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What Exclusion From China’s One Belt, One Road Looks Like

By John Richardson

IS the whole world really turning again free trade? No, if you consider the potential improvement in trade flows between the 65 mainly developing countries which make up China’s One Belt, One Road (OBOR) initiative.

What we …

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China And A Breakdown In Free Trade: Scenarios For Petrochemicals

By John Richardson

MY blog post last Friday, on the threat to the petrochemicals industry of a retreat in global free trade, has gained a great deal of interest. This is good as this is an essential debate.

Today I …

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The Hypnotic Allure Of Emerging Markets

By John Richardson

A GLEAMING new skyscraper in downturn Beijing, Bangkok, Mumbai, Jakarta or Kuala Lumpur made for fantastic TV viewing, especially if a photogenic reporter was standing in front of such a building.

The reporter would then talk about …

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Asia Polyethylene: Explaining The Past And Future

By John Richardson

TAKE a look at the above chart and ask yourself this question, “Why is it that the spreads between high-density polyethylene (HDPE) injection grade and naphtha have been so good so far this year?”

The same has …

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Supply Exceptionally Tight, But Real Demand Still Struggles

By John Richardson

WHAT a fantastic year it has so far been for margins, with the chart above showing how in one grade of polyethylene (PE), Northeast Asia (NEA) and European producers are really, really cashing in. The same applies …

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Fed Policies Increase Emerging Market Poverty

By John Richardson

THERE are 2.8bn people – 40% of the world’s population – who live on $2-10 a day.

These people are “the fragile middle”, according to the Financial Times, as they are constantly in danger of falling back …

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Malaysia: All That Glitters Is Not Gold

By John Richardson

ANYONE who visits Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia’s capital city, might well come away with the impression that everything is well with the country.

The hotels are heaving as are the restaurants,  bars and shopping centres. So are the …

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China Reforms: The Global Implications

By John Richardson

IT can feel logical to assume that the fundamentals of the petrochemicals business in Asia haven’t really changed.

When you think about it, apart from a brief interruption in the region’s success story during the Asian Financial …

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Poverty Alleviation Matters More Than GDP

By John Richardson

RICH people, relatively speaking, don’t buy that many chemicals and polymers – hence, poverty reduction matters from a dollars and cents as well as a moral perspective.

Thus, a report released this week by the Asian Development …

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The Petronas Decision: What It Means

By John Richardson

LAST week’s decision by Petronas to go ahead with its $27bn refinery and petrochemicals complex at Pengerang in Johor, Malaysia, tells us that:…

Nation building remains important in the petrochemicals business. This project will create huge further

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