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China credit Oct16

President Xi tells China’s government to “control asset bubbles”

China’s housing bubble is not just about Shenzhen.  It is the most obvious sign of problems ahead, as I noted last month.  But as the chart above shows from the Wall Street Journal, total lending to the property sector has rocketed in recent months:    More than one-third of all loans went to the sector […]

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Populists Sept15

Markets struggle with political risk as populist momentum gains

Markets have forgotten how to price political uncertainty in recent decades, as I discussed on Monday.  They have become dependent on central bank handouts, and assumed that globalisation and trade agreements are permanent features of the economic landscape.  Today, they are having to relearn, very quickly, what has been forgotten. My post a year ago […]

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Hope is not a strategy

Chemical companies face difficult times if they cling to the hope that current challenges will simply disappear.  This is my main concern in a new analysis for ICIS Chemical Business. It argues that major change is underway in petrochemicals and polymers markets, which will create winners and losers. The current round of major capacity expansions has been based on two […]

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Central bankers create debt, not growth, by ignoring demographic reality

The world’s 4 main central bankers love being in the media spotlight.  After decades climbing the academic ladder, or earning millions with investment banks, they have the opportunity to rule the world’s economy – or so they think. But their background is rather strange preparation to take on this role – even if it was […]

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G7 in 2015

G7 birth decline confirms central banks can’t print babies

2015 data is now available for births in the G7 countries, responsible for almost 50% of global GDP.  It confirms the picture of a steadily aging population.  This has enormous implications for the economy, as older people already own most of what they need, and their incomes decline as they move into retirement. As the […]

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Auto sales confirm critical flaws in the BRIC concept

, It is 15 years since Goldman Sachs coined the word BRIC to highlight their argument that growth in the global economy would, in future, be led by the major emerging economies rather than the developed world.  The core concept was that China and India would become the dominant suppliers of manufactured goods and services, whilst Brazil […]

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Aging Boomers to play key role in US Presidential election, as policy failures lead to a Great Reckoning

Today is the Labor Day holiday in the USA, and the traditional start of the Presidential election campaign.  For 2 years, the candidates have been rushing around the country in pursuit of money, endorsements and primary election wins. Now they enter the final stage, when they can finally focus on winning the Presidency itself. The […]

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If “Brexit means Brexit”, what does Brexit mean?

The summer is over, and the UK government now has the job of deciding its objectives for the Brexit negotiations. These, like all major negotiations, will no doubt be long and difficult.  They will also inevitably create major uncertainty for companies, investors and individuals as they progress. I have personally led major negotiations in a […]

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You’ve seen the Great Unwinding; get ready for the Great Reckoning

Companies and investors now need to prepare for the Great Reckoning, as I describe in my latest post for the Financial Times, published on the BeyondBrics blog We have reached the second anniversary of the Great Unwinding of policymaker stimulus. Almost inevitably, this now seems likely to be followed by a Great Reckoning, a consequence […]

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Risks rise for global economy as chemical capacity surplus grows

“The Federal Reserve Needs New Thinking.  Its models are unreliable, its policies erratic and its guidance confusing. It is also politically vulnerable.”  Former Fed Governor, Kevin Warsh. “The Great Unraveling.  Years of Fed Missteps Fueled Disillusion With the Economy and Washington.”  Main headline, Wall Street Journal. There comes a point, as in 2008, when the […]

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