The chemical industry continues to be the best leading indicator that we have for the global economy. This is because it is not only the 3rd largest industry (after agriculture and energy), but also because it is truly global and impacts virtually all areas of modern-day life. The chart above therefore presents a very downbeat […]
Tag Archives | China
‘How China fooled the world’ was the subject of an excellent BBC documentary early in 2014 by senior editor, Robert Peston. The BBC headline was as follows: “Now, Peston reveals what has actually happened inside China since the economic collapse in the west in 2008. It is a story of spending and investment on a scale never […]
Believing conventional wisdom can destroy your profits. One example is playing out in the oil market before our eyes. Another example is the myth that China was about to become middle class. Yet income levels always made this impossible: More than 9 out of 10 Chinese earn less than $20/day By comparison, the basic state pension in the UK is 25% higher, at over […]
It feels like the end of an era, as we survey the usual quarterly update of chemical company results. For several years, there have been 3 or 4 key dimensions: US companies have been very profitable due to shale gas Asian companies have done well with volume, due to Chinese demand Middle Eastern companies have done well due to […]
Can you imagine your government publishing a report that showed $6.8tn has been wasted in “ineffective investment” in the past 4 years? That is $6.8tn, by the way, not a typo. And it is more than Japan’s total annual GDP, or the combined annual GDP of Germany and France. No, I thought not. I certainly cannot remember […]
I am just back from my first World Economic Forum meeting, having been invited to join its global chemicals council. My first impression was astonishment - at the complete disconnect between the real knowledge of the experts at the Forum and today’s “consensus wisdom” . China is a great example. The external consensus still thinks the new leadership is focused […]
It is now almost 3 months since I suggested the Great Unwinding was about to hit oil and chemical markets. As the chart above shows, there has since been a major collapse in most of the markets in our benchmark portfolio. Given their role as leading indicators for the global economy, this major downturn is extremely worrying: […]
Be very careful what you wish for. That is the key message coming out of close analysis of China’s latest trade data. Recent media reports were upbeat at news that China’s exports had increased, as it appeared to suggest Western demand was returning. But it seems nothing could be further from the truth. One major concern is that part […]
Iron ore prices on China’s futures market were at 5-year lows yesterday. Copper prices also weakened in Australia. This adds to the blog’s concern that China’s ‘collateral trade’ market is getting closer and closer to its ‘moment of truth’. This will come as an awful shock to most outside observers, who have been led to believe China’s vast imports […]
Chemical production is currently the best leading indicator for the wider economy, as financial markets have lost their power of price discovery due to the impact of central bank stimulus. The above chart, based as always on the excellent American Chemistry Council (ACC) data, continues to flash the orange warning signal first seen last month. The key […]
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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.