2013 has seen 3 types of markets develop for the blog’s IeC Downturn Monitor portfolio as the chart above shows: Financial assets such as the S&P 500 (purple) have soared, as did the US$ against the yen (orange) Crude oil (blue) and naphtha (black) tried to follow, but found it difficult to pass though the higher prices Benzene (green) and […]
Tag Archives | PVC
Chlorine and caustic soda are some of the most widely used chemicals. Thus their performance is always a valuable leading indicator for the wider chemical industry and the economy itself. So the chart above, based on Eurochlor data, is a worrying sign: Chlorine production is down by 1.9% in 2013, after a 2.9% fall in 2012 Caustic […]
Volatility is one of the blog’s key themes for the next few years, as the world transitions to slower growth and a more regional economy. And the chart above from the latest ICIS pricing Asian ethylene margin report highlights this new trend very well: Margins jumped 42% last week to reach $290/t, based on naphtha […]
China’s new leadership have a double task as they head into Saturday’s critical economic plenum, which will decide policy for the next 10 years. On the one hand they have to avoid the appearance of crisis, and ‘keep the show on the road’. It would be fatal to allow their agenda to be hijacked by […]
Turkey has always been one of the blog’s favourite markets, when it wants to understand what is happening to supply/demand balances. The reason is that Turkey has a very successful downstream industry, but has failed to invest in upstream capacity. This means it is essentially an opportunistic market from a sellers’ viewpoint. During good times, exporters […]
The casual observer might be forgiven for imagining that the US ethylene industry should be seeing its biggest export boom of recent decades. Its ethane feedstock cost is back at its normal 25c-30c/gal range of a decade ago, whilst its oil-based competitors have seen their prices quadruple as oil moved to $100/bbl. But as the chart shows for […]
US housing is core to the US economy. And as the US economy is 22% of the global economy, developments in housing matter to all of us. We learnt this during the subprime Crisis, when the blog’s warnings that the supposed boom was an illusion were ignored until too late. Now the same problem is developing again. Thus […]
You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make her drink. That seems to be the critical message from the current state of US PVC export demand. This should be booming, based on the cost advantage provided by shale gas. But reality is different, as the chart based on Global Trade Information Services […]
Q1 was another miserable quarter for EU olefin producers. As the chart shows, based on APPE data, ethylene production at 4.7MT was at the lowest level in the past 10 years, with the exception of 2009. In fact, one has to go back to 1997 to find a lower figure: • Operating rates were thus […]
Chlorine and caustic soda production are a key indicator of economic growth. They have been produced in large volumes for over a century, and have a extremely wide range of uses from pharmaceutical and aluminium production to detergents and disinfection. The blog’s mid-year review of European data from Eurochlor showed worrying signs of a slowdown, […]
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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.