Chapter 2 of Boom, Gloom and the New Normal is published today.
In a completely new and challenging analysis we argue:
• The Western BabyBoomers boosted chemical demand for housing, autos and electronics during their peak consumption years between 1980-2000. But this demand is unlikely to be sustained, now they are entering the 55+ age group. A new SuperCycle is therefore extremely unlikely.
• Demographics ultimately drive chemical demand. Japan’s BabyBoom took place around a decade earlier than the West’s, and may therefore provide useful insight into the likely future course of events.
• Japan’s experience post-1990 seems to indicate that stimulus programmes cannot counter the impact of an ageing BabyBoom generation over the medium and longer-term.
• Equally, it suggests interest rates in the major economies could well fall significantly, as the 55+ generation starts to save more and spend less, to fund their potentially lengthy retirement.
• This means funding should be available to tackle the key megatrend issues that will drive the next wave of global growth: ageing populations, increasing food and water supply, and reducing carbon footprint.