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Oil pain spreads, 'Dr Copper' hurts too

Friday, January 16, 2015 - 01:55

Plummeting oil prices claim another scalp as the world's No.1 oilfield services provider announces 9,000 job cuts. And this week has seen a rout in copper prices that some see as an even worse omen for the world economy. Ivor Bennett reports.

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The casualties are coming thick and fast. Schlumberger the latest scalp of falling oil prices. The world's top oilfield services provider has announced 9,000 job cuts. Following on from those at BP and ConocoPhillips as the slide goes on. Oil prices have slumped nearly 60 percent in the last 6 months with both of the world's benchmarks trading below 50 dollars a barrel. Good for consumers, maybe, but according to IMF Chief Christine Lagarde, still not low enough to lift global growth. (SOUNDBITE) (English) IMF MANAGING DIRECTOR CHRISTINE LAGARDE SAYING: "Clearly the drop in oil prices is, as we say, a shot, and a welcome shot in the arm for the global economy. But to pursue the physical analogy, a shot in the arm is good. But if the global economy is weak on its knees it's not going to help. We need both strong arms, strong legs as well." Doctor copper's diagnosis is similarly damning. Often seen as taking the pulse of the global economy, prices for the metal plummeted 8 percent this week to their lowest level in 5 and a half years. Jeremy Batstone-Carr from Charles Stanley says it won't stop there. SOUNDBITE (English) JEREMY BATSTONE-CARR, CHIEF ECONOMIST, CHARLES STANLEY, SAYING: "This is not simply a question of weak or substantial supply. It's actually a question of weak demand and that I think does pose major challenges." Not least about China - a huge copper consumer where foreign investment growth has slowed to its lowest in two years. CCLA's James Bevan. SOUNDBITE (English) JAMES BEVAN, CHIEF INVESTMENT OFFICER, CCLA, SAYING: ''China for me is the big risk for 2015. They have bubbles in property, they have bubbles in credit, and these issues clearly are going to be hard to resolve.'' China has unveiled measures to offset its slowing growth. Such as 8 billion dollars in extra lending to banks. But depending on what the doctor says, the global economy may need more care than that.

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Oil pain spreads, 'Dr Copper' hurts too

Friday, January 16, 2015 - 01:55