Central bankers are like generals. They seem to prefer fighting their last war, rather than preparing for the next one. How else to explain their continued reluctance to recognise that higher food and energy prices are here to stay? As a result, interest rates now need to rise more than expected. Pity those who have […]
Consumer attitudes have shifted sharply in recent weeks. This could have big implications for chemical companies, and they need to respond quickly.
Yesterday’s “swings in financial derivative prices were so extreme that they implied scenarios in which the core of the global liquidity system suffers a serious assault”, according to JP Morgan, the investment bank. Watch out, if current US sub-prime mortgage problems turn into a more general “flight from risk”.
Housing and autos have always been key drivers for the US chemicals industry. We should be concerned if the housing market weakens further.
The prices paid for Petkim and for Lustran reflect two very different perspectives on the current market:
ICI has experience of fighting off unwelcome acquisitions. And Akzo may find itself in a difficult position if ICI wins again. Unless this bid, like Hanson’s in 1991, marks the ‘top’ in the currrent M&A cycle.
Crude oil prices are climbing again. $100/bbl is not impossible, if current geo-political concerns continue. And today’s tightly balanced market could persist to 2010.
The latest report from the ‘central bankers’ bank’ provides an excellent analysis of what might go wrong in the world economy over the next 2 – 3 years. Anyone interested in scenario planning will find its conclusions valuable.
The US Senate thinks the Amaranth hedge fund increased the costs of natural gas futures contracts last year. Any pension funds invested in Bear Stearns’ hedge funds might want to check on the current value of their holdings.
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.