The US is moving into recession as the Atlanta Fed chart confirms. Chemicals have been warning of this for some time. But policymakers and commentators remain in Denial about the economy. They prefer to focus on their computer models, and ignore the real world outside their window.
Chemicals and the Economy
The seeming genius of many private equity funds in recent years has been based on this ability to borrow at cheap rates during the ‘up’ part of the business cycle. Now we are heading into the ‘down’ cycle. And the central banks have abandoned Bernanke Theory and are back to worrying about inflation. So today’s excess leverage means many over-leveraged companies will go bust.
These are difficult times, and there is no guarantee that they may not get worse. But they also remind us of the critical need to move beyond the Age of Oil, and develop more sustainable energy resources for the future.
Automakers are ahead of the game in terms of strategic planning. They soon realised the move to EVs meant their traditional business model, based on proprietary engine technology, would inevitably become obsolete. And so they quickly realised they need to pivot to focus on AVs and become software-driven. The rest of us need to catch up.
BP are aiming for their new joint venture in China to provide drivers with a fresh, fully-charged battery in less than a minute – and save 2 million tonnes of CO2
Exponential rapidly rising or falling markets usually go further than you think, but they do not correct by going sideways.
The implications of the rise in EV sales go well beyond the auto and oil markets, with petrochemicals likely to be next in line for disruption. This is why the surge in EV sales up the S-curve of adoption has to be my Chart of the Year.
Plastics producers are now being squeezed from both ends of the value chain. Upstream, the growing demand for Electric Vehicles is starting to lead to refinery closures, reducing feedstock availability. Downstream, brand owners are stepping up the pressure for increased use of recycled plastic, as the new Global Commitment report from the Ellen Macarthur Foundation […]
“What goes up, comes down” is usually a good motto when prices start to reach for the skies. As the great investor Bob Farrell noted in his 10 Rules, they usually go further than you think. But they don’t then correct by going sideways. The charts showing US lumber prices, China coal prices and the […]
Net Zero is clearly the key issue of our time. With COP26 about to start, 3 key elements need to come together to ensure success. Political leaders have to agree to meet the Net Zero targets, and to provide $100bn/year to help poorer nations fund the changes needed. But nothing will happen on the ground […]