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Reflections of Bangkok

Carbon Black 2009 Perspective in Asia Pacific was held last week in Bangkok, and Notch Consulting had the honor of delivering one of the key-note addresses. The paper was entitled “Global Economic Recession: Effect on the Carbon Black Industry.” Mr. Anil Kumar of PVTI India organized the conference along with a group of executives from leading carbon black companies in the region. The location was enchanting, the agenda well organized, and the proceedings highly informative. It was great to see old friends and make a few new ones.

The mood among attendees could be described as cautiously optimistic. There is a feeling that the worst of this punishing recession is in the past (with the trough probably occurring in the first or second quarter of 2009, depending on the region), and the hope that the regional and global markets will return to growth in 2010. However, there is an awareness that the road ahead may be rocky. There was much discussion of the import tariffs that the United States imposed on Chinese tires earlier this year, and what effect the tariffs would have not only on Chinese passenger tire production but also on those countries most likely to pick up market share at China’s expense.

After curtailing expansion activity beginning last fall, suppliers are again moving forward with new projects, and Notch heard details of several new projects planned for coming years. The industry’s newest producer, Himadri Chemicals in India, had a major presence at the conference. They were joined by nearly 200 other attendees from leading carbon black suppliers as well as equipment providers, feedstock suppliers, governmental organizations (including the China Carbon Black Institute), and consultants. All in all, a great trip.

Below: Entrance to Dusit Thani Hotel, site of the conference

Below: Detail near entrance of Wat Phra Kaew temple

Below: Detail of statue from Wat Pho temple

Below: Rumor has it that some attendees even indulged in the ancient art of Thai Fish Massage

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