Buyers’ behaviour has changed completely since the IeC Downturn Alert launched 7 weeks ago. ICIS news reported Friday a large polypropylene consumer commenting: “I am not buying a lot, just one or two trucks at a time. I kept a high stock level when prices were going up, so now I am using that up. […]
Tag Archives | Polyethylene
China’s stimulus programmes have been a major support for the global chemical industry over the past 2 years. In polyethylene (PE), for example, its total demand grew an astonishing 53% between 2008-10, from 11.7MT to 17.9MT. But now, China’s rapid demand growth seems to have slowed. According to Thomson Reuters, China’s PE consumption actually fell […]
Week 5 of the IeC Downturn Alert saw more stability in the markets. This was largely due to the efforts of the major investment banks. JP Morgan, Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley all issued ‘buy’ notes on crude oil, suggesting prices would soon return to $130/bbl, whilst Barclays said its current $102/bbl forecast was “conservative”. […]
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% […]
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 […]
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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.