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Dow warns

Dow CEO Andrew Liveris has spelled out very clearly his concerns about the impact of the US subprime crisis and high energy prices. He said that last week’s Fed Funds cut ‘flirted with danger’ in terms of the risks it took with inflation, although it was clearly necessary in order to tackle other problem areas. […]

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One week later

A week ago, I wrote that it would be important to see if ‘the US Federal Reserve can pull a rabbit out of its hat’ at its meeting later that day. The dust has now settled on its 0.5% Fed Funds rate cut, and one can see that short term liquidity has certainly been improved, […]

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Shell, Saudi Aramco to build new $7bn US refinery

Shell and Saudi Aramco have now confirmed plans to spend $7bn to build what they term ‘the first new refinery in the U.S. in more than 30 years’. They will achieve this by adding 325,000 barrels per day (b/d) to their existing Port Arthur, Texas, facility, taking total capacity to 600,000 b/d. It is scheduled […]

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Goldman sees $95/bbl oil

Well, now we know. Interviewed by the Financial Times on Monday, Alan Greenspan rejected the widely-held belief that central banks are now independent. Throwing aside his normal caution, the former US Federal Reserve Chairman said quite bluntly that ‘the presumption that we were fully independent and have full discretion was false’. This is a worrying […]

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The hurricane touches down

Extraordinary events have taken place in the UK since my posting on Friday: • A bankrun took place on the 8th largest bank, Northern Rock, with lines of depositors queuing for hours outside its branches all over the weekend and Monday. • Faced with this, the UK Finance Minister was forced to announce that the […]

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Northern Rock – subprime contagion spreads

When the US subprime crisis began, we were assured by the ‘experts’ that it was only a small problem, involving a minor segment of an otherwise robust market. However, the more one read about the situation, the more untenable this view seemed to be. Equally, we were told by other ‘experts’ that there was no […]

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OPEC seeks lower oil prices

OPEC are sounding a note of concern about the impact of high oil prices on the world economy. Hasan Qabazar, OPEC’s chief economist said yesterday ‘We are trying, hopefully, to reduce high oil prices, to have prices that are more conducive to economic development’. Qabazar also emphasised OPEC’s desire to help counter any impact from […]

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To cut, or not to cut?

One of the benefits of writing this blog is that it provides the opportunity to research behind the headlines, and better understand what is really happening. Friday’s US payrolls report, which showed the first loss of US jobs for 4 years, is a classic example. Nobody in the chemical industry should have been too surprised […]

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Blackstone moves on China BlueStar

There’s an interesting indication today of the changes taking place in the Chinese economy. Bloomberg are reporting that Blackstone, the US private equity group, is to purchase around 18% of specialty chemical company China BlueStar for $500m. This will be Blackstone’s first Chinese investment, and follows the Chinese government’s $3bn investment into Blackstone in June. […]

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Two swallows

This week has seen more downbeat news on US auto and housing sales. Ford said their total August vehicle sales were down 14% versus August 2006, and that their car sales were down by an amazing 34%. Toyota, who have been growing market share, said they were down 2.8% in total, and that their car […]

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