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A tale of two outlooks

If you read the financial pages of your newspaper, everything sounds rosy. But if you turn to the news section, its all gloom. Both views can’t continue to exist alongside each other for ever. Whichever scenario comes out on top, will have major implications for the chemical industry. My own view is that this week’s […]

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2008 Budgets just became more difficult to finalise

Central bankers are like generals. They seem to prefer fighting their last war, rather than preparing for the next one. How else to explain their continued reluctance to recognise that higher food and energy prices are here to stay? As a result, interest rates now need to rise more than expected. Pity those who have […]

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‘Its the price that matters’: Wal-Mart and Tesco signal a major change in consumer priorities

Consumer attitudes have shifted sharply in recent weeks. This could have big implications for chemical companies, and they need to respond quickly.

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Stress-testing the global financial system

Yesterday’s “swings in financial derivative prices were so extreme that they implied scenarios in which the core of the global liquidity system suffers a serious assault”, according to JP Morgan, the investment bank. Watch out, if current US sub-prime mortgage problems turn into a more general “flight from risk”.

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Will the US housing slump impact chemicals?

Housing and autos have always been key drivers for the US chemicals industry. We should be concerned if the housing market weakens further.

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What price oil?

Crude oil prices are climbing again. $100/bbl is not impossible, if current geo-political concerns continue. And today’s tightly balanced market could persist to 2010.

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The 10th anniversary of the Asian financial crisis

2 July 2007 marks the 10th anniversary of the Asian financial crisis, which began with the devaluation of the Thai baht. Visiting the country 10 years later, the situation has changed quite dramatically from those panic-stricken days.

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