The blog is now preparing its annual Budget Outlook for 2010. Before this is published next weekend, it makes sense to assess the blog's credibility by looking back at last year's Outlook, to see how well it performed. Past performance may not be a perfect guide to future outcomes. But it is one of the best that we have.
The 2009 Outlook was titled "Budgeting for Survival". Once again, as with the 2008 Outlook, "Budgeting for a Downturn", the blog was in a small minority of forecasters who had the courage to go against the optimistic consensus. Its main forecasts were:
• "Survival, not growth, is the prudent objective".
• "2009 is likely to see global recession".
• "Chemical demand is likely to be badly hit, as it is focused on consumer spending, particularly housing/construction and autos".
• "These areas may begin to bottom during 2009, but any real recovery is unlikely before 2011".
• "Unemployment is likely to rise, and banks will be reluctant to lend".
• "Companies selling into more favoured sectors (agrochems/pharma) will probably see lower demand and pricing pressure".
• On oil prices, "the most likely outcome is that OPEC will cutback production and seek to hold $70/bbl".
The blog's aim is to 'share ideas about the influences that may shape the chemical industry over the next 12 - 18 months'. It therefore feels very proud of having correctly forecast these key areas correctly.
It hopes that its 2009 Outlook enabled readers to better prepare for today's more difficult economy.