Europe’s petrochemical sector must prepare now for the trade war, US start-ups, Brexit and the circular economy, as I discuss in this interview with Will Beacham of ICIS news at the European Petrochemical Association Conference. With higher tariff barriers going up between the US and China, the market in Europe is likely to experience an influx of […]
Tag Archives | oil prices
Life doesn’t get any easier for Europe’s olefin producers and the consumers who depend on them. As the chart shows, based on latest APPE data, operating rates averaged just 78% in H1. This is almost as bad as H1 2009, when they were 76%. And it is a long way away from the 90% levels […]
Markets have moved into summer holiday mode in recent weeks whilst they wait for a new direction, as the chart shows. It is therefore timely to look back over developments since the start of the year: The S&P 500 (purple) has been the clear winner, up 15%. The key to its out-performance has been the central […]
In early March, the blog described itself as feeling like “a lonely voice, focused on what is really happening in the real world”. But gradually since then, the consensus view on growth and commodities regulation has begun to shift in its direction. For example, a recent New York Times article on China by Nobel Prize-winner Paul Krugman could have […]
Cotton prices are falling again, since Monday’s reversal by the Indian government of its proposed ban on cotton exports. India is the world’s 2nd largest cotton exporter, after the USA, with 20% of the market: • On 5 March, its Textiles Ministry banned all exports • Domestic users had applied pressure to divert supplies to […]
Sometimes every cloud does have a silver lining. And that’s currently the case with the fall in demand for oil products. The European petchem industry is based on feedstock from refineries such as naphtha and LPG. And as the chart above from the IEA shows, German refinery runs, like others elsewhere in Europe, are down […]
Oil markets are an accident waiting to happen for the chemical industry. Oil inventories around the world are close to record levels, with the IEA (International Energy Agency) reporting they are over 61 days of demand. Equally, as the Petromatrix chart above shows, they are at record levels in the USA (the world’s largest market), […]
TOTAL’s CEO, Christophe de Margerie, has become even more pessimistic on the future of oil supplies. In 2007, when prices were rising, he suggested it would be very difficult for production to reach even 100mbd, versus the 130 mbd or more assumed by the IEA and the US government. Now, he is warning that the […]
A month ago, with WTI at $70/bbl, the blog suggested that: “If refiners are forced to cut runs for December, then it would be hard for OPEC to cut its own production quickly enough to compensate. In that case, a $20 – $30/bbl range for crude, albeit temporarily, would not be impossible.” During November, prices […]
The King of Saudi Arabia is the most important person in the oil industry. He controls the largest oil reserves, and is the largest single producer. Previous Kings have let their Oil Ministers do the talking at OPEC meetings, and to the world’s press. But King Abdullah, who succeeded in 2005, has recently become more […]
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Paul Hodges is Chairman of International eChem, trusted commercial advisers to the global chemical industry.
The aim of this blog is to share ideas about the influences that may shape the chemical industry over the next 12 – 18 months. It will try to look behind today’s headlines, to understand what may happen next in important issues such as oil prices, economic growth and the environment. We may also have some fun, investigating a few of the more offbeat events that take place from time to time. Please do join me and share your thoughts.
Between us, we will hopefully develop useful insights into the key factors that will drive the industry's future performance.