Xi Jinping was formally confirmed as China’s new president this week. But we know remarkably little about him, apart from a rather dry list of his official positions as he climbed the career ladder. This is understandable, given the chaos that resulted from Mao’s personality cult and the Cultural Revolution. However, we do know something […]
Archive | March, 2013
The blog’s 6 monthly review of global stock markets highlights a very unusual pattern since global demand and chemical markets peaked on 29 April 2011, as the chart shows: • Markets in developed economies have powered ahead with Japan up 24%, the US S&P 500 up 14%, the UK up 8% and Germany up 6% […]
Famously, when Bill Clinton ran his successful presidential campaign in 1992, his advisers would remind him of the key message with just one phrase “Its the economy, stupid!”. Today’s policymakers would do well to maintain a similar focus on the oil price, if they want to understand today’s lack of demand. Somehow, everyone seems to […]
Jiang Zemin never spent too much time worrying about Western financial markets or domestic criticism, either before or after he became China’s president between 1993-2003. Instead, he focused on 3 core areas, which became known as the Three Represents: “The Party must always represent the requirements of the development of China’s advanced productive forces, the […]
Chemical markets continue to paint a very worrying picture of the state of the global economy. There has been no improvement in demand over the past week, since the blog first raised the alarm. Instead, plants are being temporarily closed because of the slowdown. Lanxess, for example, announced the closure of two plants in Belgium […]
The blog is delighted to have been asked to address a wide variety of industry and investor conferences over the next few months. The arguments of our ‘Boom, Gloom and the New Normal’ eBook are clearly starting to make sense to an increasing number of people. Details of the main events are below, and hopefully […]
A critical change is underway in consumer buying habits as we enter the New Normal. The key driver for this is the switch from value-added to affordability: • Value-added. The Boomers loved buying premium products when they were young. Companies rushed to support them, so that even tee-shirts became status symbols. Thus they were able […]
CNN captured the world’s imagination when launching 24/7 television coverage of the first Gulf War in 1991. For the first time in history, viewers were able to see what happening as it happened. And CNN used expert and experienced commentators to make sense of the pictures. Some of the major media still maintain these high […]
Today sees the start of China’s annual National People’s Congress (NPC) in Beijing, when the new leadership of president Xi and premier Li will formally take office. Judging by their activity since November, when the appointments were confirmed, we may well see major changes in economic policy being announced. The key is the move away […]
The best view is always from the top of the mountain. As the chart shows, this is where we are today – for the 4th time since the H2 2008 crisis. And just as at the previous 3 peaks, nobody seems to be noticing that demand is again weakening fast. Instead, policymakers and investors are […]
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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.