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Global chemical operating rates remain below SuperCycle levels

Operating rates (OR%) rose to 84% in the global chemical industry in April, according to data from the excellent American Chemistry Council (ACC) weekly report. As the chart shows: This was back at January’s rate, after 83.6% in February and 83.7% in March (orange line) But rates are still below the minimum 88% rates seen in the SuperCycle (red) And they […]

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Winners and losers from the end of China’s property bubble

As promised yesterday, the blog looks today at the potential Winners and Losers from President Xi Jinping’s ‘China Dream’.  It is a complete break from the policies of the previous leadership, which ended up being based on a ‘wealth effect’ created by an unsustainable property bubble. Xi’s programme is emphatically about the longer term.  There […]

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China dream

President Xi Jinping’s ‘China Dream’

A new type of leader seem to be starting to emerge in China and India.  President Xi Jinping in China, and premier Narendra Modi in India, are not spending much time studying the output of focus groups or investment bank analysts.  Nor do they have ‘spin-doctors’ worrying about every phrase on the 24-hour news channels. Instead, they […]

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FT

ECB gives a figleaf for politicians to hide behind

It is impossible to overstate the seriousness of today’s threat from deflation.  Policymakers refuse to accept that demographic change can create an economic impact.  Instead, they want to believe that increasing debt can somehow stimulate growth. The Financial Times has kindly headlined the blog’s letter on this subject as its lead letter. June 10, 2014 […]

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European policymakers no longer able to ignore deflation

A year ago, European policymakers and central bankers were dismissive when the blog suggested deflation was a far bigger threat than inflation – when it was speaking at the world’s major conference for bond investors.  Later this month, the blog expects a different response when returning to speak at the same conference. Last week, the European Central Bank (ECB) was forced to […]

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“None so blind, as those that will not see?”

Every now and then, the blog scratches its head and wonders, “what would it take to convince US policymakers that demographics have an influence on demand?” Suppose, for example, they loudly and consistently announced that the US was now in full recovery mode, and would be certain to achieve economic growth of 3% or more?  And that then, growth […]

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Next ACS webinar on Thursday 5 June

“Not with a bang but with a whimper”. The blog’s 6-monthly webinar for the American Chemical Society (ACS) takes place next Thursday, 5 June, at 14.00 Eastern Summer Time.  And once again, the ACS has kindly arranged for blog readers to register for it free of charge. As feared in last December’s Year-end Review, the promised economic […]

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Political earthquake hits Europe in EU elections

A political earthquake hit Europe in the European Union elections on Sunday night: For the first time since the War, mainstream parties were beaten in major countries In France, the National Front won 25% of the vote, with conservatives 21% and ruling socialist party only 14% In the UK, the Independence Party (UKIP) won 28%, […]

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Euro elections likely to see strong vote for anti-EU parties

Its now nearly 2 years since the head of the European Central Bank (ECB) said he “was ready to do whatever it takes” to save the euro, and brought down interest rates in the weakest PIIGS economies (Portugal, Ireland, Italy, Greece, Spain).  As the chart shows, this statement had a remarkable effect in financial markets: Interest rates today […]

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Deflation Dec13

“Investors retreat as deflation fears rise”

The blog’s important eBook, ’Boom, Gloom and the New Normal: How Ageing Western BabyBoomers are Changing Demand Patterns, Again’, was published 3 years ago this month.  Co-authored with John Richardson, it identified the major changes taking place in global and national demand patterns: Growth accelerated from the 1980s, as the population became concentrated in the wealth creating 25 – 54 […]

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