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US consumer demand growth stalls

The American Chemistry Council has recently updated its invaluable work on US polymer chain inventories. Last December this led the blog to conclude that we would see “a strong H1“, as inventories were low, whilst demand was likely to rise supported by seasonal and stimulus factors. But the ACC’s latest analysis (above) leads to a […]

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Boom/Gloom Index slips to downturn level

There was good and bad news from the latest IeC Boom/Gloom Index. The good news was that the Austerity reading fell quite sharply. Markets have moved on from the Greek crisis. And confidence seems to have been restored, at least temporarily, by the results of the ‘stress tests’ on the major European banks. But the […]

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Investment tip of the week

Following on from the blog’s note yesterday, an investment banker reader passed on a similar insight from the high yield sector of the bond market. Currently, retail investors are desperate for income-producing assets, with global interest rates very low by recent historical standards. So to help supply meet demand, her bank’s high yield bond team […]

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Deflation a real risk for the 2011 Budget period

The blog is a great fan of Pimco, the world’s largest bond fund managers. They were the first people to spot the housing bust developing in the USA, and to suggest the scale of the damage it might cause. More recently, they have pioneered the concept of the ‘new normal’. Thus a new analysis by […]

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White Paper downloads reach 7000

The blog is delighted by the interest being shown in its White Paper ‘Budgeting for a New Normal’ and the recent Mid-Year Update. Almost 7000 copies have now been downloaded. Discussions are also underway with ICIS about producing a new White Paper in Q4, to accompany the blog’s annual Budget Outlook post in October. If […]

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Dalian’s LLDPE contract rises as demand slows

Undertaking fundamental analysis of a market can be a tedious business. You have to try and understand what uses the product might have, and the alternatives for the feedstocks. You might even have to look at inventory, and forecast future supply/demand levels. Luckily, however, for the modern financial investor, these sad disciplines have been resigned […]

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Ineos’ Antwerp ethylene terminal a game-changer for Europe’s C2 business

In business, as in war, defence can often be the best form of attack. This seems to be the principle behind Ineos’s announcement that they intend to build a 1 million tonne deep-sea ethylene terminal to feed their 340KT ethylene oxide/glycol business near Antwerp, Belgium. The glycol business is clearly under threat from the massive […]

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Force Majeure reports show worrying increase

Force majeures can be very costly in a downturn, as they enable competitors to gain market share, whilst the business suffers a loss of revenue and earnings. Yet maintenance spend on plant and equipment, and training, is always a soft target for cutbacks when cash is tight. The blog also knows from its own experience […]

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Companies see strong H1 earnings and volume

The blog is awarding itself a pat on the back this morning. Last December, it made the bold forecast (given the widespread gloom at the time), that chemical companies would see “a strong H1“. Today’s regular snapshot of Q2 chemical company results certainly seems to confirm its optimism. Almost all companies reported stronger revenues and […]

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Quote of the month

“China’s future economic growth will definitely gradually slow down. The issue for China’s economy is the quality of growth, which is why we now have to carry out structural adjustment and transform our development model. The true meaning of this is raising the quality and efficiency of growth. So we should change our attitude, and […]

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