Oil markets are entering a very dangerous phase. Already, many US energy companies have gone bankrupt, having believed that $100/bbl prices would justify their drilling costs. Now the pain is moving downstream. The problem is the central banks. Hedge funds have piled into the oil futures markets since January, betting that there would be lots […]
Tag Archives | Bank of Japan
3 years of massive stimulus spending in Japan has had no impact on the problem it was supposed to solve. This is highlighted by new government data on household spending for 2015, as the charts above confirm – they compare 2015 data with that for 2012, before Abenomics began: Spending was almost exactly the same […]
The Financial Times has kindly printed my letter below, arguing that central bank stimulus can’t restore growth to previous Super Cycle levels. Sir, John Plender’s excellent analysis “Central banks’ waning credibility is the real threat to confidence” (Insight, February 17) highlights the need for a new narrative to explain the economic slowdown of recent years. […]
Pity poor Janet Yellen, you might say. The head of the US Federal Reserve told the Senate last week that she had been “quite surprised” by the collapse of oil prices since mid-2014. And she added that the rise of the US$ was similarly “not something that we had expected” (you can see the testimony […]
The Great Unwinding of policymaker stimulus was the major issue in financial markets in 2015. And it is set to have even greater impact in 2016 once Phase 3 begins. The chart above highlights the astonishing changes that have taken place since the Unwinding began in mid-August 2014; Phase 1 has so far seen Brent […]
The combination of ageing populations and declining fertility rates means the world is following the Japanese model into deflation – despite all the efforts of policymakers to artificially induce price rises via their money-printing. As discussed last November, under the title. ”Oil price fall set to push Japan back into deflation“, it was already clear then that […]
‘Peter Pan’ is one of the world’s most-loved children’s stories.But I hadn’t realised it had also become an economics textbook, at least in Japan. Yet the Governor of the Bank of Japan (BoJ), Haruhiko Kuroda, described his stimulus policy last week as follows to an invited audience: “I trust that many of you are familiar with […]
“If only US GDP growth could remain negative in Q2, what a lot of money we could make”. You could almost hear the excited chatter in financial markets on Friday, as news spread that revised data showed the US economy had seen negative growth in Q1. This is yet another example of the upside-down world […]
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 […]
Nobody knows how the Great Unwinding of central bank stimulus policies will develop. The world has simply never been in this position before. Thus the senior economics and business correspondent of the Financial Times, John Plender, began an article this week: “In a market where asset prices are comprehensively rigged by central bankers, rational investment […]
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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 as 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.