Who would pay the bill, if Greece defaulted on its current €320bn debt ($340bn)? This is no longer just a theoretical question. Of course, we have all known since 2012 that Greece would never be able to repay its debt. But the EU covered up this hard truth by a ‘pretend and extend’ policy: The default deal deferred repayment […]
Tag Archives | ECB
On 7 September 2008, in its now famous warning that a financial crisis was imminent, the blog noted that “‘Deleveraging’ is an ugly word, and it has ugly implications“. The chart above shows just how ugly these implications are becoming for the PIIGS countries (Portugal, Italy, Ireland, Greece, Spain). It is based on data produced […]
Pensions were one of the great inventions of the past century. Now the European Central Bank (ECB) has issued a ‘wake-up call’ on the affordability issues that lie ahead. The reason is very simple. As we note in ‘Boom, Gloom and the New Normal’, pensions were introduced first introduced in Germany in 1889, and then […]
Stock markets soared after the eurozone meeting this week. But the head of the German central bank warned “The envisaged leverage instruments are similar to those which were among the origins of the crisis, because they temporarily masked the risks.” It is clearly far too early to assume that EU leaders have really decided to […]
Greece is about to become the first developed country to default on its debts since 1964. On Thursday night, Eurozone leaders finally agreed to reduce Greece’s €350bn debts, if only by 21%. They also agreed to take the first steps towards the creation of a European Monetary Fund. After more than a year of defying […]
The Dominique Strauss-Kahn affair may come to be seen as a critical turning point, when the story of the Greek default is written. The then IMF head was en route to meet German Chancellor Merkel, when arrested in New York last month. He had been at the forefront of the campaign to pretend that Greece […]
Many Greeks have always preferred not to pay taxes, and to retire in their 50s. This lifestyle was well understood by their new partners when they joined the Eurozone a decade ago, since when German/French banks have happily funded it with support from their governments. The chart, from the Bank of International Settlements (the central […]
The US Federal Reserve used just to manage monetary policy for the 12 ‘districts’ of the USA. But now, it is going global. First, it opened unlimited “swap lines” with other G7 countries through the European Central Bank, the Bank of England and the Bank of Japan, as well as the Swiss National Bank. Then, […]
Yesterday the European Central Bank opened its doors and lent €349bn to 390 banks seeking to shore up their reserves position for year-end. Will this help solve the credit crunch? Writing today in the Financial Times, their excellent banking editor (Gillian Tett) is doubtful. She worries that ‘the banks know something nasty that we don’t’, […]
The past two Thursdays have seen extraordinary things happen in financial markets. Last Thursday, BNP Paribas suspended redemptions on 3 of its funds, forcing the ECB to inject €95bn of liquidity into the financial system. Yesterday, the largest US mortgage lender, Countrywide Financial, had to raise an emergency €11.5bn loan in order to continue trading, […]
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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.