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US incomes have plateaued since 2001 as Boomers turn 55+

More and more people are lining up to support our argument that central bank stimulus programmes are damaging the economy, not helping it.  The latest is bond guru Bill Gross, who wrote yesterday: “Zero bound interest rates destroy the savings function of capitalism….(whilst companies) have plowed trillions into the financial economy as they buy back […]

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Commodity price fall pushes Japan back towards deflation

The combination of ageing populations and declining fertility rates means the world is following the Japanese model into deflation – despite all the efforts of policymakers to artificially induce price rises via their money-printing.  As discussed last November, under the title. ”Oil price fall set to push Japan back into deflation“, it was already clear then that […]

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US pensions Sept15

Pension funds suffer as retirement ages have fallen whilst life expectancy has risen

10k Americans have been retiring every day since 2011, and 18k Europeans, as the BabyBoomer generation reaches the age of 65.  But pension schemes have not adapted to the fact that average life expectancy is now 20 years at age 65.   This is causing major problems for the economy as pensioners leave the workforce […]

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US interest rate dilemma highlights fragile global economy

Should it really matter that the US Federal Reserve might raise US interest rates by 0.25% tomorrow?  Surely the IMF/World Bank should not need to argue that such a small increase could really be critical for the world economy? The fact that such a debate has been taking place at all, highlights the damage done by stimulus […]

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Political risk rises as polls boost Corbyn, le Pen, Trump, Sanders

My local MP, Jeremy Corbyn, won the UK Labour Party leadership election on Saturday with a 60% majority.  An anti-NATO socialist, he has represented the constituency for 32 years, and has never held even a junior ministerial post.  Now, he could possibly become the UK’s next Prime Minister. His path to power depends on two […]

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Stocks Sept15

Stock markets weaken as ‘Ring of Fire’ fault-lines open

“Central banks have created a debt-fuelled ‘Ring of Fire’, and we will no doubt have felt many tremors (large and small) as a result, by the time my next 6-monthly update appears in September“. That was my forecast for world stock markets back in March, and I imagine few would argue with it today, as we review developments […]

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China’s PP production rises 25% as it moves into higher-value export markets

Everyone is now beginning to notice the change in economic policy in China.  And concern is rising about the outlook for all those new petchem investments about to come online, whose rationale has been the need to supply ever-increasing growth in Chinese demand.  The chart above highlights the reality behind this wishful thinking: Everyone “knew” […]

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FT GU Sept15

China fooled the world, and now comes the Great Unwinding

The global commodity super-bubble is coming to an end, as I describe in my latest post for the Financial Times, published on the BeyondBrics blog It is exactly a year since we forecast that a Great Unwinding of stimulus policies was underway, due to a major slowdown in China. As we warned on beyondbrics: Oil and commodity prices are […]

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Europe’s migrant influx threatens Schengen

Europe’s migrant crisis is creating a risk that the free movement of individuals and trade within Europe might be restricted.  We take this for granted today, as the Schengen Agreement of 1995 has largely abolished border checks within 26 European countries – covering a population of over 400 million people and an area of 4,312,099 square […]

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Outlook for the global aromatics industry – insights from senior executives at Amsterdam Conference

Aromatics markets often lead petrochemical markets, and provide good insight into economic trends.  This has certainly been true of PTA (terephthalic acid) and benzene over the past year. PTA demand into polyester and PET is dominated by Asia: benzene’s wide variety of uses means it is a good proxy for industrial production in Europe.  Recent developments have been […]

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