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what we are talking about today

Daily Chemical Reaction

Rock The Boat – Global Supply Chain Issues Remain Elevated, Chemical Producer Strategic Shifts Emerge

Global supply chains remain imbalanced and support abnormally high chemical prices in the US relative to Asia. In our view, the Westlake initiative to push its portfolio more toward specialties is timely in light of this setting.
We highlight Westlake, ExxonMobil, Indorama, Aramco, & Formosa news, flag multiple price hike efforts, & note global production update items.
USGC spot ethylene, benzene, and polymer-grade propylene (PGP) values hold up WoW. However, we think PGP now reflects the most downside risk.
We discuss an increased push to broaden climate-friendly initiatives from traditional channels and flag several circular economy initiative updates.
The Freightos China-to-US freight rate index and the Baltic Exchange Freight Rate Index rise WOW, and both indexes reflect five-year highs.
We note numerous other pertinent chemical sector items in this report.

Global Chemical Update – Chain, Chain, Chain

Some commodity chemical producers should use the recent surge in FCF to boost specialty portfolios. Westlake makes a compelling move on this front.
Asia HDPE relative to US ethane reflects a lower price spread compared to 2019, while US HDPE integrated ethane margins remain near historic highs.
Other global commodity trends flagged in this report comprise monomer, polymer, and feedstock indicators relevant to gauging sector profitability.

One Last, But Possibly Long, Hurrah

What is approaching 40 years of chemical industry experience tells us that a brick wall is out there somewhere – we cannot see it yet, but it is out there.
But this time, it is different; changing demographics and political agendas will likely overwhelm the usual cyclical chemical industry drivers, eventually.
The oil industry is feeling the change today, and one possible consequence is a period (perhaps prolonged) of high prices and profits – can chemicals do the same?
This report discusses some of the chaos in the ever-changing political landscape, and we explain why and how the chemical industry can best benefit.
The biofuel industry is flagged – we view it as an interesting space to watch.

what we are saying about tomorrow

ESG, Recycling & climate 

Hydrogen – The Endgame, But The DoE Ambition Could Hurt

Unrealistic hydrogen cost targets concern us, as the benefit of spurring R&D investment may be more than offset by waiting for something unachievable.
Hydrogen is a key “endgame” need for climate action, but the DoE targets appear much more realistic for 2040-2045 (and possibly later) than 2030.
Biofuels are a “plug-and-play” solution that works today – the sector is likely undervalued, in our view, but this market is not absent sizable challenges.
Our research also discusses whether chemical recycling can be good enough for all stakeholders – unintended consequences may hurt current polymer makers.
The SPAC craze is far from over – some of the ESG ones will work but not all.

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what we are covering

Sunday Thematic & weekly recap 

One Last, But Possibly Long, Hurrah

What is approaching 40 years of chemical industry experience tells us that a brick wall is out there somewhere – we cannot see it yet, but it is out there.
But this time, it is different; changing demographics and political agendas will likely overwhelm the usual cyclical chemical industry drivers, eventually.
The oil industry is feeling the change today, and one possible consequence is a period (perhaps prolonged) of high prices and profits – can chemicals do the same?
This report discusses some of the chaos in the ever-changing political landscape, and we explain why and how the chemical industry can best benefit.
The biofuel industry is flagged – we view it as an interesting space to watch.

read more