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, […]
Tag Archives | unemployment
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 […]
As the chart shows, December’s US auto sales (orange line) were the highest monthly level since August 2009′s ‘cash for clunkers’. But it was only achieved via a massive 7% jump in purchase incentives, which were back at Q2 2009 levels of $2700/vehicle. And 2010 was still the second worst year for sales since 1982, […]
EU governments have spent enormous sums of money to support the economy over the past year. Yet in terms of a key indicator such as unemployment, the situation has got worse rather than better. This is bound to restrain consumer spending, a key factor for domestic EU chemical demand. Eurozone unemployment hit 10% in February, […]
The American Chemistry Council has recently updated its invaluable work on US polymer chain inventories. Last December this led the blog to conclude that we would see “a strong H1“, as inventories were low, whilst demand was likely to rise supported by seasonal and stimulus factors. But the ACC’s latest analysis (above) leads to a […]
Consumer spending, particularly in the developed economies, is critical to the chemical industry. And there is increasing evidence that a two-tier pattern is developing: • Wealthier consumers are maintaining their spend, helped by lower interest costs on mortgages and recent stock market gains • Lower and middle-income consumers remain under pressure, as they are more […]
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 […]
Every day, the word “unexpected” appears next to a downbeat economic report. The latest example was yesterday’s US employment report, where the consensus forecast was for a jobs gain of 180k. Yet it has been clear for months that this has been a ‘jobless recovery’, and so the actual figure of only 41k new jobs […]
The rate of unemployment is an important leading indicator for chemical industry demand. It measures the number of people who currently don’t have much spare cash to spend on discretionary purchases. And when the jobless rate is rising, it also impacts the spending patterns of those still in work, as they often choose to save […]
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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.