Archive | Consumer demand RSS feed for this section

US new home sales fall 33%

The blog is in gloomy mood today, in spite of last night’s England World Cup win. Not because Wall Street ‘analysts’ maintained last month’s 33% drop in US new home sales was ‘unexpected‘. Nor even that the consensus forecast is still for 700k housing starts this year, when current data suggest that last year’s 560k […]

Continue Reading
US indicator Jun10.png

Key US indicator signals downturn may resume in H2

Stock markets have always been somewhat unreliable as a forecasting tool. And their record has got worse in recent years, as long-term investors have been replaced by high-speed day traders. In turn, this affects the Leading Indicators produced by the OECD, and others, as these rely on stock price movements in their analysis. A more […]

Continue Reading
INEOS bio.png

INEOS to build £52m waste-to-bioethanol plant

The blog is delighted to see that Ineos is to build its first European BioEnergy Process Technology plant at Teesside, UK. The £52m ($75m) plant will produce 30m litres (24 million tonnes) of bioethanol, and 3MW of electricity on start-up in 2012. It will fuel 250k autos running on E10 blend, and provide electricity for […]

Continue Reading
China powerJun10.png

China’s petchem volume surge will hit imports, as electricity consumption/bank lending data shows economy’s growth starting to slow

The above chart is the blog’s best effort to correlate the change in China’s bank lending with the real economy. It shows electricity consumption (blue line) and lending (red column) since July 2008. Electricity consumption is an excellent proxy for the real economy, and probably more reliable than GDP figures, which are widely believed to […]

Continue Reading
US housing Jun10.png

US housing starts down 17% as tax incentives end

Spring should be a boom time for building new homes in the USA. But in fact, May’s single family housing starts (bottom chart) fell 17.2% versus April, as the $8k tax credit ended. Yet affordability should be high, with prices down 30% from the peak, and mortgage rates at the lowest levels for decades. This […]

Continue Reading
Euroautos Jun10.png

EU auto sales fall further 9% in May

The blog has been out and about in recent days, visiting some of the major European chemical companies. Most continue to see strong order books. In normal circumstances, this would lead to considerable confidence about the outlook for the rest of the year. However, there are increasing fears, as Nigel Davis has noted in ICIS […]

Continue Reading
EU retailJun10.png

Western retailers rely on luxury or budget sales

Consumer spending, particularly in the developed economies, is critical to the chemical industry. And there is increasing evidence that a two-tier pattern is developing: • Wealthier consumers are maintaining their spend, helped by lower interest costs on mortgages and recent stock market gains • Lower and middle-income consumers remain under pressure, as they are more […]

Continue Reading
Bond Jun10.png

“The name is Bond, Japanese Government Bond”

The blog, an old-fashioned romantic, has always thought that flowers were the way to woo a lady. But apparently no longer in Japan, according to government adverts. Bloomberg reports the Ministry of Finance is advertising Japanese Government Bonds (JGBs) under the slogan “Men who hold JGBs are popular with women!!”. The campaign, developed by Japan’s […]

Continue Reading
China lendJun10.png

China focuses on domestic issues, risks US anger

China is a very difficult country for foreigners to understand. The blog suspects that the best approach is to apply Winston Churchill’s insight on Russia, namely “I cannot forecast to you the action of Russia. It is a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma; but perhaps there is a key. That key is […]

Continue Reading
M3 Jun10.png

USA money supply slows to near-record lows

“Money makes the world go round” as the song from the musical Cabaret tells us. But the chart above, from BofA Merrill Lynch, suggests there isn’t too much money circulating in the world’s largest economy today. It shows M3 (the broadest measure of money supply). Merrill note that its growth is now close to the […]

Continue Reading