There are increasing signs that China’s economic growth is slowing. Local gasoline and diesel prices are now (as in Europe) at record levels. Gasoline is Rmb 8.2/litre, the equivalent of $1.20/l, or $4.40/US gal. Unsurprisingly, this leaves people with very little spare cash, especially with food price inflation still at 6.2%. Equally, with rumours of […]
Archive | March, 2012
The blog is very pleased to have been invited to contribute to the Financial Times’ new FT Data blog. Its first post looks at benzene’s excellent forecasting record during the current crisis. It also looks at what PTA may be telling us about the strength of China’s economy. Please click here if you would like […]
Politicians seem to be floundering as they seek to restore growth to the Western economy. Their prescriptions swing between austerity and economic stimulus as they argue over what has gone wrong. But in chapter 10 of our Boom, Gloom & The New Normal e-book we argue that they are on the wrong track. They are […]
A blog reader has kindly forwarded an important UNCTAD paper (UN Conference on Trade and Development), analysing the growth and impact of high-frequency trading (HFT) on oil and financial markets. It provides important “new evidence regarding the financialisation of commodity markets”. These are now driven by computers which trade in micro-seconds, creating correlation trading which […]
Q1 should have been a strong quarter for global petchem demand: • Buyers had to restock in the New Year, as CFOs had cut working capital for year-end reasons • In the West, Easter is delayed until April, and the USA has benefited from the warmest winter in 50 years • China’s holidays took place […]
Taxes, like death, are inevitable. But very few people have much idea of how their money is spent. Thus the blog applauds the UK government’s decision this week to send every taxpayer a ‘receipt’ showing the key spending areas (chapter 5, for those who wish to see the detail). The chart above shows a sample […]
The Financial Times has kindly published the letter below from the blog today. It argues that affordability, not luxury, is the key need in China, as income levels are very low by comparison with those in the West. From Mr Paul Hodges. Sir, Martin Wolf, in “How to blow away China’s gathering storm clouds” (March […]
The blog’s 6-monthly review of major stock markets highlights their continuing volatility. Last September, all the markets were down between 7% – 22%. Germany (dark green column) was the biggest loser, whilst the UK/US (blue, red) were least impacted. Only the US 30-year Treasury bond (light green) had increased, as US interest rates fell. Please […]
Latest data confirms the growth slowdown now underway in China: • Rmb bank lending (purple column) is down 8% year to date versus 2011 • The leading indicator (red line) for the economy fell further Bank lending has been the main growth engine for the economy since 2009. But it led to major inflation problems, […]
EU auto sales are back at early 2009 levels. This was the height of the slump that followed the start of the financial crisis. But today, unlike then, it seems unlikely that politicians can afford another €2500 ($3.25k) ‘cash for clunkers’ programme. As the chart shows, 2012 sales (red square) fell 10% in February versus […]
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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.