About Paul Hodges

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.

Author Archive | Paul Hodges

P&G reviews its supply chain model

Higher oil prices will change the way that Procter & Gamble operates its supply chain. The world’s largest consumer products company describes its current operations as being ‘upside down’. ‘They were implemented in the 1980s and 1990s, when oil was 10 bucks a barrel’, according to Keith Harrison, P&G’s head of global supply.

Continue Reading

Israel’s training exercise worries oil markets

The US has now confirmed what oil traders have been suspecting – that Israel is preparing for a bombing raid on Iran’s alleged nuclear facilities. According to Bloomberg and the New York Times, around 100 Israeli aircraft took part in a full-scale training exercise in early June. The distance it involved, 900 miles, is apparently […]

Continue Reading
JeddahJun08.jpg

A new ‘North-South dialogue’

I’ve read several reports on the outcome of the Jeddah oil ‘summit’, and still feel no wiser than last week:

Continue Reading
Angkor.jpg

Agriculture – the new focus for chemical demand

A first visit to Cambodia. I’m here en route to our Asian Conference in Bangkok, and the picture shows the famous line of Buddhas at Angkor Wat. But the main topic of conversation when talking to local people is the high cost of food and energy. With wages averaging $30 – $35 a week, these […]

Continue Reading

China drills for oil off Florida coast

John McCain, Republican Presidential candidate, is making waves in the US political scene with his suggestion that the ban on offshore drilling for oil might need to be lifted. Barron’s, however, notes rather ironically that in fact, drilling is already underway off the Florida coast. It points out that ‘Cuba is allowing Chinese energy companies […]

Continue Reading

‘Roll-through’ pricing reappears

Linda Naylor, ICIS’s polymers guru, has just written a market analysis that took me straight back to 1980. She described how current feedstock prices meant that ‘many of Europe’s cracker operators were losing money’, and noted that Dow was being ‘very firm’ in trying to recoup these losses via higher polymer prices. However, her research […]

Continue Reading

Monday, Monday

Monday, Monday, can’t trust that day Monday, Monday, sometimes it just turns out that way Oh Monday morning, you gave me no warning of what was to be These ‘Mamas and Papas’ lyrics certainly sum up Monday this week: • Oil prices went to another record high, just under $140/bbl, as traders worried about the […]

Continue Reading

The Saudi oil ‘summit’

There seems to be remarkably little information about Saudi Arabia’s planned oil ‘summit’ next Sunday in Jeddah. The first news of it seemed to be released rather informally, via a ‘junior official’ at the Oil Ministry. Since then, various rumours have been reported, but nothing very substantive. All we seem to know for certain at […]

Continue Reading

Asian stockmarkets fall on stagflation risk

I noted earlier this year that China was now exporting inflation, rather than the deflation of the past decade. Working in Asia again this week, one can see a major change in attitudes is now underway. Rising food and energy prices are having an enormous impact, and Asian governments are clearly nervous about the potential […]

Continue Reading
CLIJun08.jpg

Leading indicators signal chemicals slowdown

The latest leading indicators from the OECD (shown in red above) are now diverging quite strongly from actual Industrial Production performance (shown in blue). The chart is taken for the latest American Chemistry Council (ACC) weekly report, and the ACC comment that the indicators should anticipate changes in ‘global industrial activity’ and ‘provide early signals […]

Continue Reading