This is Budget week, when the blog prepares to present its Budget Outlook for 2014-16. On Saturday, it reviewed its 2012 forecast. And starting tomorrow, it will analyse auto markets – as these are the largest single driver of demand - before issuing its 2014 Outlook next Saturday. The chart above presents the dilemma facing companies, […]
Tag Archives | central banks
The period since March 2009 has been a wonderful time for most investors in the major markets. As the blog’s 6-monthly update shows, almost every index has increased, and by large amounts: Russia has been the biggest winner, up 151%, due to its oil and gas export position The US is up 147%, as the […]
A new report from Pimco, the world’s largest bond fund manager, makes it clear they share the blog’s worries about the increasingly negative impact of western central bank policy: “Central banks have reached a critical inflection point in which the negatives of their aggressive policies may be outweighing the positives and in fact hampering growth. […]
As the Financial Times wrote on Saturday: “Earlier this year, it all seemed so straightforward. Central banks printed money and proffered soothing words, and markets went up. Now, it’s getting more complicated.” In fact, nervous readers might want to stay away from financial markets for a while. Just 2 weeks ago, crude oil prices suddenly […]
Have you ever wondered, as you pay your energy bill or fill the fuel tank in your vehicle, just why oil prices have risen so much on the past decade? The question occurred to the blog when reading a Reuters report of the latest Outlook from the International Energy Agency (IEA). It notes the IEA […]
Central bankers clearly read too many super-hero comics when they were young. Ben Bernanke at the US Federal Reserve, Mario Draghi at the European Central Bank, Mervyn King at the Bank of England and now Haruhiko Kuroda at the Bank of Japan, all see themselves as Superman solving the world financial crisis. The only problem […]
Traders in Western financial markets are confident of 3 key facts about the economic outlook: • The US is already recovering, with auto and housing markets returning to pre-2008 levels • The Eurozone crisis is almost resolved and recovery is expected by H2 • China’s new leadership will ensure its growth surprises on the upside […]
The US spent $6bn on its presidential and congressional elections this year. Apart from expressing the will of the people, it may also prove valuable if it helps to highlight the danger of allowing wishful thinking to override factual evidence on the ground. One example of this failing was last Monday’s forecast by the highly-respected […]
Writing over 2000 years ago, the ancient Greek dramatists had a phrase to describe what is happening today in the global economy: ‘Those whom the gods wish to destroy, they first make mad” Central banks have spent the last 4 years, since the Crisis began, handing out free money to their friends in financial markets. […]
Today the blog ends its review of the VUCA world with A for Ambiguity. The global economy often seemed to be on auto-pilot during the 25 years of the economic Supercycle between 1982-2007. The chart above shows US GDP since 1929 (when records began), with the pink columns showing the official dates for recession: • […]
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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.