Tag Archives | stimulus

China’s commodity imports have financed its property bubble

Today, the blog launches a major new Research Note in the ‘Your Compass on China’ series, produced in association with leading Hong Kong-based financial advisory firm Polarwide. Titled ‘Here today and gone tomorrow – a simple guide to China’s world of trade finance’, it is probably the single most important paper it will publish all […]

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Chemical and oil prices still lower than 3 years ago

Its now 3 years since the blog suggested on 2 May 2011: “They don’t ring bells at market turning points.  Otherwise, we could all retire to the Bahamas.   But there is growing anecdotal evidence, from chemical buyers and the main retailers, that we may have reached at least a temporary market peak.  And Brent crude oil […]

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US home ownership falls back to 1995 levels, as Boomers retire

US housing demand used to be a major support for the US economy.  But that was in the days when millions of new BabyBoomer families wanted to set up home in the suburbs and raise a family.  The rule was simple – if prices were high, you just drove 10 miles down the freeway to find a […]

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China’s polyester market flashes red warning signals

China’s polyester market seems to be trying to tell us something quite important about the real state of China’s economy, as the chart above shows for the main raw material, PTA (terephthalic acid): It focuses on the margin between PTA prices and naphtha feedstock (Singapore basis) Normally this is a premium between $200/t – $300/t as shows […]

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Leaders need to “see around corners” in today’s VUCA world

The number “42″ was the answer to “the ultimate question of life” in the classic novel ‘The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Universe’.  Yet as the supercomputer providing this answer then explained, it was a pointless exercise as nobody understood the meaning of the original question. The world’s policymakers are in the same position, although they don’t yet realise this.  They […]

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Sentiment weakens as US stock markets wait for more QE

Sentiment, as measured by the IeC Boom/Gloom Index has weakened considerably over the past 3 months as the chart shows: It peaked at 12 in November, hitting its highest level since before the 2008 Crisis began (blue column) It then drifted lower in December, before rallying back to 9 in the New Year But now […]

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“Bad news barrage sinks New Year consensus”

Markets stopped operating in their true role of providing price discovery sometime ago.  Instead, they became dominated by the central banks, determined to prove their theory that increased asset values can stimulate sustained economic recovery. They, of course, have the firepower to bend markets to their will.  Nobody else could have spent $16tn in this manner […]

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Deflation far more likely than inflation

The last in the blog’s series on things that we think we know, but may not, looks at the prospects for inflation.  A new survey this week of the world’s wealthiest individuals summed up the consensus view: “If there are two factors that make the rich stand out, on this survey, it is their fear […]

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China focuses on the need for jobs, as Western companies reshore production

Its all about jobs.  That’s the clear message from this month’s critical Economic Plenum in China, confirming the blog’s analysis back in February 2012. Of course, there was a lot of detail about future reform plans, which will certainly help to move the country’s economy in the right direction.  But in the short-term, the key […]

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Record $142m for Bacon work shows markets now in “melt-up stage”

The blog is actually a fan of the artist Francis Bacon, and it rather likes the above painting of his friend and fellow-artist Lucien Freud.  But the reason for showing it is not to discuss the finer points of art criticism. It is instead simply to note that its sale by auction house Christies in New York last […]

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