Tag Archives | housing

China’s slowdown accelerates as IOUs substitute for credit

The end of Q1 seems a good moment to look back at the position of the benchmark markets in the IeC Downturn Monitor.  Compared to previous quarters, there has been surprisingly little movement: Benzene has remained the most volatile, with supply outages temporarily pushing up prices (green line) HDPE has trended higher, but these are […]

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Local buyers priced out of London housing market

Most people, if they are lucky, never get to see a property bubble during their lives.  But those of us alive today have seen two distinct types of bubble in action: The first has been the Ponzi-type bubble sponsored by government lending policies, as seen in the subprime era and now in China.  These take […]

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UK tinkers with higher pension ages, ignores impact on GDP

Many readers have asked to see how the UK economy is being impacted by its ageing population, following the blog’s December series on the US, China, Japan, Germany and France.  As the chart shows, it is in a very similar position to all of these countries: Life expectancy has increased by 17% to 81 years today, from […]

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US PVC exports fail to grow in 2013, despite shale gas boost

Trade data for net US PVC exports seems to be trying to tell us something very important about the current state of the global economy.  As the chart shows, based on data from Global Trade Information Services: Net exports failed to grow in 2013 (red column) versus 2012 (black) and were only up 2% versus 2011 […]

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China’s urban consumers depend on property ‘wealth effect’

One of the great myths of modern times is that China is now full of middle class people with Western levels of consumption.  Nothing could be further from the truth. Annual per capita incomes have certainly soared over the past two decades.  But the main impact has been to lift people out of absolute poverty, […]

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“The dog ate my homework”: excuses for economic slowdown

There were never any excuses from policymakers during the BabyBoomer-led SuperCycle from 1983 – 2007.  The Chairman of the US Federal Reserve, Alan Greenspan, came to be styled ‘The Maestro’.  Whilst the Governor of the Bank of England argued that his efforts had created the NICE decade of Non-Inflationary Constant Expansion. Central bankers came to be seen as wise […]

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US house price recovery “living on borrowed time”

Housing used to be the key driver for US chemical demand in the SuperCycle, and went into overdrive in the subprime era between 2003-6, when housing starts rose to 2 million/year.  We don’t yet have December’s data, but we already know that 2013′s total will be only half this level, despite all policymakers’ efforts to revive the […]

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Asian ethylene margins soar on China stimulus, plant outages

Volatility is one of the blog’s key themes for the next few years, as the world transitions to slower growth and a more regional economy.  And the chart above from the latest ICIS pricing Asian ethylene margin report highlights this new trend very well: Margins jumped 42% last week to reach $290/t, based on naphtha […]

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A little bit of China stimulus goes a long way in housing

It was only a “mini-stimulus” that was delivered by China’s new leaders in July.  Well, thank goodness it wasn’t more, to judge by the above chart from Albert Edwards at SocGen.  It shows how house price inflation has jumped in 69 of China’s 70 main cities between March and September: In March (orange column) inflation […]

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Income and age will determine American’s future housing needs

Affordability is the key factor in today’s markets.  And nowhere is this more true than in US housing.  The subprime lending boom of the early 2000s is now long finished.  And US GDP growth averages just 1.7% since 2000.  So understanding the detailed picture of income levels is becoming critically important for forecasting future demand. Housing used […]

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