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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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Questions to the chemical market genie

With the Chairman of the US Federal Reserve saying the outlook is “unusually uncertain“, its time to summon the chemical market genie. Of course, rubbing the lamp is not always successful. And if the genie does arrive, one can only ask 3 questions. So rather than risk wasting them, the blog has learnt to spend […]

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Kerbside recycling of PET bottles “no better than landfill” in reducing carbon emissions

Recycling may not be reducing carbon emissions as much as had been hoped. This seems to be the finding of an interesting new report from consultants SRI on recycling of PET bottles. It looks at the benefits of recycling 1.5 litre carbonated beverage bottles made from PET (polyethylene terephthalate). Stricter legislation has led to many […]

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The “real bottom line” in the Financial Times

The blog has had a letter published in the FT this morning, which readers might like to see. It focuses on the problem of using EBITDA measures when analysing a company’s performance. It suggests that analysts should move away from their current reliance on this measure, which ignores the impact of important areas such as […]

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Aromatics Conference ‘Early Bird’ discount till next week

Registrations are already building for our 9th European Aromatics and Derivatives Conference, to be held in Berlin on 23-24 November. Co-organised as always with ICIS, it features a strong line-up of industry speakers including: • Shell Chemicals, Sven Royall, VP Intermediates on ‘What next for Aromatics’? • Ralf Kuhlmann (former Business Director, ExxonMobil Chemicals and […]

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Lower refining rates support EU petchem margins

Sometimes every cloud does have a silver lining. And that’s currently the case with the fall in demand for oil products. The European petchem industry is based on feedstock from refineries such as naphtha and LPG. And as the chart above from the IEA shows, German refinery runs, like others elsewhere in Europe, are down […]

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