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Chemicals and the Economy

Greece closer to defaulting on its debt

Greece is about to become the first developed country to default on its debts since 1964. On Thursday night, Eurozone leaders finally agreed to reduce Greece’s €350bn debts, if only by 21%. They also agreed to take the first steps towards the creation of a European Monetary Fund. After more than a year of defying […]

Speculators begin to leave crude oil markets

Speculators, assisted by the US Federal Reserve, have driven crude oil prices to unsustainable levels over the past year. Now, the Fed is withdrawing the liquidity that has financed this rise. The above chart from Petromatrix shows the surge in crude oil speculation on the Chicago futures market since August. The light blue line shows […]

Bernanke says no QE3 planned

The chairman of the US Federal Reserve, Ben Bernanke, has issued a sober update on the current state of the US economy. Expressing his disappointment that growth this year “has been somewhat slower than expected“, he then listed a number of key problem areas: • “Supply chain disruptions” caused by the Japan disaster • “The […]

New Normal course in Frankfurt on 16-17 June

The blog is excited about its first New Normal seminar in Frankfurt, Germany next month. It follows February’s successful launch in Singapore, and is being held in association with ICIS, on 16-17 June. The Workshop aims to provide a comprehensive understanding of the factors that will impact the petrochemical market over the next few years: […]

Boom, Gloom and the New Normal published today

Today, the blog is proud to publish the first Chapter of its new eBook: ‘Boom, Gloom and the New Normal: how Western BabyBoomers are changing global chemical demand patterns, again’ It is co-authored with ICIS’ John Richardson of Asian Chemical Connections. A new chapter will be published each month. Please click here for Chapter 1. […]

Boom, Gloom and the New Normal

The blog is delighted to announce the title of its new eBook, jointly authored with fellow blogger, John Richardson. It explains how Western BabyBoomers are changing chemical demand patterns, again. We believe it will become vital reading for all those working in the global chemical industry. The first chapter of the book will be published […]

US crackers feast on ethane feeds

There has been a dramatic shift in cracker feedstocks in the USA over the past 2 years, as crude oil prices have risen. Many US producers have been able to switch to ethane feed, and as a result have become some of the lowest-cost ethylene producers in the world. As the chart* shows: • In […]

The crude oil mania has its own illusion

The blog spent much of 2007/8 warning of the likely impact of high oil prices on chemical demand. It was then renamed ‘The Crystal Blog’ in November 2008, as the full extent of the problems finally became clear. Today we are back in the danger-zone. The chart above shows annual oil prices since 1970 – […]

New Normal seminar and e-book to be launched

The blog has an incredibly loyal following around the world. 24% of its readers visit twice a week, or more. They also recommend it to colleagues. Visitor numbers jumped 50% last month.The issue is the rising uncertainty over the outlook for the world economy. This has clear potential to cause problems for the chemical industry.The […]

Speculative volume soars in oil markets

Crude oil has been a speculators’ paradise for the past 9 months. Central banks have been making large amounts of cash available at 0% interest. In turn, this has funded larger and larger speculative positions in financial and commodity markets. CME, the world’s largest derivatives market, saw volume up 31% in March vs 2010. The […]

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