‘Checklist for Survival’ Webinar

Many thanks to everyone who signed up for yesterday’s Webinar. We ended up running two sessions, due to demand. I hope you found it stimulating and helpful. My thanks also go to Nigel Davis for chairing it, and to Alan Tyler and the ICIS team for organising the whole event. If you would like a […]

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House prices falling around the world

Only 8 countries saw house prices rise, adjusted for inflation, in 2008, out of 32 major property markets. And according to Global Property Guide, “downward price momentum significantly accelerated” in Q4, with 9 countries seeing 5% price falls. As the chart shows, Latvia, Ukraine and Hong Kong saw prices fall over 10% during the quarter. […]

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Chrysler bankruptcy to last years, not months

More details are now emerging of the US government’s plans for Chrysler. Initially President Obama said he hoped the bankruptcy process would only last 60 days. But according to Bloomberg, the administration now accepts that this period will just cover the “sale of Chrysler’s best assets” to Fiat. Suppliers, including those in the chemical industry, […]

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China’s exports fall 23% in April

China’s exports continue to disappoint. They fell 18% in January and 26% in February. March showed a slightly better performance, with a 17% fall. But April was weak again, with a 23% decline in exports and imports. China’s problem today is based on its past success in becoming the manufacturing capital of the world. Exports […]

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Wal-Mart warns of “contracting economy in China”

The Chinese government continues to express firm faith in its economy’s ability to withstand the global economic crisis. And certainly its recent imports of chemicals and polymers have been a lifeline for many companies outside the country. But now Wal-Mart, the world’s largest retailer, has reinforced the blog’s concerns about the economy. Wal-Mart reports that […]

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US Fed supports Wall Street earnings, ignores corporate sector risks

In July 2007, the US Federal Reserve warned that “credit concerns were spreading” and estimated that total bank losses due to US sub-prime loans could reach $100bn. Yet now, after the conclusion of its “stress tests”, the Fed says total bank losses could reach $600bn. In most companies, a 6-fold change in a key financial […]

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EU sees 11% jobless; US banks raise interest rates

The European Commission has again reduced its growth forecast for the EU. It now sees a 4% decline in GDP this year, and for the first time is suggesting that recovery will be delayed until mid-2010. As a result, it expects unemployment to reach 11%, which will further slow consumer spending. ‘Across the pond’, banks […]

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Tesco cuts 1.8bn plastic bags a year

The combination of consumer environmentalism with retailer cost-cutting is having the expected major impact on the UK’s use of plastic bags. All the big supermarkets have been running campaigns to reduce the use of these. Some, like Marks & Spencer, now charge 5p a bag. Others, such as Sainsbury’s, send texts to remind customers to […]

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Chrysler’s bankruptcy marks dawn of new reality

The International eChem team are very experienced in turnarounds and restructurings. We have undertaken these both as employees within our former companies, and then as advisers. This has taught us to be alert for the ‘tipping point’, when a situation begins to change, for better or worse. The blog believes the Chrysler bankruptcy is one […]

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Quick updates

Chrysler. Yesterday, Chrysler entered bankruptcy. It will idle most of its US plants during the court proceedings. The government hopes the bankruptcy can be finalised in a “quick visit” of just 30-60 days. But even if this can be achieved, there is little doubt that Chrysler’s suppliers will suffer major write-offs. Bank ‘stress tests’. Widespread […]

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