Latest data for China’s economy continue to suggest a major slowdown is underway: Rail freight, one of Premier Li’s key data points, was down 11% in January – May versus 2014 Total lending was down 15% in H1 versus 2014, with shadow lending down 50% And electricity consumption, his 3rd data point, was up just […]
Tag Archives | financial stability
China’s President Xi Jinping became the first world leader to highlight the move into a “new normal” at the weekend: “China is still in a significant period of strategic opportunity. We must boost our confidence, adapt to the new normal condition based on the characteristics of China’s economic growth in the current phase and stay cool-minded” “Through […]
The blog was very pleased to see the Nobel Prize awarded jointly to Robert Shiller, whose words of wisdom on housing and stock markets it has cited many times. Shiller’s key insight, in his book Irrational Expectations and since, has been to confirm Ben Graham’s famous saying: “In the short term, the market is a […]
Something very strange has been happening to US energy prices over the past 2 years. The chart above shows the ratio between WTI crude oil pricing and natural gas: • It was between 6.0 and 13.0 for 22 years between 1986-2008, with some minor exceptions, and averaged 9.9. • Yet since January 2009, it has […]
Super-fast computers continue to increase their role in financial markets. They first came into prominence in H2 2009, when the ‘correlation trade’ began. Their role is nothing to do with price discovery, the traditional market function. Instead, they trade on algorithms. Their aim is trade arbitrage opportunities between markets on a nano-second by nano-second basis. […]
The blog has recently noted a major change of mindset in the financial community. As the Financial Times commented this week: “For the first time in a long time, banks seem to be in control of their lending policies. During the credit boom, the banks were held hostage by companies and private equity groups, as […]
Gillian Tett, the blog’s favourite financial journalist, highlights today the rampant speculative behaviour in financial markets around the world. Quoting a senior banker, she notes that “highly leveraged short-term trades are back in vogue“. She adds that “traders feel stupid if they don’t leverage up“. The basis for the speculation is that “central bankers have […]
“Never in the field of financial endeavour has so much money been owed by so few to so many. And, one might add, so far with little real reform.” Bank of England Governor, Mervyn King, proposing that banks should be split up. He argues that high-risk trading activities should be split off from low-risk utility […]
A year ago, the International Monetary Fund rightly warned that the world was facing a “serious economic slowdown”. This week, it has updated its forecasts, and now “expects the global economy to come to a virtual standstill in 2009″. This will be “the lowest rate of global GDP growth since World War II”. As the […]
Dominique Strauss-Kahn, MD of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), has a surprisingly hard-hitting interview today in Bloomberg. Casting aside normal central bank reticence he warns: • Their current $1.4 trillion forecast of global financial losses will soon be increased by a “significant” amount. • They will have to further reduce their November GDP forecast, which […]
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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.