China has been the main source of chemical and polymer demand growth over the past 2 years. But newly released trade data suggests its import volume on core products such as polyethylene may now be reducing, as more domestic capacity comes online. Equally, Asian producers, and the USA, face strong competition from low-cost Middle East […]
Tag Archives | China
Recent days have seen some signs that the tectonic plates under current chemical and polymer markets may be starting to shift. The most important has been the rapid rise in inter-bank lending rates in Shanghai. As the chart shows from Petromatrix, these have begun to rocket. A year ago, the rate at which banks could […]
China’s economy ended 2010 on yet another high. As the chart shows, bank lending (red column) and electricity consumption (blue line), remained very strong: • Electricity usage was up 15% in 2010 versus 2009 • Bank lending was RMB 7.9trn ($1.2trn), above the RMB 7.5trn target The change since the start of the Crisis is […]
December was a good month for global auto sales. China’s volume jumped to 1.3 million, as buyers rushed to capture stimulus discounts before they ended. In Beijing, many ‘brought forward’ planned 2011 purchases, in order to beat the new quota system, which aims to reduce congestion by capping 2011 sales at just 240k versus 891k […]
US crude oil and product stocks have started the year where they finished in 2010. As the black dot on the above chart from Petromatrix shows, they are at yet another seasonal record. In terms of numbers, they are 101 million barrels above 2008 levels, and even 8 million barrels above last year. It is […]
We face more uncertainty today than I have ever seen over the past 30 years. Will last year’s strong performance in terms of profit continue? Or will higher oil prices ruin the party? Might China’s demand slow, as the government there worries about rising inflation? How will European demand be impacted as governments switch from […]
Crude oil prices have been rocketing lately. In turn, they have produced the seemingly ‘strong’ year-end for the chemical industry forecast by the blog in early November. At this point, there is a clear divergence of view. The blog’s bullish friends see this as a sign of a major recovery in demand, and confidently forecast […]
70% of China’s women regard “housing, a stable income and some savings” as vital for any man wanting to get married. And they probably don’t regard architect Dai Haifei’s $300 Beijing ‘egg house’ (pictured) as their ideal. The data comes from the “2010 China Marital Status Report“, which adds that the man’s personality and morals […]
The blog is awarding itself a pat on the back today, for its decision to focus on electricity consumption and bank lending as key indicators for China’s economy. According to the Wall Street Journal, these are 2 of the only 3 statistics used by China’s Vice Premier, Li Keqiang (the other is rail cargo). Li’s […]
October is usually a seasonally strong month for chemical production. Factories are back from the summer holidays, and working flat out to meet orders before the Christmas and Lunar New Year breaks. So it is a bit disappointing that, as the above chart from the American Chemistry Council shows, operating rates (OR%) actually slipped slightly […]
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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.