Today is Mid-Autumn Festival day in China, held to celebrate the harvest. Traditionally it features the exchange of moon cakes filled with lotus paste and egg yolks, whilst children go to lantern parades. But in recent years, it has also become synonymous with corruption. Silver moon cakes, as pictured above, became a common gift for […]
Tag Archives | China
We all know that China’s published GDP figures are meaningless. China’s premier, Li Keqiang, has told us so. And common sense tells us that no country, large or small, can possibly produce accurate GDP data within 2 weeks of the end of a quarter. Nor is it possible to believe that this data never needs to […]
The blog’s latest post for the Financial Times, published on the BeyondBrics blog is below. By Paul Hodges of International eChem China’s July lending level of just Rmb 385bn ($62.6bn) has surprised financial markets, which were expecting an increase in stimulus. But bigger surprises may lie ahead. The strong link between lending and passenger car sales […]
Markets appear to be continuing to move, slowly but surely, into their expected ‘scary phase’. The reason is the massive distortions that have been created in financial markets, and in China’s housing market, by the $35tn+ of stimulus from governments and central banks since 2009. Unwinding these distortions will not be simple. The stimulus has not returned us […]
Condom sales have dropped by 1 million/day in China according to The Economist magazine. It highlights how: Across China, luxury retailers and fancy restaurants are suffering from an edict against wasteful government spending. A chill has crept into karaoke parlours and brothels; mistresses also face a hard time. The reason is the new leadership’s anti-corruption […]
The key to forecasting China’s auto demand since 2008 has been the level of bank lending, as the chart above shows. This was critical in making China the world’s largest auto market. Official data shows average disposable income was just Rmb 10k ($1600) in H1 2014, making it impossible for most people to buy a car out of income: […]
There is an alarming naivety about Western policymakers’ response to events in the Ukraine. They have simply chosen not to recognise that Russia’s strategic objectives are no longer about building links with Europe, but are instead about creating a Eurasian Economic Union (EEU). Thus they assume that Russia will always put its economic interests ahead of its political objectives. And […]
Just as forecast in March, world cotton prices have crashed. Prices peaked at 97.35c/lb on 24 March, just 3 days after the post was published. Since then, they have fallen by a third to 65c/lb. They have now fallen for 11 straight weeks – the longest slump in 55 years, according to Bloomberg. There is no need to repeat […]
Global auto markets have started to move in new directions. That much is clear from comment by the major national auto associations. This will be a shock to manufacturers, who have over-expanded production. Price wars and capacity cutbacks are inevitable if the industry forecasts are correct. The chart starts from 2005, and shows the 7 major […]
The blog’s latest post for the Financial Times, published on the BeyondBrics blog is below. By Paul Hodges of International eChem Strange things are happening in China’s polyethylene (PE) market. Despite a slowdown in the economy, demand is surging. Our research suggests that PE, like copper and iron before it, is the latest instrument of China’s […]
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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.