Volatility creates uncertainty. And uncertainty can easily lead to paralysis, if a company hasn’t planned ahead for the range of potential scenarios that might develop. This is the risk highlighted in my usual analysis of quarterly results. A key warning sign is the divide that has developed recently in performance in different regions and industry sectors, […]
Tag Archives | crude oil prices
Data over the past month continues to confirm my fears that the US housing recovery is going into reverse. The argument was summed up yesterday by S&P’s chairman, when reporting Case/Shiller housing price data for December: “The housing recovery is faltering. While prices and sales of existing homes are close to normal, construction and new home […]
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, […]
The best view is always from the top of the mountain. That’s probably why the outlook seems so promising for US auto and housing markets. Both appear to be doing well on the surface, but dig a little deeper and concerns soon emerge. The chart above demonstrates the point, updating the data from my July post […]
The best view is always from the top of the mountain. And that seems where we are today in global auto markets. They are on track for another record year. And even better news is that sales have risen in each of the 5 major markets for the first time since 2007. The bad news is that […]
Nobody knows how the Great Unwinding of central bank stimulus policies will develop. The world has simply never been in this position before. Thus the senior economics and business correspondent of the Financial Times, John Plender, began an article this week: “In a market where asset prices are comprehensively rigged by central bankers, rational investment […]
The Great Unwinding of the central banks stimulus policies is underway, as discussed last week. Oil markets have been one of the first to feel the change, as the chart shows, with prices finally falling out of the ‘triangle’ shape built up since 2008. The value of the US$, interest rates and the S&P 500 […]
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 […]
Slowly but surely the myths over supposed supply shortages in the crude oil market are being exposed. As leading US investment magazine Barron’s wrote this week: “In May, U.S. production hit its highest monthly average level since 1988 and is projected to keep rising. Domestic supplies have piled up in storage, especially on the Gulf […]
Imagine that 5 years ago, you had been asked by your Board to forecast future oil prices. And suppose you had prepared a forecast which said: Oil demand growth will slow in the West, as cars become more fuel-efficient and ageing populations drive less Demand growth in the emerging economies will be supported temporarily by real estate […]
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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.