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Chemical capacity utilisation continues to weaken

Capacity Utilisation (CU%) is the best measure we have for the current state of the global chemical industry.  It doubles as an excellent proxy for the outlook for the global economy.  And as the above chart based on latest American Chemistry Council data shows, recovery still seems a long way off: Global CU% was down […]

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The blog in 2015

2015 was the year when companies and markets began to feel the impact of the Great Unwinding of stimulus policies. The blog’s readership has increased significantly as a result, as people began to abandon the consensus wisdom which had so clearly failed – once again – to provide a reliable guide to the outlook. The […]

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The unseen costs of a Dow-DuPont merger

The unseen costs of the proposed Dow-DuPont merger are certain to be much larger than those we can currently describe.  Both companies will effectively be more reactive to external developments, rather than pro-active, due to the internal focus that will be required to develop and implement the merger and divestment processes.  This cost could well […]

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5 questions for the Dow-DuPont merger

All the evidence suggests that most mergers fail to deliver the promised value.  So those who propose them, especially when they involve such critical companies for the US and global economy as Dow Chemical and DuPont, must expect some hard questions to be asked. Here are my 5 top questions in logical order – Why?, […]

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What If 3D Printing Was 100x Faster? | TED Talks

Major change is underway in manufacturing and supply chains.  China’s slowdown has exposed the myth that its demand would support ever-increasing production of commodities such as metals and oil.  As the Financial Times reported yesterday: “Back in the summer, Glencore’s combative chief executive Ivan Glasenberg led a chorus of mining executives in blaming speculative funds for driving […]

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Q3 results suggest need for new strategies, business models

Global chemical production growth continues to slow from the peak of 3.7% seen in April 2014.  September’s reading from the American Chemistry Council was down to 3%, with most major regions showing a decline: Asia has halved from 6.4% to 3.2%; ME/Africa has fallen from 6.1% to 3.5%; Latin America is negative at -3.2% W […]

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5 Critical Questions every Company and Investor Need to Answer

Today’s uncertain economic and oil price  environment has created chaos in petrochemical feedstock and product markets.  This creates major risks for producers, consumers and investors. ICIS and International eChem have therefore decided to combine our resources to launch a new Study, that will analyse the potential impact of these developments on the olefins, aromatics and […]

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Chaos looms in petchem feedstock and product markets

Major change is underway in world markets for all petrochemicals. It is no exaggeration to say that we now face chaos on the supply and demand side – affecting both feedstocks and products. Producers and consumers cannot afford to ignore the risks that this development creates for their business. Nor can investors afford to indulge […]

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Q2 results highlight continued uncertainty over outlook

The chemical industry continues to be the best leading indicator we have for the global economy. Whilst stock markets were continuing to move higher during H1, its depressed level of capacity utilisation was signalling that the economy was far more fragile than generally realised. Company results for Q2 reflect this concern. Of course some, tied […]

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Investors worry US ethylene expansions mimic mining downturn

I spent most of last week in New York and Boston, meeting with major investors.  One key topic on all their agendas was the major downturn underway in the global mining industry.  The connection with my visit was that some have already begun to worry that the planned US ethylene expansions may lead to a […]

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