House prices Dec16

London house prices start their collapse

London’s house market has been slowing for some time, as I noted last year.  The issue is affordability.  Artificially low interest rates make the monthly payment seem cheap.  But the key question is whether your salary will allow you to repay the capital borrowed over time. Sadly, this has become increasingly impossible for many actual […]

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Midway Atoll becomes “plastic island” due to our throwaway society

Plastics have made an enormous contribution to improving our quality of life over the past 75 years.  Polyethylene (discovered in 1933), polypropylene, PVC, polystyrene, PET and many others have made our lives safer, and easier:   Plastic pipes have removed the risk of lead poisoning from our water, and helped to reduce water lost in […]

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Futures markets, US shale, the big winners from OPEC meeting

There were only two winners from the past 3 months of OPEC’s “Will they?, Won’t they?” debate on output cutbacks. Iran wasn’t one of them – although the talks did emphasise its renewed ability to control the OPEC agenda.  Nor was Saudi Arabia, forced to accept the lion’s share of the proposed cutbacks. Instead, the […]

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2017 Global Outlook – ACS webinar on Thursday

This year has seen a paradigm shift in how major governments view trade.  We may well be seeing an end to globalisation:   In Europe, the United Kingdom voted to leave the E.U., and Italy may well have a referendum on leaving the euro   In the U.S., President-Elect Donald Trump’s 100-day Action Plan will see […]

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The world in 2020 – an update on our forecasts in ‘Boom, Gloom and the New Normal’

All of us would love to be able to see into the future. And 5 years after the publication of ‘Boom, Gloom and the New Normal: How the Ageing of the Western BabyBoomers is Changing Demand Patterns, Again‘, it seems timely to review its 10 predictions about how the world will look in 2020:  […]

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Chemical industry flags rising risk of global recession in 2017, with Trump set to “clear the decks” at the start of his first term

The chemical industry is the best leading indicator that we have for the global economy.  It has an excellent correlation with IMF data, and also benefits from the fact it has no “political bias”.  It simply tells us what is happening in real-time in the world’s 3rd largest industry. Sadly, the news is not good. […]

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Populism rises as global dynamics drive market shifts

We are living in a New Normal world.  Populists such as Nigel Farage, Donald Trump, Marine le Pen and Beppe Grillo are gaining support as economic growth slows and social/political unrest becomes common.  My presentation at our annual conference last week in Vienna highlighted some of the key issues, as Jessie Waldheim of ICIS news […]

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Right direction Nov16

Economic policy needs to focus on impact of the 100-year life

Nearly two-thirds of people in the world’s top 25 countries feel their country is heading in the wrong direction, according to a new poll from Ipsos MORI.  As their chart shows: China, Saudi Arabia, India, Argentina, Peru, Canada and Russia are the only countries to record a positive feeling The other 18 are increasingly desperate […]

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Industry needs new strategy to spread benefits of globalisation

The Brexit vote, and Donald Trump’s election, confirm that we are in a New Normal world.  In the interview below with Will Beacham, Deputy editor of ICIS Chemical Business, I highlight some ideas about how industry needs to adapt. BARCELONA (ICIS)–The global chemical sector needs to stimulate demand for innovative products and services in mature […]

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Italy’s referendum is next test for Eurozone stability

Italy was one of the 6 founding members of the European Union (EU) in 1957, along with France, the Netherlands, W Germany, Belgium and Luxembourg.  Its referendum next month will therefore be a critical test of whether the Eurozone and EU can survive the pressure from the Populists. If the Populists win, then the future […]

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