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45-year shortage of babies hits Europe’s chlorine/PVC demand

Companies and investors often say “we don’t need to think about demographics – its too far in the future to matter”. This might have been true 20 years ago, but not today.  As European chlorine industry demand confirms, the truth is that “history catches up with us”. The reason is simple.  Europe stopped having enough […]

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China’s economy continues to slow as lending curbs bite

Everyone seems sure that China’s government is about to undertake major new stimulus.  Thus Reuters reported: “Economists said it was a matter of when, not if, China eased policy again after economic growth in Q1 cooled to 7%, a level not seen since the depths of the 2008/09 global financial crisis.  Indeed, some analysts have […]

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Stimulus proves no solution for today’s economic slowdown

“Central banks have to be mindful that too long a period of very low interest rates can have undesirable consequences in the context of ageing societies. For pensioners, and those saving ahead of retirement, low interest rates may not be an inducement to bring consumption forward. They may on the contrary be an inducement to […]

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Low interest rates mean US Boomers face difficult retirement

There are 46m people aged over 65 in the USA today, and there will be 56m by 2020, according to recent US Census Bureau data.  By comparison, the number of those aged under 18 will be static over the same period at around 75m.  And by 2035, there will be more people aged over-65 than under-18 […]

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US jobs growth fails to keep pace with population growth

The US population reached 320m this year, an 11.35m increase versus 2010, according to the US Census Bureau: “The U.S. is expected to experience a birth every 8 seconds and one death every 12 seconds, whilst net international migration is expected to add one person to the U.S. population every 33 seconds.  All these factors […]

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US economy’s demographic dividend is fast turning into a deficit

My new post for the Financial Times FT Data blog discusses how the ageing of the US population is creating major headwinds for the economy. Guest post by Paul Hodges| May 06 13:45 | Demographic change is creating major headwinds for the US economy, as confirmed by its disappointing first quarter GDP growth of 0.2 […]

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Polypropylene highlights impact of China’s new economic direction

Polypropylene (PP) is one of the world’s major plastics – used in areas as diverse as car bumpers and food packaging.  And in recent years, consumption has soared due to China’s seemingly insatiable demand, as it became the manufacturing capital of the world. But now, all that is changing.  As we warned in chapter 2 of ‘Boom, Gloom […]

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US auto sales close to running on empty

We’ve all had that moment of jumping into the car, and turning on the ignition, only to realise we forgot to fill up the fuel tank on the last journey. US auto sales data for April is flashing that same familiar orange warning light. From the outside, everything looked fine with the data.  Although there […]

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“Sell in May and go away?” as US/German bond yields jump

A strange thing happened to German 10-year interest rates last week – they rose quite sharply, by a further 0.2%. That may not sound a lot, but it is when the starting point is so low.  On 20 April, they were at 0.07%, and on Friday they closed at 0.37% – for a total rise […]

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China issues Top 100 list of most-wanted corruption fugitives

$2.83tn is estimated to have left China illegally as a result of corruption between 2005 – 2011.  This helps to explain the remarkable poster above, which shows China’s Interpol list of its 100 “most-wanted” corruption suspects.  It has just been published by China’s state media, with the following explanation: “The China National Central Bureau of […]

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