As everyone focuses on when the next downturn might arrive, macro issues such as the implications of a likely US withdrawal from Iraq are rarely publicly discussed. But if I were on the board of any company making investment decisions, I’d be worried. If the US withdrawal from Iraq is well managed then fears such […]
Asian Chemical Connections
China attempts to move up the value chain
Petrochemical markets are being badly ruffled by two recent Chinese government decisions. In late June, there was the decision to change the VAT export rebate system for yuan-priced product. And then this week there was a widening of the deposit rules governing import duty and VAT rebates on petchem imports priced in US dollars. But […]
China’s crackers are on track. Is this bad news?
The consultants, traders and producers I spoke to last week insist that the current wave of new Chinese ethylene capacity due on stream in the current Five-Year Plan (2006-10), Download file is more or less on track to be completed on schedule. Also see on these slides the ICIS insight Asia list of crackers after […]
Is this the death of cycles?
Quite possibly, yes, despite my instinctiive pessimism. Perhaps emerging markets such as China and India have reached such a critical mass that no matter how much capacity is brought on stream, it will be easily absorbed. Or maybe some disaster lies just around the corner. Who cares if you’ve made your money in the most […]
Life gets more complicated in the Middle East
In the old days all you had to do was propose an ethane cracker with PE and MEG downstream and you were away. But these days if you want to get feedstock, especially in Saudi, you need to offer something a bit different because of the drive to diversify to create jobs. This is a […]
Bad news for polyvinyl chloride?
And also a whole host of other chemicals if this article on the excellent All Roads Lead to China blog is correct and incentives that have encouraged the real estate boom are removed. This serves of the dangers of overheating. What goes up must come down and, in this case, the real sector has a […]
Liveris defends strategy after a very tough few weeks
Imagine having to sack two of your senior management team after unauthorised takeover discussions. And then imagine just a few weeks later being forced to announce a 20% reduction in first quarter earnings. Andrew Liveris, Dow CEO (continuing our Dow theme – see below), is having a hard time of it. Mind you, life is […]
Dow fit with Reliance makes the most sense
Reliance is building the world’s first cracker that will be entirely fed by off-gas from its huge refinery expansion at Jamnagar. This technology has been used before, but never on this scale because nobody has had enough refinery capacity to run a cracker 100% on very cheap off-gas. The Dow strategy includes looking for cheaper […]
Don’t read this if all you care about is today’s C2 price
The International Energy Agency has further brought forward its forecast on when China will become the world’s biggest polluter to 2007 from 2010. Only three years ago, they were predicting not before 2025! Coal-fired power stations are big cause of rising greenhouse gas emissions in China, says the IEA. Will this result in a harder […]
Two optimistic views of the future
The eternal optimists at Nova Chemicals presented a very bullish view of olefins and polyolefins markets at their recent results meeting.Aaron Yap, trader with Integra, was also equally bullish at the ICIS Asian Polymers Conference in Shanghai last week – see Download file In short, Aaron believed that demand growth would hold up downstream while […]