Do you know where your polyethylene is in China?

In the late 1970s and early 1980s, New York Mayor Ed Koch fronted a series of public service TV commercials asking parents: “Its 10pm.  Do you know where your children are?” The blog was reminded of this when checking China’s polyethylene (PE) import data on Global Trade Information Services for the January – May period, as shown […]

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Will 2014 be a repeat of 2008, but worse?

Will 2014 turn out to be a repeat of 2008 for the US economy? 6 years ago, after all, not a single mainstream forecaster – including the IMF and World Bank – was forecasting a recession.  Even in September 2008, the consensus was still confident about the economic outlook.  Yet the National Bureau for Economic Research […]

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EU cracker operating rates remain near record lows

An ageing population and record annual levels of oil prices create massive headwinds for Europe’s petrochemical producers.  One means demand growth is much reduced from the SuperCycle.  The other means these lower volumes cost more to produce. What a pity, you might say, that the industry is not part of the financial sector.  Then it […]

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US condensate exports highlight oil market weakness

Slowly but surely the myths over supposed supply shortages in the crude oil market are being exposed.  As leading US investment magazine Barron’s wrote this week: “In May, U.S. production hit its highest monthly average level since 1988 and is projected to keep rising. Domestic supplies have piled up in storage, especially on the Gulf […]

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$15bn gold loan scam revealed: Beijing property sales fall 50%

Almost every day brings new revelations about the growing evidence of major fraud in China’s ‘collateral trade’.  Yet the world’s financial markets remain very complacent.  They have forgotten the basic rule, that the first example is usually the tip of the iceberg – not a one-off mistake. They have also forgotten that the real problems only emerge when […]

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Bond investors embrace the 3 Normals

Sometimes the blog gets lucky with its timing.  That was certainly the case when it spoke to the world’s leading bond investors last week.  Just an hour before, they had been shocked by news that US GDP had fallen by 2.9% in Q1, far worse than earlier estimates.  And nobody believed the official excuse that […]

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The blog’s 7th birthday

Who would have believed the blog would still be here, 7 years after it began with a post from Thailand in June 2007?  Who would have believed the range of developments that have appeared for it to discuss over this period? It started at the end of the SuperCycle as central banks pumped cash into the […]

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EU auto sales stagnate as unemployment remains near record

The good news about EU auto sales, as the chart shows, is that they have stabilised above last year’s record low levels: Sales in the January – May period were up 7% (red square) versus 2013 (green line) at 5.4 million Sales in May itself were up 5% versus 2013 at 1.1m Sales have risen […]

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China GDP reports remain “man-made and therefore unreliable”

The blog got 54.8m results from Google when it entered the phrase “China GDP” this week.  The only problem, seemingly unrecognised by most analysts, is that China’s GDP report is a completely fictitious number, invented by the leadership each quarter to suit its own narrative. This sounds a bold statement, but it isn’t: China is the only country to […]

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Oil will be left in the ground, as gas gains energy market share

The annual BP Energy Statistics publication is a treasure trove of information for anyone interested in global energy markets.  One key area is the impact of today’s higher oil prices on consumption growth, as highlighted in the chart: It starts from 1965, and shows consumption growth for oil (red line), gas (blue) and total energy (green) Oil’s […]

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