The head of Pimco, the world’s largest bond fund managers, provides influential support this month for the blog’s argument in ‘Boom, Gloom and the New Normal’ about the importance of today’s demographic changes. Bill Gross comments as follows in his new Investment Outlook: “Demography is destiny, and like cancer, demographic population changes are becoming a […]
Archive | December, 2012
China’s important polyethylene market (PE) showed little sign of any major upturn in October. Trade data from Global Trade Information Services shows: • Demand was up just 4% versus 2010 levels • Production was up 3%, as China’s refinery operating rates slowed • Imports were up 8%, and exports up 57% These figures are virtually […]
Last week the blog looked back at the performance of its 3 benchmark products since the start of 2009. This week it looks at what has happened to its 3 financial market products: • Before 2009, there was normally an inverse correlation between oil/naphtha prices and the US S&P 500 stock market index. Higher oil […]
The blog was interviewed on CNBC Africa’s ‘Beyond Markets’ programme last week, during its visit to AECI in Johannesburg. Hosted by Karema Brown, the programme focuses on the news that drives markets across the continent. The 3 minute interview discussed the new business models that are now essential to drive future growth in Africa and […]
If something seems to be ‘too good to be true’, then it usually is. This may be the learning for the world’s largest pension funds, as they plan their next moves in commodity investment. Their involvement jumped from 2009 after central banks began stimulus programmes, as the blog discussed last month. The funds were looking […]
Capacity utilisation continues to be on a downward path, according to the latest data from the American Chemistry Council. As their chart above shows, there has been no improvement since the summer: • October should see peak rates, as companies catch up after the summer break and rush to complete orders before Christmas • Instead, […]
Every stock market chart tells a story. And the chart above is no exception. It highlights investors’ roller-coaster ride over the past 5 years since the Shanghai stock market hit its all-time peak of 5903 in October 2007: • After this it collapsed until October 2008; rallied fiercely till July 2009; and then resumed its […]
As we approach year-end, it is interesting to review performance of the blog’s 3 benchmark products since the start of the major central bank liquidity programmes. The chart begins in January 2009 when the G20 stimulus programme was being prepared, and then follows the impact of the QE2 programme in H2 2010, Twist in H2 […]
Are you a typical employee in the chemical industry (aged in your 30s or 40s)? Have you noticed that you spend rather more money than your parents? Then you may have spotted the reason for the more difficult economic conditions that your company is now encountering. There is little doubt about the seriousness of 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.