America hits “peak gasoline” moment as demand patterns change

OPEC has a long wait ahead, if it hopes that US drivers will ever go back to SuperCycle levels of driving and gasoline consumption growth.  That’s the clear message from new data from the US Dept of Transport showing vehicle miles traveled last year.  The chart shows: □  Average number of miles driven per adult […]

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US GDP Feb17

Monetary policy reaches sell-by date for managing the economy

Monetary policy used to be the main focus for running the economy.  If demand and inflation rose too quickly, then interest rates would be raised to cool things down.  When demand and inflation slowed, interest rates would be reduced to encourage “pent-up demand” to return. After the start of the Financial Crisis, central banks promised […]

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Force majeures hit new record high as safety loses out to profits

Just when you think something really can’t get any worse, it does.  Sadly, that’s the story on chemical industry force majeures since my last half-year review.  As I noted then: “There is no such thing as an accident. The chemical industry, like others, has known this for over 30 years, since the adoption of Quality […]

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Global supply chains at risk as trade war threat rises

“May God bless the USA and God bless Boeing” was President Trump’s sign-off in his speech on Friday at Boeing’s South Carolina factory.  Earlier he had told the workforce building the 787 Dreamliner: “This is our mantra: Buy American and hire America. We want products made in America, made by American hands. Our goal as a […]

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Smartphone profits under threat as market goes ex-growth

The outlook is becoming clearer for the global smartphone market, and it confirms my judgement in November, when reviewing Q3 sales: “It seems likely that a focus on price and affordability will come to dominate. In turn, pricing pressures on suppliers will intensify. The key challenge facing the market is that it has gone ex-growth.” […]

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Sevices 2014

Basic Skills, not protectionism, key to sustaining today’s High Income, Services-based economies

Suddenly, manufacturing and protectionism have become political issues across the Western world.  President Trump has already formed a Manufacturing Council with the aim of “reshoring jobs” from outside the USA, and is threatening to introduce import duties of up to 45%. The problem, however, as the chart shows, is that this will not help the people who […]

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EU Feb17

“Business as usual” the least likely outcome for Europe

Europe is heading in to the Great Unknown, as Monday’s post highlighted.  The UK, The Netherlands and France are not the only political uncertainties that we face.  Elections are also due in Italy and in Germany.    Italian elections. After premier Renzi’s referendum defeat last year, it seems like that Italy will hold elections this year, […]

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Brexit Feb17

Europe heads into the Great Unknown as UK prepares for Brexit; Dutch and French voters go to the polls

Next month sees the start of a process that could change all our lives.  Whether we live in Europe, or outside it, the political decisions about to be made have the potential to impact every country in the world – for better or worse. And yet, nobody has yet begun to put together the various […]

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WTI futures Jan17a

Speculators’ tail wags oil market dog as paper trading dominates

Trading oil markets used to be hard work. You had to talk to all the major players all the time (not just message them), and learn to judge whether they were telling the truth or inventing a version of it.  You had to watch for breaking economic and political news.  And you needed your own […]

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Global auto market heads for 5% fall as stimulus impact wanes

2016 data highlights one startling statistic about the world’s Top 7 auto markets.  They are 85% of total world sales and as the chart shows, their overall sales growth since 2007 has been entirely due to China:    China’s sales have risen nearly four-fold since 2007, from 6.3m to 24.2m    Sales in […]

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