Archive | May, 2011

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New Normal course in Frankfurt on 16-17 June

The blog is excited about its first New Normal seminar in Frankfurt, Germany next month. It follows February’s successful launch in Singapore, and is being held in association with ICIS, on 16-17 June. The Workshop aims to provide a comprehensive understanding of the factors that will impact the petrochemical market over the next few years: […]

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M&A deals get more complex

As always, the blog gained some key insights into the current M&A landscape this month, at the annual Pilko & Associates Round Table, co-organised with Shell Chemicals and leading law firm Allen & Overy. Financing deals has become superficially much easier, as ‘risk-appetite’ has returned. In some areas, the market is more buoyant than in […]

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Petchem volumes slide in all 3 major regions

Volume is a key driver for chemical company profits. High volume means operating rates increase, reducing unit costs. Companies also gain more pricing power. But when volume is low, the reverse happens. Thus the above chart from leading analyst Paul Satchell of Collins Stewart is telling an important story. It shows: • Volumes were very […]

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Crude stabilises as Goldman suggests $130/bbl target

Week 5 of the IeC Downturn Alert saw more stability in the markets. This was largely due to the efforts of the major investment banks. JP Morgan, Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley all issued ‘buy’ notes on crude oil, suggesting prices would soon return to $130/bbl, whilst Barclays said its current $102/bbl forecast was “conservative”. […]

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China battles to achieve a ‘soft landing’

China’s economy has been on steroids for the past 2 years. Faced with the loss of export sales after the financial crisis began in 2008, the government doubled bank lending overnight (red column above). It also introduced a $580bn stimulus programme (13% of GDP). This included subsidised sales of electrical appliances, and was great news […]

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The journey of the plastic bag

Plastic waste is an issue that doesn’t go away. And, of course, the plastics industry is unfairly blamed for it. After all, the industry does not drop plastic bags on the street, leaving them to go who knows where. Thus the blog welcomes the above spoof documentary from the Santa Monica ‘Heal the Bay’ group. […]

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Japan falls into recession, again

Japan’s ageing population has led to slow economic growth for many years. It has battled for years to try and boost domestic demand, with only limited success, as the chart of GDP growth from the Wall Street Journal shows. Occasional bursts of growth (green column) are only followed by more red ink. Thus the economy […]

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Europe’s supply-led ethylene market continues

Q1 saw near record margins for European petchem producers. And there was also a scramble for product, as buyers rushed to secure product ahead of feedstock price-related increases. But this remained a supply-led market. As the chart above shows, based on APPE data, Q1 production (red triangle) was just 5.1 million tonnes. It was slightly […]

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Background to the New Normal eBook

The blog was interviewed today by ICIS’ Will Beacham, on the launch of its new eBook ‘Boom, Gloom and the New Normal’, jointly authored with John Richardson. Please click here if you would like to download a free copy of Chapter 1.

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Boom, Gloom and the New Normal published today

Today, the blog is proud to publish the first Chapter of its new eBook: ‘Boom, Gloom and the New Normal: how Western BabyBoomers are changing global chemical demand patterns, again’ It is co-authored with ICIS’ John Richardson of Asian Chemical Connections. A new chapter will be published each month. Please click here for Chapter 1. […]

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