You never meet a shy and retiring car salesman. They are always bursting with confidence, about to sell you a tremendous deal. So we have to expect that the companies are always going to be confident about the future – even when it looks unpromising to everyone else. 2008 is close enough, that we can […]
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Cotton has been on a roller-coaster ride over the past decade – to record high prices and then partial collapse. This was followed by China’s decision to build the world’s largest ever cotton inventory as part of its post-2009 stimulus programme, to protect cotton farmers. This inventory, being off the market, means cotton has been […]
Where would the global auto industry be without the Chinese market? Without China, sales in the other Top 6 markets stalled last year, and were down 100k. And what will happen now China’s economy is slowing, and it is also starting to develop a large used car market for the first time? Buyers will then […]
Plastics consumption in US autos is going down, not up. Steelmakers and glass manufacturers have recaptured ground lost in the years to 2009, and are capturing new sales as auto standards demand lighter-weight cars. And yet, if you had asked polymer suppliers about future demand in the US auto market a few years ago, they […]
Wishful thinking can have a very bad impact on company and investor profits. Look, for example, at the problems caused by the belief that China’s population had suddenly become middle class, based on average incomes of $2-$20/day. Now it seems the same process of mythologising is underway with India, with ratings agency S&P suggesting yesterday that: “India […]
Where would the global auto industry and its suppliers be without China? That’s a question to which we will probably learn the answer over the next few years, as China’s demand growth slows to more sustainable levels under its New Normal policies. So the chart above is a useful snapshot of market developments in the […]
The UK economy appears to be recovering well from the financial crisis. But appearances can be deceptive. Certainly employment has risen for both men and women since 2009, and the jobless rate has fallen. But new data yesterday from the Office for National Statistics highlights how, despite these achievements, total incomes have been falling in real […]
This week’s economic data from Japan confirmed, once again, that demographic changes are far more important for the economy than monetary stimulus. Japan’s premier Abe took power in 2012, promising to end the decline in Japan’s economic growth. He appointed a new Governor for the Bank of Japan, and claimed that his “3 arrows policy” […]
Auto manufacturers, their suppliers and investors need to prepare themselves for a triple shock from China’s slowing economy, as I describe in my latest post for the Financial Times, published on the BeyondBrics blog The first shock is already under way. As the chart shows, China’s slowdown has caused passenger car volumes to decline in the Bric economies – […]
“Technology can save the global economy”. That was one of the claims being made by several speakers last week at the World Economic Forum’s Industrial Council meeting in Abu Dhabi. It was based on the concept of the Fourth Industrial Revolution – and its supporters argue that it will deliver fast-paced technological change to power […]
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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.