The US PVC industry is hitting new problems, to add to the post-2006 collapse of the US housing market. Yet only 10 years ago, it was riding high. Demand into housing (the main outlet) was at record levels thanks to subprime lending, and PVC production had just hit a record 7.3 million tonnes. Even after the financial Crisis, global […]
Tag Archives | chloralkali
Fracking has completely changed the outlook for US natural gas supplies, as the above chart from the latest Energy Information Agency 2014 annual report shows: It forecasts a 56% increase in total natural gas production from 2012 to 2040 This is largely due to growth in shale gas (green) and tight gas (brown) Shale gas output […]
Chlorine and caustic soda are the bedrock of modern industry. They are used in everything from laundry products to pharmaceuticals. So changes in their business performance are a most valuable guide to what is happening in the real world in which we all live. The chart shows the detail of developments in the European industry, […]
What a difference 2 years can make. That’s the obvious conclusion from comparing US exports of caustic soda today, with those seen in the years to 2012. As the chart, based on Global Trade Information Services data shows: Net US exports fell 4% in Q1 (red column) versus 2012 (blue), and were 19% below 2013 levels Detailed […]
An accident waiting to happen is perhaps the best way to describe aluminium markets – the key swing outlet for caustic soda. Caustic soda is normally a late cycle product, with sales then focused on the mining industry. Industry leader Alcoa’s results confirm the disappointing trend. It lost money in Q1, whilst revenue fell 8% due to a decline […]
When was the last time you told your customers that they would have to wait 570 days for delivery of material for which they have already paid? You’ve never done this? Well, you need to take lessons from those super-smart people who own the aluminium warehouses, such as Goldman Sachs (pictured above by Reuters). As the blog […]
Chlorine and caustic soda are some of the most widely used chemicals. Thus their performance is always a valuable leading indicator for the wider chemical industry and the economy itself. So the chart above, based on Eurochlor data, is a worrying sign: Chlorine production is down by 1.9% in 2013, after a 2.9% fall in 2012 Caustic […]
Chlorine and caustic soda markets rarely lie about the underlying state of demand. The reason is not just because they have been widely used for over 125 years. But the production process is also relatively flexible, and can be adjusted within minutes to align with supply/demand changes. So the picture in the chart above of falling chlorine production […]
Operating rates in European chloralkali markets are confirming the general slowdown in demand across the continent. Total chlorine production was already down 1.9% in 2012, with H2 operating rates averaging just 75.7%. And sadly, March data from Eurochlor suggests the usual burst of activity in Q1 has been extremely fragile. As the chart shows: • […]
The blog tips its hat today to the International Energy Agency, whose oil research director, Antoine Halff, confirmed its own long-held view that the “recent run-up in prices will rekindle questions about the interplay of financial and fundamental factors in oil markets“, and warned explicity that “Brent prices can be misleading“. Unfortunately, however, any action […]
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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.