Chris Bryant, Columnist

It Feels Like 'Lehman II’ in This Crucial Industry

Profit warnings in the chemicals industry don’t bode well for the global economy.

What happens in chemicals rarely stays in chemicals.

Photographer: Dwayne Senior/Bloomberg

Last week, German specialty chemical maker Lanxess AG warned recent declines in sales volumes were more severe than during the 2008/2009 recession. To bludgeon home his point, Chief Executive Officer Matthias Zachert added: “This feels like Lehman II.” Gulp.

Lanxess’s European and US chemical peers, plus a host of companies in other cyclical sectors, face similar problems as elevated customer inventories meet the most rapid interest rate hiking cycle in decades, as well as a stuttering Chinese economy.

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It Feels Like 'Lehman II’ in This Crucial Industry