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Anger takes centre stage at bankers’ $65bn bonuses

Iceland, “the first country to be run like a hedge fund“, was the original warning sign of the current financial crisis. Today’s chaos in the country, following its rejection of the €4bn bank compensation deal agreed with the UK and The Netherlands, may similarly prove to be the fore-runner of the next stage in the […]

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Chemical company CEOs need to act on high oil prices

Pity your poor Purchasing Director this week. They know the West is having a cold winter, but they have done their analysis and can show you slides, such as the one above from Petromatrix, that indicate the US has the highest stocks of distillates since 1999. In addition, the world has 75mb of distillate in […]

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Sledging in London

It doesn’t often snow in London. And when it does, it usually melts quickly. In fact, the last really severe winter was in 1980, and before that 1963. So I thought you might like to see a picture of the blog sledging today on Hampstead Heath – where a 400m run was available down to […]

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Top 10 posts in 2009

Blog readers have a wide range of interests. That is clear from the list below of the Top 10 posts in 2009. It also confirms the complexity of the chemical industry, and its fascination. In alphabetical order, it is as follows: • Bubble, bubble, toil and trouble • Companies remain cautious on the outlook • […]

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INEOS postpones plans for IPO

The Financial Times reports today that Ineos has postponed plans for an initial public offering. It says this “was one of a range of options that had been considered by the company to strengthen its balance sheet, which was burdened with more than €7bn ($10bn) of debt“. It adds that Ineos is still looking at […]

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US auto sales in 2009 at 1982 level

US auto sales last year at 10.4 million were the worst since 1982. Even this figure was slightly artificial, due to the support provided by the $3bn ‘cash for clunkers’ programme in the summer. This impact can be seen in the chart, with total volumes (black line) picking up again in December under the impact […]

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3 Scenarios for Financial Markets

The Financial Times’ Investment Editor argues this week that “there is no point in forecasting stock market performance to the last digit“. Instead it presents 3 scenarios for 2010: • Standard Bear Market. This view suggests that the current rally is “the normal adjustment after a market crash“. After the rally ends, we will then […]

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Boom/Gloom Index remains cautious

The IeC Boom/Gloom Index remains cautious as we enter the New Year. Meant to track sentiment in financial markets, it shows clearly that talk of ‘green shoots’ (green line) leading to a quick recovery has virtually stopped. Whilst the reading for ‘frugal’ (red line) steadied, as we went into the Christmas period. The Index itself […]

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The 2010 Outlook

Extended downturns, of the type that we are now suffering, generally mark a transition period from one set of business conditions to another. I look at what might be in store for us during this transition, in this week’s edition of ICIS Chemical Business. The analysis focuses on the key areas in the chart – […]

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Opportunities for the New Decade

Over the past century, many parts of the world have seen an extraordinary increase in living standards and life expectancy. As the Financial Times notes, we used to marry at c15 years, become grandparents at c30 and die at c45. Yet whilst 15 – 30 – 45 is still the demographic cycle in the poorest […]

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