“There is a distinct difference between “suspense” and “surprise.” Alfred Hitchcock It is now 2 years since the start of the Great Unwinding of policymaker stimulus. On 15 August 2014, Brent was at $105/bbl, and the US$ Index was at 81. Since then, as the chart shows, Brent oil prices have fallen 53%, whilst the […]
Tag Archives | central banks
The Western BabyBoomers (born between 1946-70), have been one of the luckiest generations in history. By and large, they have escaped the major wars that have plagued society down the ages. They have also lived in a world where living standards and material wealth have made astonishing gains. Equally priceless has been the rise in […]
These are difficult times for companies and investors. It is becoming more and more apparent that central bank stimulus policies have failed to counter today’s demand deficit, caused by ageing populations. It is also clear that central bankers themselves have little idea of what is happening in the real economy. They have based their programmes […]
The world’s central bankers would have been sacked long ago if they were CEOs running companies. They would also have been voted out, if they were elected officials. Not only have they failed to achieve their promised objectives – constant growth and 2% inflation – they have kept failing to achieve them since the Crisis […]
Markets are becoming increasingly chaotic, as the world’s major central banks each try to devalue their currencies. They have created a traders’ paradise, with oil on a particularly wild ride. But this has not been based on supply/demand fundamentals. Instead, it has been due to hedge funds jumping back into the commodities market. They don’t […]
New data from the International Monetary Fund confirms that last year’s collapse in global GDP was even worse than first reported. As the chart shows,the fall when measured in current dollars was a record $4.7tn, versus $3.3tn in 2009. And GDP was down 6% in percentage terms versus 5.3% in 2009: Even more worrying is […]
Yesterday’s failure of the Doha oil producers meeting will hopefully reintroduce a note of sanity into oil markets. After all, Saudi leaders have made it clear, time and time again, that they were no longer interested in operating a cartel where they take the pain of cutting production, and everyone else gains the benefit of […]
What we “assume” can make an “ass of u and me“, as the proverb says. And that is certainly true of the way central banks have manipulated the major currencies since the financial crisis began in 2008, as the chart shows of the US$’s movements versus the Japanese yen and the euro: It shows the change […]
“Buy on the rumour, sell on the news” is one of the most reliable definitions for a weak market. And that seems to have been the picture in Q1 across commodity, stock and bond markets. The key issue is the ongoing battle between Reality and Illusion: Reality accepts that ageing populations have lower levels of […]
Trillions of dollars have been spent on stimulus by central banks in the developed world since the financial crisis began in 2008. Clearly these policies haven’t worked – but they are now lining up to do more of them. In this interview with Tom Brown, deputy editor of ICIS news, I argue that their analysis […]
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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.