Wednesday, June 4, 2008

shui shen huo re 水深火热

I spent the morning busy preparing new quotation to my customers. The materials cost has gone up again! Since the crude oil shooting upward from US$38.00 three years ago, I am practically swimming in the storming seas of crude oil prices. The prices like the wave of the seas, moving up and down..... So you can imagine at today US $130 per barrel level. I am swimming in nightmare!

My business is dealing in hydrocarbon (solvent). It is the by-product of crude oil. Three years ago when the sudden surge of crude oil prices occurred, I was almost drown... I needed more money to buy. Luckily I have some reserve energy (money) to pull through.

Three years ago, a litre of solvent named *Toluene is priced at RM1.30 per litre. Today, I am buying at RM 3.60 per litre. I purchased it in 20,000-litre tanker. Usually I ordered about 6 to 8 tankers a month. Methanol, the material used for bio-diesel, was RM 0.30 many years ago at its lowest level, today it is selling at RM 1.80 per litre. There are more than twenty items I am buying every month but in a smaller volume.

In business, selling is the easy part, collection is the difficult other part. I am feeling the financial strain constantly. I am scaling down my business to reduce risk exposure.

The economy outlook of the world and our country does not make one cheerful. In Malaysia, prices of essential items, especially rice and flour, are moving up. People are feeling the pinch especially the lower income group. A Chinese proverb aptly describe the present situation:" shui shen huo re 水深火热 means submerged in deep water (dire straits), surrounded by hot fire "

Due to the speculative trading, the oil price is rocketing higher which will bring destructive effect to the world.

*Toluene is one of the related components in the formulation of petrol. If Government revokes subsidy, the price of petrol should be at RM 4.00 per litre level.

今早我忙着准备新的价钱表给顾客。产品价格又上涨了。打从三年前,原油价格从每桶美金38元上升开始,我就好像是在颠簸原油价格的海中游着。原油的价格就如大海浪潮般,上上下下。今天的原油价格已经到了每桶130 美元的水准,你可以想象我是在游在恶梦中。


三年前,一个很通销的名为 *Toluen 的产品, 只需RM1.30 一公升,现在却需要RM3.60 一公升。通常我每个月会购买 6 至 8 油罐车该产品。一油罐车装载大约二万公升。另一个产品,Methanol 是一种酒精,现在可用来生产生物柴油。数年前最低的价格是每公升三角钱,现在已上升到每公升一元八角了。


我国及世界的经济目前的前景不乐观。 在我国,各种必须品价格日益膨胀,特别是百米及面粉,对一些低收入者,是非常大的压力。在这百物腾涨,风声鹤唳的时期,用水深火热来形容目前的状况,该是很恰当吧。


*Toluene 是制造汽油的相关成分之一。假如我国政府取消津贴,应该会在每公升 RM4.00 的水平。

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