The New York Times is reporting that China’s People’s Liberation Army has resumed its attacks against Western targets after a three-month hiatus. Shanghai-based Unit 61398 is back in business, says the Times, albeit using different techniques. Past attacks have sought intellectual property and government documents, including blueprints, manufacturing plans, pricing documents, and other proprietary information, mostly from… Keep reading →
Global oil supply dynamics have been shifting in recent years, as consumption levels off in developed western economies and demand surges in rapidly developing Asian nations. At the same time, North American unconventional resource development has accelerated this supply transition to the “east of Suez” market, making the US less dependent on Middle East imports and thus softening the need to police the oil shipping lanes extending from the Persian Gulf. So what is China’s role in this shifting global oil supply/demand picture?
David Schenker, the Aufzien fellow and director of the Program on Arab Politics at The Washington Institute – a think tank – recently traveled to China and found some interesting answers to this question that he summarizes in a piece appearing in today’s Los Angeles Times. Keep reading →
The excitement over solar power, which once attracted billions in private investment and public subsidies, has waned recently, underscoring the limitations of renewable energies and the unchallenged dominance of fossil fuels.
Some of the $75 billion sector’s high profile names have fallen on hard times recently – most notably Suntech Power. The China-based solar panel company rattled the industry when it filed for bankruptcy last week. In its heyday, the stock traded just shy of $90 and had a market capitalization of $16 billion: on Thursday, the last day U.S. markets were open, the shares traded around for 42 cents each. Keep reading →
For most people springtime means flowers, cleaning and putting away winter coats. For people in the energy business, warming weather means they can stop managing for the heating season and brace for the really big stage in the US power sector: cooling season.
With natural gas prices failing to settle lower despite the beginning of what are called the shoulder months in the energy business, when demand for temperature control and other power-sucking activity slips, many are entering the spring months with a renewed sense of uncertainty about their commitment to the fuel. Even a bearish storage report couldn’t weigh down natural gas prices earlier this week, and although prices are nowhere near historical highs the sector has become so accustomed to cheap gas every penny higher makes for a pause given the US large scale “dash to gas” in recent years. Keep reading →
The world’s swelling population and continued economic growth will require increasing volumes of oil to power the cars, trucks, trains and planes that transport people and goods around the planet. But the Citi commodities research team has questioned the extent of that assumption in a new research report titled “Global Oil Demand Growth – the End is Nigh.”
This rethinking of global oil demand trajectory is driven by the analyst’s view that natural gas will increasingly be substituted for oil in the transportation, power generation and industrial sectors, while considerable gains in fuel economy “raise the possibility that the tipping point for oil demand may come much sooner than the markets are expecting.” Keep reading →
Trade in derivatives has been one of the most controversial activities in finance since the opacity around those markets was held by observers to blame for the scale and depth of the financial crisis of 2008. One of the key solutions recommended by regulators was to move trade in contracts onto exchanges, where they could be monitored more closely.
That effort showed early signs of success as the more-liquid contracts moved online but efforts to make exchange trading the default have faltered and – for many types of derivatives – actually reversed. Keep reading →
For much of the past decade the answer to almost any major economic question had at least a little bit of “China” in its answer, and for energy the growth of what has become the world’s second largest economy and remains its most populous nation has been central to market growth and disruption.
Without China’s growth, oil prices would have been lower, leavening the expensive and much-debated fight over the race to renewable power in the US. With less growth in China, natural gas companies in the US might have had fewer buyers for their barely profitable (or even loss-making) fields as the technology developed to expand production in turn brought down prices. Keep reading →