Debt, debt, glorious debt, Nothing quite like it for cooling the blood. So follow me, follow, down to the hollow And there let us wallow in glorious debt (apologies to Flanders & Swann) It seems impossible today, but until the year 2000 most Western countries were reducing their debt burdens. Thus President Bill Clinton boasted […]
Tag Archives | debt
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 […]
We all learnt one crucial lesson from Syriza’s victory in the Greek election last week - voters can halt the European Central Bank (ECB). Or in other words, protest coalitions can trump elite consensus. In places like Spain and France, this effect may not work through immediately, but it is being absorbed. Thus Greece and the Eurozone crisis […]
Some extraordinary things are happening in global chemical markets. They indicate something is very wrong in the real world outside financial markets. The chart above highlights some key developments since 18 August when the Great Unwinding of policymaker stimulus began: Brent oil prices have halved and are down 51% (blue) Naphtha, the main feedstock for the global industry, has also halved […]
The blog’s new Research Note in the ‘Your Compass on China’ series highlights the way that China’s commodity imports have been used to finance its housing bubble. This is clearly a shock for investors, who have till now believed the imports were a sign of its superior economic policies and long-term growth prospects. The Qingdao probe could […]
“Not with a bang but with a whimper”. The blog’s 6-monthly webinar for the American Chemical Society (ACS) takes place next Thursday, 5 June, at 14.00 Eastern Summer Time. And once again, the ACS has kindly arranged for blog readers to register for it free of charge. As feared in last December’s Year-end Review, the promised economic […]
A political earthquake hit Europe in the European Union elections on Sunday night: For the first time since the War, mainstream parties were beaten in major countries In France, the National Front won 25% of the vote, with conservatives 21% and ruling socialist party only 14% In the UK, the Independence Party (UKIP) won 28%, […]
Whisper it quietly, so as not to disturb policymakers’ dreams. But the charts above from the Financial Times confirm, as if proof were needed, that their policies of the past 5 years haven’t worked. The charts compare trends in economic growth in the world’s two largest economies, the Eurozone and the USA. As the arrows indicate, both are […]
The Eurozone crisis has been quiet since the summer of 2012, as the markets waited for the German election. But now this has occurred, it is unlikely that the problem can continue to be ignored. It is easy to forget the drama of May 2012, when the blog correctly forecast a crisis was about to occur in […]
The blog is becoming worried about the likely outlook for Q2. Sentiment now seems to be weakening alongside the fundamentals of supply/demand: • Fundamentals. The start of 2013 has been a disappointment. Demand has shown some recovery after the low levels seen at the end of Q4. But there have been few signs of any […]
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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.