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Asian Chemical Connections

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 […]

Watch out for the Black Swans and dump the consultants

The former trader turned professor, Nassim Nicholas Taleb, in his new book The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable warns against the danger of forecasting. Forecasting is, obviously, always based on what he know and not what we don’t know. A Black Swan, by the way, is an earth-shattering event we didn’t predict […]

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 […]

This is not the time to behave like an Ostrich

The United Nations report on climate change, released last Friday, warned of 50 million made homeless as a result of global warming by as early as 2010. Reports such as this will serve to pile even more pressure on the big polluters including, of course, China – the mothership of chemical demand growth. Any investor […]

Is ExxonMobil taking a gamble?

Will China relax the price controls that have led to wallopping great losses for domestic refiners, thereby justifying ExxonMobil’s Fujian investment? As we can see from this Bloomberg article, Exxon is pinning many of its hopes on these controls being relaxed. Does the US giant know something we don’t or are they taking a punt? […]

Oops a daisy, here we go again

A boring topic to harp on about again I know, but this article from my colleague Nigel Davis from the Insight section of ICIS news supports what I have been saying for the past two years. The industry has overbuilt, and despite all the optimism engendered by project delays and probably cancellations in Iran of […]

The case for investing in Indonesia

Indonesia before 1997 had three cracker projects and huge demand growth. It was mentioned in the same breath as China. And, of course, then came the crisis. But this year GDP growth could be the highest since the crisis with the government in sound financial condition. The case for petrochemical investment is obvious as monomers […]

The flawed art of supply & demand forecasting

A guest blog – see Vanishing Post Boxes on this great blog by the authors of the book Freakonomics put me in mind of all those demand and supply forecasts that are invariably wrong. Yes, I know I’ve written about this ad nauseum – see my last article on this subject.But surely, there has to […]

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