The Philippine Onion

Lies and half-truths shall set you free

Posts Tagged ‘opec’

Cebollas sin lagrimas: gold tumbles on ‘medalla de oro’ award to Arroyo

Posted by commiedyan on December 6, 2007

by Henry C. Bollas

London (via ZTE broadband)–World commodity markets were inundated early today with sell orders for spot and futures gold as the news sunk in of alleged Philippine president Gloria Macapagal Arroyo getting the ‘medalla de oro‘ award Tuesday from the Universidad de Alcala in Madrid. The highest civilian award was conferred allegedly for Arroyo’s “defense of human rights, particularly her role in abolishing the death penalty in the Philippines.”

Que calamidad! Arroyo de lagrimas! (Flood of tears!)” a stock trader at the Bovespa in Madrid said. At the Chicago Mercantile Board, an analyst said “gold has lost half its luster forever.” She revealed hedge funds were dumping gold in favor of oil and onions. Oil prices had begun to slide despite the decision of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries to maintain current production levels, probably because of a recent Japanese invention curtailing demand. Oil bets are now off, the lady said. Read the rest of this entry »

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Why gasoline prices might suddenly dive

Posted by commiedyan on November 30, 2007

by e-kunomista

It’s really fundamentally a supply and demand thing, with the former not rising as fast as the latter. The major sources of demand growth in the past few years have been China and India. The fast pace of growth in China and the even higher growth in energy consumption has in fact made it the world’s largest emitter of greenhouse gases this year, overtaking the United States.

(We are a bit intrigued by the allusion of the respected economist Ciel Habito to possible price manipulation in the local petroleum market in his latest column in the Philippine Daily Inquirer. It was under his watch in the NEDA that the downstream oil industry was deregulated. Perhaps this is politically motivated).

But oil analysts agree that a big part of demand is speculative, coming from hedge funds trying to find shelter from the falling US$ by buying into commodity futures, minerals, agricultural staple, and oil. In the old days, speculation could be limited by physical storage capacity, but these days what’s influencing prices are futures contracts lodged in code in cyberspace. No need for Mr. and Mrs. Shady to hide oil barrels under the bed.

In normal markets, speculators play a positive role in stabilizing prices because they buy when prices are low and sell when high, thus narrowing the range and reducing volatility. Otherwise they’d lose their underpants if they do the reverse, right? But when a few hedge funds collude, they might be able to keep prices high with their self-fulfilling prophesy. But what feeds speculation are mainly geopolitical and weather-related events. Some researchers say that without the speculative element, prices should be within the $50-60/barrel range. (An earlier body of work of the Nobel economist Joseph Stiglitz focused on price stabilization and speculation).

The silver lining is that persistently high prices of oil and coal fuels development of cleaner alternatives. But what if oil and coal prices are artificially high because of speculation? What will happen to the alternative energy developers who based their feasibility studies on wrong relative price projections?

Granting that a few players have cornered the futures market, they still take large risks, especially if a spate of good Read the rest of this entry »

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