New Year optimism over the economic outlook is breaking out all over the USA. Weak employment numbers for December were ignored, as were weak data on housing markets. Whilst prices for benzene, the blog’s favourite sentiment indicator, not only jumped to a record high but dragged European levels to an all-time record as well. Happy Days are clearly […]
Tag Archives | benzene
Benzene has always been one of the blog’s favourite leading indicators for the global economy. The reason is simple, in that it has been around a long time, and is now used in a very wide range of industries. So it provides us with a broad-based picture of the global economy. The chart above highlights another important […]
The blog is busy preparing its presentations for its World Aromatics and Derivatives Conference later this month, co-organised as always with ICIS. As well as looking at the impact of the transition to the New Normal, it will be investigating the current state of benzene markets. These are always an excellent leading indicator for the global […]
Next month’s World Aromatics and Derivatives Conference in Brussels has a range of top-name speakers discussing key issues for the markets. Co-organised as always with ICIS, it features: Shell: Global strategy manager Herbert Le Lorrain will present Shell’s new scenarios for the future, ‘Mountains and Oceans’ Bayer MaterialScience: New procurement head Christian Buhse will provide his first impressions […]
The blog is extremely concerned about recent market developments. Nobody minds higher prices, if they are a response to strong demand and can be passed through to customers. But today’s high prices have nothing to do with strong demand. On the contrary, in fact. Most consumers are actually reducing output. Equally, the wider economic outlook […]
Trading volumes in financial markets are very low these days. Many ordinary investors are on holiday, and others are focused on the Olympics. So it is easy for the high-frequency computers to create major volatility – and large profits for their owners. Thus they managed to create a 1.5% fall in the S&P 500 on […]
The last few days have seen financial markets rallying, whilst the news from the real economy gets worse. US GDP growth in Q2 was just 1.5%. And the Wall Street Journal notes the recovery since 2009 has been the weakest in the post-War period. But that doesn’t matter to the computerised trading systems that now […]
‘Waiting for Godot’, the great play by Irish writer and Nobel Literature Prizewinner, Samuel Beckett, deals with the meaning of existence. Written just after the Second World War, its two characters wait endlessly for the arrival of Godot. US financial markets are currently staging their own version of the play: • They no longer see […]
Pity the poor purchasing manager, who: • Must keep inventories low as end-user demand remains slow, and the CFO remains very worried about the working capital risk • Must keep inventories high, to minimise the risk of running short if supply problems develop and prices jump Benzene (green line), as always, is the great example […]
Once again, the chemical industry has performed its role as a reliable leading indicator of the global economy. On Friday, the IMF warned their next forecast: “Will be tilted to the downside and certainly lower than the forecast that was published three months ago” This will not be news to blog readers. As the chart […]
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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 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.