EU policymakers like to pretend that the Eurozone debt crisis was resolved by the adoption of last March’s new Treaty. An even more disturbing thought is that they might even believe their own propaganda. Who knows? But on the ground, it is crystal clear that the problems continue to multiply. Latest data from the Bank […]
Tag Archives | Russia
Yesterday the blog discussed caustic soda, and the recent importance of China’s metal demand. Today it focuses on chlorine and PVC. PVC is the largest end-use for chlorine. It is also critical for chloralkali producers when caustic demand is strong, as recently. Chlorine itself cannot be safely stored in large volumes, and so instead they […]
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 […]
Cars are now the largest single market for chemical sales, as housing markets have slowed globally. Each new US car is worth $3297, for example, according to the American Chemistry Council (ACC), making the US market worth $42bn in 2011. 2011 auto sales were ~59m, up 4% from 2010. The West (EU, USA, Japan) still […]
The world enjoyed an economic SuperCycle between 1982-2007. Its largest economy, the USA, suffered just 16 months of recession during the whole 25 years. As a result, social and political issues took a back-seat. Politicians instead competed to occupy the middle ground. Former UK premier Margaret Thatcher’s phrase ‘you can’t buck the markets’, became received […]
The decision by S&P, the ratings agency, to put the USA’s AAA debt rating on review is a potential game-changer for US economic policy. It means that policymakers can no longer pretend the $5trn they have spent over the past 2 years on stimulus measures somehow “doesn’t count” in terms of needing to be repaid. […]
In May last year, the blog was hopeful that the major decline in Russian chemical production might start to reverse. And recent ACC regional production figures have indeed shown a welcome improvement in Central and Eastern European output, which was badly hit by the 2008-9 collapse. Once again, the blog is grateful to Sergei Blagov […]
Blog readers have a wide range of interests. That is clear from the list below of the Top 10 posts in 2009. It also confirms the complexity of the chemical industry, and its fascination. In alphabetical order, it is as follows: • Bubble, bubble, toil and trouble • Companies remain cautious on the outlook • […]
Last year, OPEC meetings led to newspaper headlines. But today’s session in Vienna seems to have slipped off the radar. Yet the oil market remains as important as ever to chemical companies. As the chart shows, the prime driver for oil prices (blue line) is still the financial market. Traders continue to believe recovery is […]
Last week’s global production numbers highlighted the startling collapse in output from Central & Eastern Europe. This was the worst regional performer in Q1, and the blog decided to investigate further. Russian output is key to the region’s performance. And the chart, based on data kindly provided by ICIS’s Sergei Blagov, shows how all parts […]
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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.