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Europe’s populist parties gain from policymakers’ mistakes

Oil prices have collapsed to the $70/bbl level, as I forecast in August. And the new Chinese government has just reported there was $6.8tn of “wasted investment” between 2009 – 2013, confirming my long-standing argument about China’s wasted stimulus efforts. Neither news item will be any surprise to blog readers, although they may be a complete shock to others. If you know […]

American shoppers focus on needs, not wants

Tomorrow is the great American shopping day, Black Friday.  In the past, every true American would head for the malls, to shop till they dropped.  But more and more evidence keeps emerging that consumer habits are rapidly entering the New Normal, as I discussed last week. Thus a detailed study by the Wall Street Journal highlights, as […]

Where will all the new US ethylene capacity be sold?

I worry about the $100bn+ investment that it currently being made in new US chemical output.  On paper, it seems a ‘slam dunk’ as a US College basketball player might say: Shale gas has created a massive surplus of ethane feedstocks that can provide low-cost production for export Oil prices are very high, and so all […]

Free ‘pH Report’ webinar tomorrow

I am very much looking forward to presenting ‘The pH Report’ free webinar tomorrow, Tuesday 25 November. This will take place twice, at 08.00 GMT and 15.00 GMT, to enable everyone to take part from different regions. It will include a Q&A, to cover the critical questions for your business and investments. Please register here to join the […]

Time for a new approach to aromatics production

We had another excellent Conference in Berlin last week on the challenges and opportunities facing the global aromatics industry.  These developments are starting to impact most industries as we arrive in the New Normal of lower growth, deflation and growing protectionism. Our speakers included senior executives from ExxonMobil, Shell, Dow Chemical and BASF, as well as the International […]

UK grocery sales fall for first time since records began

Next Friday sees the start of the main shopping period in the US – ‘Black Friday’, the day after Thanksgiving.  But increasingly, consumers are giving the stores a miss.  Or even worse (from the retailers’ viewpoint) only visiting to check out products before buying them online. Thus Wal-Mart, the largest US chain, is now having to extend its Black Friday […]

Affordability the key driver for New Normal success

Change is always unwelcome and usually uncomfortable.  But it also provides us with Opportunity, as the Chinese character for Crisis highlights. The second half of our Boom, Gloom and the New Normal eBook provides detailed discussion of the Opportunity for product development, research and development, and manufacturing in the New Normal.  We also summarised the key features of the New Normal in […]

Danger and Opportunity await as the financial Crisis returns

The Great Unwinding began with the change of economic direction in China.  So it makes good sense for businesses and investors to view developments with a Chinese perspective in mind.  This is particularly relevant as the Chinese word for Crisis contains 2 characters – Danger and Opportunity – as the picture shows. DANGER It is not hard to identify the key Danger from the […]

Free ‘pH Report’ webinar next Tuesday

We have been extremely encouraged by the support we have received since launching the first issue of ‘The pH Report’ last month.  The Financial Times and ICIS Chemical Business have also given detailed coverage of our views. I am now delighted to invite you to join our free webinar on Tuesday 25 November. This will take […]

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