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Wilton update

9 months ago, the blog reported on the resilience being shown at the UK’s Wilton chemical site, one of the world’s largest. It noted that “the power of the teams being created there could be immense“. It is therefore delighted to see that the North East Process Industry Cluster (NEPIC) is now moving forward on […]

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Quote of the year

“Never in the field of financial endeavour has so much money been owed by so few to so many. And, one might add, so far with little real reform.” Bank of England Governor, Mervyn King, proposing that banks should be split up. He argues that high-risk trading activities should be split off from low-risk utility […]

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China imposes 36% nylon tariff

Protectionism continues to build, as unemployment rises around the world. ICIS news reports China has imposed tariffs of up to 36% on nylon 6. BASF will suffer a 30.4% tariff on US exports, and Honeywell 36.2%. Last month, of course, the US hit China with a 35% tariff on tyres. The threat of more duty […]

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Free Webinar next week on the Budget Outlook

The blog’s new Budget Outlook is an independent view of the key issues which will impact chemical sales and margins in 2010. Previous Outlooks have stimulated much debate within the industry. We are therefore proposing to run a free 1 hour Webinar next week for blog readers, on Thursday 29 October at 15:00 GMT (16:00 […]

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Budgeting for a new normal

2010 should be a better year for the chemical industry, as demand grows in line with a recovery in global GDP. But a quick V-shaped return to the 2003-7 Boom years in terms of volumes/margins seems unlikely. Governments will worry about budget deficits, and may well scale down support for critical end-uses such as autos […]

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European refining margins drop 85%

Our major Feedstocks for Profit Study last year foresaw difficult times ahead for European refiners. Now it seems this forecast by our partners, refining experts Wood Mackenzie, is coming true. Total, Europe’s largest refiner, today reported that European refining margins fell 85% in Q3, to just $6.60/bbl, the lowest level for 7 years. And they […]

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“New normal” means major change – US Fed

The blog has argued for some time that the chemical industry is facing a “new normal” as growth returns to the economy. Now US Federal Reserve Governor Dan Tarullo has helpfully spelt out some important changes that he expects to occur. He notes that: • “Just about everyone understands we will never return to the […]

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2010 Budgets

The blog is now preparing its annual Budget Outlook for 2010. Before this is published next weekend, it makes sense to assess the blog’s credibility by looking back at last year’s Outlook, to see how well it performed. Past performance may not be a perfect guide to future outcomes. But it is one of the […]

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Petchems prepares for a new reality

My first European Petrochemical Association (EPCA) meeting was in 1985. Since then, I have found that it provides an unique opportunity to look back over the current year, and focus on what might happen next. Thus in October 2007, just after I began writing the blog, my discussions led me to warn that we were […]

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The China “bubble” begins to deflate

China’s perceived demand has been the major driving force behind the rallies in financial and commodities markets this year. It has also attracted large volumes of polymer imports. But this wishful thinking ignores the fundamental issue that China’s economy is relatively small (just $4trn in a world economy of $60trn) and is 104th in terms […]

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