Posts Tagged ‘prices’

Low oil prices are painful, but volatility sucks

As if the recent oil price dive to the lowest level in six years wasn’t enough to keep industry nerves on edge, the current price volatility is proving just as hostile to producers as sliding margins.

After bottoming out in late January at $45/b, NYMEX crude had recovered to $60/b by May, in a correction now widely seen as premature as it was overcooked. Bears pointed to the stubborn and growing glut of global oil supply hanging over the market.

If the rebound was quick, the subsequent fall has been just as dramatic and the double-dip in oil prices has been more severe than many predicted.

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Molybdenum oxide: Some of the same woes, different low prices

About year ago, on August 21, 2014, Platts daily dealer molybdenum oxide assessment was at $13.15/lb. In fact, throughout August 2014 the price stayed above $12.95/lb, which seems unimaginable now when oxide struggles to hold above $6/lb.

Today, interest for purchasing oxide powder is increasingly slow and prices are being held back by the lack of spot purchasing. But when we look back at the same time a year ago, was it that different? Traders and producers were telling us that summer trade was thin, similar opinions we hear today.

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The order is rapidly fadin’ and China’s steel industry faces new pressures

China’s all too apparent slowdown is all the rage. The Shanghai Composite lost more than a fifth of its value over the five days to Wednesday August 26, with record one-day plummets witnessed Monday and Tuesday.

China’s steel industry, which in recent years seemed to become untouchable as it shipped product the world over, is now gaining more attention from importing countries and soon could also feel the crunch of recent market changes.

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Q2 oil results show strength of US ‘super-shale’ for the price of a slice

If the round of second-quarter upstream conference calls showed anything, it was that operators have been humdingers in recent months: incredibly competitive, ruggedly hard-working and totally determined to match their operating costs to slipping oil prices, with a bit left over for profit.

And they have succeeded beyond their most extravagant forecasts. The cost of producing the once-perceived “high-priced” unconventional oil patch has now fallen, in some cases, to per-barrel breakeven prices pretty much on par with an extra-large delivered pizza with all the works, including tip.

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US natural gas production holding steady despite low prices

Why and how is North American natural gas production not plummeting in this low price environment? I and other folks at Platts and Bentek Energy spend a considerable amount of time trying to find a half-decent answer to this question.

Commodities are well known to go through cycles with booms and busts. As commodities go through these sequences, media outlets clamor and fret about how low or high prices could go.

As many commodities are down at the moment, it is sometimes difficult to explain that one is down more than others and why it stands out from the pack.

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Oil is everywhere: naphtha in the Bible, and alkylate on Amazon

It might be the most interesting thing I’ve learned in 2.5 years of covering energy. Oh, sure, there’s plenty of drama every time the nation’s largest economy, California, goes into theatrics over gasoline supply. It’s still a marvel how a pipeline can keep gasoline and diesel separate with nothing more than a little tweak in pressure. And it seems like every time someone sneezes too loud, the price of gasoline in Chicago goes up by 5 cents.

Then someone dropped “mouse milk” on me.

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The Oil Big Five: No slowdown for oil

High summer can often be seen as a slow period, when the heat and prospect of a holiday can make it hard to work up the effort to make news. In the Northern Hemisphere, summer is in full force, and luckily for us, news is also heating up in the world of oil.

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Base metals come to terms with China’s ‘new normal’ in July

In July, base metals faced two dominant headwinds in the form of the Greek debt crisis and the China stock market crash that saw metals test fresh multi-year lows on the London Metal Exchange. This led to a number of investment banks adjusting their short-term and long-term price forecasts as they focused on the likely impact of the rebalancing of the Chinese economy and its projected slower growth — what China’s Premier Li Keqiang has coined the ‘new normal.’

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The allure of steel

There’s something about steel. Before I joined Steel Business Briefing in 2008, I’d never really known what I wanted to do career-wise. I worked for some good companies, including competitors of Platts (which acquired SBB in 2011), but never really envisaged staying in the price reporting sector. Nothing against it, I was just young and finding my way, armed with humanities degrees that didn’t gear me up for much outside of education.

But there’s something about steel.

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Banks see second quarter revenue dip from commodities

Pinning down the financial performance of energy commodity trading at top financial institutions is complicated by the manner in which banks segment their operations and lump together certain revenue numbers.

While differences exist from bank to bank, for the most part the big banks place commodity trading within their fixed-income unit of their investment bank division. Low commodity prices, less volatility, and thus lower volumes traded, have all had an impact.

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