Central bank policy-making is becoming more and more dysfunctional, as German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble‘s comments highlighted on Friday: “The debt financed growth model has reached its limits. It is even causing new problems, raising debt, causing bubbles and excessive risk taking, zombifying the economy….and may have laid the foundation for the next crisis.” One clear sign […]
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The decline in China’s electricity consumption growth highlights the remarkable slowdown underway in its Old Normal economy, as the chart shows: Consumption growth took off in 2009 under the influence of the stimulus programme It rose 6.5% in 2009, and then accelerated further in 2010 when it was up 14.7% 2011 growth stayed at double-digit […]
Pity poor Janet Yellen, you might say. The head of the US Federal Reserve told the Senate last week that she had been “quite surprised” by the collapse of oil prices since mid-2014. And she added that the rise of the US$ was similarly “not something that we had expected” (you can see the testimony […]
ECONOMIC TRENDS Danny Hakim @dannyhakim FEB. 8, 2016 “LONDON — Did global output rise or fall last year?” That’s the critical question asked by the New York Times today. It follows my recent blog post, suggesting we shouldn’t ignore the fact that IMF data shows a record $3.8tn fall in global GDP last year, when […]
Financial markets are becoming more and more chaotic, with prices regularly moving by 1% per cent or more in a day. Prices have also started to suffer sharp reverses of direction within a day, as talk of new stimulus competes with the reality of mounting supply gluts. These developments are classic red flags, warning of […]
The changes underway in China’s lending policies are far more significant that anything being planned by central banks in Tokyo, Frankfurt or Washington as I describe in my latest post for the Financial Times, published on the BeyondBrics blog Investors’ attention remains focused on the minutiae of central bank policies in the developed world. But they might spare a […]
Central banks are in a losing battle, as they try to reverse the inevitable slowdown created by the arrival of the demographic cliff. Last year’s 5% fall in global GDP in current dollars tells its own story. Common sense would tell them they can’t possibly win. After all, how do you persuade New Olders in […]
Central bankers remain in Denial about the failure of their stimulus policies. Yet new IMF data for global GDP shows GDP fell by $3.8tn in 2015 – the biggest fall on record – as the world hits the “demographic cliff”. We have now seen 2 record falls in 6 years, as the previous record was $3.3tn […]
Only one central banker spotted the subprime crisis before it occurred – William White. Now he is warning that the world will have to revive the Old Testament concept of “debt jubilees“, with much of today’s debt being written off: “Debts have continued to build up over the last eight years and they have reached such […]
More than $2.3tn was wiped off the value of global stocks last week as China’s slowing economy and currency depreciations spooked investors around the world, leading to the worst start to a year for markets in at least two decades. This is the Great Unwinding of policymaker stimulus in action. Worse is likely to come. […]
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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.