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London house price bubble hits the record books

The UK no longer leads the world in soccer, as next month’s World Cup will confirm.  But it can still hold its own when it comes to creating house price bubbles. China would be the obvious winner of the World Bubble Championship, with Shanghai prices at an eye-watering 29 times average earnings.  But London would have […]

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Indian auto sales decline as the middle class myth disappears

India’s stock market has hit new records this week, as investors anticipate radical policy changes after election results are announced today.  And the chart above highlights a key area behind the need for change, namely the problems of the important auto market: Indian auto sales dipped in April to just 183k (red square) This is […]

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Toy industry hit by lack of babies

The blog’s latest post for the Financial Times FT Data blog is below.  The industry is going through major difficulties, which is bad news not only for its suppliers of plastic and other components.  It is also a problem for China, which manufactures 70% of the world’s toys. The toy industry is going through difficult […]

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Chemical and oil prices still lower than 3 years ago

Its now 3 years since the blog suggested on 2 May 2011: “They don’t ring bells at market turning points.  Otherwise, we could all retire to the Bahamas.   But there is growing anecdotal evidence, from chemical buyers and the main retailers, that we may have reached at least a temporary market peak.  And Brent crude oil […]

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Consumer demand patterns change as Boomers return to cities

The ageing BabyBoomers are now leaving the suburbs in large numbers, and moving back to the cities, as the blog discussed in October.  Thus as the Wall Street Journal reports, housing needs are changing quite dramatically. The main growth area for housing is now in high-rise apartment towers built for rent: “The growth in new rental […]

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Ageing BabyBoomers slow housing, auto markets

As promised yesterday, the blog today looks at the wider impact of the major changes underway in housing markets.  Driven by the ageing BabyBoomers these changes are, in effect, like throwing a series of large stones into the middle of a pool of water – the ripples spread wider and wider as the impact grows. One key […]

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US home ownership falls back to 1995 levels, as Boomers retire

US housing demand used to be a major support for the US economy.  But that was in the days when millions of new BabyBoomer families wanted to set up home in the suburbs and raise a family.  The rule was simple – if prices were high, you just drove 10 miles down the freeway to find a […]

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Pension promises unaffordable due to demographic change

As promised yesterday, the blog looks today at the impact of today’s rapidly ageing populations.  The key point is that global life expectancy been rising for over 40 years, whilst fertility rates have been falling.  A paradigm shift is thus inevitable, where future demand will be very different: 1970 Onwards.  Growth accelerated, as the population became concentrated in the […]

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Toy industry crisis as fewer babies are born in developed world

Slowly but surely, companies seem to be learning the hard way that demographics, not central bankers, drive demand.  The blog is surprised this simple insight is still not widely understood.  But the example of the global toy market highlights the paradigm shift underway: In 1950, there were 83m children aged between 0 – 4 years in the wealthy developed […]

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Global auto industry enters “peak car” era

Q1 saw record global auto sales volumes, as the chart above shows: US and EU manufacturers cut prices and offered great financing deals to boost sales Chinese buyers raced to beat new quota restrictions on the main cities Japanese consumers brought forward purchases ahead of April’s sales tax increase Only India disappointed of the 5 major markets, […]

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