The transition to the new Normal is likely to be painful and long-lasting. Future demand growth will be slower as the ageing Boomers spend less and save more. More regular and deeper recessions are likely to become a feature of the global economy once more, in contrast to the relatively smooth growth seen during the […]
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Today’s economic situation is getting worse, not better. The blog believes this is because most policymakers still refuse to accept the wisdom contained in the Beatles’ ‘When I’m Sixty-Four’ song on their iconic Sgt Pepper album. The Western BabyBoomers (those born between 1946-70) are the largest and richest generation that the world has ever seen. […]
The chemical industry has a turnover of $3.4trn, and is the world’s 3rd largest industry. It matters to the global economy. Many of its leaders are about to meet next weekend in Berlin for the annual European Petrochemical Association (EPCA) meeting. The blog strongly believes that this should not be seen as a ‘business as […]
Many readers have been taking a well-earned break over the past few weeks. The blog also continues to gain large numbers of new readers, as the financial crisis intensifies. As usual, therefore, it is highlighting key posts during August, to help you catch up as you return to the office. Boom/Gloom Index suggests markets on […]
Investment banks reportedly dominated oil trading in US futures markets as prices spiked in June 2008
The investment banks have maintained a consistent focus on oil market supply disruptions and demand surges in recent years, alongside forecasts of sharply increasing prices. We discussed their role in more detail in the recently published Chapter 3 of our new free eBook, ‘Boom, Gloom and the New Normal‘. As the above chart from the […]
Most of us have now heard of the PIIGS countries (Portugal, Ireland, Italy, Greece, Spain). They are the ones causing the Eurozone debt crisis. Today, the blog introduces the JUUGS (Japan, UK, USA, Germany, Switzerland). These are the major countries that investors now love. If you are worried about return of capital, rather than return […]
ICIS pricing is a very valuable resource, particularly at market turning points. It highlighted the start of the current downturn in April, when reporting that buyers had moved to operating on a ‘hand to mouth’ basis. Now, its market editors are highlighting the fragility of demand due to ‘economic uncertainty’. This is the moment when […]
A year ago, the blog feared we were “still towards the beginning of the crisis”, not at its end. Sadly, its judgement seems to have been correct. 2 weeks after that post, the US Federal Reserve launched its now infamous $600bn QE2 programme. The aim was to provide further massive stimulus to the global economy. […]
China’s credit bubble is one of the largest the world has ever seen. This is true not only of its total size, but also in relation to GDP. The history of credit bubbles is very clear about what happens next. Anyone who has followed the US subprime lending disaster will know the script already. But […]
A year ago, a panicked Federal Reserve introduced its QE2 programme. One of its key aims was to kick-start US growth via driving down the value of the US$ and boosting exports. Since then: • The US$ has fallen, and US exports have increased • But other major countries have become alarmed about the impact […]
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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.