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Groundhog Day again as Quarter 4 starts

The great film comedy Groundhog Day saw Bill Murray doomed to repeat the same day in his life, until he learnt to become a better person. Sadly, financial markets have yet to learn from his example. Every quarter, the investment banks produce new stories aimed at pushing stock/oil markets higher. Then high-frequency traders make $millions […]

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Critical Success Factors in the New Normal

Yesterday’s Scenarios hopefully provided valuable insight into the challenges ahead for companies and individuals. They also suggest some Critical Success Factors for achieving a successful transition to the New Normal, as set out in the chart above: 1. Flexibility. This involves adapting to new circumstances and being willing to compromise rather than battling for an […]

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Scenarios for the transition to the New Normal

The transition to the new Normal is likely to be painful and long-lasting. Future demand growth will be slower as the ageing Boomers spend less and save more. More regular and deeper recessions are likely to become a feature of the global economy once more, in contrast to the relatively smooth growth seen during the […]

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A 4-point Action Plan for chemical companies

Today’s economic situation is getting worse, not better. The blog believes this is because most policymakers still refuse to accept the wisdom contained in the Beatles’ ‘When I’m Sixty-Four’ song on their iconic Sgt Pepper album. The Western BabyBoomers (those born between 1946-70) are the largest and richest generation that the world has ever seen. […]

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‘Computers say buy….sell….buy….sell…’

Petchem markets are continuing to act as leading indicators for the global economy. The IeC Downturn Alert shows there was no September rebound in orders after the holiday period. October will have to bring a sudden, and powerful reversal of the downward trend. Otherwise Q4 could be very difficult indeed. Benzene, the blog’s favourite market […]

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Time for leadership at EPCA

The chemical industry has a turnover of $3.4trn, and is the world’s 3rd largest industry. It matters to the global economy. Many of its leaders are about to meet next weekend in Berlin for the annual European Petrochemical Association (EPCA) meeting. The blog strongly believes that this should not be seen as a ‘business as […]

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‘Peak oil’ a theory, not a statement of fact

Oil supply is critical to today’s global economy. Now a new book by oil expert Daniel Yergin, author of ‘The Prize’, suggests that the outlook may be more promising than most believe. Pessimists such as Marion King Hubbert have argued that the world is running out of oil. Hubbert, for example, gave his name to […]

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Financial markets worry about new downturn

An abrupt change of direction is never a pleasant experience in global financial markets. Yet unfortunately, the blog’s regular 6 monthly review suggests this has started to occur since March. Investors are beginning to fear we may not be be entering a new Supercycle after all. Some are also worrying that high oil prices may […]

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China’s lending continues to tighten

Financial bubbles are like balloons. Only instead of air, they need to be constantly pumped up with new lending. Otherwise they begin to deflate, and the Minsky Moment occurs. The above chart of China’s bank lending shows, as discussed last month, that the Minsky Moment is getting close. August’s lending (red square) was exactly the […]

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Brent’s premium to WTI hits Europe’s energy users

Europe is at the eye of the storm when it comes to energy pricing. This is the last thing required by its struggling economy. As the chart shows, Brent in euros (green line, RHS) is now back at the same level as June 2008, whereas WTI is 35% cheaper (black line, LHS). Such a divergence […]

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