It shows the performance of propylene and butadiene relative to ethylene.

Not because it shows butadiene prices racing ahead relative to ethylene (green line). This hap…

‘Peak oil’ a theory, not a statement of fact

Oil supply is critical to today’s global economy.

Now a new book by oil expert Daniel Yergin, author of ‘The Prize’, suggests that the outlook may be more promising than most believe.

Pessimists such as Marion King Hubbert have argued that the world…