Senior Market Analyst, Commodities and Energy
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Dec 17, 2015

OPEC risks Pyrrhic victory with oil policy: Kemp

“If we are victorious in one more battle with the Romans, we shall be utterly ruined,” King Pyrrhus of Epirus complained after winning exceptionally bloody engagements in 280 and 279 BC.

Pyrrhus lost many of his men, most of his generals and had no reserves left, while “the army of the Romans, as if from a fountain gushing forth indoors, was easily and speedily filled up again” according to Plutarch.

Dec 17, 2015

U.S. propane stocks hit record despite strong exports: Kemp

Liquefied petroleum gases (LPG) are the fastest-growing category of hydrocarbon exports from the United States, with volumes up almost four-fold since 2012.

Exports have grown from less than 200,000 barrels per day in 2012 to an average of 743,000 bpd so far in 2015 and as much as 821,000 bpd in July, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

Dec 17, 2015

U.S. traffic is growing at fastest rate since 1997: Kemp

Traffic on U.S. roads is growing at the fastest rate in almost two decades, as cheap gasoline, coupled with a strong economy, encourages motorists to use their cars more.

U.S. motorists drove 3.12 trillion miles in the 12 months ending in September 2015, an increase of 3.4 percent from the same period ending September 2014.

Dec 17, 2015

Hedge funds turn very bearish on U.S. crude: Kemp

Hedge funds and other money managers had amassed short positions in U.S. crude oil amounting to 154 million barrels by last Tuesday according to data from the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC).

Short positions have increased more than 70 percent since the middle of October and stand at the highest level since August, the CFTC showed in its latest commitments of traders report published on Friday (

Dec 17, 2015

Stein’s law says oil prices will rise: Kemp

“If something cannot go on forever, it will stop,” according to Herbert Stein, former chief economist to U.S. President Richard Nixon (“What I think: essays on economics, politics and life” 1998).

Stein’s law is one of the most simple but important statements in economic theory, yet it is remarkable how often it is forgotten.

Dec 17, 2015

Should we worry as oil stocks hit 3 billion barrels? Kemp

Nearly 3 billion barrels of crude petroleum and refined products are being stored by oil firms in the advanced economies according to the International Energy Agency (IEA).

Commentators have seized on the 3 billion figure as a shorthand way to convey how oversupplied the oil market has become.

Dec 17, 2015

California’s gasoline demand slowed over the summer: Kemp

California motorists drive almost 1 billion miles every day, and in doing so consume around 40 million gallons of gasoline and 8 million gallons of diesel.

Californians use their cars a bit less than the average U.S. resident but the state’s population is so large it is one of the largest driving markets in the world.

Dec 17, 2015

Warm weather worsens glut of U.S. gas, heating oil: Kemp

Unusually mild weather across the United States this autumn has sharply reduced heating demand and contributed to the substantial oversupply of both natural gas and heating oil.

Heating demand has been 27 percent lower than the long-term average so far this heating season according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

Dec 17, 2015

U.S. shale oil output will be less resilient than gas: Kemp

U.S. natural gas production hit a new record in August, despite the deepening slump in gas prices and a fall in the number of rigs targeting gas formations.

The failure of gas production to respond to lower prices and a falling rig count has left many analysts wondering if it heralds the same problem in the oil market – worsening oversupply.

Dec 17, 2015

COLUMN-IEA sees oil below $80, what could go wrong? Kemp

(John Kemp is a Reuters market analyst. The views expressed are his own)

By John Kemp

Nov 10 Oil prices are unlikely to rise consistently above $80 per barrel before the end of the decade, the International Energy Agency (IEA) predicted in the World Energy Outlook published on Tuesday.

Slower growth in demand coupled with the transformational impact of shale on production costs and increased supplies from Iran and Iraq will ensure the market rebalances slowly and at lower prices.

    • About John

      "John joined Reuters in 2008 as one of its first financial columnists, specialising in commodities and energy. While his main focus is on oil markets, he has written broadly on the emergence of commodities as an asset class, regulatory issues and macroeconomic themes. Before joining Reuters, John spent seven years as a senior analyst for Sempra Commodities (now part of JP Morgan) covering base metals and crude oil. Previously, he worked as an analyst on world trade, banking and financial regulation for consultancy Oxford Analytica."
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