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?
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
Not many companies still operate in the same way as 500 years ago, or even 50 years ago. But in manufacturing, it’s quite common. As the pictures show, a visitor from Shakespeare’s time – or from after World War 2 – would feel at home if they visited many manufacturing sites today. The issue is
Polyethylene markets (PE) are moving into a crisis, with margins in NE Asia already negative, as I have been forecasting. Scenario planning is now a matter of potential life or death for companies likely to be impacted over the next 12-18 months. The collapse in margins is already quite dramatic as the chart based on
Planning for future demand in petrochemicals and polymers used to be relatively easy during the BabyBoomer SuperCycle. The team would consult the latest IMF forecast for global and regional growth, and then debate the right ratio to use to calculate product demand. For polyethylene (PE), the ratio was generally just above GDP at around 1.1x,
Four serious challenges are on the horizon for the global petrochemical industry as I describe in my latest analysis for ICIS Chemical Business and in a podcast interview with Will Beacham of ICIS. The first is the growing risk of recession, with key markets such as autos, electronics and housing all showing signs of major
Sadly, my July forecast that US-China tariffs could lead to a global polyethylene price war seems to be coming true. As I have argued since March 2014 (US boom is a dangerous game), it was always going to be difficult for US producers to sell their vastly increased output. The expansions were of course delayed […]
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US ethylene spot prices are tumbling as the major new shale gas expansions come on line, as the chart based on ICIS pricing data confirms: They began the year at $617/t, but have since more than halved to $270/t on Friday They are only around 10% higher than their all-time low of $240/t in September […]
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Our 16th World Aromatics and Derivatives conference takes place on Wednesday/Thursday in Amsterdam. Co-organised with ICIS, it provides an excellent opportunity for delegates to meet and exchange views in the critical end-of-year period. It features the usual strong line-up of speakers: Ronald Doesburg, GM for Shell’s Base Chemicals business, will describe how innovation is driving new […]
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300,000 homes and half a million cars have been destroyed by Hurricane Harvey. And in terms of business, it is often forgotten that Houston is home to more Fortune 500 companies than any other metro area than New York. The damage will take years to repair, as families have to regroup and re-establish their lives […]