Sometimes the blog gets lucky with its timing. That was certainly the case when it spoke to the world’s leading bond investors last week. Just an hour before, they had been shocked by news that US GDP had fallen by 2.9% in Q1, far worse than earlier estimates. And nobody believed the official excuse that […]
Tag Archives | US Federal Reserve
A year ago, the blog suggested that financial markets were reaching their most dangerous ‘melt-up’ stage, driven by investor complacency about the ability of central banks to protect them from any downturn. This analysis was confirmed in November, when absurdly high prices were paid for works of modern art, smashing previous records. Gillian Tett of the Financial Times (another of […]
A new article by an IMF economist makes the point that in April 2008, not a single one of the mainstream economic forecasts covered by ‘Consensus Economics’ was forecasting a recession in 2009. The IMF itself expected growth to continue, as did the World Bank and the Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development. Even by […]
Every now and then, the blog scratches its head and wonders, “what would it take to convince US policymakers that demographics have an influence on demand?” Suppose, for example, they loudly and consistently announced that the US was now in full recovery mode, and would be certain to achieve economic growth of 3% or more? And that then, growth […]
The West has been living with cheap money from the central banks for over 5 years. Credit has been very easy to obtain in the financial sector, and interest rates have been at all-time lows. The result can be seen in the chart above from Business Insider of total lending to fund stock purchases on the New […]
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 […]
“The proper role for monetary policy is to work behind the scenes to promote long-term growth and price stability, yet central banks have instead attempted to “manipulate asset prices and financial markets” to fine-tune their economies. “I do not think this is a particularly healthy state of affairs for the central banks or our economies. […]
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 […]
Think back a moment to September 16 2008. Newly released transcripts analysed by the Wall Street Journal and Financial Times reveal for the first time what was really going on that day at the world’s most important central bank. Lehman Bros, one of Wall Street’s largest investment banks, had just gone bust. Merrill Lynch, another giant, had […]
There were never any excuses from policymakers during the BabyBoomer-led SuperCycle from 1983 – 2007. The Chairman of the US Federal Reserve, Alan Greenspan, came to be styled ‘The Maestro’. Whilst the Governor of the Bank of England argued that his efforts had created the NICE decade of Non-Inflationary Constant Expansion. Central bankers came to be seen as wise […]
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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.