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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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Japan goes back into recession as stimulus policies fail, again

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” […]

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China’s car market: triple shock ahead

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 – […]

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Smartphone Nov15

Smartphone volume peaks as 4.1bn people can’t afford internet

“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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China’s auto slowdown to push spare capacity into export markets

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 […]

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1bn people joining New Old 55+ mean pension promises turn sour

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 […]

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Cash poor, time rich US consumers cause retail sales to plateau

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 […]

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China focuses on mobile internet for domestic growth

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 […]

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