Tag Archives | USA

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Auto sales face weaker H2

This week’s special blog series has focused on auto markets, a critical source of chemical demand. Today, it concludes by summarising developments in China, USA, EU, which account for ~55% of global sales. They have moved in different directions since the Great Recession began: • China’s volumes soared in 2009-10 • The USA has fallen […]

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Ethylene derivative imports threaten European markets

The chart above is a flashing amber light for European cracker operators. Based on ICIS Pricing data, it shows the delta between (a) European and US ethylene contract prices (blue line), and (b) Europe and the North East Asian spot price (red line). Usually, these deltas range between -$50/t and $100/t. H2 2008 was clearly […]

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Boom/Gloom index signals rising austerity

Q1 was a very strong quarter for Western companies operating at the upstream end of the chemicals value chain: • Plants were generally operating well, with few force majeures • Most importantly, the crude oil price jumped 20%. Many buyers had reduced inventory in December for working capital reasons. Then they found they had to […]

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OECD indicators signal slower growth

The OECD’s leading indicators for the global economy suggest that GDP growth is continuing to slow. As the above chart from the American Chemistry Council shows, the OECD’s three key indicators have all slipped from H1 2010′s peaks. The composite indicator (blue) has fallen sharply to +5% from +13%, whilst industrial production (red) is down […]

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Europe sees 2-speed performance on auto sales

The blog is changing its chart for EU auto sales. The aim is to better show seasonal trends, and also enable easy comparison with US sales. It now shows sales by month, since 2005. Performance in 2007 (green line) and 2010 (brown) is highlighted, as this represents the peaks and troughs. January’s 1 million sales […]

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China’s PE imports slip: Middle East gains market share

China has been the main source of chemical and polymer demand growth over the past 2 years. But newly released trade data suggests its import volume on core products such as polyethylene may now be reducing, as more domestic capacity comes online. Equally, Asian producers, and the USA, face strong competition from low-cost Middle East […]

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G-20 delivers “platitudes” as Obama hits at China

The blog has a simple measure for the effectiveness of international meetings. It counts the number of words in the communiqué. The logic behind this is that when people are really focused, they get down to business. When they waffle, then you know nothing will happen. The history of the recent G-20 meetings seems to […]

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Asian demand key to global chemical outlook

As promised last week, the blog has undertaken its usual 6 monthly analysis of global chemical production, excluding pharma, by major region. The data comes from the comprehensive American Chemistry Council (ACC) report. It shows global production (blue diamonds) was 4% above the previous peak in H1 2008. But there is a considerable variation in […]

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Japan leads round of competitive devaluations

The blog remains very concerned that, overall, the economic policies adopted during the current Crisis are leading the world economy to the worst possible outcome. This outcome is totally predictable. Indeed it has been predicted by reputable experts for some years. Yet most policymakers still seem intent on dealing with symptoms rather than causes. As […]

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General Electric’s CEO hits at China, Obama

When things are going well, potential problem areas get brushed under the carpet. Its only when the economy gets difficult, that tensions surface. Comments by General Electric CEO, Jeffrey Immelt, reported today by the Financial Times, are therefore a worrying sign of the uncertainty at the top of leading global businesses about the economic outlook. […]

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