Markets in Wonderland



“Sometimes, I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast” said the Queen in Lewis Carroll’s famous book, ‘Alice in Wonderland’.

Today would have been a good day for her to practise this ability, as she read her newspaper:

GM, once the world’s largest auto manufacturer, went into bankruptcy. US stock markets celebrated, rising 2.6%.

Europe’s jobless rate hit a 10 year high of 9.2%. Several regional stock markets, including Germany’s, also rose 2% or more.

S Korea’s exports (responsible for nearly 50% of GDP) fell back in May, and were down 28% versus 2008. The stock market rose 1.4%.

Oil prices rose over $2/bbl to a 2009 high of $69/bbl. The International Energy Agency reported that “financial and economic meltdown have slashed demand”.

UK Finance Minister, Alastair Darling, has been a key figure in restoring confidence in financial markets. The Financial Times suggests he will shortly lose his job due to a £668 error in an expense claim.

Judge Robert Gerber of the New York circuit will be responsible for making all major decisions in the GM bankruptcy. His existing responsibilities for Lyondell’s Chapter 11 process (and others), was apparently leaving him plenty of spare time.

About Paul Hodges

Paul Hodges is Chairman of International eChem, trusted commercial advisers to the global chemical industry. Paul is also an invited member of the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council. The aim of this blog is to share ideas about the influences that may shape the chemical industry over the next 12 – 18 months. It will try to look behind today’s headlines, to understand what may happen next in important issues such as oil prices, economic growth and the environment. We may also have some fun, investigating a few of the more offbeat events that take place from time to time. Please do join me and share your thoughts. Between us, we will hopefully develop useful insights into the key factors that will drive the industry's future performance.

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