There were record numbers at last week’s European Petrochemical Association annual meeting in Berlin. But most of the 2900 attendees were in subdued mood. Once again, it seems, the industry has chosen to sanction vast new investment at the top of the cycle, and will now suffer the consequences as it all comes online at […]
Tag Archives | China
Today’s uncertain economic and oil price environment has created chaos in petrochemical feedstock and product markets. This creates major risks for producers, consumers and investors. ICIS and International eChem have therefore decided to combine our resources to launch a new Study, that will analyse the potential impact of these developments on the olefins, aromatics and […]
OECD oil inventories have never been higher. They were 2.9mb at the end of July, and are expected to have risen further since then, according to energy watchdog the International Energy Agency: In terms of days of forward cover, they are now at 63 days in the OECD overall They are at 68 days in […]
The global commodity super-bubble is coming to an end, as I describe in my latest post for the Financial Times, published on the BeyondBrics blog It is exactly a year since we forecast that a Great Unwinding of stimulus policies was underway, due to a major slowdown in China. As we warned on beyondbrics: Oil and commodity prices are […]
Global stock markets turned in a vintage experience last week for those who like horror movies. Continued sell-offs in China finally convinced some financial investors, and some senior Western policymakers, that its economy might not be quite as strong as they had assumed. The ensuing panic led to record profits for the high frequency traders (HFTs), as the Dow Jones […]
Its not what we know that causes the major problems. Its what we think we know, but don’t. We know, for example, that markets balance supply and demand by shifting prices up and down. Too much demand and/or too little supply, will mean higher prices and inflation. This is what happened as the BabyBoom took place: Medical […]
“If the lips are gone, the teeth will be cold”: China’s New Normal policies require companies to undertake radical strategy reviews
Wishful thinking can be terribly dangerous for company profits. Taken to extremes, it can lead them into bankruptcy. Recent developments in China thus make it essential for every company to immediately review its strategy for doing business in/with the country, against a realistic outlook for 2016-2018 GDP growth will likely be zero, and could well […]
The chemical industry continues to be the best leading indicator we have for the global economy. Whilst stock markets were continuing to move higher during H1, its depressed level of capacity utilisation was signalling that the economy was far more fragile than generally realised. Company results for Q2 reflect this concern. Of course some, tied […]
My latest post for the Financial Times, published on the BeyondBrics blog is below | Jul 27 15:08 | Red is a lucky colour in China, which is why share price displays go red when prices are rising. A green display means prices are falling, the opposite to stock markets elsewhere. There is a similar discontinuity between the short-term impact […]
BASF and Dow Chemical both warned on the outlook when presenting their H1 results last week: BASF CEO Kurt Bock warned, “We have for second quarter in the row in chemicals no growth worth mentioning . . . that is not a gratifying development. We have the impression that there is little growth dynamic at the moment and our customers remain extremely cautious […]
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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.