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Oil prices in longest-ever period of contango

Oil markets are now in their longest-ever period of contango. This is when prices for future months are higher than current levels. According to Bloomberg, they have now been in contango for a record 656 days. Keeping a barrel of crude in a tank on land costs 60 – 70 US cents/month, whilst hiring a […]

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“Impatience can ruin a whole life”

Anyone running a chemical company knows that the benefits of certain key decisions can take years to develop. Many companies had to support their nascent pharma businesses for 20 years, before steady profits began to flow. Whilst major complexes can easily take 10 years from inception to completion. Yet in recent years, investors have become […]

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Washington and Bahrain dates for the blog

The blog is delighted to have been invited to address two important industry events in coming months: Washington DC. It will be presenting a Global Outlook to the Coatings Summit, alongside CEOs including Andrew Liveris of Dow Chemical; Christopher Connor of Sherwin Williams; Hans Wijers, AkzoNobel; Kenji Sakai of Nippon Paint, as well as senior […]

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Don’t try this at home…

Yesterday’s blog photo (of men sitting on planks to paint the outside of an apartment block), has led my engineering colleague, Andy Gibbins, to pass on the above link to his Top 10 video list of things you really don’t want to try at work, or at home. The blog’s favourite is No 2, with […]

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China’s house prices “still too high”

Early last year, China’s leadership faced the prospect of social unrest, as 23 million people lost their jobs as Western demand dropped for China’s exports. The government bought itself time to deal with this problem by throwing money at it – $1.4trn of bank lending, and $580bn of stimulus. Earlier this year, the government then […]

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Ralf Kuhlmann joins IeC

The blog is pleased to announce that Dr Ralf Kuhlmann is joining International eChem (IeC) as a Senior Vice President. He was previously Business Director, Basic Chemicals, with ExxonMobil Europe, where he was responsible for Marketing & Sales, Planning, Feedstock, and Supply Chain optimization for the European petrochemicals business. He also represented ExxonMobil on a […]

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Boom/Gloom Index indicates downturn underway

Last month’s IeC Boom/Gloom Index showing a worrying weakness in sentiment, particularly when the world’s major stock markets had actually recorded good performances in July, albeit on low volume. But as the chart shows, this month confirms the downturn reading, with the Index (blue column) below the 4.0 level. Further confirmation of this reading comes […]

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EU unemployment remains at 10%

EU governments have spent enormous sums of money to support the economy over the past year. Yet in terms of a key indicator such as unemployment, the situation has got worse rather than better. This is bound to restrain consumer spending, a key factor for domestic EU chemical demand. Eurozone unemployment hit 10% in February, […]

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August highlights

Many readers have been taking a well-deserved break over the past few weeks. As usual, therefore, the blog is highlighting key posts during August, to help you catch up as you return to the office. August has been surprisingly busy: Force Majeure reports show worrying increase highlighted the worrying rise in force majeures, which may […]

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China’s growth in crude oil demand slows

The Petromatrix report is currently a must-read for anyone seeking to understand what is really happening in crude oil markets. Its latest issue analyses China’s demand. It suggests this is not as strong as the bullish investment banks on Wall Street might wish. China’s refinery runs are certainly rising, as its new major capacity comes […]

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