Tag Archives | China

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China battles food and house price inflation

When China announced that inflation had reached 5.1% in November, the authorities insisted it was only a temporary peak. But this seems less likely today, with January’s inflation still at 4.9%. The surge in food prices is very worrying. They jumped 10.3%. And with a major drought underway in the North East, there is a […]

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China seeks ‘soft landing’ for house prices

Housing’s share of China’s GDP has tripled over the past decade to 6%. This, of course, has stimulated demand for chemical and polymers. But as the Bloomberg chart shows, it is also worryingly close (blue line) to the peaks seen in the USA (black line) and, before then, Japan (dotted line). The rise has been […]

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Mubarak’s departure may weaken oil prices

History doesn’t repeat, but it sometimes rhymes. That was the insight of the famed American writer, Mark Twain. 2 weeks ago, this led the blog to highlight the similarities between the geo-political concerns then developing in Egypt, and the Israel/Iran stand-off which had marked the oil price peak in June 2008. We still cannot be […]

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China’s PE imports slip: Middle East gains market share

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 […]

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China tightens lending: Saudi may pump more oil

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 […]

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China’s economy ends 2010 at new highs

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 […]

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China’s December surge makes it largest auto market

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 […]

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US oil inventories at yet another record level

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 […]

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New White Paper now available

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 […]

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China’s gasoline at record highs, EU’s close to peak

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 […]

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