About Paul Hodges

Paul Hodges is Chairman of International eChem, trusted commercial advisers to the global chemical industry. Paul is also an invited member of the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council. 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.

Author Archive | Paul Hodges

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Insights from LyondellBasell and BASF

Recent comments from LyondellBasell’s COO, and BASF’s CEO, seem worth highlighting as we come to the end of the results season. Ed Dineen noted that China’s polyethylene demand seems partly linked to changes in crude oil pricing, “It turned down somewhat as we saw crude retreat a little, but as crude turned back up toward […]

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US auto sales enter the “new normal”

The blog is changing its US auto sales chart, now that a year has passed since volumes collapsed last October. Year-on-year % changes become meaningless as a result. Instead, it will now show monthly volumes, on a total US basis (blue line) and for the major producers (dotted lines). Key highlights this month are: • […]

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China’s economic “bubble” continues to deflate

This year’s speculative boom in China’s economy, created by major government lending and stimulus programmes, now seems to be ending. The evidence for this is in the above chart, showing LLDPE futures trading on the Dalian exchange. This hit 80 million tonnes (MT) in April, versus total global output for this type of polyethylene of […]

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Buy on the rumour, sell on the news

“Buy on the rumour, sell on the news” is the classic indication of a weak market. A lack of follow-through buying reveals that market action is not supported by fundamentals, but only by sentiment and momentum. Friday’s 2.8% fall on the US S&P 500, in reaction to Thursday’s positive US GDP number, was therefore a […]

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Companies remain cautious on the outlook

The good news is that the stabilisation seen in Q2 has been maintained. But companies remain cautious on the outlook, to judge from Q3 reports. CEOs are sceptical about the impact of government stimulus efforts in the West, and fear demand will fall back as these end. The only optimists are in China and India. […]

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5 Great Chemical Industry Blogs

The blog is very pleased to have been named one of ‘5 Great Chemical Industry Blogs’ by Joe Acker, president of the US Society of Chemical Manufacturers & Affiliates (SOCMA). Mr Acker notes in his comment on the blog: “Everyone wants to keep an eye on the market. Paul Hodges does a great job of […]

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Thanks

Many thanks to everyone who joined the Webinar today. I hope you found it useful.

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Computerised trading dominates crude oil markets

The purpose of liquidity in financial markets is to enable price discovery. But when super-fast computers take over the trading, that purpose disappears. Instead, we have today’s “correlation trading“. Olivier Jakob of PetroMatrix demonstrates this with the above chart, which shows Tuesday’s detailed trading patterns in WTI and the Dow Jones Index. Clearly, they are […]

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The limits of central bank lending

Over the past year, much of the Western financial system has been on life support. Now the European Central Bank (ECB), like its peers, is grappling with the question of ‘What happens next?’ ECB Board member Lorenzo Smaghi set out the key issues yesterday: • “Our role (as a central bank) is limited to the […]

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Webinar access details for Thursday

Thursday’s free Budget Outlook Webinar will be held at 15:00 GMT (16:00 CET, 11:00 EDT, 19:00 Dubai). The format will be a 30-40 minute presentation, followed by online discussion. To make registration easy, it will now be hosted using Microsoft Live Meeting. If you would like to join the Webinar for the presentation, please click […]

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