The blog first learnt about the network effect in the late 1990s, during the successful launch of the eBusiness platforms CheMatch and then ChemConnect. Its Silicon Valley colleagues patiently explained that markets tended to move in predictable stages, once a new concept or product was launched: Everyone would initially jump on the bandwagon, not wanting […]
Tag Archives | central banks
A year ago, the blog suggested that financial markets were reaching their most dangerous ‘melt-up’ stage, driven by investor complacency about the ability of central banks to protect them from any downturn. This analysis was confirmed in November, when absurdly high prices were paid for works of modern art, smashing previous records. Gillian Tett of the Financial Times (another of […]
Nothing has really changed over the past year. That seems to be the key conclusion from the blog’s quarterly summary of company results for Q1. A year ago, BASF noted that “achieving our earnings target is significantly more challenging today than we had expected”. This month, chairman Kurt Bock “warned the markets will remain volatile and […]
The number “42″ was the answer to “the ultimate question of life” in the classic novel ‘The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Universe’. Yet as the supercomputer providing this answer then explained, it was a pointless exercise as nobody understood the meaning of the original question. The world’s policymakers are in the same position, although they don’t yet realise this. They […]
A major debate is underway in Eurozone financial markets about the imminent approach of deflation. As the chart above shows, Eurozone inflation has ben falling steadily for the past 2 years. Yet most still fail to recognise that today’s demographics make this development more or less inevitable. The Financial Times has kindly printed the blog’s […]
Coincidentally the blog began its 6-monthly review of global financial market performance on 7 March 2009, as the US market hit its post-Crisis bottom. At this point, it was possible to hope that central banks would allow markets to resolve the issues that they themselves had created. After all, there would have been no subprime crash if the US Federal […]
Think back a moment to September 16 2008. Newly released transcripts analysed by the Wall Street Journal and Financial Times reveal for the first time what was really going on that day at the world’s most important central bank. Lehman Bros, one of Wall Street’s largest investment banks, had just gone bust. Merrill Lynch, another giant, had […]
Intuition’s great benefit is that it provides a different perspective. Thus the intuitive concept behind the launch of the IeC Downturn Monitor was that April 2011 would prove a watershed moment for policymakers’ Recovery Scenario after 2008′s financial crisis. Their Scenario essentially had two elements: Acting as a ‘lender of last resort’ when the major banks stopped lending to each other and the […]
Investing in today’s financial markets is relatively easy. You simply have to believe that governments in the US, Japan and Europe will continue to provide plenty of free cash to investors as part of their Recovery Scenario of a quick return to ‘normal growth’. It doesn’t matter whether the investor believes in the Scenario, the driver is simply the fear of […]
Sometimes the blog’s mind goes back to its happy days in Houston, Texas, when it set up and ran ICI’s feedstock and petchems trading office. And it thinks through the factors that it would have considered when deciding whether to buy, sell or sit on the sidelines. The memory came back during last week’s lively ACS webinar, when […]
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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.