Its really not difficult to forecast US auto sales and housing starts if you take a longer term view. Of course, this wouldn’t suit the traders, who love the “surprise” of a monthly number being higher or lower than the previous month. But why does everyone else put up with this nonsense? The chart above demonstrates the […]
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Global auto markets have started to move in new directions. That much is clear from comment by the major national auto associations. This will be a shock to manufacturers, who have over-expanded production. Price wars and capacity cutbacks are inevitable if the industry forecasts are correct. The chart starts from 2005, and shows the 7 major […]
Maybe the concept that spending is related to age and income is just too simple for policy makers to understand? Could that be the reason why they insist on continuing to try to stimulate demand, despite the fact that Western and many other populations are now ageing fast? That was the blog’s thought on studying newly […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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. […]
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 […]
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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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.