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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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Smartphones head for price war as China sales fall 4% in Q4

We all now carry around a mini-computer in our pockets – one with more power than those which controlled Apollo 11 when Neil Amstrong first walked on the moon in 1969.  In certain parts of the world, there are now more smartphones than toilets, according to Time magazine. This is raising the spectre of market […]

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China’s polyethylene market creates Winners and Losers

Tens of billions of dollars have been spent over the past 6 years to produce the above chart.  And thousands of people have argued and debated around the world about what will happen to China’s polyethylene (PE) market.  It has been a key focus of attention for everyone in the petchem and polymer industry since […]

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Renault’s success with Dacia highlights changes underway in European auto markets

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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Further chaos ahead for cotton and polyester markets as China aims to release its cotton stocks

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 […]

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Global car sales growth stalls without China

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 […]

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Plastics lose market share to lightweight steel in US sutos

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 […]

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India coal Nov15

Analyst hype over India’s ‘middle class’ repeats China mistake

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 […]

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China’s downturn means global car sales now set to plateau

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 […]

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UK’s ageing population causes earnings to decline

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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