Tag Archives | Eurozone

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Brent’s premium to WTI hits Europe’s energy users

Europe is at the eye of the storm when it comes to energy pricing. This is the last thing required by its struggling economy. As the chart shows, Brent in euros (green line, RHS) is now back at the same level as June 2008, whereas WTI is 35% cheaper (black line, LHS). Such a divergence […]

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Eurozone moves closer to crisis

New analysis by Bloomberg supports the blog’s view last month that the arrest of former IMF head Dominique Strauss-Kahn (DSK) probably marked a critical turning-point in the Eurozone debt crisis Not only was DSK no longer able to persuade German chancellor Merkel that the problems needed just “a little more time, a little more money”. […]

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An unmanaged Greek default gets closer

The Dominique Strauss-Kahn affair may come to be seen as a critical turning point, when the story of the Greek default is written. The then IMF head was en route to meet German Chancellor Merkel, when arrested in New York last month. He had been at the forefront of the campaign to pretend that Greece […]

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The tide of European debt default keeps advancing

A thousand years ago, the Viking King Canute had himself carried into the sea by his courtiers. He was the most powerful king of his time. But by showing that he could not turn back the incoming waves, he hoped they would understand that he was not all-powerful. This is a lesson still to be […]

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Boom/Gloom index signals rising austerity

Q1 was a very strong quarter for Western companies operating at the upstream end of the chemicals value chain: • Plants were generally operating well, with few force majeures • Most importantly, the crude oil price jumped 20%. Many buyers had reduced inventory in December for working capital reasons. Then they found they had to […]

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3 major risks for 2011

There seems to be gathering concern in Germany about the outlook for 2011. This is very significant, as the economy has done well this year, and business confidence is at record levels. Bosch CEO, Franz Fehrenbach, who runs the world’s largest auto parts supplier, has warned that “the rebound in commodity prices will put intense […]

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France, Germany, discuss EU fiscal union, as loan problems increase

The EU loans crisis began 6 months ago, when it became likely that Greece was never going to be able to repay its debts in full. Since then, Ireland has moved into a similar position. And there are expectations that Portugal and Spain will follow during 2011. Unsurprisingly, however, given the general lack of transparency […]

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Budgeting for Uncertainty

When elephants fight, those around them need to be cautious. And this is the prospect for 2011-13, as the Western countries try to force the BRICs (Brazil, Russia, India and China) to export less and import more, the so-called ‘rebalancing’ strategy. Thus Budgeting for Uncertainty seems the right title for the blog’s annual Outlook for […]

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EU unemployment remains at 10%

EU governments have spent enormous sums of money to support the economy over the past year. Yet in terms of a key indicator such as unemployment, the situation has got worse rather than better. This is bound to restrain consumer spending, a key factor for domestic EU chemical demand. Eurozone unemployment hit 10% in February, […]

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European auto sales continue to slip

Chemical companies face a clear risk of a synchronised slowdown in demand in all 3 major Regions during H2. • The US is hitting a ‘soft patch’ at best, if not a full ‘double dip’ • China’s demand seems to have already slowed. • Europe, sadly, seems to be following the same path. Not only […]

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