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Micro-management gone too far?

“Nobody can see until the end of the month – never mind into the third quarter,” commented an olefins trader recently.

“The reason is that very senior managers are too busy micro-managing everything, from getting involved in trying to track …

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If manufacturers started buying up their suppliers….

This excellent article from The Economist about vertical integration got me thinking that if, say, auto makers start buying up parts suppliers in developed markets (in developing markets the plastics processing industry is too fragmented) we could end up facing …

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How to make money in a downturn Part 1

Herein begins an occasional series where I offer advice on how to make a little cash.

By the way, is it me or do I get the sense that a lot companies haven’t woken up to the severity of the …

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Uncle Karl is back in fashion

Yes, indeed, with all the talk of the collapse of capitalism and with liberal economists running for cover, dear old Karl might once again be the flavour of the month.

Oh how I remember those dewy-eyed days, standing on the …

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Japan’s corporate hero

Back in the 1980s, before Japan’s “Lost Decade” of stagnant growth, management gurus lined up to praise the country’s collective spirit as the basis of a sustainable economic miracle.

Since then, of course, the West has been consistently espoused as …

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History will surely repeat itself

The mood at the recent NPRA International Petrochemical Conference in San Antonio, Texas, was mixed, despite all the economic gloom.

Some producers said they were still making money – especially those selling into manufacturing sectors benefiting from a rise in …

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Here we go again – 1997 is back…..

I sincerely hope not, but all the signs are there because of:

*A financial crisis which nobody again saw coming, this time with global implications

*What could prove to be too much spending on new equipment and capacity. This time …

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Japanese gloom builds as earnings fall

Yet more gloom – the world’s second-biggest economy appears to be slowing down as the effects of the sub-prime crisis spread.

What will this mean for Japan’s chemical industry, which in the first half of the current financial year suffered …

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Could China be the new Japan?

Quite possibly not, according to a Deutsche Bank report.

However, as the report makes the clear, the same types of imbalances are building in the Chinese economy which led to Japan’s “Lost Decade” of the 1990s.

Time to take stock …

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Is the world heading for a naphtha crisis?

Quite possiby says International e-Chem and Wood Mackenzie in a new study which predicts that by 2015, China could have a deficit of as much as 35m tonnes.

When you consider that total global output is around 300m tonne/year, this …

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