The blog has an incredibly loyal following around the world. 24% of its readers visit twice a week, or more. They also recommend it to colleagues. Visitor numbers jumped 50% last month.The issue is the rising uncertainty over the outlook for the world economy. This has clear potential to cause problems for the chemical industry.The […]
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Crude oil prices are now up 18% since the US Fed announced its QE2 Lifeboat policy at the end of August. This clearly justifies the blog’s faith in the ‘triangle pattern’ in September. The rise is mainly due to financial players, with the Large Speculators dominating the buy-side on the futures markets. But in turn, […]
When elephants fight, those around them need to be cautious. And this is the prospect for 2011-13, as the Western countries try to force the BRICs (Brazil, Russia, India and China) to export less and import more, the so-called ‘rebalancing’ strategy. Thus Budgeting for Uncertainty seems the right title for the blog’s annual Outlook for […]
Anyone running a chemical company knows that the benefits of certain key decisions can take years to develop. Many companies had to support their nascent pharma businesses for 20 years, before steady profits began to flow. Whilst major complexes can easily take 10 years from inception to completion. Yet in recent years, investors have become […]
With the Chairman of the US Federal Reserve saying the outlook is “unusually uncertain“, its time to summon the chemical market genie. Of course, rubbing the lamp is not always successful. And if the genie does arrive, one can only ask 3 questions. So rather than risk wasting them, the blog has learnt to spend […]
The blog has had a letter published in the FT this morning, which readers might like to see. It focuses on the problem of using EBITDA measures when analysing a company’s performance. It suggests that analysts should move away from their current reliance on this measure, which ignores the impact of important areas such as […]
Consumer spending is 70% of US GDP. And because US GDP is so large, this means the US consumer is 17% of global GDP. This is the same as the combined GDP of China and Japan, who rank 2 and 3 after the USA. So a change in US consumer spending matters. And it particularly […]
Sell in May and Go Away” is the oldest rule in stock market investment. This week has certainly provided further support for it: • The major Western stock markets are down c8% • The major emerging markets are down between 4% – 13% • Crude oil prices are down 13% This May panic may well […]
“Crude oil is (now) more than just a physical product“, according to NPRA Chairman William Klesse. As he noted, “Today there is ample crude in the world, and crude is not at $80/bbl because of physical markets“. This was a strong statement from the head of the US National Petrochemical & Refiners Association, at the […]
Blog readers have a wide range of interests. That is clear from the list below of the Top 10 posts in 2009. It also confirms the complexity of the chemical industry, and its fascination. In alphabetical order, it is as follows: • Bubble, bubble, toil and trouble • Companies remain cautious on the outlook • […]
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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.