The blog continues to worry about signs of a slowdown in China. Major commodity trader, Glencore, said this week “we see a pullback in China and it will continue“. This challenges the views of Dow CEO Andrew Liveris last month, and Rhodia CEO Jean-Pierre Clamadieu – who said last week he saw “no material signs […]
Tag Archives | inflation
The South China Mall opened nearly 6 years ago. Nearly 3 times the size of Minnesota’s vast Mall of America in the USA, it supposedly symbolised China’s arrival as a consumer power. But as this Australian TV video shows, the Mall today is virtually empty. As are numerous other shopping malls built more recently. Yet […]
China’s inflation hit 5.4% last month. As the chart above shows, it has more than doubled over the past year. And food prices jumped 11.7%. Clearly, inflation is now out of control, with the Ministry of Finance admitting the situation is “severe and hard to handle“. A sign of the scale of the problem is […]
When China announced that inflation had reached 5.1% in November, the authorities insisted it was only a temporary peak. But this seems less likely today, with January’s inflation still at 4.9%. The surge in food prices is very worrying. They jumped 10.3%. And with a major drought underway in the North East, there is a […]
The blog’s Boom/Gloom Index presents a fascinating picture this month. The main Index (blue column) remains strongly positive, in keeping with the solid performance of most stock markets. It confirms evidence from other sentiment indices that investors are optimistic about the outlook. But the Austerity index (red line) refuses to collapse. It is, of course, […]
After the events of the past few days in Egypt, it seems timely to look at the latest state of the ‘correlation trade’ currently ruling global financial markets. As the chart shows, prices for WTI crude oil (green line), continue to follow those of the S&P 500 (blue) in most remarkable fashion. The trade is […]
What happens if you suddenly double bank lending in a country, and make it equal to 1/3rd of total GDP? And, as part of the experiment, add a further 13% of GDP via a $580bn stimulus programme? We don’t know yet, because it has never been done before. But we are about to find out. […]
In one of its first posts, at the time of the ill-fated Access deal for Lyondell in July 2007, the blog highlighted the strange divergence that had developed between the front pages of the newspapers, and their business coverage: “If you read the financial pages of your newspaper, everything sounds rosy. But if you turn […]
China’s export-led economy was badly hit when the financial Crisis began in Q4 2008. In response, the government moved quickly to stimulate domestic consumption, in order to keep people employed. It doubled bank lending overnight, and introduced a $580bn stimulus programme. Worth 13% of GDP, this alone was far larger than any seen elsewhere. Doubling […]
China’s leadership seems to be increasingly confident about its ability to redirect the economy towards more domestic consumption over time, and away from the previous over-reliance on exports. As the above chart shows, bank lending (red column) is well on track to meet the $1.1trn target set for 2010, down 21% from 2009′s high. 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.