Tag Archives | polymers

Polymer markets at risk if China’s ‘collateral trade’ unwinds

Global metal markets are at growing risk from developments in China’s ‘collateral trade’, as yesterday’s post highlighted.  Worryingly, so are products such as polyethylene and ethylene glycol, as it seems likely these have also been used as collateral more recently.  This will be bad news for producers already suffering from slowing demand: China’s economy continues to weaken as the […]

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China’s $10bn trade deal fraud hits iron ore and copper markets

Iron ore prices on China’s futures market were at 5-year lows yesterday.  Copper prices also weakened in Australia.  This adds to the blog’s concern that China’s ‘collateral trade’ market is getting closer and closer to its ‘moment of truth’. This will come as an awful shock to most outside observers, who have been led to believe China’s vast imports […]

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India’s $10bn polymer opportunity in toilet provision

There is never a shortage of growth opportunities.  But too often companies choose not to access them.  Hopefully that won’t happen with the opportunity to supply millions of tonnes of polymer to meet India’s desperate need for toilets. As the blog wrote recently, 600 million Indians currently defecate in fields – as shown above in the photo – […]

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UK plans switch to polymer banknotes

The UK plans to join Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Mexico and Singapore in switching to polymer banknotes. On Tuesday, the Bank of England announced a public consultation on the issue.  It gives 3 main reasons for the change: The new notes will be more secure, as they will have advanced features making them more difficult to […]

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Demand growth stalls as stimulus effects prove temporary

As executives return to their desks this week, they face some difficult judgement calls.  As the chart shows, markets have been worryingly quiet over the summer.  Most products in the IeC benchmark portfolio are unchanged.  Only Brent crude oil and naphtha have moved higher - due to Syria concerns - whilst benzene has moved lower.  But even these are relatively minor movements. This […]

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Bio-based chemicals take another step forward

Novozymes, the bio-innovation company, have kindly sent the blog news of their new fungus. They believe it can potentially lead the way to the development of bio-based petrochemical products. Novozymes chosen route is to develop products based on malic acid. This occurs naturally in fruit and many vegetables. It also belongs to the group of […]

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Russia’s chemical production continues to grow

Russia has been the great exception in regional chemical markets. Normally, production growth starts at a high level, often 15% a year or more, and then slows as markets become more mature. But in Russia, output collapsed with the Berlin Wall after 1989, and growth was actually negative until the mid-2000s. Since then, there has […]

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Home appliance and furnishings demand declines, as home ownership rates fall

Western banks now demand higher deposits when lending to first time buyers. The Bank of England expects this to increase the average age at which first-time buyers buy a home, and reduce home ownership. This will hit demand for home furnishings and appliances, unless companies change their approach to the market. The Bank’s conclusions apply […]

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Global stock markets slide as demand disappoints

It is now 5 weeks since the IeC Downturn Alert was launched. The chart above therefore updates the blog’s regular review of financial markets, showing how these have moved over the same period. Most are down around 4%-5%. Russia is the worst performer (down 8%) and Brazil the best (down 3%). But government bond prices […]

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Petchem volumes slide in all 3 major regions

Volume is a key driver for chemical company profits. High volume means operating rates increase, reducing unit costs. Companies also gain more pricing power. But when volume is low, the reverse happens. Thus the above chart from leading analyst Paul Satchell of Collins Stewart is telling an important story. It shows: • Volumes were very […]

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