Credibility is hard to gain. And once gone, it is very hard to regain. That is the challenge facing the US Federal Reserve today. The New York Times is just one of the mainstream media now starting to highlight the issue, as last week’s Feb meeting led to a further deferral of the promised rise […]
We seem to be approaching Stage 2 of the Great Unwinding of policymaker stimulus, as the economic implications of demographic change become ever stronger. The combination of today’s ageing populations with the collapse in fertility rates means it is totally unrealistic to expect growth rates to continue at the SuperCycle levels of the past. They were turbo-charged by […]
Greek auto sales have been racing ahead in recent weeks. They are up 16% so far this year, as people seek ways to protect their money in the event of Greece leaving the euro. April saw the strongest rise, with sales up an astonishing 47% versus 2014. As The Telegraph noted: “People living in a […]
Whisper it quietly to your friends in the futures markets, who are convinced oil prices will soon surge higher. We don’t want to upset them as they work at their spreadsheets, and send their electronic trades down specially constructed lines at near the speed of light. But global oil demand growth has already more than […]
‘Bad news’ seems to have become ‘good news’ as far as China’s economy is concerned. In the past, most analysts simply ignored the possibility of a major slowdown. Now that the slowdown is underway, they still ignore it - this time, because they are sure further stimulus is just around the corner. But time passes, […]
My 4 May post was titled “‘Sell in May and go away?’ as US, German bond yields jump“. Since then, US interest rates have continued to soar and the US stock market is starting to wobble, as I discussed last week. Now emerging markets are in the line of fire. $9.3bn was withdrawn last week – […]
Innovation is the life-blood of the chemical industry. It is also a critical success factor as we transition to the New Normal. Many of today’s plants and processes are simply too old and inefficient to remain competitive in a world of slow and volatile economic growth. Equally important is that changing demand patterns will demand […]
The above chart was my Chart of the Year last December, under the title “China’s auto sales bubble begins to burst‘. So it seems only sensible to update developments 6 months later. The key question, of course, is whether my headline was right? Could it be that China was not going to deliver endless growth […]
The key issue in the Greek debt crisis is easy to understand,. It is that Greece’s GDP last year was just $238bn, whilst its debts are estimated at €322bn ($365bn). So Greece is clearly going to default at some point. The problem is that no policymaker is prepared to admit this obvious fact, as […]
‘Peter Pan’ is one of the world’s most-loved children’s stories.But I hadn’t realised it had also become an economics textbook, at least in Japan. Yet the Governor of the Bank of Japan (BoJ), Haruhiko Kuroda, described his stimulus policy last week as follows to an invited audience: “I trust that many of you are familiar with […]
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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.