Douglas Fraser, Business and economy editor, Scotland

Douglas Fraser Business and economy editor, Scotland

Come here for my take on money matters from a Scottish perspective

Uneven gains from lower pump prices

Petrol pump

We all know that oil-users win from the price of Brent crude falling below $50, and that oil-producers lose.

Those with an eye to climate change would like to remind you that we all lose, longer term.

But did you know that it is better-off male drivers from the East Midlands who are among the biggest winners?

Yes, the re-ordering of the global economy with cheaper oil is not just about Russia's currency crisis and budget crunches from Riyadh to Caracas.

As north-east Scotland is finding, it's about re-ordering within countries. The Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas has found that oil at $55 means 125,000 job cuts in Texas, feeding through to supply chains for the industry across the state that pumps 40% of US oil.

Read full article Uneven gains from lower pump prices

Shared tax powers: a tricky balancing act


The arrival in Edinburgh of the men from the International Monetary Fund was one of the scary prospects offered up last year by critics of independence.

The 'no' majority hasn't kept them at bay.

Read full article Shared tax powers: a tricky balancing act

Dispute and danger down the Dog and Duck

Man drinking pint of lager

Do you go for a "drinking occasion" without a meal? We're told it's a disappearing habit across Britain - other than affluent areas - and that disappearance is accelerating. That's not good for pubs.

Perhaps the projection of an old and endangered image of the bar-propping Englishman is one of the ways in which Nigel Farage seeks to tap into voters' dislike of how the world is changing.

Read full article Dispute and danger down the Dog and Duck

Trimming the hedge, without a power cut

Trimming a hedge

"Why isn't my energy bill going down?" I asked, in the headline of my previous contemplations.

This one has a slight variation: "Now that my energy bill is going down, why is it not going down further and faster?"

Read full article Trimming the hedge, without a power cut

Why aren't my energy bills coming down?

Energy bill

Behind the headlines about the oil price crash, here are three bits of the story I picked up in recording the Business Scotland programme this week.

One: if you think lower energy prices should be feeding through to lower bills for home heating and electricity, Ed Miliband has some explaining to do to you.

Read full article Why aren't my energy bills coming down?

Downbeat drumbeats for upstream

North Sea platform
Hundreds of workers are employed offshore in the North Sea

If you want a barrel of Brent crude for delivery next month (an idea for the birthday boy/girl who has everything), it'll currently set you back just under $48. Three days ago, it was nearly three dollars cheaper.

Convert that into the Britisher pound sterling, and it's not far over the £30 mark.

Read full article Downbeat drumbeats for upstream

Oil turmoil amid Scotland's big players

  • 10 January 2015
  • From the section Scotland
Crude oil tanker at Hound Point terminal

We're told SMEs - small and medium-sized enterprises - are the backbone of the Scottish economy. And they are. There are lots of them.

According to the rhetoric, we should support and cherish them, giving the Scottish economy a warm glow.

Read full article Oil turmoil amid Scotland's big players

Stormy times ahead in the North Sea

  • 8 January 2015
  • From the section Scotland
oil barrels

Remember: the oil price can go up as well as down. Falling through $50 per barrel is being given the sense of a historic low. Yet only seven years ago, Brent crude peaked above $145, and sank below $40 in one tumultuous year.

So we've been here before. We should know by now that the oil price is notoriously volatile. And the pressures that bring it down can create the conditions to make it rise again.

Read full article Stormy times ahead in the North Sea

Share options at Ibrox

  • 5 January 2015
  • From the section Scotland
A shadow of the gates at Ibrox Stadium

Followers of the long saga of financial mayhem at Rangers Football Club have probably worked their way through a significant portion of a master's degree in business.

They can quote the intricacies of administration and liquidation under insolvency law. The CVA, or company voluntary arrangement, was a favourite exam topic a couple of years ago. Then there's the Alice-in-Offshore-Wonderland tax arrangements for an Employee Benefit Trust.

Read full article Share options at Ibrox

A bumpy year ahead

  • 3 January 2015
  • From the section Scotland
Bumper cars

It's a busy time for clairvoyants. I've been having a look at some of the predictions for 2015, and thought I'd save you the effort of doing likewise, by offering up a few themes.

The new year looks bumpy, in economic and political terms. While the American economy is not badly placed for a good run, few others can say the same.

Read full article A bumpy year ahead

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About Douglas

Douglas joined BBC Scotland at the moment the financial crisis struck in 2008, reporting on the meltdown at RBS and the collapse of Dunfermline Building Society.

His beat also includes close attention to the offshore oil and renewable energy sectors, and he takes a mostly professional interest in whisky.

Working in Scottish journalism since 1989, he previously worked for The Herald and The Scotsman, among other newspapers.

He has covered politics from the Holyrood parliament, as well as education, the arts and the Highlands and Islands.

He is co-author of the Political Guide to Modern Scotland.

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