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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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 […]
The blog’s Boom, Gloom and the New Normal eBook highlights the impact of the ageing Western babyboomers on future demand patterns. Yet central banks such as the US Federal Reserve and the European Central Bank believe demographics have nothing to do with demand. For them, as one former central banker told the blog “demand is […]
Many readers have been taking a well-earned break over the past few weeks. The blog also continues to gain large numbers of new readers, as the financial crisis intensifies. As usual, therefore, it is highlighting key posts during August, to help you catch up as you return to the office. Boom/Gloom Index suggests markets on […]
All of us would love to be able to see into the future. Chapter 4 of our new free eBook, ‘Boom, Gloom and the New Normal’, does just this. It offers 10 predictions about how the world will look in 2021: 1. Young and old will be focused on ‘needs’ rather than ‘wants’. 2. A […]
The blog was in a minority of one when it launched its IeC Downturn Alert at the end of April. But today, only a very few diehard optimists are still arguing the issue. GDP reports in Europe and the USA have shown virtually no growth in Q2, whilst China is clearly also slowing fast. It […]
The blog is a great believer in the predictive power of the retail sector. Wal-Mart and Tesco were the first to spot the downturn in the summer of 2007, a year before it became obvious to everyone else. Now Wal-Mart’s problems are providing some important messages about how companies need to adjust their strategies to […]
China’s credit bubble is one of the largest the world has ever seen. This is true not only of its total size, but also in relation to GDP. The history of credit bubbles is very clear about what happens next. Anyone who has followed the US subprime lending disaster will know the script already. But […]
Greece is about to become the first developed country to default on its debts since 1964. On Thursday night, Eurozone leaders finally agreed to reduce Greece’s €350bn debts, if only by 21%. They also agreed to take the first steps towards the creation of a European Monetary Fund. After more than a year of defying […]
Speculators, assisted by the US Federal Reserve, have driven crude oil prices to unsustainable levels over the past year. Now, the Fed is withdrawing the liquidity that has financed this rise. The above chart from Petromatrix shows the surge in crude oil speculation on the Chicago futures market since August. The light blue line shows […]
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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.