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Disclaimer. After nearly 40 years managing money for some of the largest life offices and investment managers in the world, I think I have something to offer. But I can't by law give you advice, and I do make mistakes. Remember: the unexpected sometimes happens. Oddly enough, the expected does too, but all too often it takes longer than you thought it would, or on the other hand happens more quickly than you expected. The Goddess of Markets punishes (eventually) greed, folly, laziness and arrogance. No matter how many years you've served Her. Take care. Be humble. And don't blame me.

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Saturday, May 24, 2014

Coal price slump

The price of coal is sliding fast (it had a bit of an uptick yesterday when China's PMI came in fractionally stronger than expected, but I doubt that'll last)

Part of the reason is the slowdown in China.  Note that this isn't a cyclical slowdown.  It's a reduction in the trend growth rate.  Since China is the world's largest coal market, obviously that will affect coal prices all  by itself, especially since supply (from Oz and elsewhere) has increased.

But the inexorable march of solar is also having an effect.  The cost of solar power is falling so fast that there are no longer macro-economic consequences for switching from coal-fired to solar electricity.  And coal is so filthy (at least a million killed a year from air pollution) that it now makes sense for new power to be sourced from the sun. China has tripled its target for solar electricity.  You've all seen the pictures of air pollution in Beijing.

So coal is prolly beginning a secular slump in price.


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