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Asian Chemical Connections

What’s China’s real consumption growth?

Source of picture: millermmccune.com How quickly is China shifting its economy away from exports towards stronger domestic consumption? The answer to this question is, of course, critical to the global chemicals industry. On the surface it looks good: Retail sales grew by 16.6% in the first half of 2009 and by a slightly more modest […]

“Steal a little and they throw you in jail…..

Source of picture: rateyourmusic.com …steal a lot and they make you a King,” wrote the great Bob Dylan in A Sweetheart Like You on his great 1980s album, Infidels. This seems appropriatea as we commemorate exactly 12 months to the day since the West’s financial system imploded. Obama is talking tough on new regulations – […]

Taking Back Control Of Crude Markets

Goldman Sachs is talking about crude oil at $85 a barrel by the end of the year. Sound familiar? Not quite forecasts of $200 a barrel, but is there a danger of repeating the mistake that the James A Baker III Institute on Public Policy claims was made in 2008? In a new report, the […]

A New Series: It’s A Mad World

Source of Picture: pupillageandhowtogetit.wordpress.com And now for something completely different. I am launching an new and occasional series, hopefully fed by anonymous contributions, on the daftest examples I come across of company strategies. A friend works for a global training company. Pass rates are awful at the moment in Asia because students are struggling to […]

West To Exert More Cost Pressures

The US back-to-school buying season Source of Picture: theglobeandmail.com As regular readers will remember, last Friday I linked through to this article from the New York Times on the likelihood of a disappointing back-to-school sales season in the US. I had promised some more thoughts on this article and so here goes…. ……This is a […]

Dalian Swings In Favour Of The Buyers

Polyolefin producers doing RMB business in China were delighted when price increases on the Dalian Commodity Exchange linear-low density polyethylene (LLDPE) futures contract started leading the physical market on the way up. “We used the exchange to justify charging higher prices for real deals because in the heady days of February-early August the general trend […]

The more you look at the data…..

Deep in the heart of the great wealth gap Source of picture: Blogmlive.com ….the more convincing seems to be the argument that financial and commodity markets have got way ahead of the recovery in the real economy. Take a recent Credit Suisse report, for instance. Its analysis of monthly apparent demand in China, up until […]

Benzene the barometer?

Source of picture: Wikipedia Because benzene has so many end-uses it’s widely seen as a pretty good barometer for the overall health of the industry. As C6 led the recovery last time are recent declines a sign of another broad-based retreat? See the slide below: View image Or is it more the problems we highlighted […]

China petchem output up, textiles down

The Canton Trade Fair Source of picture: Blawg.lehman.com This interesting article from Bloomberg says that while petrochemical output in China rose in August, textile production actually contracted. We don’t as yet have any breakdown for specific petrochemicals. If the overall increase includes higher aromatics-to-synthetic fibres output then the gamble that the chain has taken on […]

Benzene heads south – as predicted

Back from less-than-sunny Perth to discover that the prediction from my good friend and colleague Paul Hodges at International eChem has come true: Benzene has headed south because of: 1.) The rise in its pricing seems to have been out-of-kilter with what has happening downstream in styrene 2.) Traders credit might well have stampeded for […]

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