One of the great myths of our time is that the world’s population is inevitably growing. Almost everyone has heard that the population is certain to reach 9bn by 2050, from today’s 7.3bn. Yet births in 2013 in the G7 economies (almost half of the global economy) were at the lowest level since the Great Depression year […]
Tag Archives | inflation
Another week, and another record high for US oil inventories. Oil prices clearly have some way to go, before they return to being based on the fundamentals of supply and demand. Thankfully, the looking-glass world of $100/bbl prices has finally begun to shatter over the past 9 months. And we can expect prices to return to historical […]
The world is about to be hit by a demand shock equivalent to 1973′s supply shock. Yet, astonishingly, most commentators remain so focused on central bank activity, that they have completely missed what is happening. Here’s how it is playing out. You may remember the ‘The pH Report‘ forecast in early December that: “Oil prices […]
Sometimes the blog gets lucky with its timing. That was certainly the case when it spoke to the world’s leading bond investors last week. Just an hour before, they had been shocked by news that US GDP had fallen by 2.9% in Q1, far worse than earlier estimates. And nobody believed the official excuse that […]
William White was the only central banker to publicly warn of the risks to the world economy long before the Crisis, when he was chief economist of the Bank for International Settlements (the central bankers’ bank). He also warned of the problems that would be caused by their stimulus programmes as early as September 2009. A blog […]
Question: Why will Starbucks reduce the menu price for its venti green-tea frappucino in Japan next Tuesday, when the price is actually going up? Answer: Because the government hopes the lower menu price will fool people into thinking the price has gone down It is, of course, a nonsense. And no doubt most Japanese will be quite annoyed that […]
Demographics drives demand. If it doesn’t, then its hard to think what does. So forecasting economic growth depends on two key variables: If you have lots of young people in your adult population, then you should have fast growth If you have lots of older people, then you will be lucky to have any growth […]
The last in the blog’s series on things that we think we know, but may not, looks at the prospects for inflation. A new survey this week of the world’s wealthiest individuals summed up the consensus view: “If there are two factors that make the rich stand out, on this survey, it is their fear […]
The mention of deflation in the above front page headline of Friday’s Financial Times will not have surprised blog readers. But it appears that not enough people in the European Central Bank read the blog, as the FT went on to report the ECB’s sense of ”shock” at the thought that deflation could now be just around the corner. This highlights the enormous […]
China’s leaders have a lot to worry about. The purge of Bo Xilai has now been followed by news of his wife being suspected of murder. This makes the run-up to October’s leadership transition even more difficult. Only 3 months ago, Bo was being tipped by some to join the Politburo, and even to become […]
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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.