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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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China’s president highlights ‘new normal’ of economic growth

China’s President Xi Jinping became the first world leader to highlight the move into a “new normal” at the weekend: “China is still in a significant period of strategic opportunity. We must boost our confidence, adapt to the new normal condition based on the characteristics of China’s economic growth in the current phase and stay cool-minded” “Through […]

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Geopolitics lead to Boom/Gloom Index tumble after record high

The IeC Boom/Gloom Index (blue column) proved its value again last month.  It shot to a new record high, and this was then followed by a record high for both the S&P 500 (red line) and the Dow Jones Industrials.  But now the Index has fallen sharply.  This highlights the major divergence between developments in the […]

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China’s polyester market flashes red warning signals

China’s polyester market seems to be trying to tell us something quite important about the real state of China’s economy, as the chart above shows for the main raw material, PTA (terephthalic acid): It focuses on the margin between PTA prices and naphtha feedstock (Singapore basis) Normally this is a premium between $200/t – $300/t as shows […]

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