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
I was interviewed on Friday about the likely impact of President Trump’s trade wars on the global chemical industry by Will Beacham, deputy editor of ICIS Chemical Business. His interview is below. The introduction on Friday of trade tariffs by China and the US is the first step in a trade war that could turn into […]
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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 $240/t in September […]
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We are living in a New Normal world. Populists such as Nigel Farage, Donald Trump, Marine le Pen and Beppe Grillo are gaining support as economic growth slows and social/political unrest becomes common. My presentation at our annual conference last week in Vienna highlighted some of the key issues, as Jessie Waldheim of ICIS news […]
Capacity Utilisation (CU%) is the best measure we have for the current state of the global chemical industry. It doubles as an excellent proxy for the outlook for the global economy. And as the above chart based on latest American Chemistry Council data shows, recovery still seems a long way off: Global CU% was down […]
2013 has seen 3 types of markets develop for the blog’s IeC Downturn Monitor portfolio as the chart above shows: Financial assets such as the S&P 500 (purple) have soared, as did the US$ against the yen (orange) Crude oil (blue) and naphtha (black) tried to follow, but found it difficult to pass though the higher prices Benzene (green) and […]
Crude oil markets long ago lost their role of price discovery. Since early 2009, they have instead been dominated by pension funds seeking to find a ‘store of value’ as the US$ weakened, along with hedge funds enjoying a money-making ‘momentum play’. …
The blog is extremely concerned about recent market developments.
Nobody minds higher prices, if they are a response to strong demand and can be passed through to customers. But today’s high prices have nothing to do with strong demand. On the contr…
Trading volumes in financial markets are very low these days. Many ordinary investors are on holiday, and others are focused on the Olympics. So it is easy for the high-frequency computers to create major volatility – and large profits for their owne…
The last few days have seen financial markets rallying, whilst the news from the real economy gets worse. US GDP growth in Q2 was just 1.5%. And the Wall Street Journal notes the recovery since 2009 has been the weakest in the post-War period.