Debt, debt, glorious debt, Nothing quite like it for cooling the blood. So follow me, follow, down to the hollow And there let us wallow in glorious debt (apologies to Flanders & Swann) It seems impossible today, but until the year 2000 most Western countries were reducing their debt burdens. Thus President Bill Clinton boasted […]
Tag Archives | Japan
There has been a lot of wishful thinking over the past 15 years about the BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India and China). The experts told us they were all going to become middle class overnight, and ensure that global growth continued to motor, even as the West slowed. Reality has proved rather different, of course. This makes […]
More and more commentators are beginning to recognise that deflation is becoming inevitable in many major economies: China’s producer prices fell -4.3% last month, and its consumer prices rose just 0.8% Eurozone consumer prices fell in December to -0.2%, and are likely to have fallen further in January US prices rose just 0.8% in December and are […]
Could Japan actually go bankrupt at some point in the future? This was the question left hanging in the air after Friday’s panic at the Bank of Japan, when its Governor forced through his new stimulus policy on a 5 – 4 vote. Financial markets’ first reaction was to assume this was a coup de théâtre on […]
The best view is always from the top of the mountain. And that seems where we are today in global auto markets. They are on track for another record year. And even better news is that sales have risen in each of the 5 major markets for the first time since 2007. The bad news is that […]
The blog’s 6-monthly review of global stock markets highlights the narrow nature of the advance since September 2008, when the blog first began analysing developments. It shows their performance since the pre-Crisis peak for each market, and the performance of the US 30-year Treasury bond. Remarkably, only the US, India, Germany and the UK stock markets […]
Car sales in Japan, Russia, Brazil and India currently account for just under 1 in 5 of global sales. Their market share peaked at 21% in 2008, but is today back at 2005′s level of 17%. As the chart shows, it has been a roller-coaster ride for all of them: Japan’s 4.7m sales were 10% of the global total […]
The Cycle of Deflation has taken another lurch forward. The reason was India’s decision to veto last year’s Bali deal to streamline customs procedures. Almost certainly, this will prove the dying effort of the World Trade Organisation, which sponsored the proposal. The blog is particularly sad at this outcome. It has always believed that free […]
A new article by an IMF economist makes the point that in April 2008, not a single one of the mainstream economic forecasts covered by ‘Consensus Economics’ was forecasting a recession in 2009. The IMF itself expected growth to continue, as did the World Bank and the Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development. Even by […]
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 […]
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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.