Readers will no doubt be pleased to see that Bloomberg have today published a major article on the likely changes in demand patterns due to the ageing of the Western babyboomers. Its title, ‘Aging Baby Boomers Shrinking Labor Force May Curb U.S. Growth for 20 Years’, emphasises the parallels it makes with our analysis in […]
Archive | August, 2011
The above chart, from the invaluable American Chemistry Council (ACC) weekly report, highlights the scale of Q1′s inventory build in N American polymer markets (polyethylene, polypropylene, PVC). This build took place as consumers down the value chain rushed to buy forward, as WTI oil prices surged 41% between November – April. Their buying was not […]
All of us would love to be able to see into the future. Chapter 4 of our new free eBook, ‘Boom, Gloom and the New Normal’, does just this. It offers 10 predictions about how the world will look in 2021: 1. Young and old will be focused on ‘needs’ rather than ‘wants’. 2. A […]
German Chancellor Merkel’s recent comment that “I don’t see anything which signals a recession in Germany” is just one sign of the current complacency about the global economy within the Western political elite. Long-standing readers will remember Profs Eichengreen and O’Rourke 2009-10 work comparing today’s Great Recession with the Depression of the 1930s. Worryingly, the […]
The blog’s friends at the American Chemical Society are running some interesting free webinars this week on 30-31 August, and have invited blog readers to join: Navigating the Global Industrial Job Market with Richard Connell, Pfizer; Scott Harbeson, Concert Pharma; Jos Put, DSM Entrepreneurship + Innovation = Jobs with George Whitesides, Harvard University; Joseph Francisco, […]
China’s growth in electricity consumption is a much better guide to its economic growth than the published GDP figures. This was confirmed by likely next premier, Li Keqiang. It has been a major reason for the blog’s long-standing focus on this key area. The problem with GDP is that it is a target for local […]
Investment banks reportedly dominated oil trading in US futures markets as prices spiked in June 2008
The investment banks have maintained a consistent focus on oil market supply disruptions and demand surges in recent years, alongside forecasts of sharply increasing prices. We discussed their role in more detail in the recently published Chapter 3 of our new free eBook, ‘Boom, Gloom and the New Normal‘. As the above chart from the […]
The blog was in a minority of one when it launched its IeC Downturn Alert at the end of April. But today, only a very few diehard optimists are still arguing the issue. GDP reports in Europe and the USA have shown virtually no growth in Q2, whilst China is clearly also slowing fast. It […]
Most of us have now heard of the PIIGS countries (Portugal, Ireland, Italy, Greece, Spain). They are the ones causing the Eurozone debt crisis. Today, the blog introduces the JUUGS (Japan, UK, USA, Germany, Switzerland). These are the major countries that investors now love. If you are worried about return of capital, rather than return […]
ICIS pricing is a very valuable resource, particularly at market turning points. It highlighted the start of the current downturn in April, when reporting that buyers had moved to operating on a ‘hand to mouth’ basis. Now, its market editors are highlighting the fragility of demand due to ‘economic uncertainty’. This is the moment when […]
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Paul Hodges is Chairman of International eChem, trusted commercial advisers to the global chemical industry.
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 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.