Blog

The blog on CNBC Africa

The blog was interviewed on CNBC Africa’s ‘Beyond Markets’ programme last week, during its visit to AECI in Johannesburg. Hosted by Karema Brown, the programme focuses on the news that drives markets across the continent. The 3 minute interview dis…
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Commodities supercycle myth enters the end-game

If something seems to be ‘too good to be true’, then it usually is. This may be the learning for the world’s largest pension funds, as they plan their next moves in commodity investment. Their involvement jumped from 2009 after central banks began st…
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Global capacity utilsation falls for 3rd month

Capacity utilisation continues to be on a downward path, according to the latest data from the American Chemistry Council. As their chart above shows, there has been no improvement since the summer: • October should see peak rates, as companies cat…
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Shanghai’s stock market falls back to 2009 levels

Every stock market chart tells a story. And the chart above is no exception. It highlights investors’ roller-coaster ride over the past 5 years since the Shanghai stock market hit its all-time peak of 5903 in October 2007: • After this it collapse…
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Slowing markets underline failure of central bank policies

As we approach year-end, it is interesting to review performance of the blog’s 3 benchmark products since the start of the major central bank liquidity programmes. The chart begins in January 2009 when the G20 stimulus programme was being prepared, an…
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Demographic slowdown hits company results

Are you a typical employee in the chemical industry (aged in your 30s or 40s)? Have you noticed that you spend rather more money than your parents? Then you may have spotted the reason for the more difficult economic conditions that your company is n…
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Europe’s olefin operating rates remain at recession levels

Europe’s political leaders were deadlocked last weekend over plans for the EU’s new Budget. A new north-south gap opened up, where the major contributors to the Budget (Germany, UK, Netherlands) demanded €30bn ($39bn) in cuts. This was, of course,…
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China’s new leadership heads in a new direction

As promised, the blog today looks at the impact of former President Jiang Zemin’s return to active politics during the recent leadership transition. Its monitoring of expert commentary inside and outside China suggests he has achieved 4 major changes:…
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Chemical industry operating rates fall as oil prices rise

The battle between the major central banks and the fundamentals of supply/demand is starting resemble the battlefields of the 1st World War. The generals running the campaign believe (with the exception of the Bank of Japan) that today’s crisis is sim…
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100m Africans now vaccinated against meningitis A

The blog is in S Africa next week as the guest of AECI, where on Tuesday it is also scheduled to be interviewed on CNBC’s ‘Beyond Markets’ about New Normal developments. It is particularly pleased that the visit coincides with the achievement of a m…
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IEA highlights $18tn of gains from energy efficiency

“Energy efficiency is the cheapest way to meet our energy needs” according to the International Energy Agency. It also has much shorter payback periods than increased use of renewables, according to Capella Festa of the IEA when speaking at our confer…
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