About Paul Hodges

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.

Author Archive | Paul Hodges

The blog’s 7th birthday

Who would have believed the blog would still be here, 7 years after it began with a post from Thailand in June 2007?  Who would have believed the range of developments that have appeared for it to discuss over this period? It started at the end of the SuperCycle as central banks pumped cash into the […]

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EU auto sales stagnate as unemployment remains near record

The good news about EU auto sales, as the chart shows, is that they have stabilised above last year’s record low levels: Sales in the January – May period were up 7% (red square) versus 2013 (green line) at 5.4 million Sales in May itself were up 5% versus 2013 at 1.1m Sales have risen […]

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China GDP reports remain “man-made and therefore unreliable”

The blog got 54.8m results from Google when it entered the phrase “China GDP” this week.  The only problem, seemingly unrecognised by most analysts, is that China’s GDP report is a completely fictitious number, invented by the leadership each quarter to suit its own narrative. This sounds a bold statement, but it isn’t: China is the only country to […]

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Oil will be left in the ground, as gas gains energy market share

The annual BP Energy Statistics publication is a treasure trove of information for anyone interested in global energy markets.  One key area is the impact of today’s higher oil prices on consumption growth, as highlighted in the chart: It starts from 1965, and shows consumption growth for oil (red line), gas (blue) and total energy (green) Oil’s […]

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US housing markets will never be the same again

US housing markets will never be the same again.  That’s the conclusion of a new analysis by the blog for ICB. The picture above of a typical US family from the BabyBoom days tells the story: The number of US babies born between 1946 – 64 increased by 50% versus the previous 18 years 4 million […]

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‘Bubble, bubble, toil and trouble’ as China, West’s policy diverge

Sometimes its good to take a step back from the day-to-day markets, and focus on the bigger picture.  Thus the chart looks at how markets have moved since the start of 2008 when the sub-prime bubble came to an end: Prices peaked in June/July 2008 as oil peaked at $147/bbl (blue line) and naphtha at $1147/t […]

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Toilet provision key to Modi’s success in India

As the blog discussed last week, it seems that a new type of leader is starting to emerge in some of the world’s major countries.    Premier Narendra Modi in India, like President Xi Jinping in China, seems to be focused on achieving change – and not just on staying in power for its own sake. His […]

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RingOfFire Jun14

China’s earthquake opens fault-lines in debt-fuelled ‘ring of fire’

We can all hope that China’s ‘collateral trade’ turns out not to be as big a problem as seems likely.  But history shows that this type of problem has a way of escalating once people start investigating more closely. Thus state-owned Citic revealed yesterday that it has lost $40m in the Qingdao scandal, as half of its […]

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Qingdao probe the ‘straw on the camel’s back’ for world markets

The blog’s new Research Note in the ‘Your Compass on China’ series highlights the way that China’s commodity imports have been used to finance its housing bubble.  This is clearly a shock for investors, who have till now believed the imports were a sign of its superior economic policies and long-term growth prospects. The Qingdao probe could […]

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China’s commodity imports have financed its property bubble

Today, the blog launches a major new Research Note in the ‘Your Compass on China’ series, produced in association with leading Hong Kong-based financial advisory firm Polarwide. Titled ‘Here today and gone tomorrow – a simple guide to China’s world of trade finance’, it is probably the single most important paper it will publish all […]

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