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 […]
Tag Archives | Japan
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 […]
Markets stopped operating in their true role of providing price discovery sometime ago. Instead, they became dominated by the central banks, determined to prove their theory that increased asset values can stimulate sustained economic recovery. They, of course, have the firepower to bend markets to their will. Nobody else could have spent $16tn in this manner […]
Autos remain the world’s largest manufacturing industry, and the single biggest source of demand for chemicals and plastics. According to detailed analysis by the American Chemistry Council, each new US auto is worth $3,539 in terms of sales – and involves a wide range of products including antifreeze, plastic dashboards, bumpers and windows, as well as upholstery […]
The blog’s new series on the likely demographic impact on the world’s Top 5 economies today moves across NEA to focus on Japan – the world’s 3rd largest economy ($6tn). As the chart shows: It has seen life expectancy (red column) increase by a third since 1950, to reach 82 years today At the same time, its […]
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 […]
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 […]
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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.