Saturday 12 September 2015

The Price of Oil: Altered Perspectives

Whenever commodity prices slump I have been inclined to retort:  (a) "if in doubt, go short" - the old Enron trading motto - because there's always more stuff out there than most people realise;  and (b) well these days, just like GB as a whole I'm a big net consumer, so it suits me just fine.

Flippant stuff, eh?  But there's no backing off the wisdom of the first of those.  Extraction technology always gets better, and there is just so, so much stuff.
Hands Up!

As for the second, that basic 'consumer' situation is unlikely to change.  But does it suit me to have commodity prices so low?  Returning from W.Africa, at $50 oil I see the Nigerian situation getting more and more dire by the month.  For ever increasing numbers of Nigerians the solution will be to hit the emigration trail.  There are nearly 180m of them.  They speak English ...

It's clear enough, based on fundamentals the price of oil should never have stayed long above $100.  At those levels it was a tax on the oil consumers of the world, levied enthusiastically by OPEC, Russia et al: and likewise the metals producers etc.  The producer-nations have become pretty hooked on these 'taxes', and look at the roll-call.  How many of them can fall back for long on their reserves and SWF's?  Even the Aussies will be decamping soon  -  and they speak English, too (sort-of).  I've often described capitalism + open markets as the most effective means of allowing arbitrage to resolve inefficiencies and imbalances ...

This isn't the only large-scale wealth-transfer event on the horizon.  At the ghastly green Paris-Climat jamboree in the run-up to Christmas the third world will be demanding the West pays for 'climate change' - in hard cash, straight into their leaders' pockets.  And M. Hollande seems minded to gratify them.

So: with the demographic tectonics on the move, how do I want to pay my tax - in higher prices and direct cash transfers, or in economic migration?  If there was any choice it would be an interesting dilemma.



dearieme said...


Nick Drew said...

done !

(another red face - 2 in a week!)

James Higham said...

Just posted on going short being the wise move. My question - when is it wise to go long?

andrew said...

when is it wise to go long...

two answers

(a) when there is inflation
(b) you can afford to wait a long time

(a) && (b) is a good bet

and of course

(c) it is something no-one can make more of that other people want.

andrew said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Electro-Kevin said...

My guess ? We'll pay tax both ways.

It isn't just about economics. There is a powerful, ideologically driven elite that thinks that consumption should be taxed (which they can well afford) and everything else should be shared... except by them.

Fiona Bruce and the disupte of a flat development overlooking her large London garden crowded London - after her dispatches on the refugee crisis from a BBC that wants open borders.

dearieme said...

"(another red face - 2 in a week!)" Actually, "techtonics" is a slip of genius - it should be used sarcastically every time Apple introduces one of its huge tech leaps: a peach-coloured gadget, for instance.

Steven_L said...

It's clear enough, based on fundamentals the price of oil should never have stayed long above $100.

Now now, you can't just quietly slip this one out and not expect anyone to notice Mr "Oil will never be under $100 again"!

Nick Drew said...

knew someone would remember!

guilty as charged m'lud, one count of grievous price-forecasting