China’s increase in chemicals self-sufficiency will hit US shale gas expansions

Some years ago, when China was well on the way to becoming the world’s largest importer of chemicals, a reporter asked the chairman of Sinochem, China’s largest chemical company if China intended to keep increasing its imports?  ”Not at all” was Su Shulin’s reply, “This is temporary.  It is not our strategy.  We will become […]

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London house prices face perfect storm as Brexit risks rise

The UK goes to the polls on 8 June in a surprise General Election.  And premier Theresa May has clearly decided to base her campaign on a ”Who governs Britain?” platform, as she highlighted when launching her campaign last week: “Britain’s negotiating position in Europe has been misrepresented in the continental press, the European Commission’s stance […]

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European petrochemical output still below 2004 – 2007 levels

The financial crisis began a decade ago, yet production of the key “building block products” for the European petrochemical industry has still not recovered to its pre-Crisis peak, as the chart shows (based on new APPE data):   Combined production of ethylene, propylene and butadiene (olefins) peaked at 39.7 million tonnes in 2007   A […]

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US debt Apr17

Debt, demographics set to destroy Trump’s GDP growth dream

Unsurprisingly, Friday’s US GDP report showed Q1 growth was just 0.7%, as the New York Times reported: “The U.S. economy turned in the weakest performance in three years in the January-March quarter as consumers sharply slowed their spending. The result fell far short of President Donald Trump’s ambitious growth targets and underscores the challenges of […]

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Ageing boomers are no longer spending

The Financial Times has kindly printed my letter below, suggesting that President Trump’s focus on tax cuts is misplaced, given the headwinds created for spending and economic growth by today’s ageing US BabyBoomers. Sir, Gillian Tett provides an excellent analysis of the wishful thinking that seems to dominate US economic policy today (“Trump tested as […]

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Oil market rebalancing myth looks close to its sell-by date

The myth of oil market rebalancing has been a great money-maker for financial markets.  Hedge funds were the first to benefit in H2 last year, as Reuters has reported, when: “OPEC and some of the most important hedge funds active in commodities reached an understanding on oil market rebalancing during informal briefings held in the […]

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Half of India’s youth prioritise religion over science, and believe women should always listen to their husbands

Mention India to many CEOs and investors, and they will smile broadly at the thought of its “demographic dividend”. Two-thirds of India’s population are under-35,and are already swelling the numbers of those in the critical Wealth Creator 25 – 54 age group which drives economic growth. As the chart shows:    India’s median age […]

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China’s lending bubble sees Beijing home prices jump 63%

Greed and fear are the primary emotions driving China’s housing and auto markets today, as China’s lending bubble hits new heights.  For ordinary citizens, greed is the key driver:    Average home prices in Beijing rose an eye-popping 63% between October 2015 – February 2017    In Shanghai, one enterprising estate agent (realtor) […]

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Trump, Xi have 100 days to avert US-China trade war

Last week’s summit meeting between US President Donald Trump and China’s President Xi Jinping was initially overshadowed by Friday’s news of US missile strikes on Syria.  But from the details since released, it is clear the summit will likely have far-reaching impact on the global economy.  As US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross revealed afterwards, the […]

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US GDP Apr17

US GDP growth stalls with participation rates near all-time low

US GDP growth is slowing, again, as the chart of the Atlanta Federal Reserve’s “GDP Now” forecast shows:    Forecast Q1 growth has slipped to just 0.6% from an initial 3.4% at the end of January    Consensus economic forecasts are still much higher, but even they have fallen to 1.7% from 2.2% […]

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