Honam.png

Honam’s Malaysia buy opens SEA market share battle

Over-capacity is going to be a major issue for the petchem industry over the next few years. Asian producers, in particular, are likely to be worst impacted. The reason is that they have relied on exports to China taking up to 50% of their production. But now China’s own production is ramping up, reducing the […]

Continue Reading
Reichstag.png

Strong speaker line-up for European Aromatics conference

Our 9th European Aromatics and Derivatives Conference will 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 APPE Chairman) on ‘European petrochemicals: […]

Continue Reading
US oil stocksJul10.png

Study questions long-only strategies in oil markets

As the chart above from Petromatrix shows, total US stocks of crude, gasoline, distillate and jet kero this year (red line) remain very over-supplied in the short term, by comparison with previous years. A major reason for this is the move by pension funds to adopt long-only positions in the commodity future markets, in the […]

Continue Reading
Euroautos Jul10.png

European auto sales continue to slip

Chemical companies face a clear risk of a synchronised slowdown in demand in all 3 major Regions during H2. • The US is hitting a ‘soft patch’ at best, if not a full ‘double dip’ • China’s demand seems to have already slowed. • Europe, sadly, seems to be following the same path. Not only […]

Continue Reading
ACS logo.png

ACS and ISM feature the blog

The latest in the American Chemical Society’s 6 monthly ‘Chemicals and the Economy’ webinar series took place last week. It was moderated by former ACS President, Bill Carroll, of Occidental Chemical, and again proved very popular. ACS reported high levels of satisfaction from participants. Comments included: “This speaker is one of my favorites.” “This was […]

Continue Reading
China lendJul10.png

China’s economy flashes an amber light

China’s chemical demand is clearly starting to slow, as my fellow blogger John Richardson has been reporting recently. This has big implications for the global chemical industry, which has relied on China to balance declining sales in the West. The slowdown comes as the government rolls back the stimulus measures introduced in Q4 2008, when […]

Continue Reading
Hambrecht.jpg

BASF’s Hambrecht hits at China’s business policies

The business climate for Western firms in China is getting worse. 2 weeks ago, the CEO of General Electric, Jeffrey Immelt, caused a stir when he told a private dinner that “I really worry about China. I am not sure that in the end they want any of us to win, or any of us […]

Continue Reading
S&P 500 Jul10.png

Fed, American Chemistry Council, worry about US economy

The US Federal Reserve and the American Chemistry Council (ACC) have joined the blog in expressing concern about the outlook for the US economy. And as the chart above of the US S&P 500 shows, financial markets have continued to weaken since the blog’s advice on 8 May to “sell in May and go away“. […]

Continue Reading
New Normal Jun10.png

Petchem supply/demand enters the New Normal

The blog’s major series this week has focused on the changes that seem to be taking place in markets for the petchem ‘building block’ products, particularly ethylene, propylene, benzene and paraxylene. These changes in relative price and availability are of vital importance to a wide range of downstream chemical products. They may well prove to […]

Continue Reading
PX Jul10.png

Lower Western gasoline demand helps paraxylene

Paraxylene (PX) has been a great petchem success story over the past 30 years. This 4th post in the blog’s series looks back at its history, and discusses how its future may develop. It is hard to remember that back in the 1970s, DMT (dimethyl terephthalate) was the main polyester material. But the superior properties […]

Continue Reading