Mark Twain, the famous US writer, put it well when he warned that: “It isn’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble. It’s what you think you know for sure.” This has certainly been the case with auto sales in China. In 2010, leading analysts JD Power expected that “the pace of growth […]
Archive | October, 2012
Next month’s World Aromatics conference is a must-attend event for anyone involved with the industry. It features an impressive line-up of major players, including Saudi Aramco, the world’s largest oil company, as well as Dow, Shell and the International Energy Agency. Jointly organised with ICIS, it takes place on 13 – 14 November: Saudi Aramco […]
This year’s European Petrochemical Association in Berlin was notable for its realism. The blog gave an interview to ICIS news which was headlined ‘Major recession ahead, warns leading consultant’. This overview seemed to capture the overall mood of the event. 3 key issues were also the focus of intense discussion: US shale gas. Will all […]
There are many ways to lead a company to disaster. But one of the most reliable is to follow conventional wisdom. The reason is that this is almost always backward-looking, and tells us little about likely future developments. The blog instead aims to help its readers to be successful and stay in business. So for […]
It is tempting to think that oil price volatility is a zero-sum game. For every ‘winner’, one would expect there to be a ‘loser’. But when it comes to downstream industries like chemicals, the answer is more complicated, as Richard Bartlett, BP’s commercial director for aromatics in EMEA, discussed at Novapet’s customer event recently in […]
95% of Indian households do not own a car. And as the chart above shows, motor cycles remain the key market for manufacturers. 2011-12 annual figures have now been published, and they show: • 70% of sales were motorbikes (light blue), versus 66% in 2010-11 • Car sales (purple) were steady at 14% • Overall, […]
It would be nice to believe that there are billions of middle-class people in emerging countries. And even nicer to imagine they are just waiting for the chance to buy expensive Western goods. Sadly, the truth is more prosaic. 96% of China’s population earn less than $7600/year. Their daily wage would be an hourly wage […]
October is usually one of the 4 strongest months for demand, alongside January, March and May. This year it should be particularly strong, as many say September’s demand was the weakest they can remember. The reason it is normally strong is that companies shoukd be racing to fulfil orders for the Christmas season. Factories often […]
Tesco is the world’s 3rd largest retailer, operating in most major markets. A new analysis by its CEO, Philip Clarke, confirms that a generational change is underway in Western shopping patterns. Writing in the Financial Times, he notes: • ‘Britons are economising in ways I have never seen in my 30 years in grocery retailing’ […]
Here we go again’ seems to be the reaction of financial markets to the US Federal Reserve’s latest push to expand liquidity. So far, policymakers have tried 4 times to return the economy to the world of the Supercycle between 1982-2007. As the chart shows: • Major stimulus programmes were launched by the G-20 in […]
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Paul Hodges is Chairman of International eChem, trusted commercial advisers to the global chemical industry.
The aim of this blog is to share ideas about the influences that may shape the chemical industry over the next 12 – 18 months. It will try to look behind today’s headlines, to understand what may happen next in important issues such oil prices, economic growth and the environment. We may also have some fun, investigating a few of the more offbeat events that take place from time to time. Please do join me and share your thoughts.
Between us, we will hopefully develop useful insights into the key factors that will drive the industry's future performance.