The blog’s oil price forecasts have had a stellar record this year. Last month, with its $70/bbl forecast having been realised, the blog continued to worry about downside risk: “If refiners are forced to cut runs for December, then it would be hard for OPEC to cut its own production quickly enough to compensate. In […]
Prof Nouriel Roubini has long been correctly bearish about the economy, and was one of the first to highlight the deflation risk. In a new interview, he sets out his thoughts for 2009, and concludes: “I don’t believe we are going to be in a depression – but we could end up like Japan that […]
The chart, taken from the weekly ACC report, shows just how badly chemical production has been hit in recent months: N America. This region has been worst affected, with volumes down 12% in November versus 2007. W Europe/CEE. Both regions were down 3% in October versus 2007 Asia/Latin America. These regions are just positive, with […]
The recession will have a major impact on M&A activity next year, according to a new analysis by Pilko & Co. Their key conclusions are: • Increasingly,deals will be the result of financial restructurings, workouts or bankruptcies. • Buyers with cash and debt capacity will be able to dictate terms. • Asian/Middle East buyers will […]
The blog warmly welcomes the move by players in the European olefins market to re-engage with monthly pricing. The rationale for its support is based upon the conclusion of the major report that International eChem produced 3 years ago, Pricing for Profit: “The cumulative impact of the current pricing mechanisms has caused the wider marketplace […]
Yesterday the US Fed cut interest rates to an all-time low of 0% – 0.25%. Once again, Wall Street celebrated with a major rally, even though the move had more symbolic than practical purpose. It made it appear that the authorities were “doing something”, even though the evidence of previous rate cuts indicates they have […]
The UK is expected to build just 135,000 houses this year, compared to 203,500 in 2007. This is the lowest level since 1924, when 87.000 houses were being built (excluding the war period). The outlook for 2009 is also poor, as many current projects date from before the start of the financial crisis. In turn, […]
Japan went through its “bubble years” in the 1980′s, with the Nikkei index peaking at 39000 (versus 8664 today). The blog well remembers standing in front of Tokyo’s Imperial Palace in Tokyo in 1988, when its land was said to be worth more than all of California. Since then, housing and stock market bubbles have […]
There is now general agreement that we are in a global recession. The World Bank’s new ‘Global Economic Prospects’ report expects global GDP growth of only 2.5% this year, and just 0.9% growth for 2009. This is well below the 3% level that signals recession. And the Bank also forecasts that world trade will contract […]
The excellent Gretchen Morgenson makes a good point in her New York Times column today. As she puts it, “here in Bailout Nation, you’ll be surprised to learn, some of us are more equal than others”. Her argument is that Congress is operating to double standards. Last week, it refused to support $14bn of lending […]
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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.