Tag Archives | China

Chemical companies see difficult times ahead in 2016

The chemical industry remains the best leading indicator for the global economy.  That much is clear from the warnings it has delivered over the past year: Q3 results in November highlighted the need for “new strategies and business models“ Q2 results in July suggested “continued uncertainty over outlook“ Q1 2015 results in May revealed “increased […]

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China power demand surge ends as Old Normal economy slows

The decline in China’s electricity consumption growth highlights the remarkable slowdown underway in its Old Normal economy, as the chart shows: Consumption growth took off in 2009 under the influence of the stimulus programme It rose 6.5% in 2009, and then accelerated further in 2010 when it was up 14.7% 2011 growth stayed at double-digit […]

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Smartphones head for price war as China sales fall 4% in Q4

We all now carry around a mini-computer in our pockets – one with more power than those which controlled Apollo 11 when Neil Amstrong first walked on the moon in 1969.  In certain parts of the world, there are now more smartphones than toilets, according to Time magazine. This is raising the spectre of market […]

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China’s lending bubble is being deflated

The changes underway in China’s lending policies are far more significant that anything being planned by central banks in Tokyo, Frankfurt or Washington as I describe in my latest post for the Financial Times, published on the BeyondBrics blog Investors’ attention remains focused on the minutiae of central bank policies in the developed world. But they might spare a […]

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China’s polyethylene market creates Winners and Losers

Tens of billions of dollars have been spent over the past 6 years to produce the above chart.  And thousands of people have argued and debated around the world about what will happen to China’s polyethylene (PE) market.  It has been a key focus of attention for everyone in the petchem and polymer industry since […]

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Global car sales growth stalls without China

Where would the global auto industry be without the Chinese market?  Without China, sales in the other Top 6 markets stalled last year, and were down 100k. And what will happen now China’s economy is slowing, and it is also starting to develop a large used car market for the first time?  Buyers will then […]

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Group think on oil prices puts company profits at risk

Shell Chemicals General Manager, Kate Johnson, asked a great question at our Conference last week, to which not a single hand went up in reply, as everyone had forecast an oil price around $100/bbl : “How many of your companies used $60/bbl as their oil price forecast in the 2015 Budget?” “Group think” is clearly […]

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China’s auto slowdown to push spare capacity into export markets

Where would the world’s auto industry, and its suppliers, have been without China in recent years?  And how will they manage now China’s demand for new cars is slowing fast?  These are the question troubling companies and investors as Q3 sales are analysed. The chart above shows the recent history of sales in the Top […]

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Budgeting for the Great Unwinding of policymaker stimulus

There have been 35 “flash crashes” in US oil markets so far this year, when prices swung up or down by 200 basis points (2%) – before reversing the move by > 0.75%.  That’s 35 occasions when the markets were out of control.   It is tempting to blame this on misfiring algorithms at the […]

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Oil price rally disappears along with hopes of more stimulus

Many people in financial markets were hoping a new QE4 stimulus programme would be announced at the recent IMF meeting in Peru.  Unsurprisingly, markets rallied in anticipation: Brent oil was at $44/bbl on 24 August, and rallied to $56/bbl within a week The US S&P 500 Index rallied from 1823 to 1979 over the same period […]

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