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US house May16

US home-ownership returns to 1960′s levels

US home ownership is back at levels seen briefly in the mid-1980s, and before that in the mid-1960s.  One key issue today is that while the US population is still growing, the younger population has quite a different profile from the Boomer generation, as the Pew Institute have reported. In 1980, only 1 in 10 young Boomers were […]

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Smartphone sales downturn highlights financial market risks

There was no great surprise in the news that global smartphone sales fell for the first time ever in Q1.  As I suggested in February, when reviewing Q4 data: “It seems almost inevitable that global growth will now follow China and go negative”. As the chart shows, Strategy Analytics data suggests that sales fell 3% in […]

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GDP Apr16

Global GDP saw record fall in 2015 – new IMF data

New data from the International Monetary Fund confirms that last year’s collapse in global GDP was even worse than first reported. As the chart shows,the fall when measured in current dollars was a record $4.7tn, versus $3.3tn in 2009.  And GDP was down 6% in percentage terms versus 5.3% in 2009: Even more worrying is […]

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Water wars, food shortages create urgent need for new, demand-led approach

Companies and investors need to refocus on demand as the key driver for future revenue and profit growth.  Supply-driven business models are no longer sufficient. ‘How do we do this?”  is the critical question, as I discuss in this short video interview with ICIS deputy news editor, Tom Brown: The key is to focus on […]

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BRIC auto sales stall as Brazil and Russia recessions worsen

Clouds are gathering over the auto industry, as the impact of the post-2008 stimulus programmes fades into history. It is hard to believe that back in 2013, only 3 years ago, analysts were confidently predicting that Russia would have become the world’s 5th largest market by 2020.  And they were similarly forecasting great things for Brazil, which […]

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US auto sales head towards price war as subprime loans rise

The warnings keep coming about the underlying health of the US auto market.  But, as with the subprime housing crisis, nobody wants to listen: Last October, the US Comptroller of the Currency warned that some activity “in auto loans reminds me of what happened in mortgage-backed securities in the run-up to the crisis“ Yet auto […]

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$1.8tn of stimulus later, Japan’s household spending unchanged

3 years of massive stimulus spending in Japan has had no impact on the problem it was supposed to solve.  This is highlighted by new government data on household spending for 2015, as the charts above confirm – they compare 2015 data with that for 2012, before Abenomics began: Spending was almost exactly the same […]

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Demand – the New Direction for Profit

What happens to your business, or your investments, if demand fails to return to the supply-driven Comfortable Middle Scenario forecast by consensus thinking?  This is the question raised in our new Study, Demand – the New Direction for Profit (jointly produced by International eChem and ICIS).  We suggest that access to a low-cost position on […]

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China’s PTA market moves to self-sufficiency and exports

Credit conditions are tightening day by day in China.  Companies with good payment records over many years are seeing their borrowing limits cut back.  2016 is indeed proving to be the year that President Xi Jinping “takes the pain of restructuring”. At the same time, self-sufficiency has become a key strategy for many industries, in […]

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Auto sales slump in Japan, Brazil and Russia as China slows

China’s slowdown is continuing to reverberate around the world.  One way of measuring this is to look at auto sales in countries closely linked to China’s market such as Japan, Russia and Brazil.  As the chart shows, they did well during China’s stimulus period, but they are struggling now.  By comparison, more self-sufficient India has […]

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