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 […]
Tag Archives | liquidity
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 […]
The period since March 2009 has been a wonderful time for most investors in the major markets. As the blog’s 6-monthly update shows, almost every index has increased, and by large amounts: Russia has been the biggest winner, up 151%, due to its oil and gas export position The US is up 147%, as the […]
After 5 years of government stimulus, policymakers are having to think about their exit plans. US Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke retires in January, and most of the blog’s clients in the financial community believe that he intends to start the process before he leaves, perhaps as early as next month. This is likely to prove very scary […]
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 […]
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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.