Blog

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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Auto sales growth stalls world-wide

Autos are easily the largest global demand sector for chemicals, now housing has declined. Developments in the world’s 4 major markets (China, US, EU, Japan) are thus critical to the future outlook, as they account for nearly 75% of total sales. As t…
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China’s new leaders face slowing economy, rising protests

There are two great myths in the modern world. One, as discussed yesterday, is that central banks can restore growth to SuperCycle levels. The other is that China’s economy will grow consistenly at high rates for the next decade. Both are wishful th…
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Conference highlights key chemical market changes

Our World Aromatics Conference in Berlin, now in its 11th year, provided valuable insight into changing market developments, thanks to our array of top-level speakers: Ted Randall, Global Business Manager for Saudi Aramco, highlighted how their drive …
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Q3 results remain in downward trend

The blog’s quarterly survey of chemical industry results shows the downward trend continued in Q3. Some companies remain untouched by the mainstream problems, but they are now clearly in the minority: • Bayer remain optimistic, and DuPont hopeful …
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Polyester markets head for crisis as cotton prices crash

Cotton prices, as the chart shows, have returned to the 50c-70c/lb range that has dominated since 1982. This proves, once again, that ‘reversion to the mean’ is usually the best investment strategy. Sadly, however, it is the people who did not belie…
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Oil markets have lost their price discovery role

The US spent $6bn on its presidential and congressional elections this year. Apart from expressing the will of the people, it may also prove valuable if it helps to highlight the danger of allowing wishful thinking to override factual evidence on the …
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UK housing markets approach their Minsky Moment

The UK housing market has led a charmed life in recent years. Unlike the US, Spain, Ireland and many other Western countries, prices have not collapsed. Instead, near zero interest rates, and the high proportion of mortgages on variable rates, meant …
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US auto market reaches a fork in the road

The US auto market is reaching a critical fork in the road. The consensus view believes that full recovery is well underway. They see the slowdown in October’s sales as purely being weather-related, due to the arrival of hurricane Sandy. Clearly t…
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