The 25 years of the BabyBoomer demand supercycle between 1983-2007 cover the careers of most people in the industry. Over this quarter-century, we all grew to accept that low-cost and reliable supply was key to success. Demand would always take care of itself. Today’s world is the opposite. Low-cost supply is no longer enough on […]
Tag Archives | Polyethylene
China’s polyethylene demand has proved an excellent forward indicator of economic policy. So far, however, the usual data on China’s own production has not been yet been published in 2013. Today, therefore, the blog is instead focusing on trade analysis, based on Global Trade Information Services data. This provides important insight into commercial developments: The […]
The blog is constantly astonished by the lack of interest in many companies in the vital field of trade data. No business today, no matter how large and well-connected, can possibly hope to understand market developments without constant analysis of this data. Ironically, the lack of interest comes at a time when the quality and […]
China’s important polyethylene market (PE) showed little sign of any major upturn in October. Trade data from Global Trade Information Services shows: • Demand was up just 4% versus 2010 levels • Production was up 3%, as China’s refinery operating rates slowed • Imports were up 8%, and exports up 57% These figures are virtually […]
It is tempting to think that oil price volatility is a zero-sum game. For every ‘winner’, one would expect there to be a ‘loser’. But when it comes to downstream industries like chemicals, the answer is more complicated, as Richard Bartlett, BP’s commercial director for aromatics in EMEA, discussed at Novapet’s customer event recently in […]
The blog is extremely concerned about recent market developments. Nobody minds higher prices, if they are a response to strong demand and can be passed through to customers. But today’s high prices have nothing to do with strong demand. On the contrary, in fact. Most consumers are actually reducing output. Equally, the wider economic outlook […]
Everyone is looking for clues as to how the market may develop during the second half of the year. One way is to listen to governments. But they, unfortunately, have a tendency to paint a rosy picture, as their main aim is to keep themselves in power. In addition, the rush to produce early snapshots […]
Trading volumes in financial markets are very low these days. Many ordinary investors are on holiday, and others are focused on the Olympics. So it is easy for the high-frequency computers to create major volatility – and large profits for their owners. Thus they managed to create a 1.5% fall in the S&P 500 on […]
Chemical markets are often rather good at providing important insights into wider economic trends. China’s polyethylene market is no exception. As the chart shows for the H1 period, based on trade data from Global Trade Information Services, demand has continued to slip: • It was down 1% (red column) versus H1 2011 (green) , and […]
The last few days have seen financial markets rallying, whilst the news from the real economy gets worse. US GDP growth in Q2 was just 1.5%. And the Wall Street Journal notes the recovery since 2009 has been the weakest in the post-War period. But that doesn’t matter to the computerised trading systems that now […]
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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.