Tag Archives | China

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China’s PE market slows further

China’s polyethylene (PE) demand in Q1 was down 1.6%. Now the blog’s analysis suggests Jan-May demand was down 4% versus 2010 at 7.1MT. As the chart shows, based on data from Global Trade Information Services and ICIS: • Domestic production (blue) was up 5.6% to 4.3MT • Imports (red) were down 12% at 3MT • […]

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China’s inflation at new high, bank lending slows

The blog continues to worry about signs of a slowdown in China. Major commodity trader, Glencore, said this week “we see a pullback in China and it will continue“. This challenges the views of Dow CEO Andrew Liveris last month, and Rhodia CEO Jean-Pierre Clamadieu – who said last week he saw “no material signs […]

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Global stock markets slide as demand disappoints

It is now 5 weeks since the IeC Downturn Alert was launched. The chart above therefore updates the blog’s regular review of financial markets, showing how these have moved over the same period. Most are down around 4%-5%. Russia is the worst performer (down 8%) and Brazil the best (down 3%). But government bond prices […]

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China battles to achieve a ‘soft landing’

China’s economy has been on steroids for the past 2 years. Faced with the loss of export sales after the financial crisis began in 2008, the government doubled bank lending overnight (red column above). It also introduced a $580bn stimulus programme (13% of GDP). This included subsidised sales of electrical appliances, and was great news […]

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Time to check Downturn contingency plans

Two years ago, the blog began to survey global stock markets on what turned out to be the day they began their major rally. Its end-April launch of Downturn Alert may prove similarly fortuitous. Since then (shaded area), Brent crude oil is down 8%. Similarly naphtha is down 11%, benzene down 2%, HDPE 6% and […]

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BASF warn on over-expansion and China

The blog was very interested to see a recent ICIS interview with Torsten Penkuhn, BASF’s petchem head in Asia, by Will Beacham. Penkuhn noted: “We are more and more concerned at BASF about an increasing risk of overbuilding once again. We currently see a risk that people are becoming too ambitious, enthusiastic and optimistic. And […]

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China fines Unilever for soap price increases

There seems little doubt that China is increasingly worried by rising inflation. The latest sign is Unilever, the giant consumer products company, being fined $300k (RMB 2 million), for discussing plans to increase prices due to higher raw material costs. Those who can remember the US WIN (Whip Inflation Now) programme, or the UK’s Prices […]

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The other side of the China debate

There are always two sides to every debate. Dow Chemical CEO, Andrew Liveris, clearly has a radically different point of view to the blog’s about the likely outlook for China’s demand. Liveris told analysts in this week’s earnings call that “any indications of high inventories (in China) are likely to be transitory“. As ICB editor […]

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China’s empty shopping malls

The South China Mall opened nearly 6 years ago. Nearly 3 times the size of Minnesota’s vast Mall of America in the USA, it supposedly symbolised China’s arrival as a consumer power. But as this Australian TV video shows, the Mall today is virtually empty. As are numerous other shopping malls built more recently. Yet […]

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Ethylene derivative imports threaten European markets

The chart above is a flashing amber light for European cracker operators. Based on ICIS Pricing data, it shows the delta between (a) European and US ethylene contract prices (blue line), and (b) Europe and the North East Asian spot price (red line). Usually, these deltas range between -$50/t and $100/t. H2 2008 was clearly […]

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