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 […]
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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 […]
Where would the world’s auto industry, and its suppliers, have been without China in recent years? And how will they manage now China’s demand for new cars is slowing fast? These are the question troubling companies and investors as Q3 sales are analysed. The chart above shows the recent history of sales in the Top […]
How long is it before you expect to receive a pension? How much do you hope it is going to be? These are key questions for all of us. And, of course, they are key for companies as well. They can only sell to people who need – and can afford – their products and […]
US retail sales have failed to see the rise that most economists, and the US Federal Reserve, confidently forecast at the beginning of the year. The theory was that lower oil prices would stimulate discretionary spending, and ensure that the long-promised economic recovery finally arrived. But September sales were up just 0.1% versus August, and […]
China’s President Xi went to Seattle at the start of his recent US visit, to meet the leading US internet companies. It was the clearest possible signal of his priorities for the future of China’s economy under his New Normal policies. He spent half a day on the Microsoft campus, and had a private dinner […]
Slowly but surely, it is becoming clear that the world’s auto market has reached its ‘peak car‘ moment. One key piece of evidence is the above chart, which slows how volume growth has now plateaued in the Top 7 markets, as the Great Unwinding of policymaker stimulus continues: It shows the 12 month moving average […]
China has the highest smartphone penetration in the world at 62%. It had 632m mobile subscribers, with 70% of new connections based on 4G connections. But sales actually fell in Q2 by 4%. This was the first time they have ever fallen and is further confirmation of the major change taking place in China under […]
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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.