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Asian Chemical Connections

European Chemicals: Rescue Efforts Continue

By John Richardson THE battle to save the European chemicals industry from widespread plant closures  is wider than just at the Grangemouth complex in Scotland, the UK In Holland, for example, the Dutch chemicals industry trade body – Vereniging van de Nederlandse Chemische Industrie (VNCI) – is asking for subsidies and tax breaks from the Dutch […]

South Korea’s Demographic Challenges

By John Richardson THE blog has been long on South Korea ever since its first visit in 1997.  Its economic achievements since the horrors of the Korean War are nothing short of amazing. Bereft of natural resources, all it has had to rely has been its intellectual capital and, wow, look at how it has […]

US Housing Recovery? What Recovery?

  By John Richardson A SUSTAINED US housing recovery is vital for the global petrochemicals industry because, without it, far too much of the 64% of ethylene capacity, which is due to be added in the States, will have to be exported in the form of derivatives. One of the reasons is that some $16,000 […]

The Rebirth Of Naphtha Cracking

  By John Richardson Might cracking naphtha in Asia, Europe, and perhaps even the US, once again become so attractive that it starts to challenge the big advantage currently being enjoyed by cracking ethane? Yes, perhaps. Opportunities could arise to take advantage of distressed supplies of naphtha from refiners under severe loss-making pressure. Shutting many […]

Guaranteeing The “Trickle Down” Effect

By John Richardson THE average-paid worker in a US company has to work for more than a month to earn what her or his CEO will earn in just one hour, according to this video from Adam Mordecai – the social and political commentator. And in 2012, the richest 1% of the population took home […]

No Ethylene Margins Peak In 2016

  By John Richardson FORECASTS of European capacity closures and project delays and cancellations have led some financial analysts to the conclusion that there will be a peak in ethylene margins from 2016 onwards. This will provide a few years of very strong returns for the global industry before the big wave of US capacity […]

Grangemouth Viewed Through A Wider Lens

By John Richardson THROUGH the narrow lens of stand-alone cost competitiveness, the threatened refinery and petrochemicals complex in Grangemouth, Scotland the UK, (see picture) can be viewed as having a very questionable long-term future. For example, Britain’s refineries are viewed as small, old and lacking in sophistication. And it can be argued that they are […]

Global Petchem Markets Turn Bearish

By John Richardson EXCESSIVE inventory building down all the major petrochemical value chains is a global rather than just a Chinese problem, according to Paul Satchell – the UK-based chemicals analyst with global investment bank  Canaccord Genuity in his latest Volume Proxy research note. “The Volume Proxy continues to decline, with the index now in clear […]

US Petchem Feedstock Costs: Not All Gloom for Asia

YESTERDAY we examined some of the factors shaping long-term outlook for polyethylene (PE) exports to China. And, today, as promised, we go into detail on another part of the story: Influences on future feedstock-cost position of US producers. What follows only scratches the surface. There are many more complexities that we shall examine in future […]

China PE Imports: A Long-Term Outlook

  By John Richardson THE chart below is worth revisiting, and pondering again, as we attempt to assess the future of polyethylene (PE) exports to China. In the case of the Middle East, as the chart shows, it has been a case of “so far so good” in 2013. Overall PE import volumes from the […]

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