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 […]
Tag Archives | China
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 […]
What happens if you suddenly double bank lending in a country, and make it equal to 1/3rd of total GDP? And, as part of the experiment, add a further 13% of GDP via a $580bn stimulus programme? We don’t know yet, because it has never been done before. But we are about to find out. […]
The chemical industry has been one of the great beneficiaries from globalisation over the past 25 years. Today, it is hard to remember just how restricted markets used to be. Tariffs often applied within Regions, as well as between them. In his early years as a product manager, the blog would often spend days trying […]
Attendees had a fascinating two days at our annual European Aromatics & Derivatives Conference in Berlin this week. As always, it was co-organised with ICIS, and featured a strong list of speakers: Sven Royall, VP at Shell Chemicals, put forward an optimistic outlook for benzene derivatives. He argued that substitution of PS by PP had […]
China’s government tends not to like surprises. Its usual tactic is therefore to talk about policy changes well in advance. And this is what seems to be happening with regard to the real estate bubble. Back in September, premier Wen Jiabao said it would probably take 2 – 3 years to cool the bubble properly. […]
China’s export-led economy was badly hit when the financial Crisis began in Q4 2008. In response, the government moved quickly to stimulate domestic consumption, in order to keep people employed. It doubled bank lending overnight, and introduced a $580bn stimulus programme. Worth 13% of GDP, this alone was far larger than any seen elsewhere. Doubling […]
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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.