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Definition of a technology start-up

LinkedIn, the online network for chemical and other professionals, was valued at $2bn this week. Reid Hoffman, its founder, gave a brilliant description of what is was like to be part of a technology start-up: his parallel was “throwing yourself off a cliff and trying to assemble a plane on the way down“. As chairman […]

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India’s economy set for continued growth

India’s economy continues to impress. It has been largely unaffected by the global economic crisis, due to its relatively ‘closed’ nature. This gives its central bank a more traditional role – reducing interest rates when economic activity slows, and increasing them as it recovers. Currently, it is on the latter course, increasing rates to 5.75% […]

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“A real global downturn in the industrial sector”

There are mounting signs that 2010 could prove a Year of 2 Halves in terms of economic growth. Interviewed by Bloomberg last month, the MD of the Economic Cycle Research Institute (ECRI), Lakshman Achuthan, warned that their indicators showed “A real global downturn in the industrial sector is starting right here and right now“. They […]

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US company earnings soar, sales disappoint again

The blog’s quarterly look at US company earnings reveals a worrying trend. As Howard Silverblatt, Senior Index Analyst for S&P, puts it “”no sales means no jobs, means no recovery“. As the chart shows, Reported Earnings (red line) recovered strongly to $61 in Q1, and were back at Q1 2008 levels. Equally, as the Q2 […]

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ECB’s Trichet backs austerity measures

Last year, governments focused on stimulus measures, to support the global economy. Now Jean-Claude Trichet, head of the European Central Bank (ECB), says that “with hindsight, we see how unfortunate was the oversimplified message of fiscal stimulus given to all industrial economies under the motto ‘stimulate’, ‘activate’,’ spend’!” Writing in the Financial Times, he is […]

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China’s auto and housing markets weaken

“There are 64.5 million empty apartments and houses in China’s urban areas“, according to Barrons, the US investment magazine. The figure comes from a survey of the country’s electricity meters, undertaken by China’s Academy of Social Sciences. To date, China’s homebuyers remain convinced that home prices cannot fall, as shown by their willingness last year […]

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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 […]

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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: […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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