Category Archives: commodities

Department of Dubious Statistics, Oil Imports Edition

The $700 billion the US pays each year to nasty oil-exporting countries — the $700 billion that both Barack Obama and John McCain have cited in their paeans to energy independence — doesn’t exist: According to government agencies that track … Continue reading

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The Burst Commodity Bubble

Do you remember the food and commodity bubble? Sure you do. It wasn’t that long ago. The rise of India and China was inexorable, and the supply of food in general and meat in particular was never going to keep … Continue reading

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Index Funds Aren’t Speculators

One of the first rules of headline writing is that you shouldn’t go with anything which just sounds stupid. Like, say, this: Speculative Bets by Index Funds Didn’t Push Oil Prices Up, Report Says Of course, the whole point of … Continue reading

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Drilling for Revenues

Free Exchange has it right, I think, and Tyler Cowen is being needlessly self-abnegating. Drilling for US oil might well make sense as a matter of fiscal policy, especially for Alaska; it gets us nowhere fast as a an "energy … Continue reading

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The Dynamics of Oil Prices

Sometimes, price action in financial markets really is a consequence of news in the real world. Cause: Hurricane Katrina takes out a huge amount of refinery capacity. Effect: Oil prices rise. Simple. But journalists aren’t having such an easy time … Continue reading

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Polyvalent Transition Metal of the Day

If you want a leveraged play on long-term energy prices, rhenium might be a good place to look. The obscure metal has a very high melting point of 3,186°C — only tungsten’s is higher — which means that if you … Continue reading

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Gas Mileage: Overrated

I never thought I’d say this, but America has become too obsessed with gas mileage. Prius owners use their real-time mileage readout to try and get the absolute maximum number of miles out of every tank; politicians talk dreamily of … Continue reading

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Oil Datapoints of the Day

Krishna Guha: At today’s prices the value of oil in the ground exceeds the combined value of all the world’s equity and debt markets. Oil-importing nations are paying oil-exporting nations roughly $1,500bn per annum for oil – about 2.5 per … Continue reading

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Supply and Demand in the Oil Market

Stan Collender just doesn’t believe that the volatile oil price can really be function of old-fashioned supply and demand: It’s not that I’m not a big believer in this most basic rule of economics. It’s just that the higher prices … Continue reading

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Why the Energy Crisis Won’t Solve Itself

Will Wilkinson is optimistic about energy. Don’t worry about peak oil, he says: as oil prices rise, alternative energy sources will become more attractive, and eventually innovation and competition in the alternative-energy space will drive alternative-energy prices down below the … Continue reading

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