The smartphone market has been one of the ‘jewels in the crown” of the consumer electronics market. Yet today, it is rushing headlong into the world of the New Normal. We can all learn a lot about the outlook for the global economy from watching its development. Until recently, the history was of astonishing growth, […]
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Its hard to be optimistic about the outlook for the global auto market. The chart above of the Top 7 markets, which account for around 2/3rds of global sales, highlights the growing uncertainty. It shows Q1 sales in 2015 (blue column) versus 2014 (blue). Overall, these were up just 1.9% at 15.8m. And although the […]
Q1 showed little sign of improvement in the world’s second-tier auto markets – Brazil, Russia, India, Japan. In total, their sales used to equal those of the EU, the world’s 3rd largest market. But Q1 volumes saw a 16% decline versus 2014 levels, as the chart shows: Japan’s sales were boosted in 2014 (blue column) by buying ahead […]
China’s auto market is going through major change. Tier 1 cities have imposed limits on car ownership, and car use by government officials is being severely restricted. In addition, the lending bubble that drove major growth in recent years is coming to an end. Perhaps even more importantly for the medium term, a used car market is now developing […]
After 6 years of largely-wasted stimulus efforts, the world’s economic advisory bodies are finally having to accept that ageing populations really do impact economic growth. The latest International Monetary Fund’s latest World Economic Outlook finally breaks half of the taboo that has stopped most economists from accepting this seemingly common sense conclusion. Its Summary argues as […]
We are living in a world of ageing populations for the first time in history. For many, this conjures up a picture of vast numbers of old people leaning on walking sticks with one hand, and swallowing mouthfuls of pills with the other. But reality is a long way from this stereotype. LIFE EXPECTANCY HAS SUDDENLY INCREASED IN […]
Americans are driving less each year. For the first time since records began in 1970, average vehicle miles per person has been declining for over a decade. The trend is now so well established, it is highly unlikely that the current collapse of oil prices back to normal levels will change the overall picture. This has enormous implications […]
One of the great myths of our time is that the world’s population is inevitably growing. Almost everyone has heard that the population is certain to reach 9bn by 2050, from today’s 7.3bn. Yet births in 2013 in the G7 economies (almost half of the global economy) were at the lowest level since the Great Depression year […]
Consumers clearly love smartphones. The global market is growing fast with 380m sold in Q4, up 31% versus 2013. But manufacturers might be forgiven for not being so sure. As the chart above shows, major change is underway in the market. The concept of ‘affordable luxury’ is disappearing as the market polarises between affordability and luxury. Samsung’s market share has dived from […]
Data over the past month continues to confirm my fears that the US housing recovery is going into reverse. The argument was summed up yesterday by S&P’s chairman, when reporting Case/Shiller housing price data for December: “The housing recovery is faltering. While prices and sales of existing homes are close to normal, construction and new home […]
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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.