There was one bit of good news this week. For the first time since the financial crisis began, a Governor of the US Federal Reserve acknowledged that today’s demographic changes are having a major impact on the US economy. John Williams, of the San Francisco Fed, argued that: “Shifting demographics….(mean that) interest rates are going […]
Tag Archives | US Federal Reserve
The Western BabyBoomers (born between 1946-70), have been one of the luckiest generations in history. By and large, they have escaped the major wars that have plagued society down the ages. They have also lived in a world where living standards and material wealth have made astonishing gains. Equally priceless has been the rise in […]
It may be an idea to keep your smartphone charged and within reach, if you are planning a trip to the beach this month. Certainly market behaviour since June has been more and more skittish. The experts, after all, were telling us that central banks were certain to do more major stimulus efforts to boost […]
There’s something very wrong with the US jobs market, as the slide above confirms. Commentators professed to be surprised by the disappointing May report last Friday, but its hard to know why: The overall participation rate has been in decline since July 1997, when it reached 68%: today it is only 62.7% Male participation is at […]
Global demand is continuing to slow, yet chemical industry capacity is continuing to ramp up. As a result, supply gluts are likely to appear in many key areas as we move into the second half of the year. That is the key conclusion from the latest American Chemistry Council data for global chemical capacity and […]
Thank goodness for Janet Yellen, and China’s provincial governments. That was clearly investors’ thoughts, when they bid up chemical company share prices during Q1. For as the chart above shows, there was nothing in the fundamentals of supply and demand to suggest economic recovery was finally underway. Instead, the latest American Chemistry Council data shows […]
Oil markets are entering a very dangerous phase. Already, many US energy companies have gone bankrupt, having believed that $100/bbl prices would justify their drilling costs. Now the pain is moving downstream. The problem is the central banks. Hedge funds have piled into the oil futures markets since January, betting that there would be lots […]
Central bank policy-making is becoming more and more dysfunctional, as German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble‘s comments highlighted on Friday: “The debt financed growth model has reached its limits. It is even causing new problems, raising debt, causing bubbles and excessive risk taking, zombifying the economy….and may have laid the foundation for the next crisis.” One clear sign […]
The Financial Times has kindly printed my letter below, arguing that central bank stimulus can’t restore growth to previous Super Cycle levels. Sir, John Plender’s excellent analysis “Central banks’ waning credibility is the real threat to confidence” (Insight, February 17) highlights the need for a new narrative to explain the economic slowdown of recent years. […]
The Great Unwinding of policymaker stimulus was the major issue in financial markets in 2015. And it is set to have even greater impact in 2016 once Phase 3 begins. The chart above highlights the astonishing changes that have taken place since the Unwinding began in mid-August 2014; Phase 1 has so far seen Brent […]
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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.