Blog

Chemical industry has key role in helping to create a more sustainable world

The chemical industry has a critical role to play in enabling the world to “build back better” after the pandemic. That is the conclusion of the World Economic Forum’s Chemical and Advanced Materials Industry Action Group, for which I had the privilege of acting as an Expert Adviser. Its conclusions are as follows: “Where next?
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The state of the global economy in 2020

Last Wednesday, I gave the opening presentation for the ICIS PET Conference and looked at whether the global economy is seeing a Rebound or a full Recovery after the lockdowns? It covered a wide range of topics: Chemicals’ Capacity Utilisation is the best leading indicator for the global economy, and it continues to weaken Central
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Reality dawns for business as No Deal Brexit approaches

I warned before the June 2016 Brexit referendum that Brexit was all about politics, and Boris Johnson’s bid to become prime minister: “All the evidence suggests that his real motive for deciding to lead the Leave campaign was that – win or lose – this would make him the likely successor to David Cameron as
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Local circular plastics solutions to replace mega projects business model

NEW YORK (ICIS)–There will be a paradigm shift away from mega crackers producing massive volumes of plastics for export, and toward local recycling of plastic waste for local finished goods production. Joe Chang, editor of ICIS Chemical Business, summarises my presentation earlier this month to the Societe de Chimie Industrielle in New York. “The industry
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Oil prices signal potential end to the V-shaped recovery myth

Oil prices have moved into another ‘flag shape’ – which previously provided critical warning of the March collapse, and of those in 2014 and 2008. The shape is important as it means the bulls and bears have been battling each other to exhaustion, making it likely one or the other will give up. This time,
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Bankruptcies now the key risk as hopes for V-shaped recovery disappear

Governments, financial markets and central banks all originally assumed the Covid-19 pandemic would be over in a few days or weeks. But it is now clear they were wrong. And unfortunately, there is little sign of a Plan B emerging. The idea was that consumers would have plenty of money in their pockets after the
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Merkel warns of need to prepare for No Deal Brexit

Most people missed the fact that last Tuesday was the last possible date to delay the UK’s exit from the EU at the end of the year.  Yet as Germany’s leader, Angela Merkel warned on Wednesday: “To put it mildly, progress in the negotiations has been very limited. I will continue to press for a good
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The Top 5 pandemic paradigm shifts

The Covid-19 pandemic has accelerated the fundamental changes which were already underway in global markets, as I discuss in a new interview with Will Beacham of I.C.I.S. Companies and investors need to focus on the challenges and opportunities created by 5 major paradigm shifts as we move into the New Normal. These will impact individual
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Oil prices start to reconnect with coal and gas

Oil prices are finally starting to reconnect with other fossil fuel prices, as the chart shows.  It compares US WTI prices in terms of $/MMBtu value (WTI/5.8), versus US natural gas and coal prices: In January 1990, WTI was $3.94 versus natgas at $2.30 and coal at $1.45 (all $/MMBtu) In January 2000, WTI was
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Economic risks rise as the lockdowns end

It is now 13 years since I wrote the first post here, in June 2007. A lot has happened since then: There was the 2008 subprime crisis, forecast here and in the Financial Times – although sadly, few took advantage of the warning This led to the publication of ‘Boom, Gloom and the New Normal: How
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