The latest Global Risks report from the World Economic Forum warns that its highlighted “societal risks all have a relatively high likelihood of occurring in the next 10 years”. As the chart above shows, the top 3 risks are those also highlighted in ‘Boom, Gloom and the New Normal’: • Water supply crises are the […]
Archive | September, 2012
The latest weekly report from the American Chemistry Council (ACC) includes a worrying picture of falling operating rates around the world. As their chart above shows, these fell quite sharply in August by 0.4% to 84.8%. By comparison, rates in August 2011 were 87.7%. The ACC also note that the slowdown seems to be widespread: […]
The blog continues to hear very depressing news from its contacts in the market about the state of China’s economy. The most depressing report is that GDP growth may actually have stalled in recent weeks. And the latest figures for electricity consumption add to the general sense of gloom. These are one of the more […]
A major new report from BBC News suggests that “China’s economic model is in danger” due to its rapidly ageing population (Please click here to see the video). It reaches exactly the same conclusions as in our Boom, Gloom and the New Normal ebook. Chapter 6, published in November 2011 was titled ‘The Risks to […]
The US Federal Reserve and the European Central Bank have adopted new and aggressive monetary measures to try and boost US employment and stabilise peripheral Eurozone bond markets. Unfortunately, their actions are more likely to increase the chances of a deeper global downturn than to create economic growth. Their previous liquidity injections, undertaken in the […]
Deutsche Bank’s annual long-term asset return study is always worth reading. It was one of the first to make the link between an ageing Western population and the end of the 1982-2007 economic supercycle. This year’s study is titled ‘A Journey into the Unknown’. It highlights the enormous uncertainties that surround the global economy. Their […]
Western politicians have failed to take responsibility for managing the Crisis. And so, as the blog noted last week, policy is instead being made by unelected central bankers – principally Ben Bernanke at the US Federal Reserve, and Mario Draghi at the European Central Bank. They are clearly well-meaning, and in normal times might do […]
Mario Draghi, new head of the European Central Bank (ECB), is extremely good at doing deals. He learnt his trade at Goldman Sachs, and then polished his skills whilst running the Bank of Italy. But unfortunately, deal-making skills are not enough to rescue the European economy. Earlier this month Draghi persuaded the ECB Board to […]
It has been obvious for most of this year that China’s economy is in trouble. As the blog wrote in the Financial Times in March: “PTA is thus warning that China’s economy could be slowing faster than generally realised”. Yet it is hard for the government to move beyond short-term responses: • The new Politburo […]
It was a very good week for traders in oil markets. Guaranteed profits are rare enough these days, even for them. But the combination of Mario Draghi at the European Central Bank, and then Ben Bernanke at the US Federal Reserve, meant they could put the champagne on ice as soon as they entered the […]
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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.