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Doing More With Less – The Products Of The Future

THE global economy is moving into a difficult period, as it transitions to the New Normal. Debt levels are high, and incomes are under pressure, particularly for the large numbers of people moving into retirement. Cost must be the key criteria when examining the opportunities for new product development and research. Chapter 8 of our free […]

Confidence Is Often Relative

By John Richardson CONFIDENCE can be very relative. So, compared with late Q4 last year when global cracker and derivatives markets ground to a virtual halt, perhaps it was inevitable that January would see some kind of rebound in the industry’s mood. Deep operating rate cuts in Northeast Asia have been a factor behind this […]

More PTA for India

By Malini Hariharan India trails far behind China in the polyester business but there is growing interest in new investments that also extends upstream to purified terephthalic acid (PTA). The latest entrant to the projects listing is Thai major Indorama Ventures which has signed an MoU with Indorama Synthetics (India) for an integrated PTA, polyester […]

Weak margins hit earnings

By Malini Hariharan It is the results season and numbers posted so far confirm that the last quarter has been rough with depressed demand, weak product prices and firm feedstock costs affecting earnings. Siam Cement Group’s EBITDA for the chemicals division dropped 25% in Q4 from the previous quarter, while sales revenue declined by 5%. […]

China set for aromatics expansion

By Malini Hariharan China is preparing to bring onstream huge capacities for aromatics this year. Nearly 1.7m tonnes/year of  toluene capacity is due to be added, writes Dolly Wu in the latest issue of ICIS Chemical Business. The major projects to keep an eye on are Dragon Aromatics (350kta), Jilin Petrochemical (350kt), PetroChina Sichuan Petrochemical […]

Morgan Stanley Bullish Again

By John Richardson MORGAN Stanley has once again produced a very bullish forecast for China’s polyethylene (PE) market. The investment bank was famous for devising the SuperCycle theory in late 2010. It failed to take into account clear signs that 2011 was going to be a bad year. Version 2.0 of its bullish view on the industry assumes that 2011 was so […]

Seeing Through The Smokescreens

By John Richardson CHEMICALS traders and the financial community, quite obviously, benefit enormously from volatility. Thus we have seen certain chemicals markets being talked-up by the trading community on the basis that the post-Lunar New Year period will see a surge in demand. Equally, the job of the financial community at the moment is to […]

Power outage hits Al-Jubail plants

By Malini Hariharan A power outage at Al-Jubail has forced crackers and downstream plants at Al-Jubail, Saudi Arabia, to shut down. ICIS news reports that all polyethylene (PE) and polypropylene (PP) plants at the site were shut yesterday. It is not yet clear which other derivative plants were affected. LyondellBasell has temporarily withdrawn its February […]

Forty Five Minutes On China

By John Richardson CHINA’S GDP (gross domestic product) growth could fall to only 6.6 percent this year compared with 9.2 percent in 2011, warned Patrick Chovanec, an economist at the Tsinghua University’s School of Economics and Management in Beijing in this Reuters article. Even this very-low rate of growth for China will only be achieved […]

The Fragility Of the Recovery Story

By John Richardson A VERY illuminating discussion with a Shanghai-located sales and marketing manager for a major Asian polyolefin producer reveals how the post- Lunar New Year “recovery” story being sold by the investment community is on even more shaky ground than we at first thought. Three points worth highlighting, before we publish verbatim what he said, […]

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