Tag Archives | China

US shale gas expansions highlight lack of demand

One good thing may come out of the current excitement over the US ethylene expansions being discussed on the basis of shale gas developments. Boards may decide to look at seriously at the way yesterday’s ‘demographic dividend’ has now become today’s ‘demographic deficit’.  That would be a major step forward for the US and the […]

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China’s struggle for a new economy

“To most outsiders the language of official declarations is mind-numbing. Yet, having listened to Premier Li Keqiang and vice-premier Zhang Gaoli, I found (their plans) at least analytically convincing. They clearly recognise the need for decisive action in response to the challenges faced. What they want to do also makes good sense both on economic […]

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China’s electricity consumption shows growth at 4.5% and slowing

There’s a lot of wishful thinking underway about China’s future growth.  All the experts who told us that its growth was ‘inevitable’ and would never end, are now having to face the issue that clearly growth is now slowing fast. Their response, of course, is to remain in Denial mode.  They imagine that a magic […]

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China’s lending problems begin to worry wider world – too late

Suddenly, people are starting to talk about China and the risks it creates for the global economy.  There is a lifecycle to the way that such issues develop in the general consciousness, as John Mauldin has observed.  And so this development suggests that we are now well along the process, as highlighted in the chart above: […]

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Surprise! Economists suddenly wake up to reality about China

“Forget the Crimea annexation or a U.S.-Russia standoff. The biggest international threat to U.S. economic growth is the slowdown in China, say economists polled by The Wall Street Journal (WSJ).” That was last week’s headline in the WSJ.  These, of course, are the same economists who have been busy telling us for years that China […]

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China focuses on domestic PE production, ME/SEA imports

China’s growth has been the main support for the global economy since the Crisis began in Q4 2008.  The slide above captures the extent of this in polyethylene (PE), one of the world’s largest chemical markets, based on data from China’s chemical association and Global Trade Information Services: The total market grew 11% in the 3 […]

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Q4 results show companies still waiting for something to turn up

We all live in hope.  That seems to be the underlying message from the blog’s quarterly survey of company results. Nothing has changed since last quarter or indeed Q2, when BASF noted that “achieving our earnings target is significantly more challenging today than we had expected”. Yet this latest quarter was, of course, supposed to be […]

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Sentiment weakens as US stock markets wait for more QE

Sentiment, as measured by the IeC Boom/Gloom Index has weakened considerably over the past 3 months as the chart shows: It peaked at 12 in November, hitting its highest level since before the 2008 Crisis began (blue column) It then drifted lower in December, before rallying back to 9 in the New Year But now […]

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Beijing pollution Feb14

Beijing smog makes it “almost uninhabitable for human beings”

Chapter 6 of Boom, Gloom and the New Normal in October 2011 was one of the first detailed analyses to highlight the way in which pollution was rapidly moving up the political agenda in China.  Controversial at the time, it warned: “Recent growth in China and India has come at a price: Poor air quality, chronic water […]

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US PVC exports fail to grow in 2013, despite shale gas boost

Trade data for net US PVC exports seems to be trying to tell us something very important about the current state of the global economy.  As the chart shows, based on data from Global Trade Information Services: Net exports failed to grow in 2013 (red column) versus 2012 (black) and were only up 2% versus 2011 […]

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