Oil markets are entering a very dangerous phase. Already, many US energy companies have gone bankrupt, having believed that $100/bbl prices would justify their drilling costs. Now the pain is moving downstream. The problem is the central banks. Hedge funds have piled into the oil futures markets since January, betting that there would be lots […]
Tag Archives | liquidity
Financial players have become convinced in recent months that the oil price will rise. And so far, this has been a self-fulfilling prophecy. Their buying has led to oil being stored all over the world – in tankers floating at sea and in shale oil wells, as well as in storage tanks. Unsurprisingly, prices have […]
Stock markets are floating ever higher on an ocean of central bank money printing. But something else is happening in the real world where we all live and work. Since August, I have been warning that the Great Unwinding of this policymaker stimulus is now underway. The chart above highlights how my 2 core forecasts have now been confirmed: Brent Oil […]
The stock market used to be a good leading indicator for the economy. But that was before the central banks decided to manipulate it for their own purposes. As then US Federal Reserve Chairman boasted 3 years ago on launching their second round of money-printing: “Policies have contributed to a stronger stock market just as […]
Everyone remembers the old joke, “Why did the elephant wear dark glasses?”, and the answer, “So that she wouldn’t be recognised”. A new version popped into the blog’s mind this week, when finishing its new Research Note on the impact of China’s new policies on the global economy: “Why did nobody notice that China was the ‘elephant […]
“May you live in interesting times” is a Chinese proverb which has an alternative meaning as a curse. And the blog suspects this duality of meaning may start to make a lot of sense as we go through 2014. We have, after all, been in a very strange world for the past 5 years. Markets […]
Intuition’s great benefit is that it provides a different perspective. Thus the intuitive concept behind the launch of the IeC Downturn Monitor was that April 2011 would prove a watershed moment for policymakers’ Recovery Scenario after 2008′s financial crisis. Their Scenario essentially had two elements: Acting as a ‘lender of last resort’ when the major banks stopped lending to each other and the […]
Its been a great year for polyethylene (PE) demand growth in China. But whether this relates to real or speculative demand, and whether it will continue next year, is another story. As the chart shows, with trade data from Global Trade Information Services: Overall demand has surged 14% in 2013 (red column) versus 2011 (blue) […]
The best view is always from the top of the mountain. At least that is how it feels today, with this month’s IeC Boom/Gloom Index (blue column) hitting a record high. Nor it is alone, as the S&P500 (red line), the world’s most important financial market index is also at record levels. Central banks broke […]
Whisper it quietly, so as not to disturb policymakers’ dreams. But the charts above from the Financial Times confirm, as if proof were needed, that their policies of the past 5 years haven’t worked. The charts compare trends in economic growth in the world’s two largest economies, the Eurozone and the USA. As the arrows indicate, both are […]
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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.