A MARKET UPDATE for December, 2011

THE VIEW FROM JAMESTOWN”
A MARKET UPDATE for
December, 2011
From
THE CHEMICAL COMPANY.

Contact:

The Chemical Company
P.O. Box 436
44 Southwest Ave.
Jamestown, RI 02835
Phone: (401) 360-2800
Website: thechemco.com
Email: Info@thechemco.com

Special Message:

As President of TCC I am very fortunate to sit in a lot of meetings with a lot of wonderful people each year. This dialogue occurs at TCC and throughout the world with a wide variety of colleagues, customers, suppliers, etc. Each year there are words and phrases that pop up in conversation often. So, since it is the Holiday Season and nobody really wants to read chemical information I present:

 The Top 10 Chemical Industry phrases or words for 2011!”

 10. “Feedback”

 This is the #1 delay tactic used when someone doesn’t have the answer or needs to get permission to give the answer. As in “Let me get some feedback on that and I will get back to you.”

 9. “Moving forward”

 This is a great way to disregard concerns or requests because they are not acceptable. As in, “Moving forward we will implement this policy.”

8. “Fair enough”

This was made famous by a TCC employee who used it in a passive aggressive context. This is typically a response to something one doesn’t completely agree with.

7. “It is what it is”

This phrase is a conversation ender. You don’t like what I am saying but “It is what it is.”

6. “Win/Win”

In corporate speak this one has been around a long time. This year it snuck into conversations often. As in, “I feel this is a win/win for both companies.”

5. “Synergy”

Again a popular word in corporate speak. We have all heard it and maybe said it! As in, “With this plan we can create synergy between our companies.”

4. “I have to say..”

This is a preface to a statement made famous by Kerri McNamara the TCC Office Manager. Question: Why do you “have”to say it???

3. “Value Added”

This one crawls right up my spine. And it was VERY popular this year. When producers are totally sold out as they were in the beginning of this year this term came up a lot. As in, “With our plant completely sold out what is the value added by TCC?” They’re not sold out anymore!!

2. “Value Chain”

What does this mean??!! I heard it so often and still don’t know what it means. It was used in every context and each time it became more confusing. As in, “TCC is part of the value chain for this fiscal year and beyond.”

With that said”

OK, this was used almost every day in conversation, in emails, in texts even! If you just said it, then why do you have to tell us that you did????!! Not sure where this came from but I hope it is not part of 2012 conversation!

So with that said, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year everyone! Moving forward I hope the TCC value chain will be a win/ win for the synergy between our companies. And I have to say the feedback on our conversations moving forward will be value added in next year’s “View from Jamestown!!”

TCC Video:

Santa getting silly! Do you recognize santa?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QqdSCRfAixk

TCC Holiday Card:

http://sendables.jibjab.com/view/Dggi5IztKo7BSWvnCI6Z

http://www.vimeo.com/24834423

TCC News:

We are pleased to announce that Cory Mullins has joined the TCC Sales staff. Cory has a long history in the chemical industry and will be based out of Dallas, TX. Please contact Cory at CMullins@thechemco.com to discuss your chemical requirements.

Links and Social:

 Want to exchange links?? Contact us!


 For immediate updates on Chemical Industry News be sure to follow us on Twitter @thechemicalco or our facebook page here:

Habla Español??? The TCC website is available in Spanish!

Upcoming Events:

INFORMEX New Orleans, LA (February 14th – 17th 2012)

NPRA 2012

April 1-3, 2012 San Antonio, TX

NPE International Plastics Showcase

April 1-5, 2012 Orlando, FL

TCC Downloadable Brochures

The Chemical Company Brochure
TCC Plasticizers and Plastics Additives
Iron Oxides
Composites
Flame Retardants

New Products In Stock

Sydol 61 Silane 850 Kg. Totes and 250 Kg. Drums
Zinc Borate 25 Kg. Bags
Citric Acid: 1,000 Kg. and 25 Kg. Bags (In Stock and Available Now!)
Dicyandiamide: 25 Kg. Bags (In stock and available now!)
Dibenzoate Esters: Bulk, Semi-bulk, Totes and Drums
Melamine and Melafine Crystal: 1,000 Kg., 500 Kg. and 25 Kg. Bags (In stock and available now!)
Malic Acid: 25 Kg. Bags (In Stock and Available Now!)
Maleic Anhydride Briquettes: 25 Kg. Bags (In Stock and Available Now!)
Acetyl TriButyl Citrate: 1,000 Kg. Totes and 250 Kg. Drums (Our NatureFlexx 509 is in Stock and Available Now!)
Adipic Acid: 25 Kg., 500 Kg. and 1,000 Kg. Bags (In Stock and Available Now!)

Products In Transit/ Available Soon

Succinic Acid 25 Kg. Bags
Antimony Trioxide (High Tint, Supersacks)

New/ Updated Technical Information (hyperlinked):

Adipic Acid
Diisononyl Phthalate
Epoxidized Soybean Oil
Malic Acid
ChemFlexx TOTM
Tartaric Acid
ChemFlexx DiOctyl Adipate
Fumaric AcidDicyandiamide

New Products:

ChemFlexx Dibenzoate Esters are a non-phthalate, primary, high solvating plasticizer for Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC). Used to improve the performance of or replace ortho-phthalate plasticizers, these esters can increase your processing speed and lower processing temperatures.

Melamine Crystal and Melafine Powder is an organic compound that is often combined with formaldehyde to produce melamine resin, a synthetic polymer which is fire resistant and heat tolerant. Melamine resin is a very versatile material with a highly stable structure. Uses for melamine include whiteboards, floor tiles, kitchenware, fire retardant fabrics, and commercial filters. Melamine can be easily molded while warm, but will set into a fixed form. This property makes it ideally suited to certain industrial applications.

Succinic Acid is a dicarboxylic acid comprised of four carbon atoms. The chemical is produced as a colorless crystalline solid and is used in the drug, agriculture, food products, and other industries.

NP 500 Non-Phthalate Plasticizer Non-phthalate plasticizer to replace general purpose phthalate plasticizers like DOP, DOTP and DINP. Drums, Totes and Bulk Available.

NP600 Non- Phthalate Plasticizer Non-phthalate plasticizer to replace the general purpose phthalate plasticizers DIDP. Drums, Totes and Bulk Available.

NatureFlexx 509 100% Phthalate Free General Purpose Plasticizer! This high molecular weight plasticizer is an excellent, phthalate free replacement for general purpose phthalate plasticizers like DINP, DOP, DOTP, Etc.Drums, Totes and Bulk Available.

Malic AcidA subtle and persistent sour in food applications as well as an excellent acidulant. New technical applications are being discovered as well. Food and Technical Grade material is in stock and immediately available. Packaging is 25 Kg. Bags, 2,000 lb. Supersacks and a 50% solution.

 

Please contact Robb Roach at robb@thechemco.com
or Tel: (401) 423- 3100 for more information.

We appreciate your taking the time to review this newsletter. We welcome your comments as well as contributions regarding our readers’ company/industry activities. Please send them to Bob Beavins at chemcobob@comcast.net

**Please note that all products are now in Alphabetical Order and many products are hyperlinked to their own information page.**

At the end of each paragraph you will notice a symbol and the meaning of these symbols are as follows:

+ Denotes upward pricing momentum
\ Denotes stable pricing momentum
Denotes downward pricing momentum

CRITICAL RAW MATERIALS MARKETS

Benzene U.S. benzene contracts for December settled down at US$3.00/ gallon , which is down from US$3.15/ gallon in November. Based on spot pricing and current oil pricing benzene will increase in January. – +

N Butane Butane prices have been slowly trending up in the low $1.90- $1.95/ gallon range. Winter is typically the heavy demand season and is pressuring price.

Natural Gas Spot prices reported slightly up to ~$3.19/MMBtu. Pricing has steadily declined from $4.50 in August. Futures reported slightly down. –

Oil Current price in the $95 – 100.00/ bbl range./

Check thechemco.com for up to the minute info.

Orthoxylene December contracts settled down $.04/ lb. to $.56/ lb. –

Propylene December contracts settled down $.02/ lb. at $.56 for Polymer Grade and $.545 for Chemical Grade. –

CHEMICALS MARKETS

Adipic Acid: Adipic Acid pricing has moved lower on over supply and weak demand. Pricing has reached levels not seen in years and close to producer cost. Massive new capacities in China have started to swamp their market and with anticipated new capacities this trend will continue. –

For more information please contact Robb

Roach at robb@thechemco.com

Ammonia: January business for Tampa has dropped to $555/ metric ton down $95/ ton from $650 in December. A big drop in the Black Sea and Middle East is driving this market. –

For more information please contact Robb

Roach at robb@thechemco.com

Ammonium Nitrate: AN prices have leveled yet demand remains very good and plants are sold out. –

For more information please contact AJ Petrarca aj@thechemco.com

Antimony Trioxide:     

Demand for antimony trioxide is very weak. Buyers are still keeping inventories to a minimum as prices depress each week.

For more information please contact AJ Petrarca aj@thechemco.com

Dicyandiamide:       

Pricing remains inflated as production costs are high but availability has improved.  Prices are expected to remain stable in the near term future.  Demand has been very good for fertilizer and flame retardant applications. Product is in stock and immediately available. / 

For more information please contact AJ Petrarca aj@thechemco.com

Epoxidized Soybean Oil: Pricing has remained stable yet producer margins are weak. Soy Bean pricing has come down marginally but demand for PZ applications remains good. /

For more information please contact Robb Roach robb@thechemco.com

Fumaric Acid: FA Pricing has stabilized on better availability and more stable maleic anhydride pricing. Butane has moved up into the $1.90+/ gallon range but lower priced import offers have kept domestic pricing level. /

For more information please contact AJ Petrarca aj@thechemco.com

Glycol (Mono, Di and Tri):

MEG – Demand has been slow and export opportunities are slim. Benchmarks are down around $.55/ lb. Spot pricing is in the $.44- $.45/ lb. range. –

DEG- The DEG market is seeing very weak demand and over supply. Spot is in the $.30’s/ lb. range. Benchmarks are moving lower to keep pace with spot. –

TEG- Demand is still very slow as seasonal temps are high. More spot offers are noted and in the low eighties range. –

For more information please contact Robb Roach at robb@thechemco.com

Isophthalic Acid:

PIA pricing has moved lower following energy costs. –

For more information please contact Robb Roach at robb@thechemco.com

Maleic Anhydride:

Maleic Anhydride supply is balanced to long as UPR demand is extremely soft and destocking is noted. Prices are holding steady on high feedstock costs. Butane is now in the US$1.90/ gallon range up from November. I producer has announced an increase for JAnuary. /

For more information please contact AJ Petrarca aj@thechemco.com

Melamine:    

Melamine availability is long with a new player offering low prices. Historic suppliers are keeping pace with these low cost offers.  /-

For more information please contact Javier Fernandez  Javier@thechemco.com 

Malic Acid: Malic Acid supply has improved but long lead times continue. TCC has Malic Acid in stock and available. /

For more information please contact AJ Petrarca aj@thechemco.com

Methanol: The Methanex Non-Discounted Reference Price for December remains at US$1.38/ gallon. Spot pricing is currently approx. $1.13- $1.15/ gal. /

For more information please contact Robb Roach at robb@thechemco.com

Notes:

TCC and CNJ chemical to Merge. In order for CNJ chemical to take advantage of TCC’s infrastructure and supply methanol agreement CNJ Chem will afficially merge with TCC on 1/1/12.

Gas Curtailments in Trinidad have jumped from 10-15% to 20%. This surprise increase and prolonged curtailments will certainly have an impact in 2012.

Rumors are swirling that Methanex will move at least 1 plant from Chile to the U.S. Gulf Coast.

Methanex has shut down their Egyptian plant. Details are not yet available.

Nitric Acid:

Nitric Acid pricing is being pressure by feedstock/ ammonia pricing. Demand is good. /

For more information please contact Robb Roach at robb@thechemco.com

Phenolic Resins:

Phenol remains tight and availability is the key issue. Phenol prices are expected to increase in January due to higher benzene values. Formaldehyde prices have stabilized with recent Methanol nominations. /

For more information please contact John Santini at john@thechemco.com

Phthalic Anhydride:

Phthalic pricing will decrease by $.04/ lb. in December in line with orthoxylene pricing. –

For more Information please contact Javier Fernandez at javier@thechemco.com

Plasticizers and Plasticizer Alcohols:

Plasticizer demand world wide is slower but prices have bottomed and are seeing some recovery especially in Asia. Plasticizer alcohol demand has been very flat and prices have bottomed the exception being higher alcohols which are a steady export to Asia. Prices have seen some recovery recently.

Branched alcohols supply is balanced but linear alcohols remain tight.

Orthoxylene pricing has dropped by 4 cts/ lb. in December.

– /

For more information please contact Forest Goodman at forest@thechemco.com

Note: Some plasticizers have limited availability. Please contact TCC for further details.

TCC Plasticizers available:

Non- Phthalate:

ChemFlexx Dibenzoate Esters

ChemFlexx NP 500” Non- Phthalate Replacement for General Purpose Plasticizers

ChemFlexx NP 600” Non- Phthalate Replacement for DIDP

NatureFlexx 509” Phthalate Free General Purpose

Epoxidized Soybean Oil

ChemFlexx TOTM (TriOctyl Trimellitate)

ChemFlexx DOA (DiOctyl Adipate)

8 10 Trimellitate

Phthalate:

DINP (DiIsononyl Phthalate)

ChemFlexx 206” Linear Phthalate Plasticizer

ChemFlexx 208” Low Temp Linear Phthalate Plasticizer

Plasticizer

DOP (DiOctyl Phthalate)

DUP (DiUndecyl Phthalate)

DMP (DiMethyl Phthalate

ChemFlexx DOTP (DiOctyl Terephthalate)

Brominated DOP

ChemFlexx 9 11 Phthalate

Styrene monomer: Styrene Pricing will increase for January in line with higher benzene values. Demand has also been slow. –

For more information please contact Robb Roach at robb@thechemco.com

Urea: Urea prices have dropped substantially on weak demand and lower global values. Seasonal demand will begin in early 2012 but buyers are enjoying lower prices in the meantime. Granular barges are pegged at $360- $375/ ton and prilled at a Net $10- $20.00/ ton premium. –

For more information please contact Robb Roach at robb@thechemco.com

Notes:

Global buyers will remain quiet until mid- January.

Early 2012 will be a good time to build inventory.

Zinc Borate: Pricing has been relatively steady but demand has increased as consumers scramble to replace a portion of their Antimony Trioxide usage. Product is in stock and immediately available.

For more information on these or any of the products and services provided by TCC please contact Robb Roach directly at Robb@thechemco.com or go to our web site at thechemco.com

CHEMICAL INDUSTRY NEWS

The American Chemistry Council (ACC) reported that chemical production rose 0.2% in October, following a revised 0.1% gain in September.Compared to October 2010, total chemical production in all regions was up 1.6% and remained ahead year-over-year in all regions except the Gulf Coast. Chemical output remains below its pre-recession peak.

One of the largest industries in the United States, the chemical industry is a $720 billion enterprise.

Bioplastic bottles, chemically identical to PET, but with major components made from sugar cane rather than oil, have been seeing success in the beverage industry. Coca-Cola’s “Plant Bottle” packaging is reported to be approaching commercial viability.

The European Commission’s Joint Research Centre published initial findings regarding release of chemicals from plastic baby bottles. Of the polycarbonate bottles tested, around 20% released BPA in trace amounts, just above the detection level.

The EPA said that it will delay proposing the country’s first-ever greenhouse gas (GHG) limits on oil refineries. The delay is seen as another setback for the agency’s collection of new rules on everything from smog to mercury pollution. The EPA had been required to propose the rules on refineries by mid-December.

On December 6 the House of Representatives voted to give Congress greater power to approve or reject major federal rules that have been called “job killers,” regulations covering everything from children’s toys to health care. The bill was sent to the Senate. This legislation would shift power from regulators to Congress to make decisions on proposals with a potential economic impact of more than $100 million. In addition to the $100 million figure, the bill would apply to proposals that could lead to major increase in costs or prices.

The Senate has been working on Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) reform with the ACC.

The proposed Keystone XL oil sands pipeline, designed to bring crude oil from Alberta’s oil sands to Gulf Coast refineries, has been delayed by the Obama administration until after the 2012 elections. Green groups oppose it while several major unions and a number of business groups support it, stating that many jobs will be created. The Canadian government has stated that it will consider alternatives such as diverting the pipeline to the Pacific coast for shipments to China.

The operators of the Seaway oil pipeline have agreed to reverse the direction of flow to go from Cushing, Oklahoma to the Texas Gulf Coast. The 500 mile pipeline would have a capacity of 150,000 bbl/day by the second quarter of 2012.

Arkema announced a plan to sell its Vinyl Products business to the Swiss-based Klesch Group. The plasticizer and raw materials businesses are not included. The cost was estimated at €1.1 billion.

Lanxess reported a 30.5% third quarter increase in net income to €154 million, driven by demand for the company’s synthetic rubbers and high-tech plastics.

The Treasury Department increased its estimate of losses from the $85 billion auto industry bailout in the face of GM’s steep stock price decline. The department now says it expects to lose $23.6 billion, up from its earlier estimate of $14.3 billion. The total cost of the bailout of GM, Chrysler, and the auto finance companies is estimated to be $79.6 billion.

The CEO of GM, Dan Ackerson, said that the company will buy Chevrolet Volts back from any owner who is afraid that the vehicle will catch fire. Akerson said that if necessary GM will recall the more than 6,000 Volts now on the road in the US and repair them.

Chevron and six other partners are giving the Carnegie Science Center $1 million to create a new facility to improve science, technology, and math education in the Pittsburgh area.

Total foreign holdings of Treasury debt increased 1.9% in September to $4.66 trillion. China, the largest foreign holder, bought 1% more, bringing its total holdings to $1.15 trillion.

Economist estimates are that China’s trade surplus will shrink to $98 billion in 2011, and then to $36 billion by 2015 because of slower export growth and higher imports.

Sasol’s directors have approved a feasibility study for a cracker and derivatives project at Lake Charles, LA. Estimates of the total cost of the project range from $3.5 to $4.5 billion. The study is expected to be completed in the second half of 2013.

EU members were unable to agree on treaty changes, largely through UK opposition to new regulations. The eurozone countries plan to proceed. However, cautious European companies appear to be moving funds to Germany.

German unemployment was reported at 6.9% in November. Euro zone unemployment exceeded 10%.

Germany’s economic advisory council said that GDP could shrink by 0.5% next year if eurozone debt and banking crisis cause trade stagnation.

Global production of sugar cane, a major ethanol feedstock, is expected to increase in 2012. Brazilian yields are expected to be lower than normal due to poor weather conditions while European and Asian production is expected to increase.

On December 5, the US Postal Service filed a proposal to reduce service standards with the Postal Regulatory Commission. The USPS is seeking to cut costs by closing about half of its mail processing facilities, which would mean slower mail delivery.

The Association of American Railroads reported that US carloads increased 2.8% and intermodal volume rose 3.5% in November year over year.

Congress recently voted to discontinue funding for President Obama’s signature high speed rail program. He had requested $8 billion in fiscal 2012 and $53 over six years.

Import volumes at major US ports declined or showed little growth in October as retailers took a cautious approach to traditional pre-Christmas inventory building.

Strong demand for agricultural products in Asia drove US containerized exports up by 6.7% in the third quarter. Total US containerized export volume was up 8.3% through the first nine months of 2011.

The American Trucking Association reported that tonnage increased 0.5% in October. Compared with October 2010, tonnage was up 5.7%. Trucking represents 67.2% of tonnage carried by all modes of domestic freight transportation.

Shale gas-related news:

The US ethylene industry has received renewed focus. Production is expected to grow by nearly 5% in the next five years, while five new crackers could come on stream after 2015. Average output in 2011 of 900,000 bbl/day is expected to grow to as much as 1.2 million bbl/day by 2015. The ACC has estimated a gain of 400,000 jobs if ethane output increases by 25%.

Canada’s NOVA Chemicals has secured long-term supply contracts for low cost Marcellus shale ethane in order to improve its competitive position in eastern Canada. This will relieve a supply glut of extraneous ethane in the Marcellus formation. The ethane content can prevent transportation of natural gas in existing pipelines. Natural gas producers must strip ethane and other natural gas liquids from the stream before pipeline transportation.

The NY state Department of Environmental Conservation has refused to issue permits for wells using the fracking process. The comment period on proposed regulations was extended to January 11, 2012. The gas industry and some landowners have protested the extension, stating that the state continues to lose hundreds of jobs and millions of revenue dollars.

Royal Dutch Shell is studying the prospects of natural gas to liquids projects in the US, similar to the company’s $18 billion Qatar venture.

The EPA announced on November 23 that it will solicit public input on the design and scope of possible reporting requirements for chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing. The EPA action is in response to a petition from a coalition of environmental and public health groups.

THE ECONOMY

The Congressional Budget Office reported a federal budget deficit of $1.3 trillion in fiscal year 2011. This was almost identical to the deficit incurred in fiscal 2010. As a share of gross domestic product the deficit declined slightly from 9.0% to 8.7% but was the third highest deficit as a share of GDP since 1945.

The Treasury Department reported that the federal debt climbed to $15,033,607,255,920.32 as of November 16. It stood at $5.7 trillion in 2001.

The Bureau of Economic Analysis reported that third quarter 2011 Gross Domestic Product increased at a revised annual rate of 2.0%, that is, from the second quarter to third quarter. This was down from the earlier third quarter estimate of 2.5%. GDP increased 1.3% in the second quarter. Current-dollar GDP, the market value of the nation’s output of goods and services, increased 4.6% or $168.1 billion in the third quarter to a level of $15,198.6 billion. Second quarter increase was reported as 4.0% or $145.0 billion. GDP is expected to remain the same in 2012.

The Conference Board’s Leading Economic Index increased 0.9% in October to 117.4 (2004=100) following a 0.1% increase in September and a 0.3% increase in August. A spokesperson said the LEI data suggests that the risk of an economic downturn has receded.

The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index which had declined in October, improved in November. It stands at 56.0 (1985=100) up from 40.9 in October.

The Institute for Supply Management’s Manufacturing Index registered 52.7% in November, an increase of 1.9% from October’s 50.8% indicating expansion in the manufacturing sector for the 28th consecutive month. A reading above 50% indicates that the manufacturing economy is generally expanding. The Non-Manufacturing Report for November was 52.0%, lower than October 52.9% and indicating continued growth at a slightly lower rate.

In October, retail and food services sales adjusted for seasonal variations were $397.7 billion, an increase of 0.5% from September, and 7.2% above a year earlier. Total sales for the August – October 2011 period were up 7.6% from the same period a year ago.

Privately owned housing starts in October of 628,000 were 0.3% below the revised September estimate of 630,000 and 16.5% above the October 2010 rate of 539,000. Single family housing starts in October were at a rate of 430,000 or 3.9% above the revised September figure of 414,000.

According to the National Association of Realtors, sales of existing homes in October were up 1.4% from a year earlier. This is an annual rate of 4.97 million homes.

New orders for manufactured durable goods in October decreased $1.4 billion or 0.7% to $197.7 billion. This decrease followed a 1.5% September decrease.

October unfilled orders for manufactured durable goods, up eighteen of the last nineteen months, increased $1.9 billion or 0.2% to $886.0 billion and followed a 0.6% September increase.

Consumer Price Index decreased 0.1% in October. In the last twelve months, the index for all items increased 3.5% before seasonal adjustments. Over the past 12 months the energy index has increased 14.2%. The gasoline index declined 3.1% in October, and has increased 23.5% over the past twelve months.

The Producer Price Index for finished goods declined 0.3% in October, seasonally adjusted, following 0.8% increase in September. On an unadjusted basis, prices for finished goods increased 5.9% for the 12 months ended October 2011.

Interest rate: Prime at 3.25%, unchanged since 12/16/08.

Inflation: Inflation rate in October reported as 3.5% following September 3.8%. Average for the year projected at 3%+, up from 1.5% in 2010, becoming lower in 2012.

Unemployment: November rate fell by 0.4% to 8.6% after holding in the 9.0 – 9.2% range from April through October. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the long-term unemployed, i.e., jobless for 27 weeks and over was little changed at 43.0%.

The oil and gas rush has led to a private sector jobs boom in places like North Dakota and Pennsylvania. North Dakota has the lowest unemployment rate in the US at 3.5%.

Former Secretary of Labor Robert Reich was recently quoted as saying that unemployment in the US will most likely remain high for the next ten years.

Trade Deficit: For September 2011 the goods and services deficit decreased to $44.9 billion as exports increased more than imports.

Crude Oil: Prices recently rose above $100/bbl. Present WTI spot and future prices ~$98/bbl.

Natural Gas Prices remain steady with slight upticks in the Northeast due to cold weather. Working natural gas in storage is above last year and above the five year average.

A recent Exxon Mobil Corp. report stated that natural gas will replace coal as the leading fuel for generating electricity in the US by 2025, when it will also become the world’s number two fuel source thanks to its abundance.

Industrial production in October rose 0.7% after having declined 0.1% in September. Total industrial production for October was 3.9% above its level of a year earlier.

October capacity utilization rate for total industry increased to 77.8%. This was 2.1% above the rate a year earlier but 2.6% below 1972 – 2010 average.

The US dollar trading at 77.80 Japanese yen; $1.33 = euro. The British pound sterling = $1.56. Canadian dollar trading at US$1.01

Current US gold price reported as $1741/ounce compared to the record price of $1890/ounce on August 22.

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