“Central banks have to be mindful that too long a period of very low interest rates can have undesirable consequences in the context of ageing societies. For pensioners, and those saving ahead of retirement, low interest rates may not be an inducement to bring consumption forward. They may on the contrary be an inducement to […]
Tag Archives | G-20
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, […]
“The big picture remains unchanged. Four years after the recession officially ended, per capita output and income have yet to return to their pre-crisis highs. The recovery still ranks as the worst since World War II. And despite the modest acceleration in the past two quarters, the recovery shows little sign of gaining momentum.” The […]
The wrong diagnosis can often make the problem worse not better, as doctors know very well. But the message hasn’t got across to policy makers. They refuse to believe that ageing populations spend less and save more – even though all the evidence confirms this commonsense observation. So instead, they have convinced themselves the world […]
Hands-up those who remember the G-20? Well done, Mexican readers, you get full points. But other readers seem doubtful. This weekend the world’s Finance Ministers were meeting in Mexico City, as the country concludes its G-20 presidency. But you wouldn’t know it from the rest of the world’s media coverage. How different from April 2009, […]
3 years ago, many hoped the G20 group of the world’s wealthiest countries might work together to solve the global financial crisis. Last week’s Cannes meeting ended that illusion. Instead, its decision to abandon the Doha trade round, launched in 2001, made it clear we have passed the high-water mark of globalisation. This conclusion was […]
Stock markets around the world are at an important crossroads. The blog’s regular <a href="http://www.icis.com/blogs/chemicals-and-the-economy/2010/09/global-markets-decoupled-over.6 monthly review compares today’s market levels with their 2007/8 pre-Crisis peaks. And as can be seen, none have yet hit a new high. This is quite surprising, given the scale of the G20 and central bank stimulus/liquidity packages over the […]
US Fed Governor Kevin Warsh is one of the few policymakers to focus on reality rather than wishful thinking. He pointed out nearly 3 years ago that liquidity should not be mistaken for capital, although others continue to ignore this uncomfortable fact. Now, in advance of tomorrow’s G-20 meeting of the world’s richest economies, he […]
When the G-20 met in London in April 2009, they produced a Communiqué containing just 688 words. And as the blog noted in conclusion, there was “no sign of a ‘Plan B’ being developed“, in case the Stimulus measures failed to work. This was still the case last September in Pittsburgh, when the Leader’s Statement […]
Politicians finally seem to be giving up on the Stimulus economy. 9 months ago, the leaders of the G20 Group (the world’s major economies) were congratulating themselves on having delivered “the largest and most coordinated fiscal and monetary Stimulus ever undertaken“, and claiming “it worked“. Now, Germany, Europe’s largest economy, has announced €80bn ($96bn) of […]
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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.