Breakingviews

Why oil investors are so behind the curve

September 2, 2015

Investors used to assume that the cost of pulling oil out of the ground was relatively static – or changed slowly. Reality is slipperier. Rethinking the way the “cost curve” works may help explain recent gyrations in oil and other commodity markets.

Miners’ dividends are a fragile commodity

August 25, 2015

BHP Billiton has raised its payout even as prices fall. That helps win investor support for its aggressive iron ore production strategy. Yet across the sector, funding generous payouts will become tough unless supply and demand rebalance. There is little to suggest they will.

China’s ailing stocks are now contagious

August 24, 2015

Mainland shares are tumbling again. Unlike in July, this sell-off is hurting currencies, commodities, and other Asian bourses. Two things have changed. There’s now the threat of devaluation. And bungled interventions cast doubt on China’s ability to manage markets.

Oil price slide complicates life for central banks

August 4, 2015

Brent is back down at $50 a barrel. Bond prices show this is eroding investor confidence that inflation will pick up. Central banks usually ignore the temporary impact of commodity price swings, but can’t afford to be complacent with inflation and policy rates already so low.

Petrodollar drought is new risk for markets

January 6, 2015

Low oil prices are not only a blight for energy producers. They could hurt global financial markets too. After years of surplus petro-earnings gushing into a range of assets, notably fixed income, the flows are at risk of reversing. The sharp equity market fall may be a first sign.

Gold bulls have precious little to cling to

November 6, 2014

The asset was first to swoon when investors awoke to the end of U.S. money-printing. Coin sales, a recovering Indian rupee and declining supply offer some hope. But even after a near-40 pct fall, the price hasn’t adjusted to the end of speculative fervour. Sub-$1,000/oz looms.

Rob Cox: Fragility bigger worry than volatility

October 21, 2014

Recent rollercoaster markets are a symptom of a more concerning malady. They reflect the shock accompanying recognition that widely accepted assumptions about everything from monetary policy to geopolitics, and even the state of global health, are dangerously flimsy.

Commodity producer/trader boundary starts to blur

October 14, 2014

Glencore’s interest in a deal with Rio Tinto was about more than corporate ambition. Commodity traders are keen to buy hard assets to secure supply, while producers view logistics and marketing as a way of boosting returns. Expect more convergence, and shrinking trading margins.

Markets finally side with economy on bad news

By Edward Hadas
October 13, 2014

For the past five years, an addiction to easy money explained most stock market moves. That era may be ending. Investors seem to be paying more attention to the surprisingly harsh economic environment. With policymakers running out of options, the gloom could worsen.

Rio Tinto can dig in against Glencore

October 7, 2014

The miner’s shares leapt after it admitted rebuffing the commodity trading giant. Yet the timing is opportunistic, as iron ore slumps, and a $160 bln merger looks suspiciously like a takeover on the cheap. So Rio’s board can justifiably demand a big premium, or no deal.