The blog’s 6-monthly review of global financial markets highlights some interesting developments. It began 4 years ago, and was followed by the co-ordinated G-20 stimulus programme in March 2009. This ran out of steam by April 2011, leading the blog to launch its IeC Downturn Alert. The slide above shows market performance since then. The […]
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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 […]
Global bond investors have found a new worry. 10 year interest rates in Spain, the world’s 12th largest economy, have risen alarmingly in recent weeks. As the chart shows, they are now above 7% (blue column) compared to 4% when the blog first focused on the Eurozone crisis (red). 7% is a critical level, as […]
The blog’s Boom/Gloom Index (blue column) reaches its 3rd anniversary this month. It was introduced to help monitor sentiment in financial markets, on the basis that “many markets are clearly being ruled by sentiment”. It has since done a good job in identifying peaks and troughs: • Peaks have been focused on periods when central […]
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 […]
Some things are too ‘obvious’ for highly-paid professionals in the financial world to accept. If life was this simple, then clients might ask why their fees were so high. Therefore they maintain a fiction that what is obvious is not the full story. Interest rates are a classic example of a simple issue which is […]
The blog’s 6-monthly review of major stock markets highlights their continuing volatility. Last September, all the markets were down between 7% – 22%. Germany (dark green column) was the biggest loser, whilst the UK/US (blue, red) were least impacted. Only the US 30-year Treasury bond (light green) had increased, as US interest rates fell. Please […]
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 […]
Financial markets have become increasingly nervous in recent weeks, since the blog last reviewed developments in global bond markets. Its conclusion then was that investors are worrying more about return of capital, than return on capital, as we transition to the New Normal. This is because 272 million westerners are now over 55 years old, […]
An abrupt change of direction is never a pleasant experience in global financial markets. Yet unfortunately, the blog’s regular 6 monthly review suggests this has started to occur since March. Investors are beginning to fear we may not be be entering a new Supercycle after all. Some are also worrying that high oil prices may […]
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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 as 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.