Tag Archives | new normal

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US sales slip as inventories rise

The US is 25% of the global economy, and its performance matters enormously to the chemical industry. So it was good news that US GDP growth stabilised at 2% in Q3, versus the 1.7% level of Q2. But the underlying trends during 2010 are worrying, as the above chart shows: • Sales growth (blue line) […]

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The $96m phone call

In the Boom period, it was the investment bankers who used to walk away with telephone number fees, after convincing a CEO to go after an acquisition ‘opportunity’. Now, in another sign of the New Normal, it is a former quality control manager who has become $96m richer, after making a ‘whistleblower’ call to GlaxoSmithKline’s […]

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China’s rural areas key for future chemical demand

In the last of its Budget Outlook analysis, the blog today looks at the major changes underway in China. These are typical of many emerging economies, including India, and could potentially have a big impact on chemical demand. The key issue is that China’s leadership has recognised the current export-driven development model no longer works. […]

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US housing enters the New Normal

This is Budget Outlook week in the blog. And for the rest of the week, it is looking at a key issue in a major Region. Today, it highlights the US housing market. This used to be a $35bn market for chemicals, with up to 2.2m housing starts a year, each worth $16k in sales. […]

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Global Operating Rates at 2003 levels

The above chart, from the excellent American Chemistry Council (ACC) weekly report, shows how Operating Rates (OR%) have changed in the global chemical industry since 1989. From 1994 – 2003, they were broadly in an 87% – 93% range. They then moved up to a seemingly stable 92% – 94% range until 2008, before crashing […]

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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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Bank of England endorses New Normal

The Bank of England has become the first major central bank to endorse the argument that we are moving towards a ‘New Normal’. In an important speech this week, its Governor Mervyn King, set out the argument that we can look forward to: “a SOBER decade – a decade of Savings, Orderly Budgets, and Equitable […]

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EU auto sales down 10% in September

EU auto sales were better in September than in either July or August. But ‘better’, of course, is a relative word these days. As the chart shows, they were only down 10% versus 2009 levels, whereas July and August were down 19% and 13% respectively. But in terms of absolute volume, sales at 1.2m were […]

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2011 Budgets

The blog will publish its annual Budget Outlook for 2011 next weekend. And so as usual, its now 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 2010 Outlook was titled ‘Budgeting for a New Normal’, […]

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Western retailing enters the New Normal

More evidence is emerging of the major changes taking place in Western retailing as we transition to the New Normal. Last week, my fellow blogger Doris de Guzman reported from the World Detergents conference that: • P&G’s CEO Robert McDonald noted that in “the last 18 months, 60% of all new laundry and detergent products […]

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