Last week saw more evidence that recent weakness in chemical markets mirrors developments in the global economy. Of course, given the bullish mood amongst investors, these signs were still treated as being ‘surprises’. This is perhaps inevitable when trading is dominated by the computers owned by the high-frequency traders, rather than people. Computers can be […]
Tag Archives | unemployment
October is usually one of the 4 strongest months for demand, alongside January, March and May. This year it should be particularly strong, as many say September’s demand was the weakest they can remember. The reason it is normally strong is that companies shoukd be racing to fulfil orders for the Christmas season. Factories often […]
The US jobs market remains very fragile. That seems to be the key message from last week’s monthly job statistics. And, of course, if jobs are hard to get, then consumer spending and GDP will remain weak. The chart shows the monthly jobs trend since 2008: • The number of jobs dived to 134.4m by […]
Friday’s weak US jobs report seemed to surprise most of those Wall Street analysts who are supposed to understand this key subject. The reason is that they ignore the major demographic changes now underway. The chart above shows official US employment numbers since 1939 (blue column) and per capita disposable income since 1969 (red line), […]
The above slide appears to be a series of random lines, at first glance. But it comes from an important speech from the vice chair of the US Federal Reserve, Janet Yellen, on US unemployment patterns. It describes the so-called Beveridge Curve, which highlights the relationship between unemployment (horizontal axis) and the job vacancy rate […]
Short-term pressures have come to dominate financial markets in recent years. In turn, they have become dominated by high-frequency trading, which frequently accounts for over 60% of all market action. Their trading is not based on careful analysis, but on extremely fast ‘black box’ computing, which generates ‘trading opportunities’ in micro-seconds. Their power is enormous, […]
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 […]
Chemical markets are traditionally 6 months ahead of the wider economy, as they are so focused on consumer demand. September may therefore provide a ‘moment of truth’ for the IeC Downturn Alert, launched in April: • The petchems downturn since April may now become apparent in the wider economy • Alternatively, demand may recover strongly, […]
Luxury stores are doing well around the world. The great central bank lending sprees have ensured up-market consumers still have money to spend. But many other parts of the market are struggling, as consumers worry about unemployment. Higher food and energy prices are also reducing their discretionary spend – which, of course, has a direct […]
Revolution and unrest have many causes. Very often, as now in the Middle East and N Africa (MENA), their strength is due to a wide range of economic, social and political factors combining to create a coalition of angry people. Age profile is also a key factor. As shown in the above chart, based on […]
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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.