Archive | September, 2009

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Cost, knowledge and speed

There is increasing evidence for the blog’s belief that the auto industry is embarking on a fundamental shift in its approach. An interview in just-auto with Daimler’s R&D head, Thomas Weber, provides some important insights into the opportunities that may develop for chemical companies as a result. Weber notes that “cost, knowledge and speed” are […]

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G-20 in self-congratulatory mood

When the G-20 met last April, it issued a Communiqué containing just 688 words. Its Pittsburgh meeting over the weekend produced a Leader’s Statement containing 9292 words. “More” does generally not mean “better” when it comes to writing action plans. Instead, the document simply seems to be a catch-all of comments from the 20 leaders. […]

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Chemicals face a new reality

The blog believes that the landscape has changed during the current downturn. We came into it on the back of a major boom in consumption, supported by reckless lending and borrowing. This mind-set seems unlikely to return quickly. Instead, as the period of destocking/restocking comes to an end, we may face a “new reality”. This […]

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Oil prices slip as floating storage comes onshore

Destocking is now well underway in crude oil markets. This is focused on the vast amounts of floating storage that built up in H1. According to a Financial Times analysis, April saw 56 ships being used for storage, versus a normal level of 5 – 7 vessels. 29 ships are still in use today, with […]

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4 tips for leaders in the “new normal”

Last November, the blog suggested “4 tips for survival“, based on a Financial Times series on recession survival strategy. A new article this week on ‘Leadership beyond a Downturn’ provides some key tips on how to manage next steps: • Prepare for continuing downturn, but also for some growth to return. • Look outside to […]

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8th European Aromatics & Derivatives Conference – Early booking discount ends Sunday

Our 8th European Aromatics & Derivatives conference, co-organised with ICIS, has a number of distinguished industry speakers including: • BASF, Jaroslaw Michniuk, Group VP, Styrenics Europe • Reliance, Rajen Udeshi, President Polyester Chain • Shell Chemicals, Jonathan Forbes-Lane, GM, Aromatics Europe In addition, the blog will be presenting its thoughts on “5 Key Steps to […]

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ExxonMobil focuses on integration

ExxonMobil Chemicals was 6th in the ICIS list of Top 100 companies in 2002, during the last downturn. By last year, it had risen to 2nd place, according to the latest ICIS list. One of the secrets of its success was set out in an interesting Bloomberg interview yesterday with Basic Chemicals SVP, TJ Wojnar. […]

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Oil price fall could support the US$

Pity your poor CFO. As well as keeping cashflow positive, they are also coping with major US$ volatility. In July 2008 it was trading at $0.63: €1, but then rose 43% to $.80: €1, before declining 28% to $0.68: €1 today. The catalyst for this volatility seems to be oil price movements. As the chart […]

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Reported earnings forecast slow recovery when restocking ends

US corporate earnings were down a record 89% in Q1 versus the previous 12 months at just $7. Q2 saw only a minor improvement with earnings at only $8. Its interesting, therefore, to see market expectations for 2010. The chart is based on S&P analyst forecasts, and shows “reported earnings” (red line) are expected to […]

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EU chemicals volume down 10% versus 2005 levels

The above chart, from Moncef Hadhri’s excellent monthly report from CEFIC (the European chemical industry association) provides an interesting snapshot of the state of the EU chemical industry. On the positive side, it shows that recovery from the destocking period was well underway in June (the latest data available). Volume (green line), had risen 10% […]

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