Senior Market Analyst, Commodities and Energy
John's Feed
Aug 1, 2013

‘Free power Saturdays’ herald electricity pricing revolution: Kemp

LONDON, Aug 1 (Reuters) – Centrica, which supplies
electricity in the United Kingdom through its British Gas
subsidiary, has said it could offer free power to residential
consumers on Saturdays from next year, provided they have a
smart meter installed.

“Free power Saturdays” are a masterful piece of marketing
and illustrate how quickly smart metering will transform the way
residential customers use and pay for electricity in Britain and
around the world.

Aug 1, 2013

More mines open, making rare earths less rare: Kemp

LONDON, Aug 1 (Reuters) – The United States has resumed
mining rare earths after more than a decade, ending its total
reliance on imports, mostly from China, for raw minerals
Washington says are critical for the economy and national

Responding to a quadrupling of prices between 2005 and 2011
and growing anxiety about supplies from China, Molycorp’s
Project Phoenix has sought to resurrect domestic production.

Jul 30, 2013

More honesty needed about Britain’s rising energy bills: Kemp

LONDON (Reuters) – Britain’s gas and electricity suppliers should itemize customer bills to show how much of the total is related to the fuel costs, transmission charges, company margins and the government’s own energy policies.

The recommendation is contained in a wide-ranging and insightful report on “Energy prices, profits and poverty” published on Monday by the House of Commons Select Committee on Energy and Climate Change.

Jul 29, 2013

Banks retreat from physical commodities, maybe: Kemp

LONDON, July 29 (Reuters) – JPMorgan Chase & Co said
on Friday it was pursuing “strategic alternatives” for its
physical commodities businesses, including its assets and
physical trading operations, following an internal review.

In one sense, the bank is simply confirming that it will
comply with the law.

JPMorgan has reorganised its physical trading businesses as
a “merchant banking” activity to get around restrictions on a
bank engaging in non-banking operations. But in this form, the
law allows these assets to be held only “for a period of time”
for the purpose of “appreciation and ultimate resale or
disposition”. (12 USC 1843(k)(4)(H))

Jul 26, 2013

Energy efficiency is emerging markets’ Achilles heel: Kemp

LONDON, July 26 (Reuters) – Improvements in energy
efficiency will confer an enormous competitive advantage on the
countries of North America and Europe in the next two decades
relative to the fast-growing but energy-inefficient economies of
Asia and the Middle East.

Rising oil demand in Asia and growing production from North
America’s shale formations, among other shifts transforming the
global economy and oil markets, have been extensively analysed.
But the impact of diverging energy efficiency trends has
received much less attention.

Jul 24, 2013

Commodities do not reliably diversify portfolios: Kemp

LONDON, July 24 (Reuters) – Commodities do not diversify an
investment portfolio, according to new research by the Bank for
International Settlements (BIS), overturning conventional wisdom
that including commodity futures can reduce the volatility of

Beginning in September 2008 and continuing through 2012,
commodity and equity prices have shown heightened correlation,
Marco Lombardi and Francesco Ravazzolo argue in a paper “On the
correlation between commodity and equity returns” published on
July 11 (

Jul 23, 2013

Commodity price cycle looks increasingly mature: Kemp

LONDON (Reuters) – Time is the most important variable in commodity markets but also the most frequently overlooked.

Too often observers become trapped in an endless short term and fail to notice that the world is gradually changing around them.

Jul 22, 2013

Technology vanquishes the peak-oilers, again

LONDON (Reuters) – The decision to shutter “The Oil Drum”, the leading website devoted to peak oil, has come to symbolize the end of an era – and sparked a furious debate about whether the theory was all along based on a fundamental mistake.

The site’s authors and editors blamed the decision to archive it on the “scarcity of new content caused by a dwindling number of contributors,” according to a statement on July 3.

Jul 18, 2013

Peak oil, not climate change worries most Britons: Kemp

LONDON, July 18 (Reuters) – Most people in Britain want to
reduce reliance on fossil fuels, but due more to fears of
shortages and rising prices than to fears about climate change,
according to a poll developed by researchers at Cardiff
University and funded by the UK Energy Research Council.

Nearly 2,500 people were surveyed across England, Scotland
and Wales in August 2012. The results, published on Tuesday in a
report on “Transforming the UK energy system: public values,
attitudes and acceptability,” provide a trove of information
about public opinion on climate and energy policy.

Jul 17, 2013

UK government over-estimating future fuel prices: Kemp

LONDON, July 17 (Reuters) – Britain’s government is basing
its policy recommendations on outdated and unrealistically high
projections of future fossil fuel prices – which could be
causing it to over-estimate the cost of imports and threatening
to skew cost-benefit analyses of alternative policies.

The Department of Energy and Climate Change’s (DECC) central
projection for oil prices in 2020, at $123.50 per barrel, is
almost 17 percent higher than the baseline scenario employed by
the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), which puts
them at $105.57. It is also 45 percent higher than futures
prices for Brent at the end of decade based on the current
forward price curve (

    • 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."
    • Follow John