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Downturn Alert shows prices keep falling

Chemical companies, Consumer demand, Economic growth, Financial Events, Futures trading, Oil markets
By Paul Hodges on 22-May-2011

D'turn 20May11.pngIt is now 4 weeks since the blog launched its IeC Downturn Alert. Since then, as the chart shows (based on ICIS pricing reports):

• Brent (blue dotted line) is down 11%
• Naphtha (red) is down 13% in Europe
• Benzene (green) is down 9% in Europe
• HDPE export (purple) is down 7% in the USG
• PTA import (red) is down 9% in China

These are serious price declines. They support the blog’s fears that buyers have now retreated to the sidelines.

Downturn Alert was introduced to provide chemical companies of an early warning of a slowdown, after the euphoria of Q1’s excellent results.

Of course, prices may still rally. But for the moment, the Alert is suggesting we may now be at the start of the downturn that has always followed previous periods of high oil prices.