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 […]
Tag Archives | central banks
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 […]
The chemical industry continues to be the best leading indicator that we have for the global economy. This is because it is not only the 3rd largest industry (after agriculture and energy), but also because it is truly global and impacts virtually all areas of modern-day life. The chart above therefore presents a very downbeat […]
Stock markets are floating ever higher on an ocean of central bank money printing. But something else is happening in the real world where we all live and work. Since August, I have been warning that the Great Unwinding of this policymaker stimulus is now underway. The chart above highlights how my 2 core forecasts have now been confirmed: Brent Oil […]
How long can the juggler keep all the balls in the air? That is the question that compels us to stand in the square and watch her skill at work. We have the same fascination watching central bankers at work – they similarly aim to keep financial markets aloft, to create their desired ‘wealth effect’. But we know that […]
Oil prices are highly likely to fall further, not rebound, over the next few months. That is the blog’s conclusion to its 3-part analysis of likely developments in oil markets. Having looked at the outlook for oil supply and demand over the past 2 days, today’s post looks at the key question of ‘what does this mean for oil […]
The Great Unwinding of policymakers’ failed stimulus programmes is now clearly underway in the global economy. The headlines this week all focused on the latest International Monetary Fund (IMF) report: “IMF says economic growth may never return to pre-crisis levels.” And then, in response, the US Federal Reserve suddenly realised that the US economy was not […]
We all know that the European economy is in a bad way. Sales and incomes are under pressure, and political risk is rising, whilst unemployment remains at high levels. Its very easy to get depressed about the outlook. We are also unlikely to get much help from policymakers. They remain in their world of mathematical models. These […]
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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.