Many readers have been taking a well-earned break over the past few weeks. The blog also continues to gain large numbers of new readers, as the financial crisis intensifies. As usual, therefore, it is highlighting key posts during August, to help you catch up as you return to the office.

Boom/Gloom Index suggests markets on the edge presciently forecast the recent volatility. Markets fall as politicians argue, US Fed policy may be going Back to the Future, Investors rush to save with the JUUGS, and US GDP still below 2007 levels explore the key issues

European cracker margins at ‘top of cycle levels’, China’s PE market down 2.5% in H1 and Q2 chemical results raise concerns about the outlook look at the current state of chemical markets

China’s power consumption hits new record looks at the strains now impacting China as it struggles to cope with an overheating economy. China’s auto market goes ex-growth covers the same theme, as does China’s bank lending nears its Minsky Moment

Policymakers remain in the Denial phase suggests the crisis is a long way from its end, as does Recession may now be very close and Towards a New Normal, not a new Supercycle whilst Goldman halves global ethylene growth estimate shows the analysts are slowly starting to recognise reality

Plus, of course, Chapter 4 of Boom, Gloom and the New Normal was published this week, and focuses on how the world may look in 2021

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Sinopec adds capacity as China's ethylene growth stalls

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