OPEC has called an emergency summit for 18 November ‘to discuss the global financial crisis, the world economic situation and the impacts on the oil market’. Its president, Chakib Khelil, added that it was ‘very likely’ they would cut output. This morning’s price is already down to $80/bbl, with US total products demand down 8.6% […]
Many new readers have turned to the blog, to better understand what is happening in the financial world, and to chemicals demand. They might like to start with the 7 September posting, which forecast the current collapse: ‘The price of all assets will go down’ Also, here is a list of recent postings: Financial crisis […]
Winston Churchill, a long-standing friend of the USA, once irritably but acutely observed that ‘one can rely on America to get to the right conclusion, when all other options have been exhausted’. So, hopefully, it will prove with the financial crisis. Tonight, Bloomberg and the New York Times are reporting that US Treasury Secretary Henry […]
Collapsing housing markets are creating major problems for chemical companies worldwide. Now JD Power, the leading auto industry research firm, is warning that ‘the global auto market in 2009 may experience an outright collapse.’ They add that ‘while mature markets are being impacted more severely than emerging markets, no country or region is completely immune […]
The credit crunch began over a year ago. But it took until yesterday, when the UK government part-nationalised the country’s banks. for a sensible policy response to begin to emerge. Today, the excellent Gillian Tett of the Financial Times pulls no punches in her assessment of what went wrong. She believes that ‘London does now […]
As the blog predicted, Iceland has been forced to call on the IMF for help. Finally, the country’s leaders have recognised that their $20bn economy couldn’t support the level of debt built up during the ‘go-go’ years. The pity is that it took them so long to recognise reality – and by then, any chance […]
Readers may remember the satirical John Bird/John Fortune video on the causes of the housing crisis. Now the Financial Times Diary has provided a satirical view of the causes of the banking crisis: A new bank model 1) Take money from members of the public in savings accounts on pretext of keeping it safe 2) […]
The blog welcomes the co-ordinated action by central banks, including the US Federal Reserve, European Central Bank, and the Banks of England and China, in cutting interest rates. Anything that suggests policymakers are starting to get their act together is good news. But as the blog has argued since February, cutting interest rates in today’s […]
The German word ‘Zeitgeist’ describes ‘the ethos or mood’ of a select group of people. Back in January, the blog noted a change underway in the financial zeitgeist. Today’s Wall Street Journal, normally a cheerleader for the financial community, provides a further example. After reviewing the losses to her personal portfolio, and considering how current […]
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has now increased its estimate of total sub-prime losses to $1.4 trillion, versus $945bn in April. It estimates banks will need to raise $675bn in new capital. And Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the IMF MD, has called for the major economies to respond to the credit crisis with ‘a collective commitment by […]
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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 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.