Policymakers would be better off following the fortunes of the chemical industry, if they wanted to forecast the global economy, as I describe in my latest post for the Financial Times, published on the BeyondBrics blog Capacity utilisation (CU%) in the chemical industry has long been the best leading indicator for the global economy. The […]
Tag Archives | economic downturn
The above chart from the excellent American Chemistry Council (ACC) weekly report may look a bit baffling at first. But it is worth attention, as it highlights the current state of the industry in real time: It shows US chemical shipments on the vertical axis, and change in inventory on the horizontal axis Both are shown […]
Last night, the BBC ran a 1 hour documentary by its senior editor Robert Peston, who won countless awards for his work during the subprime crisis. It completely confirmed the arguments put forward by the blog in recent months about the scale of the economic crisis now facing China. The BBC introduced the documentary as follows: […]
Everyone remembers the old joke, “Why did the elephant wear dark glasses?”, and the answer, “So that she wouldn’t be recognised”. A new version popped into the blog’s mind this week, when finishing its new Research Note on the impact of China’s new policies on the global economy: “Why did nobody notice that China was the ‘elephant […]
Intuition’s great benefit is that it provides a different perspective. Thus the intuitive concept behind the launch of the IeC Downturn Monitor was that April 2011 would prove a watershed moment for policymakers’ Recovery Scenario after 2008′s financial crisis. Their Scenario essentially had two elements: Acting as a ‘lender of last resort’ when the major banks stopped lending to each other and the […]
Most of today’s executives and policymakers grew up during the SuperCycle. Many therefore continue to believe that a return to constant growth is somehow inevitable. Sadly, of course, they are doomed to disappointment. And disappointment is the predominant message from the blog’s usual quarterly review of company results. Thus BASF note that “achieving our earnings target […]
How has your company reacted to the clear signals from China’s new leadership that they intend to take the economy on a new path? Has it updated its existing contingency plan, and warned employees and shareholders that things may get very tough for a few years? If not, why not? Even companies who don’t trade directly with China […]
There are two great myths in the modern world. One, as discussed yesterday, is that central banks can restore growth to SuperCycle levels. The other is that China’s economy will grow consistenly at high rates for the next decade. Both are wishful thinking, not robust strategies. The chart above highlights the problems with the second […]
The blog is delighted that the Financial Times’ Gillian Tett has been named Journalist of the Year, in the annual UK awards. She was the first journalist to call attention to the dangers developing in financial markets, and has been an invaluable source of information. Two postings, from March 2008 and December 2007, illustrate her […]
The downturn is starting to impact politics all over the world. As an example, take the recent sequence of events in Canada: • In October, Prime Minister Harper increased his vote, but still ended 12 seats short of a majority, after calling an early General Election • Last week, the opposition parties united against his […]
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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.