Be very careful what you wish for. That is the key message coming out of close analysis of China’s latest trade data. Recent media reports were upbeat at news that China’s exports had increased, as it appeared to suggest Western demand was returning. But it seems nothing could be further from the truth. One major concern is that part […]
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“BASF, the world’s biggest chemical maker by sales, has slashed its revenue and earnings targets for 2015, following a further weakening of the European economy and a slowdown in China.” Saturday’s Financial Times headline said it all. BASF’s statement adds to the growing evidence of a major slowdown taking place in the global economy, and highlights how […]
The blog’s latest post for the Financial Times, published on the BeyondBrics blog is below.Oct 20, 2014 10:48am By Paul Hodges of International eChem Two months ago, very few people believed that markets were about to tumble. But on 18 August we published our Great Unwinding analysis. Since then, its forecasts have begun to come true, […]
World markets have seen major falls since the Great Unwinding of policymaker stimulus began 2 months ago. Naturally, chemical markets have taken some of the biggest hits, given the industry’s role as a leading indicator for the global economy. From today, the blog is therefore updating its regular chart (above) to focus on this impact: The biggest loser has been PTA in […]
Oil prices are highly likely to fall further, not rebound, over the next few months. That is the blog’s conclusion to its 3-part analysis of likely developments in oil markets. Having looked at the outlook for oil supply and demand over the past 2 days, today’s post looks at the key question of ‘what does this mean for oil […]
The headline above was the Wall Street Journal’s summary of last week’s market action. But was it really “crazy”? Perhaps it just felt “crazy” to those who had wanted to believe central banks’ stimulus policies could somehow restore growth to previous SuperCycle levels? Maybe instead, last week was just the early stages of the Great Unwinding of these failed policies? Certainly […]
The chemical industry remains the best leading indicator for the global economy. The only problem is that most policymakers continue to ignore its obvious message about the failure of their stimulus policies to restore growth. 2 months ago the blog highlighted how its IeC Downturn Monitor was indicating that: “Markets appear to be continuing to move, slowly but […]
Turkey is the blog’s “go-to” market when it wants to confirm trends in global markets. The reason is that Turkey has a very successful downstream industry, but has failed to invest in upstream capacity. This means it is essentially an opportunistic market from a sellers’ viewpoint. During good times, exporters will only divert product from […]
Whisper it quietly if you are walking past the imposing Federal Reserve building in Washington DC, so as not to disturb the occupants. They believe that their efforts to boost financial markets have had their effect, and that the real economy, in which we all live and work, will now recover. But what if the […]
Chemical production is currently the best leading indicator for the wider economy, as financial markets have lost their power of price discovery due to the impact of central bank stimulus. The above chart, based as always on the excellent American Chemistry Council (ACC) data, continues to flash the orange warning signal first seen last month. The key […]
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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.