UK household spending

Ageing UK households’ impact on growth

My new post for the Financial Times FT Data blog highlights how household spending is very dependent on age. Guest post by Paul Hodges| Jan 29 11:28 | The UK’s ageing population is creating major headwinds for economic growth, data published last month by the Office of National Statistics shows. The issue is simple: the […]

Continue Reading

BMW says China’s auto sales are heading into a New Normal

Its amazing what a lending bubble can do in the short-term, as the above chart shows.  It updates my August post for the Financial Times, and highlights the astonishing rise in China’s bank lending since 2008 on the x-axis, and the remarkable rise in auto sales on the y-axis. Official data shows average disposable income last […]

Continue Reading

US auto sales, housing starts, will be hit by oil price collapse

The best view is always from the top of the mountain.  That’s probably why the outlook seems so promising for US auto and housing markets.  Both appear to be doing well on the surface, but dig a little deeper and concerns soon emerge. The chart above demonstrates the point, updating the data from my July post […]

Continue Reading

How to survive the Great Unwinding of policymaker stimulus

I was privileged to be interviewed by Merryn Somerset Webb, editor-in-chief of MoneyWeek (the UK’s best-selling financial magazine) in this week’s edition.  The interview covered a wide range of topics including the perilous state of UK house prices and some stock markets, and has prompted enormous interest amongst MoneyWeek readers. Merryn is one of the UK’s leading […]

Continue Reading

Eurozone joins Japan’s ‘currency war’ versus the US dollar

The last 10 days have seen turmoil in major currency markets: The Swiss National Bank gave up trying to devalue versus the euro, and the franc jumped 30% in minutes The European Central Bank (ECB) launched its €1tn Quantitative Easing (QE) programme, causing an immediate 3% fall in the euro’s value versus the dollar These are major moves by any historical […]

Continue Reading

Oil price collapse will likely end recovery in US housing starts

We now have full US Census Bureau data for housing starts in 2014, which shows: Starts returned to the 1m level for the first time since 2007 They were also nearly double the low of 554k seen in 2009 But at 1.006m, they were less than half of the 2.068m peak in 2005 The data also […]

Continue Reading

Falling cotton/polyester prices create ‘deflation shock’ for consumers

Cotton prices appear to be collapsing again due to the surpluses created by central bank stimulus policies since 2009.  As the chart shows, these had initially caused prices to soar to levels not seen since the American Civil War: They reached 230c/lb in March 2011, nearly double the post-1982 peak of 117c/lb in May 1995 (blue […]

Continue Reading

Oil market faces “historic shift” – International Energy Agency

The above chart highlights one major reason behind my forecast last August that oil prices were about to collapse.  This was that US inventories were so high, storage was starting to run out: Inventory had reached all-time record levels, and was at around 60 days of sales (blue area) And so prices simply had to fall, to […]

Continue Reading

Halving of China’s electricity demand confirms major slowdown underway

China’s reported  7.4% GDP growth for 2014 was the lowest in 25 years.  But even so, it probably still overstates the true economic position.  How could China  possibly produce a final fiigure for GDP within just 20 days of 2015? Electricity consumption, as Premier Li has advised in the past, is a far more reliable guide to the actual […]

Continue Reading

The great ‘Deflation Shock’ is coming closer

  The world is about to be hit by a demand shock equivalent to 1973′s supply shock.  Yet, astonishingly, most commentators remain so focused on central bank activity, that they have completely missed what is happening.  Here’s how it is playing out. You may remember the ‘The pH Report‘ forecast in early December that: “Oil prices […]

Continue Reading