The UK’s Brexit referendum is fast becoming a bitter battle for the Conservative Party leadership. It is hard to believe that Boris Johnson, who leads the Leave campaign, really cares either way about the issue of leaving Europe: He told Germany’s Der Spiegel only last year: ‘We can’t leave Europe. We’re part of the European Continent. What […]
Difficult times lie ahead for global polymer markets. It would be bad enough that downstream users have been busy building stock in recent weeks as the oil price rose, as Linda Naylor reports on polypropylene (PP) for ICIS: “PP demand is slow, slower than many expected, and the strong growth of recent months is now […]
Global demand is continuing to slow, yet chemical industry capacity is continuing to ramp up. As a result, supply gluts are likely to appear in many key areas as we move into the second half of the year. That is the key conclusion from the latest American Chemistry Council data for global chemical capacity and […]
34m Americans will be driving at least 50 miles this Memorial Day weekend, which marks the start of the summer ”driving season”. But contrary to popular belief, the average American is driving less these days. The total number of miles driven is still increasing due to the rising US population. But on an individual basis, people are driving 6% less […]
Motorbikes continue to dominate India’s motor vehicle market, as the chart above shows based on new data from the industry association (India’s year runs from April – March): 16.5m 2-wheelers were sold in the year, up 2% versus 2014-15, and took 2/3rds of the market 2.8m passenger cars were also sold, with volume up 7%, and had a 12% […]
Global oil traders are having lots of fun as oil market volatility ramps up. Earlier this month, for example, Reuters reported that “Glencore have got big positions all over the place” in North Sea oil markets: They spotted that N Sea production would be sharply reduced in June due to maintenance on the Ekofisk field […]
Policymakers would be better off following the fortunes of the chemical industry, if they wanted to forecast the global economy, as I describe in my latest post for the Financial Times, published on the BeyondBrics blog Capacity utilisation (CU%) in the chemical industry has long been the best leading indicator for the global economy. The […]
Thank goodness for Janet Yellen, and China’s provincial governments. That was clearly investors’ thoughts, when they bid up chemical company share prices during Q1. For as the chart above shows, there was nothing in the fundamentals of supply and demand to suggest economic recovery was finally underway. Instead, the latest American Chemistry Council data shows […]
40 years ago, the vast majority of the British people were in favour of joining the European Economic Community. 67% voted in favour, in the 1975 referendum to confirm the UK’s entry. Virtually all mainstream politicians were in support, with only the left-wing of the Labour Party strongly anti on the grounds that it was […]
China’s long-promised cotton auctions have begun this week. Their outcome will tell us a lot about President Xi Jinping’s ability to force through his New Normal changes in the economy. It will also, of course, have major impact upon the polyester value chain, given the competition between the 2 fibres. As the slide from the […]
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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.