“Its only when the tide goes out that you learn who’s been swimming naked.” We may soon discover the meaning of this wisdom from Warren Buffett, one of the world’s leading investors. The reason is that the macro trends that have driven growth in the global chemical sector are now turning. For the past five […]
Tag Archives | housing
Last week saw new Bank of England governor, Mark Carney, follow the lead of US Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke on trying to deliver a ‘quick fix’ for the economy by boosting asset prices – particularly house prices and stock market levels. But as the Bank of England chart shows, this means trying to return the ratio of house prices to earnings back […]
US housing is core to the US economy. And as the US economy is 22% of the global economy, developments in housing matter to all of us. We learnt this during the subprime Crisis, when the blog’s warnings that the supposed boom was an illusion were ignored until too late. Now the same problem is developing again. Thus […]
US investors are continuing to excite themselves over the potential for a re-run of the sub-prime housing boom from 2003-7. Thus they welcomed last week’s news of higher house prices with a major rally, after having ignored earlier reports of a slower pace in housing starts themselves. As the chart shows: • Starts dropped back […]
It would be nice to believe that a sustained recovery was now underway in the US housing market. But unfortunately, there is little evidence to confirm the claims now being made. As the chart of prices from the S&P Case-Shiller index shows: • February prices (red square) remain in the same range seen since the […]
Is a recovery underway in the US housing market? Investors on Wall Street certainly think so. One over-excited fund manager called the blog recently to exclaim “housing starts were at 500k, now they are at 900k, and they’ll be back to 2 million within a year or two”. His definition of a pessimist was someone […]
When ‘everybody knows’ something, experience has taught the blog to become very suspicious. And when everybody knows that rising US house prices are certain to drive a US economic recovery, it becomes very suspicious: • For a start, as the above chart shows, the prices shown in the authoritative S&P Case-Shiller Index haven’t actually risen […]
The UK housing market has led a charmed life in recent years. Unlike the US, Spain, Ireland and many other Western countries, prices have not collapsed. Instead, near zero interest rates, and the high proportion of mortgages on variable rates, meant that UK homeowners have seen their monthly payments reduce dramatically. There is just one […]
It has been obvious for most of this year that China’s economy is in trouble. As the blog wrote in the Financial Times in March: “PTA is thus warning that China’s economy could be slowing faster than generally realised”. Yet it is hard for the government to move beyond short-term responses: • The new Politburo […]
Housing used to be the engine-room of the US economy. Rising prices allowed people to use their house as a cash machine. In turn, this drove GDP growth, as consumer spending is 70% of the US economy. But for the past 5 years, this process has gone into reverse: • Owners now have $9.18tn in […]
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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.