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 […]
Tag Archives | deflation
Brent oil prices closed at $104.71/bbl on Friday 15 August. On the following Monday morning, I published the first post in my Great Unwinding series, arguing that: “The Great Unwinding of the failed stimulus policies since 2008 has now begun…oil markets are starting to follow cotton and other commodities in refocusing on the fundamentals of supply and […]
Could Japan actually go bankrupt at some point in the future? This was the question left hanging in the air after Friday’s panic at the Bank of Japan, when its Governor forced through his new stimulus policy on a 5 – 4 vote. Financial markets’ first reaction was to assume this was a coup de théâtre on […]
We are now two-thirds of the way through 2014, and critical decisions are looming for companies and investors. Do they give central banks one more chance to stimulate growth? And are they prepared to trust policymakers to avoid a major geopolitical crisis in the Ukraine? Or do they decide that ‘enough is enough’, and that […]
The blog found it hard to believe, when it started to research for Boom, Gloom and the New Normal, how little information existed on basic facts such as population size and annual births. Some countries such as the UK and Japan have data going back a century. But they are the exceptions: US annual data […]
The blog’s analysis about the inevitability of slowing demand and deflation was warmly received at Euromoney’s latest Global Bond Investors’ Congress. Far fewer of this year’s attendees still believed that central banks could return the Western economy to SuperCycle growth levels. Thus its concept of the 3 Normals received a most enthusiastic response. This week has seen even greater interest develop […]
Sometimes the blog gets lucky with its timing. That was certainly the case when it spoke to the world’s leading bond investors last week. Just an hour before, they had been shocked by news that US GDP had fallen by 2.9% in Q1, far worse than earlier estimates. And nobody believed the official excuse that […]
It is impossible to overstate the seriousness of today’s threat from deflation. Policymakers refuse to accept that demographic change can create an economic impact. Instead, they want to believe that increasing debt can somehow stimulate growth. The Financial Times has kindly headlined the blog’s letter on this subject as its lead letter. June 10, 2014 […]
A year ago, European policymakers and central bankers were dismissive when the blog suggested deflation was a far bigger threat than inflation – when it was speaking at the world’s major conference for bond investors. Later this month, the blog expects a different response when returning to speak at the same conference. Last week, the European Central Bank (ECB) was forced to […]
The blog first learnt about the network effect in the late 1990s, during the successful launch of the eBusiness platforms CheMatch and then ChemConnect. Its Silicon Valley colleagues patiently explained that markets tended to move in predictable stages, once a new concept or product was launched: Everyone would initially jump on the bandwagon, not wanting […]
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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.