China issues Top 100 list of most-wanted corruption fugitives

$2.83tn is estimated to have left China illegally as a result of corruption between 2005 – 2011.  This helps to explain the remarkable poster above, which shows China’s Interpol list of its 100 “most-wanted” corruption suspects.  It has just been published by China’s state media, with the following explanation: “The China National Central Bureau of […]

Continue Reading
US GDP Apr15

US GDP disappoints again as aging Boomers slow the economy

“Year after year we have had to explain from mid-year on why the global growth rate has been lower than predicted as little as two quarters back.” That was the comment, last August, from the new deputy chairman of the US Federal Reserve, Stanley Fischer.  This year, he won’t have to wait until mid-year to start the […]

Continue Reading

Most oil producing countries have operating costs below $20/bbl

“I don’t take the view that they (OPEC) are in any way trying to threaten other suppliers. I think they’re really kind of on a classic price-discovery exercise, which is important for all of us as investors to know.” This was the analysis of ExxonMobil CEO, Rex Tillerson, in Houston last week.   And he […]

Continue Reading
China lend Apr15

China lending curbs will hit global property bubbles

China’s interest bill this year is around $1.7tn, according to ratings agency Fitch.  And no, the “tn” isn’t a typo. China’s interest bill is indeed around the total size of India’s economy, and larger than the economies of S Korea ($1.3tn), Spain ($1.4tn) or Mexico ($1.3tn). Common sense tells us that no economy can afford […]

Continue Reading

Global chemical slowdown highlights China impact

The global chemical downturn has now been underway for nearly a year.  And latest data on regional production volume from the American Chemistry Council for March shows no sign of improvements, as the chart highlights: Global demand growth in March was just 2.9% (black line), versus the healthy 5% growth seen a year ago Asia has […]

Continue Reading

Swiss pensions bankrupt by 2025: US Social Security by 2030

Nobody would imagine that the SFr 800bn ($840bn) Swiss pension scheme could go bankrupt.  But Swiss pension experts suggest it “will be bankrupt within 10 years (without)…a radical overhaul of the retirement system.”  The problem is simple – a combination of low/negative interest rates and an increase in life expectancy. A major analysis in the Financial Times […]

Continue Reading
EU C3 Apr15d

Propylene strength a major support for European petchems

Vast over-expansion is underway in the global petrochemicals industry, as companies rush to build new capacity at a time when demand patterns are going through major change.  US companies and investors are worst exposed, as their plans are based on exporting polyethylene and other ethylene-based derivatives. There are a number of fundamental problems with these […]

Continue Reading
All autos Apr15

Q1 auto sales rise just 1.9% in world’s ‘Top 7′ markets

Its hard to be optimistic about the outlook for the global auto market.  The chart above of the Top 7 markets, which account for around 2/3rds of global sales, highlights the growing uncertainty.  It shows Q1 sales in 2015 (blue column) versus 2014 (blue).  Overall, these were up just 1.9% at 15.8m.  And although the […]

Continue Reading

China Q1 electricity consumption up only 1% as economy slows

More and more evidence is emerging of the major slowdown now underway in China’s economy. China’s leadership have warned this would take place since they took office 2 years ago.  And they have reinforced the message in recent months with their focus on explaining the move into the New Normal and its consequences. A major interview […]

Continue Reading
US oil imports Apr15

OPEC hit as ‘peak oil demand’ arrives and US imports fall

Oil market traders have been having fun in recent weeks, as they have managed to create guaranteed price movements every week: US oil inventory data is published on Tuesday and Wednesday This gives traders the chance to push prices lower as the inventories continue to rise US oil rig data is published on Friday This creates the chance to […]

Continue Reading