Archive | May, 2009

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Russia’s chemical production tumbles

Last week’s global production numbers highlighted the startling collapse in output from Central & Eastern Europe. This was the worst regional performer in Q1, and the blog decided to investigate further. Russian output is key to the region’s performance. And the chart, based on data kindly provided by ICIS’s Sergei Blagov, shows how all parts […]

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Adultery signals for traders

My fellow-blogger, Barbara, cleverly spotted this week’s ‘Global Traders Summit’ in Singapore. Had this blog been there, it would have mentioned the latest, apparently fool-proof, way to determine stock market turning points, based on bankers’ interest in adultery. According to Bloomberg, the Illicit Encounters website has a major increase in traffic when either the market […]

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Saudi confirms $75/bbl oil price target

Back in December, the blog analysed statements by King Abdullah, and concluded that Saudi Arabia had a ‘target range’ for oil prices of $75 – 100/bbl. Yesterday, this analysis was confirmed by Saudi Oil Minister, Ali Naimi, who said the world economy could now “weather oil prices at $75 – 80/bbl”. The blog fears that […]

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China and US house prices

The Financial Times today highlights the overwhelming importance of falling US house prices to the outlook for the global economy. It notes that prices are now falling by 2.2%/month, causing a $380bn wealth loss in March alone. It adds that if prices continue to fall at this rate, “the total loss in 2009 would be […]

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US house prices, building permits, see record declines

US house prices are still seeing “record declines” according to today’s Case-Shiller home price index. The national price was down 19.1% from March 2008, and 32% from the Q2 2006 peak. As before, the over-built Sunbelt led the way, with Phoenix, Arizona down 36% from last year. But now, the index is picking up major […]

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Dow, Ineos, focus on debt issues

Dow and Ineos are two of the world’s largest chemical companies. Both found themselves in tight financial situations at the start of the year. Dow’s debt rating was cut to just above junk, whilst Ineos had to ask for covenant waivers. Since then, Dow has moved to tackle its debt issues very energetically. First it […]

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“Green shoots” likely to be “yellow weeds”

The full extent of the recent damage to chemical industry output can be seen in the above chart, based on new figures from the American Chemistry Council. The story is stark: • Global chemical output was down 14% in March, after falling off a cliff in Q4. The 1979-80 pattern repeated itself again, as the […]

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More credit crunch jokes

With public holidays in many parts of the world this weekend, my colleague Andy Gibbins has kindly collated a new selection of credit crunch jokes: You know it’s a credit crunch when… • The cashpoint (ATM) asks if you can spare any change. • There’s a ‘buy one, get one free’ offer – on banks. […]

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Thought for the day

It is now generally accepted that reckless lending has helped cause the greatest collapse in the global economy since the Depression years of the 1930′s. Yet many bankers still maintain it is vital they continue to pursue “innovation” of the type that has brought about this collapse. Martin Wolf, a former EPCA speaker, makes a […]

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Hopes of China recovery “premature” – World Bank

The high level of speculation accompanying China’s apparent economic revival worries the World Bank. “Until we see a recovery in private investment, it’s hard to get too excited about the future,” according to David Dollar, the Bank’s country director for China, at a Beijing seminar today. Dollar added that “private investment, the main driver of […]

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