The blog usually focuses on news items and analysis. But just occasionally, anecdotal evidence seems worth reporting. My colleague, John Keeley, is well known to many readers from his days at Shell Chemicals, as well as more recently with IeC. Just back from chairing the ICIS Phenol and Acetone Conference in Budapest, he reports that he ‘had never seen American colleagues so downbeat in his 40 years in the industry’. John is by nature one of the world’s great optimists, so his concern is particularly powerful.