The UK no longer leads the world in soccer, as next month’s World Cup will confirm. But it can still hold its own when it comes to creating house price bubbles. China would be the obvious winner of the World Bubble Championship, with Shanghai prices at an eye-watering 29 times average earnings. But London would have […]
Tag Archives | housing
The blog’s recent Research Note on the likely impact of China’s economic reforms has attracted enormous interest. As a result, it will hold 2 free webinars on Wednesday to discuss the outlook in more detail. The webinars will be co-hosted with John Richardson, author of the Asian Chemical Connections blog – and co-author with the blog of Boom, […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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, […]
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 […]
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 […]
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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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.