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 […]
Tag Archives | Eurozone
The good news about EU auto sales, as the chart shows, is that they have stabilised above last year’s record low levels: Sales in the January – May period were up 7% (red square) versus 2013 (green line) at 5.4 million Sales in May itself were up 5% versus 2013 at 1.1m Sales have risen […]
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%, […]
So this is as good as it gets in 2013. That seems to be the sad conclusion from analysis of Q3 operating rate (OR%) data for Europe’s crackers. Actual Q3 OR% inched up to 81%, which was slightly better than 2012′s 80% rate and 2009′s 79% rate. But its a very long way from the […]
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 red line in the above chart from the Financial Times shows how far Eurozone growth has diverged since 2008 from the previous SuperCycle trend (in blue). Unfortunately, most companies failed to spot what might happen as a result of Europe’s ageing population. Instead they spent $bns on new capacity in anticipation of a strong economic […]
Back in April, the blog suggested that capital controls might remain for rather longer in Cyprus than the “few days or weeks” suggested by the central bank. And a month later, the bank was still unrealistically claiming they would be lifted “as soon as possible”. Today, the blog’s own view that they could be in place “for […]
The world’s media are increasingly aware that economic growth is being impacted by major demographic change. Thus the leading UK weekly magazine, the New Statesman, has published this article by the blog last week. It looks at the challenges facing the UK in the next few months. These are, of course, the same challenges that face all the major economies. “The [UK […]
Newton’s 3rd Law of Motion states, “To every action there is always an equal and opposite reaction“. Thus the forces of two bodies on each other are always equal and are directed in opposite directions. Policymakers forgot this Law in their response to the 2008 financial Crisis. Instead they believed that cutting short-term interest rates in the major economies to zero, […]
Governments and central banks never spot recessions till it is too late. Thus after the 2008 Crisis, for example, it was recognised that only a few independent experts such as the blog had forewarned of the danger. Today’s situation seems potentially to be as serious as in 2008. Therefore as promised yesterday, the blog has decided to present its own analysis of the […]
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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 as 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.