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2017 Global Outlook – ACS webinar on Thursday

This year has seen a paradigm shift in how major governments view trade.  We may well be seeing an end to globalisation:   In Europe, the United Kingdom voted to leave the E.U., and Italy may well have a referendum on leaving the euro   In the U.S., President-Elect Donald Trump’s 100-day Action Plan will see […]

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The world in 2020 – an update on our forecasts in ‘Boom, Gloom and the New Normal’

All of us would love to be able to see into the future. And 5 years after the publication of ‘Boom, Gloom and the New Normal: How the Ageing of the Western BabyBoomers is Changing Demand Patterns, Again‘, it seems timely to review its 10 predictions about how the world will look in 2020:  […]

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Chemical industry flags rising risk of global recession in 2017, with Trump set to “clear the decks” at the start of his first term

The chemical industry is the best leading indicator that we have for the global economy.  It has an excellent correlation with IMF data, and also benefits from the fact it has no “political bias”.  It simply tells us what is happening in real-time in the world’s 3rd largest industry. Sadly, the news is not good. […]

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Interest rate and US$ surge mark start of the Great Reckoning

The bond market vigilantes are back.  And they clearly don’t like what they are seeing.  That is the clear message from the charts above, showing movements in 10 year government bond interest rates for the major economies, plus their exchange rate against the US$ and the value of the US$ Index:   As I warned […]

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Trump’s ’100-day plan’ means an end to “Business as usual”

‘There are none so blind as those who will not see. The most deluded people are those who choose to ignore what they already know’ John Heywood, 1546 “When Aetna ran through post-election expectations, the idea that Donald J. Trump would win the presidency and that Republicans would control both chambers of Congress seemed so […]

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“Everyone wants to be rich”: Divorces soar with land prices as China’s housing bubble enters its final stages

One thing that “everyone knows” in China’s Tier 1 cities is that property prices can never go down.  As one resident told the South China Morning Post: “The only thing I know is that buying property will not turn out to be a loss.  From several thousand yuan a square metre to more than 100,000 […]

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Chemical industry warns of likely global recession in 2017

The chemical industry is the best leading indicator for the global economy, and it is flagging major warning signs about the outlook for 2017.  As the chart above shows, based on American Chemistry Council (ACC) data:   Since 2009, Capacity Utilisation (CU%) has never returned to the 91.3% averaged between 1987 – 2008   It […]

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Forget the IMF: global chemicals are your guide to future performance

The chemical industry provides a far better guide to the economic outlook than the IMF or any economic forecaster, as I describe in my latest post for the Financial Times, published on the BeyondBrics blog The global chemical industry has long been the best real-time indicator of the global economy. This is partly because of […]

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Budgeting for the Great Reckoning

One thing is certain about the 2017 – 2019 Budget period.  ”Business as usual” is the least likely Scenario to occur. The IMF chart above highlights the key issue: for the past 5 years, all its forecasts of a return to “normal” levels of growth have proved over-optimistic:   Back in 2011, the IMF was […]

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FT

Fed’s economic models applied to a past era

The Financial Times has kindly printed my letter below, welcoming the Fed’s decision to address the impact of demographics, but arguing that it needs to focus on demand issues, given the impact of today’s ageing populations. Sir, It is good to see the US Federal Reserve is finally beginning to address the impact of demographics […]

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