The average smartphone now has “more computing power than the computers used during the Apollo era to put the first men on the moon.“ The question facing all of us, is “How will this power be used to disrupt our current business? We can already see some of the early impacts from the transformation taking place: □ Most […]
Tag Archives | plastics
Difficult times lie ahead for global polymer markets, as I note in a new analysis for ICIS Chemical Business. In the short-term it is clear that downstream users have, once again, been busy building stock in recent weeks as the oil price rose. But now, finance directors are getting calls from their bankers asking about […]
Plastics consumption in US autos is going down, not up. Steelmakers and glass manufacturers have recaptured ground lost in the years to 2009, and are capturing new sales as auto standards demand lighter-weight cars. And yet, if you had asked polymer suppliers about future demand in the US auto market a few years ago, they […]
Major change is underway in manufacturing and supply chains. China’s slowdown has exposed the myth that its demand would support ever-increasing production of commodities such as metals and oil. As the Financial Times reported yesterday: “Back in the summer, Glencore’s combative chief executive Ivan Glasenberg led a chorus of mining executives in blaming speculative funds for driving […]
Where would the world’s auto industry, and its suppliers, have been without China in recent years? And how will they manage now China’s demand for new cars is slowing fast? These are the question troubling companies and investors as Q3 sales are analysed. The chart above shows the recent history of sales in the Top […]
Imagine a world where your local garage uses 3D printing to provide you with a new car bumper. You have had a bump in a car park, and just want to get it fixed. Unlike today, there’ll be no more waiting for the part to arrive. The garage will simply download the design from the […]
We all know that Europe has an ageing population. Germany and Italy, for example, have median ages of 45 years. And fertility rates have been below replacement levels for 45 years, so the relative number of higher-spending young people is reducing. Instead, there are more and more older people, as life expectancy at age 65 […]
I was kindly invited last week to give a keynote address at the annual ME-TECH conference in Dubai. Naturally, there was intense interest in my argument that oil prices were most unlikely to recover to the $100/bbl level. Instead, I suggested they would likely return to their long-term historical average of $33/bbl (in $2014). And I argued that this would be good news […]
Turkey is the blog’s “go-to” market when it wants to confirm trends in global markets. The reason is that Turkey has a very successful downstream industry, but has failed to invest in upstream capacity. This means it is essentially an opportunistic market from a sellers’ viewpoint. During good times, exporters will only divert product from […]
The latest American Chemistry Council report on global production shows output was up 3% versus September 2012, and just 18% above average 2007 levels. There was a mixed picture in the main Regions: Asia-Pacific was strongest, up 5.9%, with Japan accelerating as the weak yen helped its exports The Middle East continued to slow, and was up […]
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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 as 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.