Winter storms batter China’s economy

On my regular trip to Asia, the major news is the snowstorms battering China. These started on 10 January, and are expected to continue for at least another week.

The transportation system seems to have ground to a standstill in many areas as a result. and so essential coal and food supplies are not reaching the major cities. The NRDC reports that 17 of China’s provinces have already suffered electricity blackouts. Many factories have had to close as a result.

Premier Wen Jiabao has now gone further and called for ‘key enterprises to take social responsibility’ and shutdown their operations. The Wall Street Journal reports that 78 million people have so far been affected by the storms, with 24 deaths recorded and 107000 homes destroyed.

This will make for a miserable Lunar New Year in China, with food shortages reported. Clearly chemicals production and demand will also be badly affected.

About Paul Hodges

Paul Hodges is Chairman of International eChem, trusted commercial advisers to the global chemical industry. Paul is also an invited member of the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council. 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 as 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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