Oil prices – the Iran factor

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Oil price movements are now dominated by the Iranian nuclear issue. Last month, they jumped $10/bbl to $146/bbl as news leaked of Israel’s training exercise against Iran’s nuclear sites. I’ve since talked to someone who was on holiday in Southern Greece at the time, and he says it was an amazing sight – the sky […]

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Travel tips

Business travel occupies a lot of time for many people in the chemical industry. So I thought I might pass on details of 2 websites that I find particularly useful when travelling: • www.skyscanner.net does a very job of comparison shopping on airline fares. • www.weatheronline.co.uk provides excellent local weather forecasts around the world. Please […]

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Dow buys Rohm & Haas

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Dow’s potential interest in Rohm & Haas had been much rumoured since December, when it announced the petchem/polymer JV with Kuwait’s PIC. That deal has yet to close, but further evidence of the growing link with Kuwait comes with the news that the Kuwait Investment Authority will invest $1bn as part of Dow’s financing for […]

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Paris fashions – 70% reductions

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I’m rather surprised my fellow blogger Barbara has missed this story. Still, it shows us commercial types have a life, too. Bloomberg reports that the economic downturn has caused major cuts in the prices of ‘shoes, bags and dresses’ during the current Paris fashion sales. France’s biggest department stores, Au Printemps and Galeries Lafayette are […]

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European refining margins ‘at 4 year low’

European refining margins are falling, as the US’s need for gasoline imports reduces. Margins have reached a 4 year low of minus $6.21/bbl, according to Bloomberg. And the problem is likely to get worse, as the US moves towards greater self-sufficiency in gasoline via refinery expansions and increased biofuels usage. This trend could have important […]

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The ‘difficult task of damage control’

The central bankers’ bank (the Bank for International Settlements) is not very impressed with its members’ efforts over the past year. Readers may remember that the BIS Report last year explicitly warned of the problems that were about to occur in world financial markets. This year’s Report expresses its disappointment about what central banks did […]

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The blog’s first birthday

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Its now a year since the blog started. Since then, 213 postings have appeared. It is now read in 72 countries and 620 cities (shown above). Most encouragingly, readership continues to steadily increase. Since January, it has risen a further 301%. The blog’s aim is to identify ‘the influences that may shape the chemical industry […]

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US auto sales collapse in June

‘Collapse’ is not a word that should be used lightly in business. But there is no other way to describe June’s US auto sales figures:

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Chemicals feel the wind of change

Three major themes ( ICIS Jun08.pdf ) emerged from our Asian Conference last week, co-organised with ICIS: • Change. The world is clearly changing very rapidly. Feedstock prices are rising. At the same time, major new capacity is starting to come on-stream in the Middle East, and in Asia. • Complexity. There are many more […]

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Gazprom challenges OPEC

Alexei Miller, CEO of Gazprom, believes ‘that OPEC doesn’t have any real influence on the global oil market nowadays’. Interviewed by the Financial Times, he claimed that ‘not a single decision has been passed of late that would really influence the global oil market’. And he repeated his suggestion that oil could reach $250/bbl, noting […]

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