One of the great myths of our time is that the world’s population is inevitably growing. Almost everyone has heard that the population is certain to reach 9bn by 2050, from today’s 7.3bn. Yet births in 2013 in the G7 economies (almost half of the global economy) were at the lowest level since the Great Depression year […]
Tag Archives | baby-boom generation
The blog’s important eBook, ’Boom, Gloom and the New Normal: How Ageing Western BabyBoomers are Changing Demand Patterns, Again’, was published 3 years ago this month. Co-authored with John Richardson, it identified the major changes taking place in global and national demand patterns: Growth accelerated from the 1980s, as the population became concentrated in the wealth creating 25 – 54 […]
The ageing BabyBoomers are now leaving the suburbs in large numbers, and moving back to the cities, as the blog discussed in October. Thus as the Wall Street Journal reports, housing needs are changing quite dramatically. The main growth area for housing is now in high-rise apartment towers built for rent: “The growth in new rental […]
Milton Friedman received a Nobel Prize for economics in 1976, partly on the basis of his analysis that ‘inflation is everywhere and always a monetary phenomenon’. It sounds an appealing insight, but of course it is wrong. The reason is that it confuses cause and effect. The above chart presents a different view, highlighting the […]
Barrons, the leading US investment magazine, recently published a major cover story analysing the potential impact of the Millennial generation on the US economy. These are the young people now aged between 18 to 37 years, who are starting to enter their Wealth Creator years. Barron’s noted they currently account for $1.3tn of consumer spending, […]
Most commentators seemed surprised by last week’s news of weak US Q4 GDP growth. To help avoid similar shocks in future, the blog is pleased today to present its ‘cut out and keep guide’ to future levels of US GDP and interest rates. The guide has been successfully back-tested to 1962, when records begin for […]
The financial magazine MoneyWeek have produced a new video in their Investment Tutorial series, looking at the impact of today’s ‘demographic cliff’ on the economy. Editor-in-Chief Merryn Somerset Webb suggests this is “One of the key bits of information that you need, to understand what’s going on in the West today” and adds: “It doesn’t […]
Are you a typical employee in the chemical industry (aged in your 30s or 40s)? Have you noticed that you spend rather more money than your parents? Then you may have spotted the reason for the more difficult economic conditions that your company is now encountering. There is little doubt about the seriousness of the […]
The chemical industry is a well-known leading indicator for the global economy. This is because our products are used in so many applications around the world. The above chart of global capacity utilisation, from the American Chemistry Council, paints a subdued picture. In May, capacity utilisation was actually lower than in May last year, at […]
Between 1854 and 1982, the US economy was in recession for 35% of the time, according to Deutsche Bank research. But between November 1982 and December 2007, as the chart shows, it was only in recession for 5% of the time, just 16 months in 25 years. Something very unusual clearly happened during this period. […]
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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.