The world enjoyed an economic SuperCycle between 1982-2007. Its largest economy, the USA, suffered just 16 months of recession during the whole 25 years. As a result, social and political issues took a back-seat. Politicians instead competed to occupy the middle ground. Former UK premier Margaret Thatcher’s phrase ‘you can’t buck the markets’, became received […]
Tag Archives | India
Many analysts have argued that demand in India could easily replace volumes lost due to a slowing Western economy. Sadly, this week has provided further evidence of why this is merely wishful thinking. As the chart shows, India’s GDP is the same size as Canada’s. But India’s 1.4bn people means its GDP/capita is only $1371, […]
Many chemical companies now believe it is inevitable that China and India will reach developed economy status. Some even believe that their strong growth will mean “the end of economic cycles”. But as we discuss in chapter 6 of ‘Boom, Gloom and the New Normal’, the new International eChem/ICIS eBook, there are three major risks […]
ICIS pricing is a very valuable resource, particularly at market turning points. It highlighted the start of the current downturn in April, when reporting that buyers had moved to operating on a ‘hand to mouth’ basis. Now, its market editors are highlighting the fragility of demand due to ‘economic uncertainty’. This is the moment when […]
It is now 5 weeks since the IeC Downturn Alert was launched. The chart above therefore updates the blog’s regular review of financial markets, showing how these have moved over the same period. Most are down around 4%-5%. Russia is the worst performer (down 8%) and Brazil the best (down 3%). But government bond prices […]
The OECD’s leading indicators for the global economy suggest that GDP growth is continuing to slow. As the above chart from the American Chemistry Council shows, the OECD’s three key indicators have all slipped from H1 2010′s peaks. The composite indicator (blue) has fallen sharply to +5% from +13%, whilst industrial production (red) is down […]
US auto sales disappointed again last month. As the chart shows, January (red square) came in well below the 1.1m level that was normal during the Boom years. And even this 819k sales level required major increases in incentives. GM, of course, was focused on stabilising its stock price after the IPO, so it needed […]
US crude oil and product stocks have started the year where they finished in 2010. As the black dot on the above chart from Petromatrix shows, they are at yet another seasonal record. In terms of numbers, they are 101 million barrels above 2008 levels, and even 8 million barrels above last year. It is […]
The chemical industry has been one of the great beneficiaries from globalisation over the past 25 years. Today, it is hard to remember just how restricted markets used to be. Tariffs often applied within Regions, as well as between them. In his early years as a product manager, the blog would often spend days trying […]
Major changes are taking place in US retailing. They echo the changing focus of emerging Asian markets. Taken together, these must have important implications for chemical demand. US retail markets have been evolving over the past 3 years, as the Crisis began to hit, and the baby-boomers moved beyond the peak 25 – 54 age […]
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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.