Asian Naphtha Cracker Spreads To Fall By 50% In 2018

By John Richardson

ASIAN naphtha cracker operators will see a 50% decline in average spreads, or differentials, between their raw-material costs and finished product prices in 2018 compared with last year, according to my forecasts in the above chart. This …

Continue Reading

China’s Plastic Clean-Up Threatens Polymer Growth Assumptions

Last week saw the release of an EU Plastics Strategy which aims to make packaging plastics 100% recyclable in the EU by 2030. China is also moving in the same direction, as I discuss below – and this doesn’t just …

Continue Reading

Plastic Waste: The Billion Dollar Threat To The Global Polymers Business

By John Richardson

THE global scale of the plastics waste challenge is illustrated by the above chart from my blog post last October. Using our ICIS Supply & Demand Database, examining the production of of 11 major polymers, some 4bn …

Continue Reading

China Debt Crisis: Out Of Fashion, But Could Still Happen

By John Richardson

NO LONGER is the promotion of local government officials in China being solely measured by their success in hitting GDP growth targets. What is instead taking priority is how successful local authorities are in cleaning-up the environment. …

Continue Reading

Petchems Pricing Power, Operating Rates Tell Real Economic Story

By John Richardson

PETROCHEMICALS and polymers pricing power – how easily petrochemicals producers can pass-on higher oil prices to their customers – is a great measure of the strength of the overall global economy.

The reason is that petrochemicals are …

Continue Reading

Struggling Polyethylene In 2018, Strong Profits Elsewhere

By John Richardson

THERE will perhaps be two headline directions for the global chemicals and polymers industries in 2018:

I believe that the global polyethylene (PE) market has a very good chance of moving from last year’s peak margins to…

Continue Reading

Asian Naphtha-PE Spreads Collapse By 80% As 2018 Challenges Build

By John Richardson

ASIAN naphtha-to-polyethylene (PE) spreads collapsed by 80% in the first week of January compared with December last year because of the failure to pass on the rise in naphtha feedstock costs resulting from higher oil prices.

In …

Continue Reading

US-China Trade Relations In 2018: Prepare For The Worst

By John Richardson

WE GOT away with it in 2017 by luck rather than design, as there is of course very little that petrochemicals and polymers companies can do to prevent a global trade war other than lobbying politicians.

Part …

Continue Reading

2018 Oil and Petchems: Risk Of Mistaking Apparent For Real Demand

By John Richardson

PERHAPS the most important recent single paragraph of analysis, in the huge volume of analysis out there about oil markets, was this from Nick Cunningham in a 24 December article on oilprice.com:

The [global crude] inventory surplus …

Continue Reading

Global Economy In 2018: Stimulus Withdrawal Threatens Complacent Outlook

By John Richardson

IN TODAY’S world of soar-away stock markets backed up by the notion that the sustained global economic recovery will not be derailed in 2018, there is a need to detail the major risks out there.

Today’s post …

Continue Reading