Chemicals & the Economy – the first 6 months

It is now almost 6 months since I started writing this blog. And I thought you might like some feedback on how it is developing.
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As you can see from the green-shading on the map, it is now read in almost all of the major chemical producing/consuming areas. A high proportion of readers bookmark the site, and return to it regularly. You are also spending more time on the site, as the amount of content builds.

Certainly, there has been no shortage of issues to cover:

Oil prices. The blog was amongst the first to suggest, on July 5, that crude prices might reach $100/bbl over the winter. At that time, the price was $71/bbl, and most forecasters were expecting a decline. The recent peak was $99.26/bbl, and the winter is not yet over.
Credit crunch. The blog covered this from the start, just as the US subprime crisis began. And many people have kindly commented that they first became aware of its implications for the chemical industry via the blog’s commentary.
• Chemical markets have been covered extensively, with a focus on key areas such as housing and autos. These are clearly leading indicators for chemical demand, and the blog has been able to highlight potential problems before they became widely recognised.
• Regional developments. Chemicals is a global industry, and the blog has kept readers up to date on developments in all the major areas – Asia, the Americas, Europe and the Middle East.

Re-reading the blog’s Mission statement (at the top of the main page), it therefore seems to be fulfilling its role of ‘sharing ideas that may shape the chemical industry over the next 12-18 months’. We have certainly ‘looked behind the headlines’, and I have tried to provide as many links as possible to original source material elsewhere on the web.

We have also had our moments of ‘fun’ – commenting on the hedge fund trader who ‘forgot’ he owned a £80k Maserati, and on the Brazilian super-model who sparked a mini-currency crisis by revealing she preferred to be paid in euros, not dollar.

One recent change is that I am often now writing shorter summaries of issues as they develop. With 82 postings already on the site, readers can then link to more detailed background, as required. Hopefully, this makes it quicker for you to find the topics of most interest.

Thank you very much for your support and comments over the past 6 months. I’m looking forward to covering whatever 2008 may bring.

About Paul Hodges

Paul Hodges is Chairman of International eChem, trusted commercial advisers to the global chemical industry. The aim of this blog is to share ideas about the influences that may shape the chemical industry over the next 12 – 18 months. It will try to look behind today’s headlines, to understand what may happen next in important issues such oil prices, economic growth and the environment. We may also have some fun, investigating a few of the more offbeat events that take place from time to time. Please do join me and share your thoughts. Between us, we will hopefully develop useful insights into the key factors that will drive the industry's future performance.

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