Motorbikes continue to dominate India’s motor vehicle market, as the chart above shows based on new data from the industry association (India’s year runs from April – March): 16.5m 2-wheelers were sold in the year, up 2% versus 2014-15, and took 2/3rds of the market 2.8m passenger cars were also sold, with volume up 7%, and had a 12% […]
Global oil traders are having lots of fun as oil market volatility ramps up. Earlier this month, for example, Reuters reported that “Glencore have got big positions all over the place” in North Sea oil markets: They spotted that N Sea production would be sharply reduced in June due to maintenance on the Ekofisk field […]
Policymakers would be better off following the fortunes of the chemical industry, if they wanted to forecast the global economy, as I describe in my latest post for the Financial Times, published on the BeyondBrics blog Capacity utilisation (CU%) in the chemical industry has long been the best leading indicator for the global economy. The […]
Thank goodness for Janet Yellen, and China’s provincial governments. That was clearly investors’ thoughts, when they bid up chemical company share prices during Q1. For as the chart above shows, there was nothing in the fundamentals of supply and demand to suggest economic recovery was finally underway. Instead, the latest American Chemistry Council data shows […]
40 years ago, the vast majority of the British people were in favour of joining the European Economic Community. 67% voted in favour, in the 1975 referendum to confirm the UK’s entry. Virtually all mainstream politicians were in support, with only the left-wing of the Labour Party strongly anti on the grounds that it was […]
China’s long-promised cotton auctions have begun this week. Their outcome will tell us a lot about President Xi Jinping’s ability to force through his New Normal changes in the economy. It will also, of course, have major impact upon the polyester value chain, given the competition between the 2 fibres. As the slide from the […]
US home ownership is back at levels seen briefly in the mid-1980s, and before that in the mid-1960s. One key issue today is that while the US population is still growing, the younger population has quite a different profile from the Boomer generation, as the Pew Institute have reported. In 1980, only 1 in 10 young Boomers were […]
80-year olds are allowed to retire, even if they have to wait a year for final permission to be given. But it seems a simple headline saying “Saudi Oil Minister retires after 69 year career” is not “exciting” enough in today’s media world? So perhaps we can’t be too surprised to find some of the world’s […]
There was no great surprise in the news that global smartphone sales fell for the first time ever in Q1. As I suggested in February, when reviewing Q4 data: “It seems almost inevitable that global growth will now follow China and go negative”. As the chart shows, Strategy Analytics data suggests that sales fell 3% in […]
China’s polyester industry, like many others, is already preparing to shut down ahead of September’s G20 Summit in Hangzhou, to reduce pollution levels. The phenomenon even has its own Wikipedia page, APEC Blue, to describe the moment in November 2014 when Beijing suddenly saw blue sky for the whole of the Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation (APEC) summit meeting. It […]
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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.