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, […]
Tag Archives | deflation
More and more commentators are beginning to recognise that deflation is becoming inevitable in many major economies: China’s producer prices fell -4.3% last month, and its consumer prices rose just 0.8% Eurozone consumer prices fell in December to -0.2%, and are likely to have fallen further in January US prices rose just 0.8% in December and are […]
The above chart highlights one major reason behind my forecast last August that oil prices were about to collapse. This was that US inventories were so high, storage was starting to run out: Inventory had reached all-time record levels, and was at around 60 days of sales (blue area) And so prices simply had to fall, to […]
The world is about to be hit by a demand shock equivalent to 1973′s supply shock. Yet, astonishingly, most commentators remain so focused on central bank activity, that they have completely missed what is happening. Here’s how it is playing out. You may remember the ‘The pH Report‘ forecast in early December that: “Oil prices […]
In 2013, there were fewer births in the G7 countries – responsible for nearly 50% of the global economy – than in any year since the Great Depression year of 1933.* As the chart also shows, 1933 was an exception. Births bounced back immediately afterwards. But the low figure in 2013 is part of the declining trend seen since […]
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 […]
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 […]
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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.