Yesterday’s failure of the Doha oil producers meeting will hopefully reintroduce a note of sanity into oil markets. After all, Saudi leaders have made it clear, time and time again, that they were no longer interested in operating a cartel where they take the pain of cutting production, and everyone else gains the benefit of […]
Tag Archives | IMF
Only one central banker spotted the subprime crisis before it occurred – William White. Now he is warning that the world will have to revive the Old Testament concept of “debt jubilees“, with much of today’s debt being written off: “Debts have continued to build up over the last eight years and they have reached such […]
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) […]
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 […]
After 6 years of largely-wasted stimulus efforts, the world’s economic advisory bodies are finally having to accept that ageing populations really do impact economic growth. The latest International Monetary Fund’s latest World Economic Outlook finally breaks half of the taboo that has stopped most economists from accepting this seemingly common sense conclusion. Its Summary argues as […]
Government bonds in the larger, wealthy countries of the West have traditionally been regarded as being “risk-free”. Most countries have failed to pay their debts at some time in the past, but it hasn’t happened in the post-War period for the major economies, and so investors have forgotten this can happen. This situation may well change […]
As companies finalise Budgets for 2013-15, many will be thinking long and hard about the implications of the IMF’s new economic forecast: “The recovery continues, but it has weakened. In advanced countries, growth is now too low to make a substantial dent in unemployment. And in major emerging market economies, growth that had been strong […]
Once again, the chemical industry has performed its role as a reliable leading indicator of the global economy. On Friday, the IMF warned their next forecast: “Will be tilted to the downside and certainly lower than the forecast that was published three months ago” This will not be news to blog readers. As the chart […]
The March IeC Boom/Gloom Index confirms the blog’s sense that markets are sitting on a fence, waiting for something to happen. As the chart shows (blue column), it has risen back to 4.1, just at the point which divides strong from weak markets. Similarly the US S&P 500 Index (red line) is stuck at 1369, […]
A month ago, the former UK Finance Minister, Alastair Darling, warned that the European Central Bank (ECB) had “to recognise they have to be the lenders of the last resort”. He added that “This is far worse than the banking crisis of 2008 in its seriousness and, if it is not solved by Christmas, I […]
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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.