The Great Unwinding of policymakers’ failed stimulus programmes is now clearly underway in the global economy. The headlines this week all focused on the latest International Monetary Fund (IMF) report: “IMF says economic growth may never return to pre-crisis levels.” And then, in response, the US Federal Reserve suddenly realised that the US economy was not […]
Tag Archives | new normal
We all know that the European economy is in a bad way. Sales and incomes are under pressure, and political risk is rising, whilst unemployment remains at high levels. Its very easy to get depressed about the outlook. We are also unlikely to get much help from policymakers. They remain in their world of mathematical models. These […]
Sinopec is China’s largest chemical producer and its second largest refiner. The blog’s annual review of its published Results confirms its uniqueness in global markets. The numbers confirm that it remains focused on increasing production, not profit. It will be No 2 in global ethylene capacity next year as a result. The chart above highlights the key metrics, based […]
Sometimes the blog gets lucky with its timing. That was certainly the case when it spoke to the world’s leading bond investors last week. Just an hour before, they had been shocked by news that US GDP had fallen by 2.9% in Q1, far worse than earlier estimates. And nobody believed the official excuse that […]
Who would have believed the blog would still be here, 7 years after it began with a post from Thailand in June 2007? Who would have believed the range of developments that have appeared for it to discuss over this period? It started at the end of the SuperCycle as central banks pumped cash into the […]
China’s President Xi Jinping became the first world leader to highlight the move into a “new normal” at the weekend: “China is still in a significant period of strategic opportunity. We must boost our confidence, adapt to the new normal condition based on the characteristics of China’s economic growth in the current phase and stay cool-minded” “Through […]
Germany is the world’s 4th largest economy ($3.4tn), and so is the next to be studied in the blog’s series on the impact of demographics. Its population is almost as old as Japan’s: Germany’s median age is 45.7 years, compared with Japan at 45.8 years. The reason is shown in the chart above: German women have […]
One of the key chapters in ‘Boom, Gloom and the New Normal’ is titled ‘Doing More with Less’. It argues that the key need is to be practical. Companies should focus: In the fields of water/food, on reducing the amount of waste, and the output that is lost when product is moving to market In developing […]
Sometimes a crisis can concentrate minds on one key issue. This was certainly the case last week, when the blog was part of the tense debate over the future of the INEOS petrochemical plant at Grangemouth, Scotland involving the UK and Scottish governments, INEOS and the UNITE union. The experience highlighted some critical learnings for the future of […]
Next week the blog will publish its 6th annual Budget Outlook, covering the 2014-2016 period. The aim has always been to challenge conventional wisdom when this seems likely to encourage companies to take a wrong turn: • The blog’s 2007 Outlook ‘Budgeting for a Downturn‘, and its 2008 ‘Budgeting for Survival’, meant it was one of […]
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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.