Home Blogs Benzene markets suggest BabyBoomer growth will not reappear

Chemicals and the Economy

US employment growth, disposable income, weaken again

June has typically been the seasonal peak for US employment.  July’s data continued this trend, as the chart shows: The July figure was 135.6m, compared to 136.8m in June (blue column) It is still well below 2007’s peak of 139.1m This is the first time jobs have been lower over a 4 year period since records began in […]

Risks rise over China’s auto sales

The world’s 3 major auto markets – USA, Europe and China – currently account for ~70% of global sales. And as the chart above shows, H1 performance has been volatile over the 2005-11 period: • 2005 was the last year of the US subprime boom, and the US (red) was easily the largest market with […]

U is for Uncertainty

The blog’s series on the emerging ‘VUCA world’ today looks at how companies have to manage increased levels of Uncertainty. This can be seen in key areas of demand, such as housing. The above chart shows how US housing starts (blue line) have fallen from 2.1m in 2005 to just 0.6m last year. Housing permits […]

EU faces US competition in PVC export markets

The blog continues this week’s special series on chloralkali and PVC markets by looking at EU developments on PVC. Historically the EU has had strong export positions into markets such as Turkey and Russia, which lack major local production. More recently, as in the USA, strong export demand for caustic soda and weak domestic demand […]

Shale gas supports US PVC exports

Yesterday the blog discussed caustic soda, and the recent importance of China’s metal demand. Today it focuses on chlorine and PVC. PVC is the largest end-use for chlorine. It is also critical for chloralkali producers when caustic demand is strong, as recently. Chlorine itself cannot be safely stored in large volumes, and so instead they […]

US, China, EU auto sales up just 1% in Q1

Autos are the largest single market for chemical and polymer sales. And the USA, China and EU are the 3 largest markets, accounting for 2/3rds of global sales last year. Disappointingly, as the above chart shows, their sales were up just 1% overall in Q1 versus 2011 at 10.6m. Even this gain was only due […]

US PE exports down 39% despite shale gas

Globalisation had a golden age between 1982-2007. Trade barriers fell almost everywhere. Companies focused on achieving a ‘lowest cost’ position, in order to maximise their competitive advantage. Today, however, the world is starting to look quite different. The chart above summarises the changes underway. It shows US polyethylene net trade (PE) since 2009, based on […]

Auto sales have slow start in January

January was not a great month for auto sales in the 3 major markets of the USA, EU and China. These amount to over 50% of global auto sales, and are a key indicator of underlying consumer demand. As the chart shows, sales were just 3m (red square), down from 3.2m (green line) in 2011: […]

Jump to page: