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 […]
Tag Archives | central banks
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 […]
Whisper it quietly, so as not to disturb policymakers’ dreams. But the charts above from the Financial Times confirm, as if proof were needed, that their policies of the past 5 years haven’t worked. The charts compare trends in economic growth in the world’s two largest economies, the Eurozone and the USA. As the arrows indicate, both are […]
Over the years, the blog has been very critical of the quality of people appointed by the US Federal Reserve to undertake the actual trading involved in its ‘Quantitative Easing’ (QE) programmes: In October 2008, it felt “distinctly underwhelmed” by news that the person supervising decisions on which financial institutions should live or die during the peak of the Crisis […]
The blog is busy preparing its presentations for its World Aromatics and Derivatives Conference later this month, co-organised as always with ICIS. As well as looking at the impact of the transition to the New Normal, it will be investigating the current state of benzene markets. These are always an excellent leading indicator for the global […]
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, […]
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 […]
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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.