OPEC used to believe that its fortunes were tied to the health of the global economy. But as I noted last month, its current policy is more reminiscent of ‘the difficult times of 1973/4 and 1979/80’. The evidence for this statement is mounting. Saudi Oil Minister, Ali Naimi, said recently that the Kingdom has ‘no […]
Chemicals and the Economy
Ineos’ 200,000bpd Grangemouth refinery in Scotland is on strike today and tomorrow, over a pension dispute. This will presumably cost the workers 2 days pay. The costs for INEOS and the UK are enormous in comparison. BP, for example, has had to shut down a pipeline that carries 40% of the UK’s oil production, because […]
Financial markets have been buoyant in recent weeks, as I noted recently. But this is at odds with actual newsflow. The chart above, from Kevin Swift’s excellent weekly report for the American Chemistry Council, highlights once again the dire state of US housing. March should be a buoyant month for house sales. Yet existing home […]
ICIS has just announced its annual Innovation Awards for the chemical industry. Perhaps ICIS might now consider establishing a separate award for central bankers? A rush of new lending facilities seems to be on the way, as they try to find new ways to unblock the pipes that allow money to flow between banks.
Singapore is one of the global economic success stories of recent decades. Its sovereign wealth fund, GIC, is one of the world’s largest fund management companies, with assets of over $100bn. And GIC has already been active during the early stages of the credit crunch, investing $18bn since December in supporting cash-calls from Citigroup and […]
In an early blog last July, I marvelled at the contrast between the then upbeat nature of financial markets, and the gloom apparent elsewhere. I suggested that these two views of life couldn’t ‘continue to exist alongside each other for ever’, and suggested that whatever scenario came out on top would ‘have major implications for […]
UK readers, and others invested in the outlook for the UK housing market, may be particularly interested in the FT this weekend. It devotes 2 prime pages to a detailed analysis by Fitch, the ratings agency, of sub-prime and buy-to-let lending. As we know from the US, these are the most risky types of lending, […]
Russia is the world’s 2nd largest oil producer. And it has been the main source of increased crude production in recent years. Its output rose 58% between 1999-2006, from 6.2mbd to 9.8mbd. Now Lukoil’s VP, Leonid Fedun, has told the Financial Times that he thinks 2007 output will be ‘the highest he will see in […]
The weekend’s finance minister meeting in Washington DC seems to have been quite different from its predecessors. Not only did they apparently have an ‘informal brainstorming session’ at one point, but they also found themselves confronted with two major and on-going crises: • We have to ‘put food into hungry mouths’ commented Bob Zoellick, President […]
I am currently lucky enough to be visiting Asia every month. This also gives me a chance to ‘check the temperature’ as regards people’s outlook on the economy. And I think its fair to say that the mood has moved from optimism to caution. Good news is tempered by its potential downside.