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Global Polyethylene Margin Picture

By John Richardson ASIAN high-density polyethylene (HDPE) margins have improved in June and July compared with the rest of the year, according to the above chart from the ICIS Weekly PE Margin Report. But the overall year-to-date trend illustrates how the industry has lacked pricing power as a result of persistently weak Chinese demand. August […]

Dow: China GDP Growth 3-5 Percent

  By John Richardson DOW Chemical’s Andrew Liveris has changed his views on China as a result of an economic slowdown that seems to have taken many people by surprise. “China’s economy has continued to decelerate as European exports suffered,” said Liveris, as the company last week announced a 34 percent fall in profits year-on-year […]

India PVC Reflects Macro Problems

By John Richardson WHAT is happening in India’s polyvinyl chloride (PVC) sector reflects some of the macro-economic challenges we discussed earlier this week. An additional 8.5m tonnes of PVC pipes demand could be generated in the space of just five years if the government can get its act together on economic reform, said an Indian […]

US Chemicals Still Behind 2007

 By John Richardson US chemicals production remains way below its pre-crisis 2007 level but production in Asia-Pacific, after a brief blip in 2009, continues to soar, according to these charts from the American Chemistry Council. Whereas US producers have carried out few capacity expansions since 2007 and are runnning existing plants at lower operating rates, […]

South Korea “Denial” Continues

  By John Richardson EARNINGS estimates for South Korean petrochemicals companies for the full-year 2012 remain around 30 percent above where they should be because “most financial analysts remain in denial“, said an industry source. A sign of how bad the times have become was that LG Chem’s Q2 results, which were released last week, […]

Polyolefin Demand Remains “Very Weak”

  By John Richardson DEMAND remains “very weak” in China’s polyolefins markets, said a sales and marketing executive with a major Western producer. “I am having real trouble justifying higher prices to my customers, which are partly the result of naphtha having risen in line with stronger crude. What they cannot understand is why crude […]

BRICS Version 2

Mind the gap – India’s rich and poor     Source of graph: http://www.business-standard.com/india/news/sonalde-desai-the-great-indian-poverty-game/469351/   By John Richardson INDIA’S economy is expected to grow at its slowest pace for a decade as a result of political gridlock, tight monetary policy and the weak global economy, according to a Reuters’ poll of economists. As we discussed […]

Food Prices And Chemicals

Graph prepared by the http://www.thegatesnotes.com/Personal/2012-Annual-Letter   By John Richardson RISING food prices resulting from adverse weather conditions in the US, South America and Russia represent yet another threat to global economic growth. Grain prices could, for instance, increase by as much as 25 percent this year, warns Danske Bank. Dry weather in the US has […]

China’s Unreliable GDP Data

  By John Richardson THE economic slowdown throughout Asia became more apparent last week with the release of disappointing data, prompting interest rate cuts in China, Vietnam and South Korea. China’s key polyethylene (PE) market responded as trading volumes fell and sentiment weakened for the week ending 13 July, according to ICIS. Market participants, however, expressed […]

Energy, Politics & Economics

  Source of graph: http://thinkprogress.org/    By John Richardson DANIEL Yergin’s superb book, The Prize, describes how the history of the 20th century was shaped by oil and gas. Now we are entering a new era. Some 600,000 jobs have already been created by the US shale and oil gas revolutions, leading to hopes of […]

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