Chemical production is currently the best leading indicator for the wider economy, as financial markets have lost their power of price discovery due to the impact of central bank stimulus. The above chart, based as always on the excellent American Chemistry Council (ACC) data, continues to flash the orange warning signal first seen last month. The key […]
Tag Archives | exports
Polymer traders must be already counting their end-of-year bonuses, as the value of the US$ rises whilst crude oil prices weaken. The biggest bonuses will likely go to polyethylene (PE) traders competing with US producers. The reason is that US ethylene spot prices are currently at record levels. An astonishing 10% of US ethylene capacity has been out […]
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 […]
To assume, as they say is “to make an ass out of u and me”. That was certainly the case last week, when financial markets assumed that China’s slightly better PMI index was a sign that its domestic economy was stabilising. They had temporarily forgotten the key message of February’s Research Note, namely that the government would aim to […]
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 […]
The casual observer might be forgiven for imagining that the US ethylene industry should be seeing its biggest export boom of recent decades. Its ethane feedstock cost is back at its normal 25c-30c/gal range of a decade ago, whilst its oil-based competitors have seen their prices quadruple as oil moved to $100/bbl. But as the chart shows for […]
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 […]
Several blog readers have suggested it should highlight the arrival of Incoterms 2010, which took effect from 1 January this year. As always, since first publication in 1936, they have been produced by the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC). They are important, because they define the terms of delivery for chemicals, and all other traded […]
The dramatic rise of Asia’s economies, including China, has been based on an export-driven model. Their growth powered ahead as long as the West grew, and companies continued to outsource much of their basic manufacturing activity to lower-cost countries. In 2001, for example, China’s exports were just 20% of GDP. But by 2007, they had […]
World trade fell 12% last year, its worst decline since 1945. First estimates also suggest global GDP fell 2.2%, according to Pascal Lamy, head of the World Trade Organisation. This confirms the World Bank’s fears back last March, that the global economy might shrink for the first time since World War 2. Lamy went on […]
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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.