3 years ago, two Harvard professors published a book with the eye-catching title, “This Time Is Different: Eight Centuries of Financial Folly”. Marketed as “the landmark work of financial crises”, it went straight into the best-seller lists and became required reading for policymakers. The blog, trying to keep up as always, also bought a copy. […]
Tag Archives | austerity
The 2012-14 Budget period offers great opportunities, as well as great challenges. Will companies continue to focus on short-term developments in financial markets? Michael Porter’s Shared Value concept instead offers us a powerful model for creating future growth. Will policymakers stop focusing on the 24 hour news cycle and instead begin to set out the […]
Its the ‘big picture’ issues that we need to watch these days, no longer detailed forecasts of individual product growth rates. They are driving chemical product sales in every major region. The chart above from the Financial Times highlights Europe’s drive towards austerity. Long gone are the days of the 2009 G20 meeting, when everyone […]
New analysis by Bloomberg supports the blog’s view last month that the arrest of former IMF head Dominique Strauss-Kahn (DSK) probably marked a critical turning-point in the Eurozone debt crisis Not only was DSK no longer able to persuade German chancellor Merkel that the problems needed just “a little more time, a little more money”. […]
There was a sustained rise in the number of wealthy Western BabyBoomers entering their peak consumption years between 1980-2000. In turn, stock market multiples rose (the US Dow Jones price/earnings ratio rose from 8 to 32), as investors valued earnings more highly. ‘Buying the Dips’ in the market became the easy way to make money. […]
The Dominique Strauss-Kahn affair may come to be seen as a critical turning point, when the story of the Greek default is written. The then IMF head was en route to meet German Chancellor Merkel, when arrested in New York last month. He had been at the forefront of the campaign to pretend that Greece […]
The two-tier market for autos in Europe is worrying manufacturers. As the chart shows, May’s sales (red square) were well down on the 2005-9 period, and only 7% above 2010′s very weak number. They are a continuation of recent trends, where demand continues to be sustained by a few key countries: • Germany, France and […]
The IeC Boom/Gloom Index is now 2 years old. It was developed as a measure of market sentiment, and so far its track record has been good: • It is now at an all-time high (blue column), which mirrors financial market confidence and their belief that chemicals may be in a supercycle • The austerity […]
EU auto sales have been a two-speed market recently. Strong growth in Germany, France, Benelux and the Netherlands kept sales moving forward versus 2010 levels. But other key markets, including the UK, Spain and Italy have been weak. April’s sales suggest that this period is ending. But, as the blog has feared, the new trend […]
The Michelin Guide is the original good food guide. For over a century, chefs have competed for its coveted 1, 2 and 3 star classification. But for the first time since 1991′s major downturn, the latest edition for France contains not a single new entry at 3 star level, . Instead, and for the first […]
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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.