Sometime over the next year, the US is likely to set a new all-time record for oil production, reversing the pre-2008 trend. Natural gas production has already reached new all-time peaks. As the chart shows: US natural gas production peaked in 1973 at 62 Bcf/day, and then fell by a quarter to 46 Bcf/day in 1986 (blue) […]
Our 13th annual World Aromatics & Derivatives Conference takes place in Berlin next week. Jointly organised as always by International eChem and ICIS, it features a must-hear list of speakers: ExxonMobil: Europe Business Director Tim Stedman will give a global market overview Dow Chemical: Global Business Director Pieter Platteeuw will discuss the future for benzene […]
It is now almost 3 months since I suggested the Great Unwinding was about to hit oil and chemical markets. As the chart above shows, there has since been a major collapse in most of the markets in our benchmark portfolio. Given their role as leading indicators for the global economy, this major downturn is extremely worrying: […]
How long can the juggler keep all the balls in the air? That is the question that compels us to stand in the square and watch her skill at work. We have the same fascination watching central bankers at work – they similarly aim to keep financial markets aloft, to create their desired ‘wealth effect’. But we know that […]
Many people, including former US Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker, have questioned whether it is really possible for the US Federal Reserve to use monetary policy to boost employment. What can the Fed do to ensure people get the high school diplomas they need for employment today? What can it do to provide more jobs for Blacks […]
The picture on the right is the Xiaomi Mi4 smartphone. The 16GB version sells in China at Rmb 1999 ($326), and the 64GB version at Rmb 2499. By comparison, Apple’s iPhone 6 sells for Rmb 5288. Unsurprisingly, Xiaomi is moving up the world sales league very fast. In Q2, it jumped to 5.1% market share, from just 1.8% in Q2 […]
There is no “business as usual” scenario possible for the 2015-2017 Budget period. Over the past 15 years (since the ”dotcom bubble” burst in 2000), policymakers have provided increasing amounts of stimulus to support the economy. Now, finally, we are in the endgame, as the Great Unwinding takes place. This presents us all with major challenges: Most executives and investors under […]
Could Japan actually go bankrupt at some point in the future? This was the question left hanging in the air after Friday’s panic at the Bank of Japan, when its Governor forced through his new stimulus policy on a 5 – 4 vote. Financial markets’ first reaction was to assume this was a coup de théâtre on […]
“We have for many years addressed the very important issues of how to avoid becoming pregnant, how to avoid sexual diseases, how kids have a right to their own bodies, but we totally forgot to tell them we cannot have children forever.” Suddenly, and it does seem to be a sudden realisation, Western countries are beginning to […]
The best view is always from the top of the mountain. And that seems where we are today in global auto markets. They are on track for another record year. And even better news is that sales have risen in each of the 5 major markets for the first time since 2007. The bad news is that […]
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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 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.