It’s getting darker and darker out there

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It would be nice to start the weekend with a little cheer, but I’m afraid no amount of gormless optimism would work.

DuPont, as you can see from this excellent piece from my colleague Nigel Davis at ICIS, has revised its forecast for 2009 global growth down to minus 2.5% from minus 0.6%.

Every chemicals end-use segment you can think off from automobiles to construction to electronics looks a lot weaker than in H1 2008.

We need a new way of thinking to get through this, but as I head for a weekend with my family where the plan is to avoid reading any financial news, I am short of any ideas – other than maybe working for an NGO and accepting a much-reduced standard of material liviing.

Making money in this climate remains extremely hard – although from a business journalist’s perspective, it is of course a fascinating time.

The first stage of the 105th Canton Trade Fair – which involves electronic and electrical appliances, hardware and tools, machinery, vehicles and spare parts, building materials, lighting equipment and chemical products – concluded this week. Sales totalled $13.03bn – a 20.8% fall on the same stage last year.

I also read this other report about a surge in job creation in China’s cities in Q1 over the the fourth quarter last year. What are all these extra workers doing?

Are they building dangerously high inventories of semi-finished and finished goods?

China’s economy is showing signs of recovery, but not enough to replace the 20% fall in exports during the first quarter.

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