Category Archives: Commodities

Whose Oil Will Quench China’s Thirst?

As the heir-in-waiting to the title of world’s largest economy, China finds itself in a strange position in terms of its oil consumption.

In September 2013, China became the biggest net importer of crude, beating out the U.S. for the first time. This came as no surprise, given how rapidly China’s thirst for oil has grown, although landing in top place happened a little ahead of U.S. Energy Information Agency (EIA) predictions that it would take place in 2014. However, where the U.S. has been shoring up its own internal production, China has lagged behind. Between 2011 and 2014, U.S. oil production rose by 31 percent, as opposed to China, which saw its own production increase by a little more than 5 percent over that time. This leaves China utterly dependent on oil imports, a vulnerable position to be in at a time when its economy is beginning to wobble.

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Will Fossil Fuel Be the Subprime of This Cycle?

Ambrose Evans-Pritchard makes a compelling argument in his latest article: that the $5.4 trillion of investment poured into fossil fuel exploration and development projects over the last six years includes quite a lot of investments that will never show an adequate return. He argues that when that sorry fact starts to be recognized, the losses could be the wake-up call to investors who have shrugged off risk as financial assets climb to ever-more-implausible valuations.

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Russia Eyes Crimea’s Oil and Gas Reserves

Dave here. In case you were thinking that the Great Game was obsolete or something. Needless to say the referendum passed, this was written slightly before the release of the results. By Nick Cunningham, a Washington DC-based writer on energy and environmental issues. You can follow him on twitter at @nickcunningham1. Cross-posted at Oil Price. […]

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George Mangus Warns of Broad Impact of Emerging Markets Turbulence

In the runup to the global financial crisis, George Magnus, who was then chief economist at UBS, was one of the most insightful commentators and was early to call how bad things might get. He’s back to sound alarms about the emerging markets turmoil.

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The Emerging Markets Rout Abates….for Now

Journalists and laypeople tend to use stock markets at their proxy for economic and financial market conditions. The performance of US stock markets looked like an encouraging return to a semblance of normalcy after last week’s squall, until a wave of selling in the final hour, with 600 million shares of volume, pushed the major indexes solidly into negative territory. As of this writing, that barometer is still a bit wobbly. Australia was down 1.26% overnight and the Nikkei off .17%. But Chinese and the Singapore markets are up, as are European and the S&P and DJIA indices.

But some of the explanations are less persuasive than others.

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Gail Tverberg: How the EIA, IEA, and Other Researchers Are Modeling the Wrong Growth Limit

Why the real constraint on energy production isn’t the availability of resources, but the cost of developing them, and how these neglected investment constraints have big ramifications for “peak energy” and economic growth generally.

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Are Banks About to Win on Commodities Trading After Their Success in Watering Down Basel III Capital Rules?

You know it’s bad when Bloomberg’s editors attack the banks’ win against regulators, in this case, their success in watering down already-too-generous Basel III capital requirements. And they look primed to score a twofer on pending rulemaking on trading in physical commodities.

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Michael Klare: Have the Obits for Peak Oil Come Too Soon?

Among the big energy stories of 2013, “peak oil” — the once-popular notion that worldwide oil production would soon reach a maximum level and begin an irreversible decline — was thoroughly discredited.  The explosive development of shale oil and other unconventional fuels in the United States helped put it in its grave.

But this assessment may be premature.

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CFTC’s Bart Chilton Takes it to the (Position) Limits One More Time

Yves here. This post is important not simply because it describes where the fight over position limits stands and why it’s important, but it also gives some insight into regulator processes. It makes clear how even as few as two well placed officials, Bart Chilton and Gary Gensler, did a great deal to hold the line against predatory large financial firms. It also shows how hard regulators have to fight to do their job.

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