Archive | November, 2012

Q3 results remain in downward trend

The blog’s quarterly survey of chemical industry results shows the downward trend continued in Q3. Some companies remain untouched by the mainstream problems, but they are now clearly in the minority: • Bayer remain optimistic, and DuPont hopeful that problems are merely temporary • But Dow now talk of a ‘new reality’ which sounds very […]

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Polyester markets head for crisis as cotton prices crash

Cotton prices, as the chart shows, have returned to the 50c-70c/lb range that has dominated since 1982. This proves, once again, that ‘reversion to the mean’ is usually the best investment strategy. Sadly, however, it is the people who did not believe the hype around higher prices who will have to pick up the pieces, […]

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Oil markets have lost their price discovery role

The US spent $6bn on its presidential and congressional elections this year. Apart from expressing the will of the people, it may also prove valuable if it helps to highlight the danger of allowing wishful thinking to override factual evidence on the ground. One example of this failing was last Monday’s forecast by the highly-respected […]

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IMF warns on recession risk as Political, Social worries rise

When the economy is running well, most people tend to get on with their lives. That was the case during the 1982-2007 SuperCycle, when growth was almost constant. But today’s greater economic uncertainties translate into a growing role for Political and Social factors, as the triangle above describes: • In the West, politics is becoming […]

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UK housing markets approach their Minsky Moment

The UK housing market has led a charmed life in recent years. Unlike the US, Spain, Ireland and many other Western countries, prices have not collapsed. Instead, near zero interest rates, and the high proportion of mortgages on variable rates, meant that UK homeowners have seen their monthly payments reduce dramatically. There is just one […]

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US auto market reaches a fork in the road

The US auto market is reaching a critical fork in the road. The consensus view believes that full recovery is well underway. They see the slowdown in October’s sales as purely being weather-related, due to the arrival of hurricane Sandy. Clearly this must have had an impact. But as the chart above shows, it may […]

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SuperCycle era ends for analyst ‘buy’ judgements

The above chart may well become a collectors’ piece in time. It appears in a fascinating article in the latest Harvard Business Review, which focuses on why stock market analysts in the USA (U), Europe (E), Asia (A) and Latin America (L) issue ‘buy’ recommendations on a company. It represents the end of the economic […]

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Global Aromatics conference in Berlin next week

Next week’s World Aromatics conference is a must-attend event for anyone involved with the industry. It features speakers from leading companies including Dow, Saudi Aramco and Shell, as well as from the International Energy Agency. In addition, there will be a special session on the impact of today’s record oil price levels. Plus the blog […]

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China’s PE market heads into the New Normal

This is a big week for politics. Today is the US Presidential election, which could have major implications for US-China trade, as Mitt Romney has said he will brand China a ‘currency manipulator’ on his first day in office. It is also the start of China’s Party Congress. The line-up of new officials will tell […]

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G-20 richest nations still lack a ‘Plan B’

Hands-up those who remember the G-20? Well done, Mexican readers, you get full points. But other readers seem doubtful. This weekend the world’s Finance Ministers were meeting in Mexico City, as the country concludes its G-20 presidency. But you wouldn’t know it from the rest of the world’s media coverage. How different from April 2009, […]

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