We face more uncertainty today than I have ever seen over the past 30 years. Will last year’s strong performance in terms of profit continue? Or will higher oil prices ruin the party? Might China’s demand slow, as the government there worries about rising inflation? How will European demand be impacted as governments switch from […]
Tag Archives | new normal
The blog’s 2 White Papers have proved enormously popular this year. More than 10000 copies have been downloaded around the world. They focused on the New Normal. This reflected the blog’s belief that the current recovery is not taking us back to the 2003-7 Boom period. Instead, it is taking us forward to a world […]
October is usually a seasonally strong month for chemical production. Factories are back from the summer holidays, and working flat out to meet orders before the Christmas and Lunar New Year breaks. So it is a bit disappointing that, as the above chart from the American Chemistry Council shows, operating rates (OR%) actually slipped slightly […]
US auto sales have slowed again. We seem certain to end 2010 at the bottom end of last year’s forecasts for demand, which ranged between 11.5m – 12.5m. This seems the main conclusion from analysing November’s sales figures. The blog has developed the new presentation above, showing sales by month since 2005, to assist comparison […]
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) […]
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 […]
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. […]
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. […]
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 […]
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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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.