Do any blog readers routinely trade on the basis of Twitter comments? Or more specifically, do any trade within milliseconds of receiving a tweet? The answer of course is “no”, as readers have no ability to trade in milliseconds. But last week the computers did just that. As the Financial Times chart shows, the US […]
Archive | April, 2013
The above chart from the Wall Street Journal highlights the major change that has already taken place in the US economy as it transitions to the New Normal. The black line shows the 10-year average growth for US GDP since 1980, which has halved since 2008 because: • GDP grew at an average of 3.1% […]
The ‘middle ground’ was the place to be to capture maximum profits during the Boomer-led SuperCycle between 1983-2007. But now, people have less money to spend, and credit conditions are tighter. So margins are disappearing as volumes come under pressure. Instead, as we discuss in Boom, Gloom and the New Normal, smart companies are realising […]
As new premier Li Keqiang noted some years ago, China’s GDP statistics are “man-made and therefore unreliable”. But as leadership targets, they are very important in signalling the direction to be taken. Thus the blog is quite amazed that the financial sector has only now begun to wake up to the implications of the new […]
India is the 3rd largest Asian auto market after China and Japan, and a year ago its automobile association was confidently forecasting annual demand growth of 10%-12%. Instead, sales have fallen 7% (India uses an April-March year) – the first time annual sales have fallen for a decade. As Reuters notes: “Carmakers in India, two […]
One volume car manufacturer in Europe achieved a 15% volume increase in Q1 with one of its major brands. The same brand is also achieving margins of around 9%. Who was it? Regular blog readers will know the answer. Renault’s low-cost Dacia was the only major brand to increase Q1 sales apart from Mercedes – […]
Brent crude oil prices have now dropped $20/bbl since their February peak at $119/bbl. The major drop has occurred this month, following the Bank of Japan’s decision to introduce its own massive liquidity programme. This confirms the blog’s long-standing argument that the fundamentals of supply/demand had nothing to do with oil’s rise from $30/bbl to […]
The Euphrates is the longest river in Western Asia at 3000km (1850 miles), and with the river Tigris (1850km) it has been supporting Middle Eastern agriculture for 450k years. But new research from the Water Resources Research academy confirms that both rivers are now losing water at an alarming rate. Kindly forwarded by Fernando Castro […]
The blog’s latest post for the Financial Times FT Data blog is published today. April 19, 2013 4.59 pm by Financial Times Guest post by Paul Hodges The G20 group represents 79 per cent of global GDP.But when it comes to demographics, you can split its membership into threequite distinct groups. The chart shows each country in terms […]
Something very strange happened in China’s auto market during Q1. As the chart shows, sales (red square) rocketed 20% in January/February versus 2012 (green line), before cooling to 15% growth in March. Neither government nor the auto industry expects this pace to continue: • Government forecasts are for 8% overall growth this year • Industry […]
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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.