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ExxonMobil says older plants need to shut

Restructuring will become an important issue for the chemical industry, according to John Verity, ExxonMobil’s polyolefins head. Speaking to ICIS news, he was downbeat about short-term prospects, noting that whilst some restocking is currently underway, “we are not likely to see any real demand until the end of the quarter”. Earlier, in his speech to […]

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Brazil’s exports fall 29%

The emerging economies, which built their growth on exports to the West, are being badly hit by the global recession. Brazil, where poverty levels were at their lowest level for 30 years, is now seeing recent gains unwind. Its exports fell 29% in January, the biggest drop since 1991. This followed a terrible December, when […]

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GM, Chrysler’s US sales collapse

January’s US auto sales figures gave no hope that demand is yet bottoming out. Volumes were down 41% versus 2008. As the chart shows, the main pain was felt by GM and Chrysler, who saw sales down 49% and 55% respectively. A key factor in the downturn for both companies was a collapse in fleet […]

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ExxonMobil weathers the storm

One can still rely on ExxonMobil to deliver positive results, even whilst the world is collapsing around them. Friday’s report showed Q4 chemical volumes down 20%, as a result of hurricane effects and destocking. But although earnings tumbled from $1.1bn in 2007, they were still in the black at $0.2bn.

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S Korean exports drop 33% in January

The scale of the crisis in Asian economies becomes clearer, month by month. Exports account for nearly half of S Korea’s GDP. In January, these dropped 33%. Of course, January is always a slow month, due to the Lunar New Year, but these figures followed earlier falls of 19% in November and 18% in December. […]

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China plans “extraordinary measures”

China faces a difficult outlook, after the collapse of its main export markets in the West. Interviewed by the Financial Times today, China’s premier, Wen Jiabao, sets out a pragmatic list of “forceful” actions that are now underway. Most are Keynesian measures, aimed at putting money in the pockets of those who are most likely […]

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Most economic forecasts are too optimistic

Prof David Blanchflower, of the Bank of England, is not optimistic that the current recession will end soon. He notes that “few macro-economists actually spotted the greatest financial crisis in a hundred years”. And in the chart above, showing OECD forecasts for the UK economy during the last recession, he demonstrates that forecasters kept predicting […]

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Cramer hits at Dow’s Liveris

The credibility of some chemical industry CEO’s seems to be under increasing attack, due to their apparent failure to develop proper contingency plans in advance of the current recession. One example this week comes from the USA, where Jim Cramer is one of the most well-known business TV commentators. He suggests that Dow’s CEO, Andrew […]

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IMF says “demand has collapsed”, sees “deflation risk”

A year ago, the International Monetary Fund rightly warned that the world was facing a “serious economic slowdown”. This week, it has updated its forecasts, and now “expects the global economy to come to a virtual standstill in 2009″. This will be “the lowest rate of global GDP growth since World War II”. As the […]

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Dow Chemical moves to Plan B

A month ago, after the collapse of the K-Dow deal, the blog suggested that Dow would need to move quickly to a Plan B. It added that “nobody would be very surprised if it now sought to renegotiate the proposed Rohm & Haas acquisition”. This now seems to be underway, judging by two pieces of […]

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