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China And The New IPCC Report

By John Richardson THE blog isn’t a scientist and it has also often discussed the dangers of another consensus view: That the global economy will return to the Old Normal. Nevertheless, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has now said that there is a 95% chance that human activity is causing climate change, drawing […]

The Purified Terephthalic Acid Sweet Spot

By John Richardson WHEN is a recovery a sustainable recovery? This a key question for chemicals companies as they prepare their budgets for 2014. What has happened this year in both polyethylene (PE) and the polyester chain has surprised some people. China’s polyester demand was higher than expected in July and August, leading to a […]

Irrationality And Staying Solvency

By John Richardson JOHN Maynard Keynes, the famous economist and speculator ,  once said “the market can stay irrational longer than you can stay solvent.” In other words, if you are a trader you can sit around for ages waiting for the fundamentals to drive any particular market, and, as a result, go bust – […]

China’s Polyester Industry And The New Big Picture

Source: ICIS supply and demand database   By John Richardson THE polyester chain in China is a good example of the dangers of assuming that the big macroeconomic picture will remain more or less unchanged. Large amounts of purified terepththalic acid (PTA) (see the above chart) and polyester capacity seems to have been added in […]

New Consensus Builds On Ethylene Supply Gap

By John Richardson THERE seems to be a new consensus emerging over an ethylene capacity addition shortage between 2013 and 2017. Many of the projects that are supposed to come on-stream during that period will either be delayed, or perhaps might even be cancelled, think a growing number of people. The future of some of […]

Budget Realism Needed For 2014

By John Richardson SOME people might prefer that the central banks spigots in the US and China are kept open indefinitely – or at least until they have retired. It would then be left to the next generation of chemicals and other industry employees to confront the mess that has been left behind. Many more […]

Malaysia Reform Complacency And The Fed

By John Richardson REFORM complacency could well be one of the harmful results for Asia ex-China of the Federal Open Market Committee’s (FOMC) decision not to taper quantitative easing any time very soon, financial analysts have warned. “While we could see short-term relief in places like Turkey and India, the risk is that policymakers will […]

The FOMC Decision And Tackling Leprosy

                    Ben Bernanke   Please note that before reading what follows: We do not want to be seen as belittling or ignoring the enormous efforts of those chemicals companies individuals, including those in India, who already contributing to long-term, sustainable growth.  We recognise their tremendous contribution […]

The Hedgehog And The Fox

By John Richardson Are there more hedgehogs in the chemicals industry than foxes? This thought came to the blog after meetings with industry executives this week during its latest visit to Singapore. Bear with us and we will, we promise, as quickly as possible get to the point. The philosopher Isaiah Berlin, in his famous […]

Selling To The Base Of The Pyramid

By John Richardson As the slide above slows, some four billion of the world’s population earn very low incomes indeed. It would be tempting to give up trying to sell to these people, as, from a Western chemicals and polymers producers perspective, the effort might not seem worth the meagre returns. But as this fascinating […]

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