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Asian Chemical Connections

Is Indonesia poised to take off?

I can just about remember when Indonesia was talked about in the same breath as China – huge latent demand, lots of foreign direct investment and great natural resources. Then came the Asian financial crisis and economic ruin. But now, as this article from the Economist indicates, the government had paid off its debt to […]

Bringing the sceptics and the greenies together

The famous “Skeptical” environmentalist (unfortunately, the American spelling and therefore the wrong spelling), Bjorn Lomborg argues against the Kyoto Protocol in this article from the special green edition of our magazine, ICIS Chemical Business.He says, in short, that all the fuss about Kyoto is a waste of time and effort. Even if it is fully […]

The weird and not so wonderful world of biofuels

The petrochemicals industry generally gets a bad press, but producers are unlikely to ever be charged with depriving the public of food. In fact, plastic packaging could go a long way to solving problems such as India’s – where 40% of food rots before it can be delivered. Biofuels producers, however, although they have ostensibly […]

Reliance predicts a big India polymer deficit

The optimism seems infectious: Reliance’s market capitalisation breached the RS3 trillion level today, placing the giant in an elite group of only three Indian companies.And the petrochemicals major is predicting 12.59m tonnes of polymer demand in India in 2011-12 with local supply at slightly below 8m tonnes/year. The forecast big deficit is based on a […]

Will Japan’s rate rise do any good?

The Bank of Japan has decided to raise interest rates – from 0.25 to 0.5%. This could weaken the yen, thereby damaging the country’s export-led recovery. For the petrochemical players, the benefits of a 21-year low yen have been offset by the increased cost of importing naphtha. The bank is also banking on last summer’s […]

Prepare for a legislative flood

Global leaders from the Group of Eight rich nations plus Brazil, China, India, Mexico and South Africa have agreed that developing countries will have to face targets for cutting emissions as well as developed countries.If these noble words are followed by action, prepare to be legislated against. I wrote yesterday about Rex Tillerson and his […]

Japan is still in search of a consumer recovery

Japan’s fourth quarter GPD growth of 4.8%, which was released today, exceeded economists’ expectations. However, although consumer spending rose by 1.1% on an annualised basis, this merely compensated for the 1.1% decline in Q3. In addition, wages rose by only 0.2% last year, barely up from a decade-long decline. Companies are preferring to pay down […]

Is global warming a load of hogwash?

I am involved in this running email debate with the only person I know who is as stubborn and as pig-headed as myself – my old schoolmate in the UK. He is convinced that global warming is indeed a load of hogwash and has evidence to support his theory in this series of articles from […]

ExxonMobil turns a light shade of green

Rex Tillerson, chief executive of ExxonMobil, displayed a careful balance between supporting the oil industry and expressing concern over climate change in a recent speech.Does this indicate a shift in direction at Exxon post Lee Raymond, or merely a more cuddly and warm way of presenting unchanged policy? The reason why we are still dependent […]

Global Warming And The Impact On Ethylene

Please read this excellent piece from my colleague Nigel Davis, who is editor of the Insight section of ICIS news.Some further thoughts: if 46% of existing and 45% of future ethylene production is taken offline by flooding, just think of the impact on food pricing and distribution and the resulting social and economic chaos due […]

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