Nobody knows how the Great Unwinding of central bank stimulus policies will develop. The world has simply never been in this position before. Thus the senior economics and business correspondent of the Financial Times, John Plender, began an article this week: “In a market where asset prices are comprehensively rigged by central bankers, rational investment […]
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Very large amounts of copper, iron and other commodities are in long-term storage in China as part of the ‘collateral trade’. More recently, it seems large amounts of polyethylene (PE), ethylene glycol (MEG) and probably other chemicals have also started to be used for the trade. None of this used to matter when the Chinese economy was booming. Why […]
Western financial markets are getting nervous that the US Federal Reserve will cut off their supply of cheap money. They went through the same panic in 2011. Now they again have to wait to see what happens. The chart of the new IeC Boom/Gloom Index above highlights the parallels: Markets were strong through April 2011, with the […]
Condom sales have dropped by 1 million/day in China according to The Economist magazine. It highlights how: Across China, luxury retailers and fancy restaurants are suffering from an edict against wasteful government spending. A chill has crept into karaoke parlours and brothels; mistresses also face a hard time. The reason is the new leadership’s anti-corruption […]
The blog’s latest post for the Financial Times, published on the BeyondBrics blog is below. By Paul Hodges of International eChem Strange things are happening in China’s polyethylene (PE) market. Despite a slowdown in the economy, demand is surging. Our research suggests that PE, like copper and iron before it, is the latest instrument of China’s […]
Despite all the positive headlines, the world’s two largest economies have failed to deliver sustained recovery, even though the 2 governments have now spent a combined $20tn in stimulus and lending. US STIMULUS REACHES $10tn The US government and Federal Reserve have spent $10tn since the Great Recession began in 2008. Federal deficits have increased by $6.27tn, whilst […]
Blog readers often travel a lot. And they certainly use WiFi. So here’s a question: Q. Do you ever remember using a WiFi service called Gowex? A. Lots of puzzled looks in response Q. Not sure? You think it might be vaguely familiar, but maybe not. Well this is what the company’s website says: “Your […]
Will 2014 turn out to be a repeat of 2008 for the US economy? 6 years ago, after all, not a single mainstream forecaster – including the IMF and World Bank – was forecasting a recession. Even in September 2008, the consensus was still confident about the economic outlook. Yet the National Bureau for Economic Research […]
Almost every day brings new revelations about the growing evidence of major fraud in China’s ‘collateral trade’. Yet the world’s financial markets remain very complacent. They have forgotten the basic rule, that the first example is usually the tip of the iceberg – not a one-off mistake. They have also forgotten that the real problems only emerge when […]
The blog’s new Research Note in the ‘Your Compass on China’ series highlights the way that China’s commodity imports have been used to finance its housing bubble. This is clearly a shock for investors, who have till now believed the imports were a sign of its superior economic policies and long-term growth prospects. The Qingdao probe could […]
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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.