Another week, and another record high for US oil inventories. Oil prices clearly have some way to go, before they return to being based on the fundamentals of supply and demand. Thankfully, the looking-glass world of $100/bbl prices has finally begun to shatter over the past 9 months. And we can expect prices to return to historical […]
Tag Archives | China
Unfortunately, the European Central Bank (ECB) does not read the blog, or yet subscribe to ‘The pH Report’. If it did, it would have been forewarned back in August that a collapse in oil prices was potentially about to provide the catalyst for the arrival of deflation. Instead, as the Minutes of its critical January […]
The world’s major shipping index, the Baltic Dry (BDI), has collapsed by 2/3rds since November, and by 80% since its earlier December 2013 peak, as the chart shows. It is now at an all-time low of 509, almost half of its initial 1000 level when established in January 1985. Shipping is the major mode of transport for world trade, […]
Debt can’t make a country middle-class overnight. Even a massive amount of debt can’t achieve this. Even the largest amount of debt in history can’t do this. China’s experience since 2007, when it increased debt four-fold, proves this. As McKinsey have reported, China increased its debt from $7tn in 2007 to $28tn by the middle of […]
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 […]
A major new report from consultants McKinsey confirms my concerns over the dramatic increase in global debt levels since stimulus policies began in 2008. As their chart above highlights: Global debt has risen by $57tn to $199tn since 2007, nearly 3x global GDP Government debt is up by $25tn, with three-quarters of this in the developed […]
A manufacturing slowdown is now well underway in China, as the latest official and unofficial Indices confirm. The government is mitigating this via its policy of self-sufficiency – which means a steady reduction in the need for imports – as well as by increasing exports of higher value-added products such as polyethylene (PE). PE is the largest volume plastic, used in […]
Its amazing what a lending bubble can do in the short-term, as the above chart shows. It updates my August post for the Financial Times, and highlights the astonishing rise in China’s bank lending since 2008 on the x-axis, and the remarkable rise in auto sales on the y-axis. Official data shows average disposable income last […]
I was privileged to be interviewed by Merryn Somerset Webb, editor-in-chief of MoneyWeek (the UK’s best-selling financial magazine) in this week’s edition. The interview covered a wide range of topics including the perilous state of UK house prices and some stock markets, and has prompted enormous interest amongst MoneyWeek readers. Merryn is one of the UK’s leading […]
Cotton prices appear to be collapsing again due to the surpluses created by central bank stimulus policies since 2009. As the chart shows, these had initially caused prices to soar to levels not seen since the American Civil War: They reached 230c/lb in March 2011, nearly double the post-1982 peak of 117c/lb in May 1995 (blue […]
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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.