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 […]
Tag Archives | polymers
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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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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.