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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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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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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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Network effect leaves central banks fighting the real world

The blog first learnt about the network effect in the late 1990s, during the successful launch of the eBusiness platforms CheMatch and then ChemConnect.   Its Silicon Valley colleagues patiently explained that markets tended to move in predictable stages, once a new concept or product was launched: Everyone would initially jump on the bandwagon, not wanting […]

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Affordability, not affordable luxury, key trend for next 20 years

The world changes, and successful companies and people learn to change with it.  That was the blog’s experience 20 years ago in one of ICI’s most profitable business.  As an executive team, we expected recessions to take place every 3-4 years.  But we began to realise we were being too cautious in our strategies, and missing opportunities. […]

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China’s PTA, PVC exports jump as it moves to preserve jobs

To assume, as they say is “to make an ass out of u and me”.  That was certainly the case last week, when financial markets assumed that China’s slightly better PMI index was a sign that its domestic economy was stabilising.  They had temporarily forgotten the key message of February’s Research Note, namely that the government would aim to […]

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China auto sales depend on lending and property bubble

The above chart is the blog’s simple guide to forecasting China’s auto sales.  We know from all the data that most Chinese are far too poor to afford to buy a car out of their income.  Average per capita consumer spending in the towns is just $2600/year, after all.  While rural incomes are only a […]

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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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