Monthly Archives: October 2014

Russian oil: Between a rock and a hard place

©Bloomberg One of Russia’s most powerful men stood on stage at New York’s St Regis Hotel with a conciliatory message for America. “The relationship between the US and Russia has been severely hampered by historical stereotypes,” said Igor Sechin, a former Soviet intelligence officer and now the dominant force in the Russian energy industry. “But we have long ceased to…

Codelco sticks with ambitious plans

Codelco is defying gloom in commodities markets and embarking on a make-or-break series of investments, endeavouring to regain the Chilean state-owned copper miner’s lead as the world’s largest producer of the industrial metal. Most global miners, accused of being reckless with shareholders’ money during the boom years of the past decade, have switched into ultra-cautious mode with their investment programmes….

Morgan Stanley mulls sale of gas business

©Bloomberg Morgan Stanley is looking at the sale of a nascent natural gas export business after the Federal Reserve raised concerns about the risks of shipping compressed gas to the Caribbean. The venture was an audacious attempt to start a physical commodities operation at a time when much of Wall Street has been retreating from the market under regulatory and…

Rousseff faces fresh Petrobras pressure

©Reuters A cardboard cut-out of Dilma Rousseff and ex-Petrobras directors In an election that has been marred by allegations of corruption in state oil company Petrobras, even worse news is around the corner for Brazil’s incumbent president Dilma Rousseff. The refinery project at the centre of the allegations, Abreu e Lima, in Brazil’s northeast, cost over twice as much as…

Growth in Chinese oil demand buoys Brent

©Bloomberg Chinese data showing robust growth in implied oil demand supported the price of Brent crude on Tuesday, despite the spectre of slowing global growth and excess supplies hanging over the market. Apparent demand for September, which takes into account estimated net imports of oil products and crude that is processed, rose 7.1 per cent compared with the same period…

Pick fund managers with skin in the game

It is well established that the average active fund manager underperforms their benchmark, and that a manager who has put in a market-beating performance in the past is no more or less likely to beat the average in the future. Given these bald numerical facts, the continuing rise of low-cost index tracker funds is inevitable and to be welcomed. But…

Asia bourses mixed after China GDP

Tuesday 04:30 BST. Bourses around Asia were mixed following news that China’s gross domestic product expanded at its slowest pace since the first quarter of 2009, and after a choppy session on Wall Street. GDP growth in the world’s second-largest economy came in at 7.3 per cent in the third quarter, compared with the same period a year earlier, slowing…

Investors weigh Venezuela debt default

In the famous Big Mac index of global currency values against the US dollar, Venezuela makes a surprise entrance as the third most expensive place in the world to eat a burger. This unexpected finding can be explained by two factors: the array of fixed exchange rates set by a country that has to import almost everything apart from oil…

BWin bounces amid wider weakness

©Bloomberg Recovery hopes made BWin.party stand out in a weak London market on Monday. Numis Securities’ “buy” advice helped the Party Poker owner bounce 5 per cent to 92.9p. After many disappointments, an acceleration of sports revenue last quarter suggested management’s focus on lower risk, regulated markets might finally be paying off, Numis said. BWin has long been seen as…

LME plans to launch HK-based contracts

©Bloomberg The London Metal Exchange plans to launch Hong Kong-based commodities contracts as it seeks to attract direct investment from mainland China, the world’s largest metals consumer. The 137-year-old exchange, which was bought by Hong Kong Exchanges & Clearing in 2012, wants to extend a pilot programme starting this month linking the Hong Kong and Shanghai stock markets to commodities,…