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Chemicals and the Economy

Global car sales growth stalls without China

Where would the global auto industry be without the Chinese market?  Without China, sales in the other Top 6 markets stalled last year, and were down 100k. And what will happen now China’s economy is slowing, and it is also starting to develop a large used car market for the first time?  Buyers will then […]

Prepare for $10-$15/bbl oil as Iran, US return to the market

Oil markets finally entered their “give-up phase” last week.  Amazingly, it is now nearly 18 months since the start of the Great Unwinding of policymaker stimulus in August 2014, when Brent was still $105/bbl.  On Friday night, Brent closed at $29/bbl.  As ICIS Chemical Business (ICB) notes in its latest editorial: “International eChem’s Paul Hodges […]

Force majeures at record level, despite high profits

All accidents are preventable.  This simple fact, which used to be top-of-mind for every chemical industry manager, seems to have been increasingly either forgotten or ignored in recent years.  The evidence is in the chart above: showing industry force majeures since 2008 (as reported on ICIS news): They were at a record level in 2015, […]

Oil hits $30/bbl – and suddenly, analysts forecast lower prices

Yesterday, oil prices reached my long-held $30/bbl forecast level.  And suddenly, it seems, all the leading analysts have begun to forecast lower oil prices.  As Reuters reported: “Adjusting to the price rout, analysts have been shifting their price outlooks downward, with Barclays, Macquarie, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Standard Chartered and Societe Generale all cutting […]

Financial markets feel impact of the Great Unwinding

Its not been a great start to the year for those who have trusted in conventional wisdom: Western stock markets have been reeling, with the US S&P 500 Index down sharply since Monday It has been the worst opening for world stock markets since 2008 – not a good year for investors China’s currency has […]

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