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NINJA turtles ride again

The head of Germany’s financial regulator is warning that US subprime mortgage problems may be about to lead to the worst banking crisis since 1931. Yesterday, WTI crude broke through its 1980’s highs to hit a new all-time record price of $78.77/bbl, and looks poised to push on past $80/bbl. And adding to the sense […]

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Turning base quality loans into gold

Alchemists once claimed the ability to turn base metal into gold. More recently, some bankers seem to have been claiming a similar genius, via the magic catalyst of securitisation. These bankers no longer perform their traditional role of lending on a prudent basis to good quality borrowers in the personal or corporate sector. Instead, they […]

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Greed and Fear

Bill Gross runs PIMCO, the world’s largest government bond managers with assets of nearly $700bn. In a new commentary, he pulls no punches about what he sees as the ‘gluttony’ of the super-rich amongst the private equity and hedge fund elite. He also takes aim at the lenders who, in his view, have been ‘too […]

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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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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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Chemical company valuations

The prices paid for Petkim and for Lustran reflect two very different perspectives on the current market:

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ICI and Akzo

ICI has experience of fighting off unwelcome acquisitions. And Akzo may find itself in a difficult position if ICI wins again. Unless this bid, like Hanson’s in 1991, marks the ‘top’ in the currrent M&A cycle.

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4 risks to the world economy

The latest report from the ‘central bankers’ bank’ provides an excellent analysis of what might go wrong in the world economy over the next 2 – 3 years. Anyone interested in scenario planning will find its conclusions valuable.

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Hedge fund woes and the chemical industry

The US Senate thinks the Amaranth hedge fund increased the costs of natural gas futures contracts last year. Any pension funds invested in Bear Stearns’ hedge funds might want to check on the current value of their holdings.

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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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