The Great Oil Price Crash of 2014

How far we’ve come from the call of “Peak Oil” in the years leading up to the financial crisis.

Instead, with the rapid deployment of fracking technology in the US, and slowing or even declining demand in the large oil consumer markets of the US and China, we’ve recently been looking at a significant oversupply of oil.

Add in Saudi Arabia’s attempts to break the fracking industry by abandoning attempts to stabilize the price of oil, and the result is the market scrambling to adjust forecasts as the price of oil plummets.

[​IMG]

The Road to War (Part II)

South Korea is an interesting case study in my “Road to War” series, and encapsulates the issue well as a microcosm of the struggle for Asia.

Three interesting articles to illustrate the chess game taking place between the US and China in shaping Asia’s future. First up, from the Diplomat, an article concerning the incomplete iron triangle of US-Japan and US-South Korea relations, i.e. Japan-South Korea relations are poor. China is keen to take advantage of this.

http://thediplomat.com/2014/12/south-korea-japan-relations-americas-achilles-heel/

Obama Says Trade, Tax Policy Are Areas of Potential Bipartisan Cooperation

 

It’s about time we get down to business, and while I am happy to hear this from Obama, I remain will remain skeptical that he is sincere until I see him sign the relevant bills when they cross his desk next year.

http://online.wsj.com/articles/obama-at-business-roundtable-europe-japan-weakness-still-areas-for-concern-1417627974

President Barack Obama addresses a group of business leaders at the quarterly meeting of the Business Roundtable in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday.

Appearing at the quarterly meeting of the Business Roundtable, Mr. Obama identified tax policy, trade, infrastructure and immigration as potential areas for legislative progress with Republican lawmakers.

China’s Structural Reform

I suspect this will be the first in a series of posts, but the WSJ has a great piece out describing the challenges that China faces in turning its state-owned enterprises (SOEs) into world-class competitors.

http://online.wsj.com/articles/the-troubles-with-building-chinas-ge-1417566236

Despite China having passed through more than three decades of reform, Sinomach’s Erzhong unit, set up by China’s Red Army in 1958, still adheres to many of the traditional customs of the country’s major state-owned firms. It still pays retirees a living stipend, and runs a sports center with two swimming pools and a television station. Staples of the station’s programming, which is only available on the factory grounds and to people living in residential zones once owned by the company, include a U.S. English teaching program from the early 1990s and training programs for operating and repairing machinery and electrical equipment.