Tag Archives | polymers

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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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Anecdotal evidence

ICIS pricing reports are a treasure trove of information for buyers and sellers. They can also provide an interesting insight into the overall mood of the chemical industry. This might be one of those times. My blogging colleague, John Richardson, noticed several pricing reports mentioned last week that buyers were operating on a ‘hand to […]

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CEOs face dilemma over their outlook forecast

Chemical companies are about to report excellent results for Q1. Those upstream may well record even higher profits than in 2007/8. CEOs and CFOs therefore face a critical decision. Do they assume today’s trends will continue, and forecast excellent profits for the rest of the year? This would be very tempting, and is clearly the […]

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Asia’s olefin margins weaken vs Europe, USA

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 […]

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Petrobras moves forward on green polymers

The blog was very pleased to talk recently to Business News Americas about developments in Latin America. Please click here if you would like to read the full interview. It highlights the key role being played by Brazil’s Petrobras, particularly in the development of ‘green polymers’. These are still very small in volume, compared to […]

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August highlights

Many readers have been taking a well-deserved break over the past few weeks. As usual, therefore, the blog is highlighting key posts during August, to help you catch up as you return to the office. August has been surprisingly busy: Force Majeure reports show worrying increase highlighted the worrying rise in force majeures, which may […]

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Kerbside recycling of PET bottles “no better than landfill” in reducing carbon emissions

Recycling may not be reducing carbon emissions as much as had been hoped. This seems to be the finding of an interesting new report from consultants SRI on recycling of PET bottles. It looks at the benefits of recycling 1.5 litre carbonated beverage bottles made from PET (polyethylene terephthalate). Stricter legislation has led to many […]

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Interpreting trader talk

Current financial and chemical market volatility is a bonanza for good traders, as it gives them more opportunity to take positions, up or down. However, having traded on behalf of a chemical major in Houston, Texas, the blog knows from personal experience that not all traders get all their positions right, all of the time. […]

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Global power shift to the East a “half-truth”

An interesting opinion piece in today’s China Daily suggests the concept that “the next few years will see a dramatic acceleration in the shift of global economic powers eastward” is “at best, a half-truth“. Yu Zhongwen notes that this theory has gained ground in recent years, as the media have speculated that “with a combined […]

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