Aromatics markets often lead petrochemical markets, and provide good insight into economic trends. This has certainly been true of PTA (terephthalic acid) and benzene over the past year. PTA demand into polyester and PET is dominated by Asia: benzene’s wide variety of uses means it is a good proxy for industrial production in Europe. Recent developments have been […]
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We have another strong speaker line-up for our 10th European Aromatics & Derivatives conference on 22-23 November in Amsterdam, co-organised as usual with ICIS. Patrick Thomas, CEO of Bayer Material Science, will talk about the outlook from the viewpoint of a major global aromatics consumer. Alexander Farina, GM strategy for Shell Chemicals, will give his […]
Its now a year since the blog first highlighted the worrying rise in force majeures (FMs) since the Great Recession began. Most disappointingly, continuing strong profitability has not led to any improvement. In fact, as the chart shows, the position has worsened over the past 6 months. It is based on the number of FM […]
The blog has come across a useful new tool for global brainstorming, run out of San Francisco by DiscoveryCast. They have recently organised a major event with Paris-based SpecialChem to review the current state of play in bio-based initiatives. This involved a group of 550 experts from 400 companies (including 3M, Dow, Michelin, DuPont, Arkema, […]
Over the past century, many parts of the world have seen an extraordinary increase in living standards and life expectancy. As the Financial Times notes, we used to marry at c15 years, become grandparents at c30 and die at c45. Yet whilst 15 – 30 – 45 is still the demographic cycle in the poorest […]
IPIC, Abu Dhabi’s International Petroleum Investment Company, made a very shrewd acquisition of Nova at the bottom of the market, earlier this year. And now they are apparently in talks with a number of major chemicals companies about joint ventures and possibly acquisitions. The key for IPIC is to obtain technology, with which they can […]
The good news is that the stabilisation seen in Q2 has been maintained. But companies remain cautious on the outlook, to judge from Q3 reports. CEOs are sceptical about the impact of government stimulus efforts in the West, and fear demand will fall back as these end. The only optimists are in China and India. […]
This week’s company results have been keenly awaited, as the industry seeks to form a view on what happens next to demand and profits. My new IeC colleague Paul Satchell reviews them, from the point of view of a highly-experienced financial analyst, in his ‘Chemicals Viewpoint’. But the blog thought it would also be interesting […]
When I worked with ChemConnect in the halcyon days of the dot-com era in 1999-2000, we had a fantastic PR lady called Linda Stegeman. Linda ignored conventional wisdom about ‘bundling’ all your best news together to gain maximum impact. Instead, she released the stories one by one, and let them build. First Dow and Rohm […]
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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.