Thoughts on Oil Price Increases and International Port Operators

by: Global Investing Editor

There is 20-yr record snow in England and the airports are shut or slowed; the railroads are impassible and the roads dangerous because they have run out of grit. There is 40-year record snow in Beijing, where Tienanmin Square is blanketed with the stuff. Also record snow is Seoul. Most of northern Europe is shivering.

In fact the only major developed country where there is no cold snap at this moment is Australia. (I have no idea about New Zealand, but I suspect it is summery there too.)

The price of oil is rising because of demand for winter fuel. So too are the prices of other commodities whose extraction is being hindered by extreme cold, like copper and other metals.

These price increases will have the impact of a tax hike on the economies of the world (including the antipodes, because oil and metals are priced globally.) Taxes hurt growth.

This cold snap and the resulting price rises will hamper and delay the global economic recovery. Stimulus will have to be maintained for longer to keep hiring, spending, and investing on the bubble, and to help the financial sector recover its bearings.

DP World Ltd. (OTC:DPWRF), the port operator whose parent Dubai World is in bankruptcy, told Bloomberg it will seek a London Stock Exchange listing to boost its valuation in H2. It is currently listed only in Dubai. We tried unsuccessfully to buy shares in the port operator right after the Dubai default; one of our subscribers managed to do the trade in Switzerland but I could not. It is trading at a significant discount from other port operators

Bloomberg learned from Rami Sidani, who manages $250 mn as head of Middle East and North Africa at Schroder Investment Management Ltd. in Dubai that ''this move means more visibility for the company, as well as greater credibility as an international player.’’

DP World is the 4th-largest port operator, behind Hong Kong’s Hutchison Port Holdings, Singapore’s PSA International Pte., and Denmark’s AP Moeller-Maersk (OTCPK:AMKAF). Moody’s rates it below investment grade, unlike its rivals, because of Dubai problems.