The summer is over, and the UK government now has the job of deciding its objectives for the Brexit negotiations. These, like all major negotiations, will no doubt be long and difficult. They will also inevitably create major uncertainty for companies, investors and individuals as they progress. I have personally led major negotiations in a […]
Tag Archives | protectionism
Believing conventional wisdom can destroy your profits. One example is playing out in the oil market before our eyes. Another example is the myth that China was about to become middle class. Yet income levels always made this impossible: More than 9 out of 10 Chinese earn less than $20/day By comparison, the basic state pension in the UK is 25% higher, at over […]
The mainstream media rather ignored a key event last week, namely that the Democrat leader of the US Senate signalled he would not try to pass Fast Track Authority to allow the President to conclude new trade deals with the EU and Pacific countries. Nobody seems to want to face the unpalatable truth, that this […]
The mention of deflation in the above front page headline of Friday’s Financial Times will not have surprised blog readers. But it appears that not enough people in the European Central Bank read the blog, as the FT went on to report the ECB’s sense of ”shock” at the thought that deflation could now be just around the corner. This highlights the enormous […]
Some trends play out tactically in days or weeks. Others move more slowly over months and years. These tend to get ignored in the modern world of twitter and 24-hour news cycles. But then, as with the sub-prime collapse in 2008, the future suddenly meets the present. We can see the same pattern underway with […]
In January, the blog suggested that political issues would continue to gain increased importance. Its argument was that the strong economy between 1982-2007, when the US suffered just 16 months of recession, meant political and social issues took a back seat. Money was easily available to ‘solve’ most problems. Since then the global economy has […]
The world enjoyed an economic SuperCycle between 1982-2007. Its largest economy, the USA, suffered just 16 months of recession during the whole 25 years. As a result, social and political issues took a back-seat. Politicians instead competed to occupy the middle ground. Former UK premier Margaret Thatcher’s phrase ‘you can’t buck the markets’, became received […]
The chemical industry has been one of the great beneficiaries from globalisation over the past 25 years. Today, it is hard to remember just how restricted markets used to be. Tariffs often applied within Regions, as well as between them. In his early years as a product manager, the blog would often spend days trying […]
When the G-20 met in London in April 2009, they produced a Communiqué containing just 688 words. And as the blog noted in conclusion, there was “no sign of a ‘Plan B’ being developed“, in case the Stimulus measures failed to work. This was still the case last September in Pittsburgh, when the Leader’s Statement […]
China is a very difficult country for foreigners to understand. The blog suspects that the best approach is to apply Winston Churchill’s insight on Russia, namely “I cannot forecast to you the action of Russia. It is a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma; but perhaps there is a key. That key is […]
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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.