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Raining on the Optimists’ Parade

China, Company Strategy, Economics, Knowledge management
By John Richardson on 11-Jun-2009

Source: The Guardian newspaper

Apologies for letting this bog slip again. I am on leave, but still pondering where on earth we are heading. This makes a welcome relief from staring up at the grey skies and thinking “summer? What summer?” Yes, I am on leave in the UK and Wimbledon is about to start. I would recommend moving the tournament to drought-affected areas of the world, maybe on an annual rotation basis, to guarantee rainfall.

Anyway, back to the business of oil prices.

If you succeed in making acrylic acid from enzymes and microbes, as the company Novozymes is attempting to do, then maybe you can worry slightly less about the long-term likelihood of very high crude prices.

But as oil hits $70/bbl again, the old concern about boom and bust cycles driven by energy costs has to be very much in the forefront of everyone’s minds – whether or not they are trying to break the direct link between oil and chemicals.

As the excellent Buttonwood column in The Economist points out, we are back in a commodities supercycle.

The 45 cents a gallon rise in gasoline prices over the last month is costing the American consumer an extra $60 billion.

As confidence in the economic recovery increases, might we soon be back to square one?

What are the solutions for the chemicals industry?