There’s something very wrong with the US jobs market, as the slide above confirms. Commentators professed to be surprised by the disappointing May report last Friday, but its hard to know why: The overall participation rate has been in decline since July 1997, when it reached 68%: today it is only 62.7% Male participation is at […]
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The UK’s Brexit referendum is fast becoming a bitter battle for the Conservative Party leadership. It is hard to believe that Boris Johnson, who leads the Leave campaign, really cares either way about the issue of leaving Europe: He told Germany’s Der Spiegel only last year: ‘We can’t leave Europe. We’re part of the European Continent. What […]
Difficult times lie ahead for global polymer markets. It would be bad enough that downstream users have been busy building stock in recent weeks as the oil price rose, as Linda Naylor reports on polypropylene (PP) for ICIS: “PP demand is slow, slower than many expected, and the strong growth of recent months is now […]
40 years ago, the vast majority of the British people were in favour of joining the European Economic Community. 67% voted in favour, in the 1975 referendum to confirm the UK’s entry. Virtually all mainstream politicians were in support, with only the left-wing of the Labour Party strongly anti on the grounds that it was […]
The world’s central bankers would have been sacked long ago if they were CEOs running companies. They would also have been voted out, if they were elected officials. Not only have they failed to achieve their promised objectives – constant growth and 2% inflation – they have kept failing to achieve them since the Crisis […]
“Confusion now hath made his masterpiece”. This quotation from Shakespeare’s great tragedy, Macbeth, aptly sums up the state of the world economy. Policymakers refuse to accept that the BabyBoomer-led economic SuperCycle is over. And so they continue to believe that adding vast amounts of electronic money to the financial system will return the economy to SuperCycle levels […]
“Buy on the rumour, sell on the news” is one of the most reliable definitions for a weak market. And that seems to have been the picture in Q1 across commodity, stock and bond markets. The key issue is the ongoing battle between Reality and Illusion: Reality accepts that ageing populations have lower levels of […]
Cotton markets are poised for another testing month in April. The outcome will also have potentially major implications for the polyester chain – and in turn for commodities markets more generally. The reason is that China has announced that its long-awaited cotton auction will take place in the second half of the month. Cotton stocks […]
A paradigm shift is underway in global petrochemical and polymer markets, as I discuss in a new article for ICIS Chemical Business. Previously successful business models, based on the supply-driven principle, no longer work. As our new study, “Demand – the New Direction for Profit”, explains, companies now need to adopt demand-led strategies if they […]
Slowly, but surely, a UK vote to leave the European Union is becoming more likely. In any referendum, the Yes campaign (in this case called Remain) have to argue a positive case. But this is not happening in the UK – and the vote is less than 3 months away. Unsurprisingly, therefore, as the poll […]
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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 as 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.