Archive | May, 2013

European Processors Bemoan Volatility

By John Richardson

THE blog listened to an interesting discussion yesterday, on the first day of the 2nd ICIS World Polyolefins Conference in Berlin, during which plastics processors tackled the perennial issue of volatility.

They complained that:

*Trying to build …

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Germany’s Skills Shortage

By John Richardson

GERMANY’S engineering and chemicals companies are the envy of the world as a result of their ability to find perfect niches in the global value chain. The sophisticated machinery and chemicals needed by China to fulfil its …

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Japan Consolidation Continues

Source: Japan Petrochemical Industry Association

By John Richardson

JAPAN’S petrochemicals industry remains in consolidation mode, as my ICIS colleague Nigel Davis writes in this article.

And, as the chart above shows, Japan’s ethylene output continues to fall. It was down 8% …

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Hallucinatory Effects

 

By John Richardson

THE reasons cited for last week’s global sell-off in stock markets (see the above chart of the Nikkei up until Thursday last week) were concerns over volatility in the Japanesegovernment bond market and the economic slowdown in China.

Some investors, …

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Everything Is Going To Plan

By John Richardson

So far so good – everything is going to plan.

The flash Markit/HSBC China Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) for May fell to 49.6, slipping under the 50-point level demarcating expansion from contraction for the first since October last year and …

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China Will Do What Suits China

By John Richardson

CHINA might well be in the midst of deflation caused by overcapacity in some chemicals, and in many other industries as well, but the longer-term strategic direction of reducing dependence on imports doesn’t appear to have changed.…

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China Market Rally In Context

 

By John Richardson

ETHYLENE spot prices rose by $20-50/tonne in Asia last week on the back of stronger derivatives pricing, including a $5-25/tonne increase in polyethylene (PE), according to ICIS.

However, nobody is cracking open the champagne. As the …

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Please Be Careful Out There

By John Richardson

Quite often, a chart is worth many thousands of words. The above chart, from Bloomberg, shows the divergence between the soaring S&P 500 index and US macro-economic indicators.

The theory is that soaring equity values will be …

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Get Behind China

By John Richardson

THE blog is often accused of being pessimistic. We are not. We are just realistic.

It was realistic last November to anticipate that China’s new leaders would be dedicated to major economic reform. In fact, this was …

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China Hints At Yuan Depreciation

By John Richardson

LABOUR markets are tight in China and so on the surface there appears to be no great pressure on Beijing to attempt to export its way out of an unemployment crisis.

But what happens if, as we …

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