Education key to future life expectancy gains, wealth creation

Around 1 in 3 of all babies born this year in the rich countries of the world are likely to live to be 100 years old.  Its an astonishing change, when one remembers that life expectancy was just 34 years in the West only 200 years ago. UK data provides major insight into the opportunity […]

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US housing Jun15b

Average US auto loan term hits record 68 months in May

May was “another fantastic month for US auto sales”.  Or, it took the industry “one month closer to an inevitable downturn”.  All depends on which analyst you talk to: Ward’s Autos called May’s sales the best since July 2005 LMC Automotive suggested growth rates were slowing, and could possibly even contract next year It also depends […]

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Why have US economic growth and inflation gone negative?

Chemistry & the Economy:  2015 Mid-Year Review Why did US GDP go negative, again, in Q1?  Why is the US seeing deflation rather than the expected inflation?  Is this really just due to bad winter weather? These are the questions I will discuss in my next ‘Chemistry & the Economy’ webinar for the American Chemical Society […]

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Affordability

Europe can win despite age trends

We all know that Europe has an ageing population.  Germany and Italy, for example, have median ages of 45 years.  And fertility rates have been below replacement levels for 45 years, so the relative number of higher-spending young people is reducing.  Instead, there are more and more older people, as life expectancy at age 65 […]

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Gloom turns to boom as US economic data disappoints, again

“If only US GDP growth could remain negative in Q2, what a lot of money we could make”.  You could almost hear the excited chatter in financial markets on Friday, as news spread that revised data showed the US economy had seen negative growth in Q1. This is yet another example of the upside-down world […]

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45-year baby drought stalls Western economic growth

200 years ago, most blog readers would have been dead at their current age.  Life expectancy in the West was just 34 years in 1820, and averaged only 24 years everywhere else.  Today, as the chart shows, Western life expectancy has risen to 79 years (red area).  In the the emerging economies, it has nearly […]

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US producers face uphill battle to increase PE sales in China

China is the world’s largest polyethylene market.  One-third of the way through the year, it  is therefore interesting to analyse the ratio of its own production versus imports, and look at relative import market shares.  The chart shows annual data since 2005, with 2015 data to April, based on trade data from Global Trade Information […]

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Brazilian, Russian, Japanese auto markets continue to struggle

Bill White’s important critique of the policies being followed by his former central bank colleagues echoes his warnings before the 2008 Crisis.  One of his key points is that they have focused on manipulating the value of financial assets, ratehr than on developments in the real economy: “The price of financial assets, just think of Bunds […]

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India’s auto market remains dominated by motorbikes

4 years ago, India could do no wrong.  The ‘Incredible India’ campaign had captured imaginations around the world, and almost everyone seemed to believe that it was destined to become a major player in any market that it chose. Analysts were particularly excited about the potential for the auto market, with one major company suggesting: […]

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Policymakers’ out-of-date economic models fail to create growth, again

Since 2010, May/June has seen the US Federal Reserve start to realise it would have to revise its optimistic New Year forecast that economic recovery was inevitable. As its deputy chairman, Stanley Fischer, noted last August “Year after year we have had to explain from mid-year on why the global growth rate has been lower than […]

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