Tag Archives | food and energy costs

Syngenta aims to gow more food with less fertiliser, pesticides

One of the key chapters in ‘Boom, Gloom and the New Normal’ is titled ‘Doing More with Less’. It argues that the key need is to be practical.  Companies should focus: In the fields of water/food, on reducing the amount of waste, and the output that is lost when product is moving to market In developing […]

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Markets in wait-and-see mode as holiday season arrives

Markets have moved into summer holiday mode in recent weeks whilst they wait for a new direction, as the chart shows.  It is therefore timely to look back over developments since the start of the year: The S&P 500 (purple) has been the clear winner, up 15%.  The key to its out-performance has been the central […]

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Water, Food and Ageing top global societal risks

The latest Global Risks report from the World Economic Forum warns that its highlighted “societal risks all have a relatively high likelihood of occurring in the next 10 years”. As the chart above shows, the top 3 risks are those also highlighted in ‘Boom, Gloom and the New Normal’: • Water supply crises are the […]

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China’s slowdown continues

Today’s purchasing manager index shows China’s manufacturing is now contracting across the country. As always, petchem markets have been leading indicators of this slowdown. And worrying, China’s polyethylene (PE) markets are showing no sign of any improvement as we head to year-end. Volume grew 53% between 2008 – 2010 as a result of the government’s […]

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1 in 4 US children on food stamp aid

Wall Street may be paying out $bns in bonuses. But in the rest of the USA, rising unemployment and foreclosure are having a major impact. In a new analysis, the New York Times reveals that the Federal food stamp programme “now helps feed one in eight Americans and one in four children“. Renamed the Supplemental […]

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The blog’s first birthday

Its now a year since the blog started. Since then, 213 postings have appeared. It is now read in 72 countries and 620 cities (shown above). Most encouragingly, readership continues to steadily increase. Since January, it has risen a further 301%. The blog’s aim is to identify ‘the influences that may shape the chemical industry […]

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‘Sometimes those questions lead to war’

The weekend’s finance minister meeting in Washington DC seems to have been quite different from its predecessors. Not only did they apparently have an ‘informal brainstorming session’ at one point, but they also found themselves confronted with two major and on-going crises: • We have to ‘put food into hungry mouths’ commented Bob Zoellick, President […]

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Wheat prices add to CFO concerns

Wheat prices rose 25% yesterday, the biggest one-day rise ever, as Kazakhstan imposed restrictions on wheat exports. The rationale for today’s rising prices is three-fold: • US farmers have shifted land over to corn, to meet increased ethanol demand, and US wheat inventories are forecast to hit 60 year lows • Emerging countries are now […]

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The law of unintended consequences

There’s an interesting article on Bloomberg, suggesting that the US Fed’s dramatic interest rates reductions are ‘driving Asia’s governments back to controlled economies’. Its argument is that by cutting rates, Bernanke is ‘limiting his Asian counterparts’ ability to curb inflation’. It goes on to argue that Asian banks cannot now raise domestic interest rates to […]

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A tale of two worlds

It used to be said that ‘if the US sneezes, the rest of the world will catch a cold’. Well, the US is certainly sneezing as a result of its subprime financial crisis, but the rest of the world doesn’t seem to be taking too much notice, as least so far. As Bloomberg comments overnight, […]

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