One by one, Western political leaders are coming to the conclusion that taxes on the banks need to rise. Last month, the UK proposed a 50% ‘super-tax’ on bonuses, on the grounds that “investment banks are making exceptional profits as a result of the intervention of government“. At the time, the blog thought it spotted […]
The blog has been worrying for some time about what will happen when governments end their stimulus programmes. It does not share the optimism of financial markets, that these will provide to be the “escape velocity” for a quick return to 2003-7 Boom conditions. Today’s data from Germany seems to support its concerns. According to […]
The Dalian polymers future market had a strong end to 2009. As the chart shows, Linear Low Density Polymer volumes (blue line) jumped to 44 million tonnes. The new PVC contract saw the same volume. But there are growing signs that this may prove a ‘last hurrah’. The government is clearly starting to worry about […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 • […]
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 […]
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 […]
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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Paul Hodges is Chairman of International eChem, trusted commercial advisers to the global chemical industry.
The aim of this blog is to share ideas about the influences that may shape the chemical industry over the next 12 – 18 months. It will try to look behind today’s headlines, to understand what may happen next in important issues such as oil prices, economic growth and the environment. We may also have some fun, investigating a few of the more offbeat events that take place from time to time. Please do join me and share your thoughts.
Between us, we will hopefully develop useful insights into the key factors that will drive the industry's future performance.