Blog

Goldman Sachs follows the blog on oil prices

The blog is awarding itself and fellow-blogger John Richardson a pat on the back this morning. The reason is that investment bank Goldman Sachs, the largest player in commodity markets, has completely reversed its analysis of oil markets. They now ac…
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Budgeting for an L-shaped recovery

As companies finalise Budgets for 2013-15, many will be thinking long and hard about the implications of the IMF’s new economic forecast: “The recovery continues, but it has weakened. In advanced countries, growth is now too low to make a substantial …
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Vertical farming brings food to the cities

Current farming techniques haven’t changed much over thousands of years. Yet the people who eat the food that comes from farms no longer live next door to them. So the food has to be transported ever-greater distances – sometimes thousands of kilomet…
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China’s auto sales remain in the slow lane

Mark Twain, the famous US writer, put it well when he warned that: “It isn’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble. It’s what you think you know for sure.” This has certainly been the case with auto sales in China. In 2010, leading analyst…
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Saudi Aramco, Dow, Shell, IEA to speak at Berlin conference

Next month’s World Aromatics conference is a must-attend event for anyone involved with the industry. It features an impressive line-up of major players, including Saudi Aramco, the world’s largest oil company, as well as Dow, Shell and the Internatio…
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3 issues, and an overview, at EPCA

This year’s European Petrochemical Association in Berlin was notable for its realism. The blog gave an interview to ICIS news which was headlined ‘Major recession ahead, warns leading consultant’. This overview seemed to capture the overall mood of t…
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2013 Budgets face many risks

There are many ways to lead a company to disaster. But one of the most reliable is to follow conventional wisdom. The reason is that this is almost always backward-looking, and tells us little about likely future developments. The blog instead aim…
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Oil price speculators drive major petchem volatility

It is tempting to think that oil price volatility is a zero-sum game. For every ‘winner’, one would expect there to be a ‘loser’. But when it comes to downstream industries like chemicals, the answer is more complicated, as Richard Bartlett, BP’s com…
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India’s slowdown boosts motorbike sales

95% of Indian households do not own a car. And as the chart above shows, motor cycles remain the key market for manufacturers. 2011-12 annual figures have now been published, and they show: • 70% of sales were motorbikes (light blue), versus 66% i…
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Nissan targets Datsun at the $3000 auto market

It would be nice to believe that there are billions of middle-class people in emerging countries. And even nicer to imagine they are just waiting for the chance to buy expensive Western goods. Sadly, the truth is more prosaic. 96% of China’s populat…
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October’s demand begins to disappoint

October is usually one of the 4 strongest months for demand, alongside January, March and May. This year it should be particularly strong, as many say September’s demand was the weakest they can remember. The reason it is normally strong is that comp…
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