Benzene has always been one of the blog’s favourite leading indicators for the global economy. The reason is simple, in that it has been around a long time, and is now used in a very wide range of industries. So it provides us with a broad-based picture of the global economy. The chart above highlights another important […]
Tag Archives | Japan
The blog’s pre-Budget Outlook review of the major auto markets concludes today with Japan and India. Together they are 10% of the global market. But their development is an excellent example of how reality can overtake the wishful thinking of policymakers: Japan (red line) is the larger market. It has lived through countless government stimulus […]
Japan’s new government has embarked on a desperate gamble to restore economic growth after 2 decades of decline. Unfortunately, it is doomed to fail. The chart from the Financial Times, explains why. And the reason is very simple: One in four Japanese are now over the age of 65 And this proportion is continuing to rise, […]
We are now nearly at the end of May, and still there is no sign of a sustained recovery in demand. This mirrors the weakness seen in January and March – normally also very strong months. Now, unless seasonal patterns are overturned, demand will remain slow until September – when people return from holidays and […]
Stock market investors in Japan are feeling very pleased. The Nikkei share index has risen 40% since new premier Abe was elected last year. And now the new governor of the Bank of Japan has confirmed he plans to wave a magic wand to restore economic growth and create inflation. He is not bothered that […]
The blog’s 6 monthly review of global stock markets highlights a very unusual pattern since global demand and chemical markets peaked on 29 April 2011, as the chart shows: • Markets in developed economies have powered ahead with Japan up 24%, the US S&P 500 up 14%, the UK up 8% and Germany up 6% […]
The arrival of the internet should make it easier to source key data from around the world. But instead, it seems to encourage Twitter-like behaviour, where everyone simply repeats what has already been said. How else to explain the almost universal view that government bond yields in countries such as the US and UK are […]
On 29 June 1987, the blog was in S Korea on a business trip. With its ICI Korea colleagues, it arrived at the company we were due to visit, to find the gate open. The offices were also deserted. Surprised, we walked into the factory to find 500 people watching a small black and white […]
China’s economic growth has become more and more unbalanced over the past 10 years, as we discussed in chapter 6 of Boom, Gloom and the New Normal. Its domestic consumption is now only around a third of GDP, compared to 50% a decade ago. Instead, the leadership has focused on achieving growth via exports and […]
Since the start of the Crisis, many policymakers have chosen to look backwards rather than forwards. Instead of facing reality, the US has wasted $5trn on stimulus programmes and quantitative easing. Whilst China created a massive credit bubble by doubling bank lending in 2009 to reach 1/3rd of GDP. Yet in the end, demographics drive […]
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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.