The world’s leading retailers have been extremely reliable leading indicators for the chemical industry, since the Great Recession began. They were the first, back in July 2007, to highlight the major changes underway in consumer markets. Tesco, the world’s 3rd largest retailer, warned then that they were changing their focus away from more affluent shoppers […]
Archive | September, 2011
Auto sales in the world’s 3 main markets (China, USA, EU), saw much slower growth in the past 3 months. The chart above shows how they have moved in 2011 (red square) versus previous years. It is clear that the stimulus-led boom seen since 2009 has come to an end: • Overall, sales in the […]
Will you still need me? Will you still feed me? The Beatles asked the right questions back in 1967, when singing ‘When I’m Sixty-Four’ on their iconic Sergeant Pepper album. What would happen to the Western BabyBoomers when they became 64? Would they be about to die, as had previous generations? Or would their future […]
The chemical industry has a turnover of $3.4trn, and is the world’s 3rd largest industry. It matters to the global economy. Many of its leaders are about to meet next weekend in Berlin for the annual European Petrochemical Association (EPCA) meeting. The blog strongly believes that this should not be seen as a ‘business as […]
Next week, the blog publishes Chapter 5 of its ‘Boom, Gloom and the New Normal’ eBook, co-authored with John Richardson. This looks in detail at the major changes taking place in demand patterns as the BabyBoomers (those born between 1956-70) enter the 55+ age group. This cohort already includes 272 million people, 29% of the […]
Oil supply is critical to today’s global economy. Now a new book by oil expert Daniel Yergin, author of ‘The Prize’, suggests that the outlook may be more promising than most believe. Pessimists such as Marion King Hubbert have argued that the world is running out of oil. Hubbert, for example, gave his name to […]
Most of Europe goes on holiday in August, and so it is only now that auto sales for July and August have been reported. As the chart above shows, the monthly sales figures continued the weak trend seen so far this year (red square): • July’s sales of 1 million were the lowest in the […]
An abrupt change of direction is never a pleasant experience in global financial markets. Yet unfortunately, the blog’s regular 6 monthly review suggests this has started to occur since March. Investors are beginning to fear we may not be be entering a new Supercycle after all. Some are also worrying that high oil prices may […]
There seems little doubt that the global economy is now entering a new downturn. Pessimists may worry that it has already begun in Q3. Optimists might hope it will be delayed till Q4, or even Q1. But almost all major indicators are pointing in the same direction. • On the macro-level, the latest American Chemistry […]
The blog has just returned from Lords cricket ground in London, where its Surrey team has just won the UK’s 40-over competition. It thought you might like to see above photo of the winning team (source: Cricinfo) at the moment of victory.
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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 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.