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317 weeks ago @ Nouriel Roubini's... - Scary Oil · 0 replies · +1 points

If fears over conflict with Iran have been the key factor driving up oil prices then I would have expected a decline in the perceived chance of conflict to have resulted in a fall in the oil price.

However if you look at InTrade's contract on the probability of an Israeli attack on Iran by end 2012 the implied probability has fallen quite sharply since mid-February by 10% to 40%. Yet the oil price (Brent) has stayed stubbornly high around $125 per barrel.

See chart on my blog here

Although I believe concern over Iran has focused traders attention on the tight supply fundamentals I think it is easy to get drawn into the 'tail risk' scenario. The US war simulations reported in the NYT highlight this fact with the potential for a much wider regional conflict if Iran is attacked.

318 weeks ago @ Materials Risk - China's Trade Deficit:... · 0 replies · +1 points

In support of the outlook for Chinese weaker commodity imports over coming months, Business Monitor International points out that capesize shipping rates linked to iron ore shipments have failed to recover following the Chinese New Year.

319 weeks ago @ Nouriel Roubini's... - The Uptick‚Äôs Downside · 0 replies · +1 points

I agree with your assessment of the key economic risks facing the global economy at the moment; the Euro debt crisis, unrest in the Middle East and the potential for a hard landing in China.

However I do wonder whether investors / businesses have become numb to the latest developments in Brussels/Athens as the crisis has seemingly stretched on and on. I think that the latest bailout and action by the ECB are still just aiming to buy time and it wont be long before a third much bigger bailout is required as unrest intensifies later in the year.

On the Middle East I think Thursday's market reaction to news of a pipeline explosion in Saudi Arabia is telling, in that I would expected a much sharper price increase given the supposed nerves in the market. I personally think the Iran risk premium in the current crude price is a very small component of recent price increases.

On China the January trade data and also electrical production were very suggestive towards a sharper slowdown. However recent PMI data has been much more supportive of China maintaining relatively strong growth. What concerns me about China is not so much this year but later on in 2013/14 when the country's bad loans are likely to catch up with it.