The end of Q1 seems a good moment to look back at the position of the benchmark markets in the IeC Downturn Monitor. Compared to previous quarters, there has been surprisingly little movement: Benzene has remained the most volatile, with supply outages temporarily pushing up prices (green line) HDPE has trended higher, but these are […]
Tag Archives | credit crunch
Sentiment, as measured by the IeC Boom/Gloom Index has weakened considerably over the past 3 months as the chart shows: It peaked at 12 in November, hitting its highest level since before the 2008 Crisis began (blue column) It then drifted lower in December, before rallying back to 9 in the New Year But now […]
Think back a moment to September 16 2008. Newly released transcripts analysed by the Wall Street Journal and Financial Times reveal for the first time what was really going on that day at the world’s most important central bank. Lehman Bros, one of Wall Street’s largest investment banks, had just gone bust. Merrill Lynch, another giant, had […]
Autos remain the world’s largest manufacturing industry, and the single biggest source of demand for chemicals and plastics. According to detailed analysis by the American Chemistry Council, each new US auto is worth $3,539 in terms of sales – and involves a wide range of products including antifreeze, plastic dashboards, bumpers and windows, as well as upholstery […]
Back in April, the blog suggested that capital controls might remain for rather longer in Cyprus than the “few days or weeks” suggested by the central bank. And a month later, the bank was still unrealistically claiming they would be lifted “as soon as possible”. Today, the blog’s own view that they could be in place “for […]
2 years ago, Italy was paying 3.82% to borrow for 10 years (red column). Spain was paying 4.11%. These rates were similar to the UK’s 3.07%. A year ago (blue column), the world was clearly changing. This led the blog to introduce the concept of the JUUGS (Japan, UK, US, Germany, Switzerland), as a ‘safe […]
The chemical industry has a long track record as a leading indicator for the global economy. Its position in the value chain means that it sees what is happening upstream in energy markets, and downstream in consumer markets. Anyone studying Q2 results will therefore be concerned about the outlook. This is a major shift from […]
On 7 September 2008, in its now famous warning that a financial crisis was imminent, the blog noted that “‘Deleveraging’ is an ugly word, and it has ugly implications“. The chart above shows just how ugly these implications are becoming for the PIIGS countries (Portugal, Italy, Ireland, Greece, Spain). It is based on data produced […]
Long-standing readers will remember that then-UK Finance Minister Alastair Darling was the first Western politician to recognise in August 2008 the disaster that was about to hit financial markets. Now out of office, his warning today therefore deserves the widest possible discussion around the world: “I despair of the way in which EU leaders are […]
The blog will publish its fifth annual Budget Outlook next weekend. As usual, it is therefore time to review last year’s Outlook. Past performance may not be a perfect guide to future outcomes. But it is one of the best that we have. The blog’s 2008 Outlook ‘Budgeting for a Downturn’, and its 2009 ‘Budgeting […]
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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.