What the flipping heck is going on?….

…….and no trite Public Relations-speak answers, please!!!


This is not me, by the way, (my computer is an older model) but the expression about sums it up



No matter where you seem to turn these days, whether it’s to the refinery industry or to any chemicals production chain, the story is more or less the same: A wide gap between the expectation of recovery – already priced into crude and equity markets – and actual production and consumption.

The demand-growth numbers from China, taken in isolation and not placed into the context of declines elsewhere, continue to amaze.

Auto sales in China continued to boom in October, though at a slower pace than in previous months, according to data from the semi-official China Association of Automobile Manufacturers.

Sales rose 72.5% from a year earlier to 1.23 m vehicles, slower than September’s 77.9% increase and August’s rise of 81.7% – the year’s peak growth rate so far.

Sales have been boosted by government stimulus measures that include rural subsidies and a purchase tax cut on vehicles with engine capacities of as much as 1.6 litres.

Demand for textiles used in cars has been so strong that workers have been forced to put in extra hours following mass lay-offs earlier this year.

But, turning to the styrenics chain, an industry sources said: “Downstream demand in all the big derivatives – acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS), polystyrene (PS), expandable PS (EPS) and styrene butadiene rubber (SBR) is very weak.

“EPS had a good H1, but it’s now the down season for construction because its winter. Even taking this into account, consumption is very poor.”

Spot PS and ABS prices have been stagnant over the past few weeks while feedstock costs have increased, according to ICIS pricing.

“My worry is that it’s all cost-push at the styrene end of the chain and so buyers run the risk of repeating the mistakes of H2 2008, but of course on a much smaller scale.” the source added.

What on earth is really going on? This blog will dedicate a big chunk of the rest of its life to try and find out.

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