Watch the crush spread

Trying to chase down cause and effect in energy and resource markets can be frustrating - it is hard to follow a linear path to a new, coherent equilibrium. Take, for example, Geoff Styles' recent line of thought on the impact of Egyptian unrest on renewable energy.
... since the protests started on January 25, and without any actual disruption in oil deliveries, the price of UK Brent crude... has climbed by around $5 per barrel and now trades solidly above $100.

... [Ethanol and biodiesel] stand to gain if oil prices are driven up by factors that don't also push up the prices of the commodities from which they're made [emphasis mine].
That last bit is critical, and can't be taken for granted. In late 2008 ethanol was clearly the marginal use of corn and corn became priced off of its value in use as ethanol, squeezing margins despite high oil prices. If biofuels come back in a big way, this dynamic is likely to kick in (leading, incidentally, to even higher food prices, not good for most people).

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