News: May 2022 Commodity Musings

What’s the point of a tambourine?

To me It’s one of those musical instruments that doesn’t appear to add much to a song other than give the singer something to do with their hands as they roam the...

March 2022 Commodity Musings

  Ice Cream Vans are cool.     When I was growing up, the melodic chimes of that van coming into your road led to a rush of kids running “pied piper like” towards it for the latest sickly, sugar heavy vanilla cornet, preferably with sprinkles. If it was a Sunday we may have been able to afford to have a flake added as well. Maybe this was an early indication of the fragmentation in our society between the have and have nots, or maybe not... What was the point of the additions? Just a reason to add another couple of pennies to the price at substantially less than the actual cost of the extra ingredients. And so began my introduction to the concept of adding value. We see this all the time in commodities. The conversion of raw materials to final products for consumption with the addition of “magic ingredients”, processes and time/effort/logistics etc... How do you put a value to this process and are some producers and traders making excessive monies out of these transformations as is suggested by the media? As always, the market decides what may be excessive giving buyers/consumers the option to switch allegiance if the price isn’t right. As my old Economics teacher Mr Gaskell used to say to every question I asked him “It’s all about supply and demand dear boy”. My first job in the banking world was checking documents in the LC department, probably not the most exciting job but an excellent grounding in the commodity world and a stepping stone to other things. I was a big fan of the sanctity of a LC as an irrevocable guarantee of payment subject to confirming documents. Now however, Banks are using LCs as a means of non-payment by finding a “discrepancy” and using it as a pretext for avoiding their payment obligation because their customer has disappeared, lacks funds, or has gone bust, is very frustrating. It’s an act of bad faith and inherently responsible for destroying some of my younger dreams. Could this possibly lead to LCs no longer being the go-to security instrument? Methinks that’s an ongoing discussion for next month. At a press conference in 1986 Ronald Reagan said, “The nine most terrifying words in the English language are “I’m from the government and I’m here to help”. Thirty-six years on this is truer than ever. The lack of trust individuals and corporates have in Government(s) and authority today is at an all-time high with the MSM helping to fan the flames by constant rumour, speculation, and opinion. How do we combat this? Do your own research, have a mind of your own, and be prepared to challenge any fact quoted to you. The truth is harder to find than a pint under £4 in the City. In these troubled times I’ll leave you with the profound thoughts of Martin Fry and ABC   “Can’t complain, mustn’t grumble, help yourself to another piece of apple crumble”.


January 2022 Commodity Musings

Happy New Year commodity peoples of the world!


December 2021 Commodity Musings

I don't like politicians. Their total inability to answer the question posed to them is frustrating, along with the current obsession with the Big State having a lot of control over people's lives in terms of restrictions imposed. What happened to the concept of empowering the population to make their own decisions? Isn't that the way you learn to take responsibility for your actions? Cause and effect and all that. ...


October 2021 Commodity Musings

I like dictionaries. Call me old fashioned but I still use my “Collins English Gem Dictionary” (1960 reprint). I know that with two clicks of a mouse you can find anything online but the tactile joy of thumbing through a dog-eared dictionary and discovering words like sphagnum and megatherdum by accident and learning 1 myriagram equals 1.5747 stone is not to be underestimated. If we wait long enough all words come back into fashion and maybe, we can stop our over reliance on jargon.


September 2021 Commodity Musings

I've always been a fan of the concept of alternative realities, parallel universes and, time travel since an early age. This was probably fed by my reading diet of Superman, Batman and X-Men comics in the 1960's. They tended to send my imagination and dreams into overload, an early indicator of the sleepless nights that would be coming to me over the next 40 years. The first time I saw The Wizard of Oz I didn't understand the surrealism of it, but in later years the vividness of the colours alone were enough to send my head spinning.


August 2021 Commodity Musings

I like trees. I always have done, ever since I was a kid. They always seemed to induce that feel-good factor when you were surrounded by them as opposed to the concrete jungles that many cities are these days, with just continual building onwards and upwards.


June 2021 Commodity Musings

When I'm sitting in the shed late at night, I often end up in a musical, Google wormhole fuelled by a diet of Jaffa Cakes and Rooibos tea listening to old rock music. Hence, when Rise by Public Image Limited from 1986 came on the radio, the words, "anger is an energy", sung by the Sex Pistol's John Lydon, jumped out at me (later the title of his autobiography that's well worth a read btw) which pretty much tells it like it is.


The Commodity World in Crisis?

“….And the beat goes on” was a song by The Whispers from the late 70s when I first got involved in the wonderful world of commodities and you know what, 40+years later it pretty much describes where we are today raw materials are still dug up, crops are still grown and harvested, transportation and logistics move it from its place of origin via intrinsic supply chains to the ultimate consumers, (that’s us by the way) who create the demand in the first place.



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