Breakingviews

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.

Asset price disinflation may be next big thing

By Edward Hadas
October 6, 2014

Iron ore led the way, oil is following and stocks may be joining the bandwagon. Even some hot property markets are cooling. Less ultra-loose U.S. monetary policy is blamed, but this looks more like the spread of a disinflationary tide. If so, safe bond prices will keep rising.

Double-digit oil forces majors into more self-help

October 2, 2014

The Big Oil groups already had a profitability issue before prices started falling. There’s no quick fix. They will have to step up efforts to boost cashflow by cutting costs and capex, and selling assets. At least balance sheets aren’t stretched, so dividends are safe – for now.

Commodity bear market looks entrenched

September 29, 2014

A rising dollar, the prospect of U.S. rate rises, and moderating Chinese growth are casting long shadows over the asset class. The threats to the bear case are strong supply-side responses, or successful economic stimulation by the ECB. Neither looks very likely.

World should steel for peak China demand

September 26, 2014

Chinese consumption of crude steel fell in August for the first time this century. Slowing housebuilding is adding financial strain to a troubled supply chain. A rethink of how much is enough for the world’s biggest steel user could also throw the global market off kilter.