About Paul Hodges

Paul Hodges is Chairman of International eChem, trusted commercial advisers to the global chemical industry. He also serves as a Global Expert for the World Economic Forum. The aim of this blog is to share ideas about the influences that may shape the chemical industry and the global economy over the next 12 – 18 months. It looks behind today’s headlines, to understand what may happen next in critical areas such as oil prices, China and Emerging Markets, currencies, autos, housing, economic growth and the environment. 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.

Author Archive | Paul Hodges

Hope is not a strategy

Chemical companies face difficult times if they cling to the hope that current challenges will simply disappear.  This is my main concern in a new analysis for ICIS Chemical Business. It argues that major change is underway in petrochemicals and polymers markets, which will create winners and losers. The current round of major capacity expansions has been based on two […]

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US homeownership equals all-time low as demand patterns change

It is is 10 years since the US subprime bubble began to burst, with disastrous results for the US and global economy. The US Federal Reserve  had created the bubble in the belief that higher house prices would boost the economy.  It then made a bad situation into a disaster by refusing to accept that […]

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World Aromatics Conference focuses on key industry challenges

The 15th World Aromatics & Derivatives Conference take place in Vienna on 22 – 23 November.  The Early Bird discount finishes on Friday. Co-organised as always with ICIS, we will benefit from the insight of key executives from the global industry including: THE OUTLOOK FOR AROMATICS Shell’s Commercial Manager, Europe, on feedstock and product availability China’s […]

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Central bankers create debt, not growth, by ignoring demographic reality

The world’s 4 main central bankers love being in the media spotlight.  After decades climbing the academic ladder, or earning millions with investment banks, they have the opportunity to rule the world’s economy – or so they think. But their background is rather strange preparation to take on this role – even if it was […]

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Divorce, not marriage, now fueling China’s property bubble in Shenzhen

China’s housing market has always been about marriage since it began in 1998, until recently that is.  The reason, as I noted a while ago, is that: “70% of China’s women regard “housing, a stable income and some savings” as vital for any man wanting to get married.” Women have the upper hand when it […]

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Autos Sept16

EU auto sales boosted by self-registration of unsold cars

The global auto market is currently dominated by China, where sales have more than trebled over the past 10 years. But the other 6 major markets have not always done so well.  Their total sales are up just 4.3% since they peaked before the Crisis began in 2007. As the chart, showing January – August sales since […]

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10yr Treasury Sept16

US 10-Year interest rates suggest Great Reckoning may be near

 ”History doesn’t repeat itself, but it often rhymes“, Mark Twain Bob Farrell of Merrill Lynch was rightly considered one of the leading Wall Street analysts in his day.  His 10 Rules are still an excellent guide for any investor.  Equally helpful is the simple checklist he developed, echoing Mark Twain’s insight, to help investors avoid […]

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G7 in 2015

G7 birth decline confirms central banks can’t print babies

2015 data is now available for births in the G7 countries, responsible for almost 50% of global GDP.  It confirms the picture of a steadily aging population.  This has enormous implications for the economy, as older people already own most of what they need, and their incomes decline as they move into retirement. As the […]

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Auto sales confirm critical flaws in the BRIC concept

, It is 15 years since Goldman Sachs coined the word BRIC to highlight their argument that growth in the global economy would, in future, be led by the major emerging economies rather than the developed world.  The core concept was that China and India would become the dominant suppliers of manufactured goods and services, whilst Brazil […]

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6 impossible things not to believe about oil before breakfast

 ”Sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.” Oil traders know how the Queen felt in Lewis Carroll’s famous book, Alice Through the Looking-Glass.  The list of impossible things that they are being asked to believe grows almost by the day:   Last week, prices jumped 4% on the basis that strong […]

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