The excellent new Spielberg movie, Bridge of Spies, vividly captures the building of the Berlin Wall in 1952. It also reminds us of the excitement when the Wall fell, and European borders reopened after 47 years. Now, Europe’s borders are closing again, pressured by vast Syrian refugee movements and terrorist massacres. France, Germany, Austria and Sweden have […]
Tag Archives | Greece
The chemical industry continues to be the best leading indicator we have for the global economy. Whilst stock markets were continuing to move higher during H1, its depressed level of capacity utilisation was signalling that the economy was far more fragile than generally realised. Company results for Q2 reflect this concern. Of course some, tied […]
“We should not forget the historic nature of what is at stake. “Its about whether a country can leave the euro zone and what that means for the future of an incomplete and flawed European Monetary Union. “Its about whether there may soon be a failed state in southeastern Europe with all the geopolitical consequences […]
The first half of 2015 was the worst half-year for force majeures in the chemical industry since reliable data became available via ICIS news in 2005. As the chart shows, there were 479 reports of outages, more than double H1 2014 and well above the previous peak of 375 in H1 2011. This is absolutely […]
This morning, Greece introduced capital controls. People can only withdraw €60/day ($65) from their bank accounts. The government has also called a referendum on Sunday, after Eurozone talks on a new bailout package collapsed. The key issue is that Greece will never be able to repay its debts. These are currently estimated at €322bn ($365bn) […]
“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 […]
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 […]
We all learnt one crucial lesson from Syriza’s victory in the Greek election last week - voters can halt the European Central Bank (ECB). Or in other words, protest coalitions can trump elite consensus. In places like Spain and France, this effect may not work through immediately, but it is being absorbed. Thus Greece and the Eurozone crisis […]
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%, […]
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 […]
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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.