China Transformation webinar tomorrow

Consumer demand


Moon cakesToday is Mid-Autumn Festival day in China, held to celebrate the harvest.  Traditionally it features the exchange of moon cakes filled with lotus paste and egg yolks, whilst children go to lantern parades.

But in recent years, it has also become synonymous with corruption.   Silver moon cakes, as pictured above, became a common gift for officials, as well as gold-adorned moon cake boxes.  And the corruption even extended into schools, as the Financial Times reports:

“For the past decade many Chinese parents have seen nothing wrong with giving teachers gifts to ensure that little extra for their child – maybe a seat at the front of the class, or a position as the Chinese equivalent of milk monitor. In the old days, lucky teachers might have scored a Louis Vuitton handbag or a day at the spa, but now most are lucky to receive grocery coupons or a popular brand of throat lozenges.

“Last year the official China Youth Daily reported that one university student managed to secure a pass in a major exam by plying her teacher with four boxes of top quality milk. But these days even the milk ruse won’t get past the government’s abstemiousness monitors.”

This year, things are indeed different.  Luxury goods manufacturers are seeing sales tumble.  Fine wine sales for government officials have collapsed by 90%, according to Decanter magazine, which goes on to add:

We can see a great shift here as the market moves from an era of government-led procurement and opportunistic profiteers to a market driven by genuine consumer consumption.’

Rooting out corruption is the No 1 priority for the new leadership, as highlighted on the official China Daily website, which lists all the leading officials who are now under investigation across the country.

At the same time, the government is collapsing the property bubble, which has become a severe threat to future economic stability.  As a result, consumption based on the property ‘wealth effect’ is also collapsing.

Companies and investors need to go rapidly up the learning curve on these new developments.  This is why we are holding our second China Transformation webinars tomorrow.  The webinar is free, and there are two options to attend – one timed for Asia /Middle East; one for Europe/Americas/Africa.

The main topics are:

  • How commodity trade fraud on metals in China could lead to a new global economic crisis
  • Problems faced by the polyester industry: Severe oversupply and a collapse of global cotton prices
  • The reform drive and what it means for future growth
  • The need for companies to reposition themselves as China’s economy changes

Please register here to join the discussion.


The blog’s weekly round-up of Benchmark price movements since January 2014 is below, with ICIS pricing comments:
Brent crude oil, down 7%
Naphtha Europe, down 6%. “Crude oil futures eased as rising supplies from Libya were matched with tepid demand caused by mediocre refining margins”
Benzene Europe, down 5%. “The key driver was the US market….With demand for benzene derivatives in Asia sluggish, in particular in styrene, this is pushing more material out of the region for export to the US.”
PTA China, down 3%. ”Operating rates were relatively low, as producers were running their plants to meet demand, to avoid a build-up in inventories”
US$: yen, down 1%
S&P 500 stock market index, up 10%
HDPE US export, up 13%. “Buyers are cautious and not willing to buy large volumes of material, waiting to see whether prices will move lower”


Boom/Gloom Index tumbles as S&P 500 hits record


The stock market used to be a good leading indicator for the economy.  But that...

Learn more

US jobless dominated by Blacks, Hispanics and those without high school diplomas


Financial markets today only care about one thing – whether central banks...

Learn more
More posts
The Top 5 pandemic paradigm shifts

The Covid-19 pandemic has accelerated the fundamental changes which were already underway in global ...

Hertz goes bankrupt as non-essential consumer demand disappears

The US Federal Reserve has now spent $7tn bailing out Wall Street. But it couldn’t save the 10...

Smartphone sales head into decline as affordability becomes key

The smartphone sales decline accelerated in Q1, as Strategy Analytics report: “Global smartpho...

China’s plastic ban and recycling launch marks end of ‘business as usual’ for plastics industry

Paradigm shifts start slowly at first, and it is easy to miss them. But then one day, they suddenly ...

Automakers face stiff headwinds in big emerging markets

Brazil, Russia, India and China disappoint as manufacturers face investment demands of EVs © Bloomb...

Portugal shows the way to climate neutrality by 2050

“If you don’t know where you are going, any road will do”. The Irish proverb’...

The next billion phone users will be buying $10 smart feature phones, not $1000 iPhones

Smartphone sales plateaued in Q3, down 9% since Q3 2017’s peak of 1.55bn, as the chart shows....

Companies ignore the Perennials 55+ generation at their peril

Nearly a third of the the world’s High Income population are now in the Perennials 55+ generat...


Market Intelligence

ICIS provides market intelligence that help businesses in the energy, petrochemical and fertilizer industries.

Learn more


Across the globe, ICIS consultants provide detailed analysis and forecasting for the petrochemical, energy and fertilizer markets.

Learn more

Specialist Services

Find out more about how our specialist consulting services, events, conferences and training courses can help your teams.

Learn more

ICIS Insight

From our news service to our thought-leadership content, ICIS experts bring you the latest news and insight, when you need it.

Learn more