The world has suffered a recession every time the oil price has reached current levels. And as the blog has warned for months, this time is unlikely to be different. The reason is captured in the above chart. This uses: • Oil production since 1970 as reported in BP’s annual review • Average annual oil […]
Tag Archives | recession
The great film comedy Groundhog Day saw Bill Murray doomed to repeat the same day in his life, until he learnt to become a better person. Sadly, financial markets have yet to learn from his example. Every quarter, the investment banks produce new stories aimed at pushing stock/oil markets higher. Then high-frequency traders make $millions […]
The IeC Downturn Alert has hopefully done the job for which it was intended. It was launched at the end of April, when the blog became convinced that the global economy was highly likely to enter a new downturn. It also realised from its experience in 2007-8, when it later became known as ‘The Crystal […]
A recession is often defined as being when your neighbour loses their job. A depression is when you lose your job. Latest industrial production data shows output is falling around the world. And US unemployment is rising again, with the wider measure at 16.2% as long-term joblessness becomes a major problem. Last month’s IeC Boom/Gloom […]
Many readers have been taking a well-earned break over the past few weeks. The blog also continues to gain large numbers of new readers, as the financial crisis intensifies. As usual, therefore, it is highlighting key posts during August, to help you catch up as you return to the office. Boom/Gloom Index suggests markets on […]
The above chart, from the invaluable American Chemistry Council (ACC) weekly report, highlights the scale of Q1′s inventory build in N American polymer markets (polyethylene, polypropylene, PVC). This build took place as consumers down the value chain rushed to buy forward, as WTI oil prices surged 41% between November – April. Their buying was not […]
ICIS pricing is a very valuable resource, particularly at market turning points. It highlighted the start of the current downturn in April, when reporting that buyers had moved to operating on a ‘hand to mouth’ basis. Now, its market editors are highlighting the fragility of demand due to ‘economic uncertainty’. This is the moment when […]
A year ago, the blog feared we were “still towards the beginning of the crisis”, not at its end. Sadly, its judgement seems to have been correct. 2 weeks after that post, the US Federal Reserve launched its now infamous $600bn QE2 programme. The aim was to provide further massive stimulus to the global economy. […]
The blog is a great believer in the predictive power of the retail sector. Wal-Mart and Tesco were the first to spot the downturn in the summer of 2007, a year before it became obvious to everyone else. Now Wal-Mart’s problems are providing some important messages about how companies need to adjust their strategies to […]
There’s “a 50% chance that the US could slide into a new recession“, according to Harvard’s Prof Martin Feldstein. He sees the economy as “really balanced on the edge“, with housing still depressed and consumer spending flat. The blog’s own IeC Boom/Gloom Index is flagging similar concerns. As the chart shows, the Index for July […]
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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.