Over the past year, much of the Western financial system has been on life support. Now the European Central Bank (ECB), like its peers, is grappling with the question of ‘What happens next?’ ECB Board member Lorenzo Smaghi set out the key issues yesterday: • “Our role (as a central bank) is limited to the […]
Thursday’s free Budget Outlook Webinar will be held at 15:00 GMT (16:00 CET, 11:00 EDT, 19:00 Dubai). The format will be a 30-40 minute presentation, followed by online discussion. To make registration easy, it will now be hosted using Microsoft Live Meeting. If you would like to join the Webinar for the presentation, please click […]
The BBC had a very interesting interview last night with Warren Buffett, the world’s most successful investor and wealthiest man. Buffett stakes out a clear position on the relative unimportance of financial services in the economy, and on whether there is a need to “motivate” bankers via large bonuses: • “The idea that people who […]
The blog has learnt to be sceptical when new political leaders announce new directions for their country, after winning elections. But its Japanese friends emphasised at EPCA that real change might be taking place in Japan, after 50 years of LDP government. This, of course, could have a major impact on Asian politics. Japan is […]
The blog’s new Budget Outlook is an independent view of the key issues which will impact chemical sales and margins in 2010. Previous Outlooks have stimulated much debate within the industry. We are therefore arranging a free 1 hour Webinar for blog readers, on Thursday at 15:00 GMT (16:00 CET, 11:00 EDT, 19:00 Dubai). The […]
China will pump loans worth $1.3trn into its economy this year, equal to 1/3rd of GDP. Equally, by tying the yuan to the US$, China has achieved a major devaluation against major currencies such as the euro. The result has been that China’s Q3 GDP rose less in “nominal” terms than in “real” terms. Normally […]
Gillian Tett, the blog’s favourite financial journalist, highlights today the rampant speculative behaviour in financial markets around the world. Quoting a senior banker, she notes that “highly leveraged short-term trades are back in vogue“. She adds that “traders feel stupid if they don’t leverage up“. The basis for the speculation is that “central bankers have […]
9 months ago, the blog reported on the resilience being shown at the UK’s Wilton chemical site, one of the world’s largest. It noted that “the power of the teams being created there could be immense“. It is therefore delighted to see that the North East Process Industry Cluster (NEPIC) is now moving forward on […]
“Never in the field of financial endeavour has so much money been owed by so few to so many. And, one might add, so far with little real reform.” Bank of England Governor, Mervyn King, proposing that banks should be split up. He argues that high-risk trading activities should be split off from low-risk utility […]
Protectionism continues to build, as unemployment rises around the world. ICIS news reports China has imposed tariffs of up to 36% on nylon 6. BASF will suffer a 30.4% tariff on US exports, and Honeywell 36.2%. Last month, of course, the US hit China with a 35% tariff on tyres. The threat of more duty […]
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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.