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Monday, December 29, 2014

THE SINKING OF PLANES, SHIPS AND OIL

Surely, this must be pure coincidence, but planes and ships seem to have had the worst luck this year in Asia and Italy. Then, too, oil is down today again.

The Year 2014 will be worst for aviation in Asia, with 757 killed:
  • 28December:  Indonesia AirAsia 8501 (162--Java Sea?)
  • 17July:  Malaysia Airlines 17 (298--Ukraine)
  • 23July:  TransAsia Airways 222 (58-Taiwan)
  • 8March:  Malaysia Airlines 370 (239--South China Sea, Andaman Sea, India Ocean???)

Italy seems to have monopolized ship/ferry disasters, but the Costa Concordia sinking occurred off Tuscany in 2012.  The latest, marine misfortune is an Italian ferry, the Norman Atlantic, half an hour out of Greece, carrying more than 470 on the vessel, where there were at least 8 deaths.

The greater marine tragedy, however was the South Korean ferry, MW Sewol, holding 476 people, which capsized on April 15, killing 304 passengers, perhaps 250 being school children:


Reclusive billionaire and religious leader Ahea (Yoo Byung-eun), who ran the company operating the ferry had a half a million dollar reward for his capture, and was found dead on July 21 in a field under "mysterious" circumstances.  His entire family is in some phase of trial or indictment for a variety of crimes.

I add oil to this list because it too sunk, but in price, and the decline continued today, for the last time I looked, the WTI (American) cost was below $54/barrel.  Refer to that graph in the right column and place your mouse indicator over the 1 month / 1 quarter / 1 year / 5 year periods to appreciate the significant of this halving in value from mid-summer:


While all the ship and plane sinkings were horrible tragedies, the drop in petroleum prices boosted the American economy (the Dow Jones Industrial Average could set yet another all-time high today) and derailed Russia, Iran and Venezuela.  This means almost nothing, but the Chicago Mercantile Exchange price of oil in December of 2020 is projected to be $71/barrel.  Yet, for now, you got to wonder how much lower can it go?  For the truly analytical, note that the price in the late nineties was a lot lower:


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