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Asian Polyethylene: The Butadiene “War Chest”

By John Richardson

HERE we go again. The above chart shows how the spread between CFR Japan naphtha costs and CFR Northeast Asian (NEA) butadiene prices has been steadily climbing over the last few months. In January of this year …

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Polyethylene Markets To Become More Regional, Less Global

By John Richardson

THE GREAT US author Mark Twain, pictured on the right, needed to pay off his debts. So in May 1897, he was in London during a round-the-world speaking tour designed to raise the money to pay off …

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China Polyethylene Operating Rates To Rise On Govt Policies

By John Richardson

EARLIER this month I reported on how China’s state-owned refineries faced increased competition from their domestic private competitors in 2016 in gasoline, diesel, kerosene and other refined-product markets. This forced Sinopec and PetroChina to reduce their overall …

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Tackling China’s Latest Steel Bubble: Implications For Petrochemicals

Note: A technical fault meant I was unable to update the blog on Wednesday and Friday last week. Business as usual returns this week.

By John Richardson

THE stop, start nature of economic reforms in China, which is the result …

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New ICIS Study To Measure The Trump Effect

THE global economic and political landscape is in a state of flux and we face levels of uncertainty not seen for decades, as the three scenarios I outline above indicate. Politics is dominating Boardroom debate around the globe.

Will President …

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China And US: Different Approach To Same Challenge Risks Only One Winner

By John Richardson

WHAT do Xi Jinping and Donald Trump have in common? Both confront the challenge of income inequality.

President Xi’s approach is centred on the One Belt, One Road initiative, which involves an attempt to create the world’s …

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Oil Prices: Speculation Reaches New High, As Do Risks For Real Economy

By John Richardson

HEDGE funds and other speculators had amassed a record amount of futures contracts of 885m barrels by 31 January, according to the Financial Times. These contracts were equivalent to almost nine days of actual, physical demand. And …

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China Polyethylene: Increased Local Naphtha Supply Threaten Imports And Margins

By John Richardson

CHINA’S polyethylene (PE) demand grew from around 22m tonnes in 2914 to approximately 25m tonnes in 2016 – an increase of 12.16% based on the exact numbers, according to ICIS Consulting.

Even better news for the global …

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Another Layer Of Trumponomics Risk: Equities Versus Real Economy

By John Richardson

THE TOP chart shows that global chemicals industry operating rates fell to just 78.3% in November, even though companies up down the industry’s value chain were building inventory ahead of expected New Year price rises.  This was …

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Trumponomics: 2017 Global Recession Now Almost Inevitable

By John Richardson

DONALD Trump is governing exactly the way he promised to govern by focusing on immigration and trade. Throughout the election campaign he never wavered on these two key promises to his electoral base, the people who were …

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