Tag Archives | recession

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Demand weakness spreads across Europe and Asia

The blog was in sober mood when giving its usual New Year Outlook in January, warning that “renewed global recession appears to be the major risk facing us at the start of 2013“. Developments since then only reinforce its caution. Europe and Asia are now seeing widespread weakness in demand: • In Europe, the chairman […]

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Lanxess temporarily closes plants, as demand remains slow

Chemical markets continue to paint a very worrying picture of the state of the global economy. There has been no improvement in demand over the past week, since the blog first raised the alarm. Instead, plants are being temporarily closed because of the slowdown. Lanxess, for example, announced the closure of two plants in Belgium […]

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Company results show few signs of any upturn

Economic recovery is already underway, according to the optimists who have bid up financial markets in recent weeks. But the blog’s quarterly review of company results shows little evidence of it on the ground. Phrases such as ‘challenging’, ‘economic uncertainty’, ‘deterioration’ and ‘decline’ dominate the reports across all major regions: • Europe is clearly in […]

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Global economy faces difficult 2013

Its now 4 years since the blog published its first New Year Outlook in ICB. Then it was in a small minority when advising CEOs “to prepare for a marathon not a sprint” in dealing with the financial crisis. And very few accepted its suggestion that it was “unlikely that governments will quickly find a […]

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Q3 results remain in downward trend

The blog’s quarterly survey of chemical industry results shows the downward trend continued in Q3. Some companies remain untouched by the mainstream problems, but they are now clearly in the minority: • Bayer remain optimistic, and DuPont hopeful that problems are merely temporary • But Dow now talk of a ‘new reality’ which sounds very […]

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IMF warns on recession risk as Political, Social worries rise

When the economy is running well, most people tend to get on with their lives. That was the case during the 1982-2007 SuperCycle, when growth was almost constant. But today’s greater economic uncertainties translate into a growing role for Political and Social factors, as the triangle above describes: • In the West, politics is becoming […]

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Buyers start selling benzene as demand disappears

What happens if prices stay unaffordable for so long, that the consumer eventually stops buying? Younger readers may not remember such a period, as it last happened in the early 1980s, before the SuperCycle began. But it looks as though they may be close to finding out. As ever, benzene is the key indicator for […]

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‘Moving forward in volatile times’ the motto for H2

The chemical industry has a long track record as a leading indicator for the global economy. Its position in the value chain means that it sees what is happening upstream in energy markets, and downstream in consumer markets. Anyone studying Q2 results will therefore be concerned about the outlook. This is a major shift from […]

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Oil markets break out of their ‘triangle’

There has never been any fundamental basis for the rise in oil prices over the past 3 years: • At no time has there been any actual shortage of product • In fact, inventories have always been at comfortable levels They rose only for two reasons: • The investment banks found they could make a […]

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Europe’s banks turn to bullfight loans

The blog’s IeC Boom/Gloom sentiment indicator (blue column) continues to be neutral on the outlook. As the chart shows, this is quite unlike its performance in early 2009. Then it rose rapidly from February – accurately forecasting the major recovery that was about to start. The problem, of course, is that the austerity reading (red […]

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