US heads for record oil and gas output

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) […]

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World Aromatics and Derivatives Conference next week

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 […]

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Great Unwinding leads to major chemical market downturn

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: […]

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Boom/Gloom Index suggests S&P 500 close to its peak

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 […]

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US jobs data confirms long-term decline in participation rate

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 […]

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Xiaomi Mi4

China’s smartphones outsell Samsung & Apple combined in Q3

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 […]

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Budgeting for the Cycle of Deflation

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 […]

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Oil price fall set to push Japan back into deflation

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 […]

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Denmark, and the West, wake up to a lack of babies

“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 […]

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Global auto sales reach ‘top of the mountain’ moment

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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