Credibility is hard to gain. And once gone, it is very hard to regain. That is the challenge facing the US Federal Reserve today. The New York Times is just one of the mainstream media now starting to highlight the issue, as last week’s Feb meeting led to a further deferral of the promised rise […]
Tag Archives | central banks
“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 […]
Too many policymakers, companies and investors are continuing to ignore the dramatic changes taking place in the age profile of the global population. Yet common sense tells us these must have a major impact on the economy. The impact comes from 2 equally important developments: One is the rise in the number of people in the New […]
What could go wrong in today’s financial world? Many stock markets in the West are hitting new highs, and central banks are promising they will do nothing to spoil the party. But as Gillian Tett of the Financial Times warned on Friday: “Before anyone gets too thrilled about equities, they should read a sobering research document from […]
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 […]
Today’s market conditions are some of the most dangerous that I can ever remember. Of course, markets are always unpredictable. As UK prime minister Harold MacMillan noted in the 1960s, when asked what kept him awake at nights. “Events, dear boy, events”. But today’s markets have a 3-dimensional unpredictability: They have the normal issue of trying to understand fundamental levels […]
Living standards have risen 20-fold over the past 200 years. Yet they rose just 3-fold over the previous 800 years. What enabled this dramatic change to take place? The key event was clearly the Industrial Revolution. As Andy Haldane, chief economist at the Bank of England, notes in a thought-provoking new paper: “In explaining rising living standards since […]
More and more commentators are beginning to recognise that deflation is becoming inevitable in many major economies: China’s producer prices fell -4.3% last month, and its consumer prices rose just 0.8% Eurozone consumer prices fell in December to -0.2%, and are likely to have fallen further in January US prices rose just 0.8% in December and are […]
Suddenly, far too late, the world is catching up with reality. Goldman Sachs and others yesterday halved their forecast for Brent oil to $42/bbl from $80/bbl. But this isn’t forecasting, this is simply catching up with events long after they happened. Brent, after all, opened at $45/bbl this morning. As readers will remember, I forecast back in August […]
Some extraordinary things are happening in global chemical markets. They indicate something is very wrong in the real world outside financial markets. The chart above highlights some key developments since 18 August when the Great Unwinding of policymaker stimulus began: Brent oil prices have halved and are down 51% (blue) Naphtha, the main feedstock for the global industry, has also halved […]
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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.