Industry needs new strategy to spread benefits of globalisation

The Brexit vote, and Donald Trump’s election, confirm that we are in a New Normal world.  In the interview below with Will Beacham, Deputy editor of ICIS Chemical Business, I highlight some ideas about how industry needs to adapt. BARCELONA (ICIS)–The global chemical sector needs to stimulate demand for innovative products and services in mature […]

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Italy’s referendum is next test for Eurozone stability

Italy was one of the 6 founding members of the European Union (EU) in 1957, along with France, the Netherlands, W Germany, Belgium and Luxembourg.  Its referendum next month will therefore be a critical test of whether the Eurozone and EU can survive the pressure from the Populists. If the Populists win, then the future […]

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Interest rate and US$ surge mark start of the Great Reckoning

The bond market vigilantes are back.  And they clearly don’t like what they are seeing.  That is the clear message from the charts above, showing movements in 10 year government bond interest rates for the major economies, plus their exchange rate against the US$ and the value of the US$ Index:   As I warned […]

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3 key questions for the oil market poker game, ahead of OPEC’s meeting

Volatility continues to dominate oil markets, as the above chart confirms.  Some weeks have seen prices move by over 18%.  These are extraordinary moves in a market which is very well supplied, with near-record inventory levels.  Some recent daily moves are equally extraordinary, with prices jumping $2.50/bbl on Tuesday. The volatility highlights the power of […]

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Chemical company results highlight growing weakness down the value chains

Looking down the table below of chemical company’s reports, its hard to be very optimistic about the outlook. The first half of the year disappointed, as I noted in August.  Then Q3 saw major volatility as the hedge funds and high frequency traders played their games in the oil market – prices weakened as demand […]

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Trump’s ’100-day plan’ means an end to “Business as usual”

‘There are none so blind as those who will not see. The most deluded people are those who choose to ignore what they already know’ John Heywood, 1546 “When Aetna ran through post-election expectations, the idea that Donald J. Trump would win the presidency and that Republicans would control both chambers of Congress seemed so […]

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Smartphone markets see calm before the storm as volume stagnates

The global smartphone market reached a fork in the road in Q3, and that was before Samsung’s disaster with the enforced recall of the Galaxy 7 model.  What happens next is not yet clear, but it is likely that a focus on price and affordability will come to dominate.  In turn, pricing pressures on suppliers […]

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“Everyone wants to be rich”: Divorces soar with land prices as China’s housing bubble enters its final stages

One thing that “everyone knows” in China’s Tier 1 cities is that property prices can never go down.  As one resident told the South China Morning Post: “The only thing I know is that buying property will not turn out to be a loss.  From several thousand yuan a square metre to more than 100,000 […]

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World Aromatics Conference focuses on key industry challenges

The 15th World Aromatics & Derivatives Conference take place in Vienna in 2 weeks’ time on 22 – 23 November. Co-organised as always with ICIS, we will benefit from the insight of key executives from the global industry including: THE OUTLOOK FOR AROMATICS Shell’s Commercial Manager, Europe, on feedstock and product availability China’s CICCC on what […]

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Chemical industry warns of likely global recession in 2017

The chemical industry is the best leading indicator for the global economy, and it is flagging major warning signs about the outlook for 2017.  As the chart above shows, based on American Chemistry Council (ACC) data:   Since 2009, Capacity Utilisation (CU%) has never returned to the 91.3% averaged between 1987 – 2008   It […]

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