The blog’s series on the VUCA world today reaches C for Complexity. Interest rates are key to company profitability. They determine rates of return for new investments, and their affordability. They also have a major influence on consumer spending patterns. The debate over their future direction is just one example of current Complexity: • Financial […]
Tag Archives | interest rates
Interest rates are key to the direction of the global economy. But not in the way that was true during the 1982-2007 economic SuperCycle. Then, there was a global surplus of savings, due to the vast numbers of people in the Wealth Creating 25 – 54 age group. So interest rates reduced dramatically in most […]
Stock markets around the world are at an important crossroads. The blog’s regular <a href="http://www.icis.com/blogs/chemicals-and-the-economy/2010/09/global-markets-decoupled-over.6 monthly review compares today’s market levels with their 2007/8 pre-Crisis peaks. And as can be seen, none have yet hit a new high. This is quite surprising, given the scale of the G20 and central bank stimulus/liquidity packages over the […]
UK housing markets followed the US lead in recent decades. Conservative and Labour governments both shared a belief in extending property ownership as widely as possible. But what neither foresaw was the ‘unintended consequence’. Their policy of boosting home ownership coincided with the entry of the BabyBoom generation (those born between 1946-70) into the 25 […]
The UK housing market has presented a confusing picture over the past 2 years. Unlike Spain, Ireland, or the USA, the lax lending conditions of the Boom years did not seem to lead to major price falls. In fact, along with Australia (benefiting from China’s commodity boom), UK prices even appeared to recover. This was […]
The blog is very pleased to have been invited to write for today’s Financial Times. Its article looks at the influence of the Western ‘baby-boom generation’, born between 1946-70. Typically, as in the UK, the period saw a 25% jump in the number of births compared to pre-War levels. Since 1970, births have fallen back […]
The blog’s 6 monthly survey of major stock markets, now including the US 30 year Treasury bond, shows mixed performance since March: • The worst performers have been Shanghai and Tokyo, down ~12%. They are also the worst performers since the pre-Crisis peak, down ~50%. • In the middle are the US, UK, Russia and […]
With the Chairman of the US Federal Reserve saying the outlook is “unusually uncertain“, its time to summon the chemical market genie. Of course, rubbing the lamp is not always successful. And if the genie does arrive, one can only ask 3 questions. So rather than risk wasting them, the blog has learnt to spend […]
Consumer spending is 70% of US GDP. And because US GDP is so large, this means the US consumer is 17% of global GDP. This is the same as the combined GDP of China and Japan, who rank 2 and 3 after the USA. So a change in US consumer spending matters. And it particularly […]
High quality 3 year government bond yields are now less than 1%, as shown in the above chart from thechartstore.com of the US Treasury market. US rates have not been this low since the 1940′s and 1950′s. This has also led to a major rally in corporate bonds, based on increasing fears of a double-dip […]
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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.