It is now 4 weeks since the blog launched its IeC Downturn Alert. Since then, as the chart shows (based on ICIS pricing reports): • Brent (blue dotted line) is down 11% • Naphtha (red) is down 13% in Europe • Benzene (green) is down 9% in Europe • HDPE export (purple) is down 7% […]
Tag Archives | Polyethylene
Two years ago, the blog began to survey global stock markets on what turned out to be the day they began their major rally. Its end-April launch of Downturn Alert may prove similarly fortuitous. Since then (shaded area), Brent crude oil is down 8%. Similarly naphtha is down 11%, benzene down 2%, HDPE 6% and […]
The blog launched its Downturn Alert last week, since when we have seen dramatic moves in oil markets. These may well lead to a slowdown in chemical orders, as buyers now have no need to secure supplies ahead of price increases, and may instead start reducing inventories to more ‘normal’ levels. • Brent (dotted red […]
They don’t ring bells at market turning points. Otherwise, we could all retire to the Bahamas. But there is growing anecdotal evidence, from chemical buyers and the main retailers, that we may have reached at least a temporary market peak. And Brent crude oil has been stable for 4 weeks at $125/bbl. Equally, since 1970, […]
The chart above is a flashing amber light for European cracker operators. Based on ICIS Pricing data, it shows the delta between (a) European and US ethylene contract prices (blue line), and (b) Europe and the North East Asian spot price (red line). Usually, these deltas range between -$50/t and $100/t. H2 2008 was clearly […]
The blog’s recent Asian visit revealed considerable anxiety about the state of demand in China. As its blogging colleague, John Richardson, has also described, the country’s lending cutbacks may finally be taking effect. New official figures for lending and electricity consumption support this view. These are two of the only 3 figures trusted by likely […]
The blog is still shocked by the terrible events in Japan. It would like to express its deepest sympathy to all those who have suffered loss. For those of us far away from the disaster, life has to go on. It will be some time before its full impact becomes clear. But in a crisis […]
The ICIS weekly margin reports continue to provide essential reading for anyone in the petrochemical value chain. The above chart is particularly fascinating, as it highlights the significant differences between cracker margins on a regional basis over the past 2 years: • Europe (red column) is the clear winner over the period. Its margin bottomed […]
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 […]
Last March, the blog highlighted the major changes taking place in ethylene, propylene and butadiene prices versus naphtha. It also analysed them in ICIS Chemical Business in September. The above chart now summarises the 2010 outcome, using European prices to enable comparison over the last 30 years. It was a most remarkable year. The chart […]
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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.