The most important event of the past week, and possibly of the whole year, was Wednesday’s decision by the US Federal Reserve to finally “taper” its vast stimulus effort – now worth $4tn, nearly 25% of US GDP. The timing was no great surprise. The blog was convinced Ben Bernanke would want to start the process […]
Tag Archives | US Federal Reserve
Investing in today’s financial markets is relatively easy. You simply have to believe that governments in the US, Japan and Europe will continue to provide plenty of free cash to investors as part of their Recovery Scenario of a quick return to ‘normal growth’. It doesn’t matter whether the investor believes in the Scenario, the driver is simply the fear of […]
Iran has been at the centre of all the major oil market price spikes in the past few decades: Today’s record prices on an annual basis are partly due to market fears over supply disruptions due to the Iran/Israel nuclear issue Fears over a nuclear showdown also led prices to jump to $150/bbl in July 2008, when the […]
Over the years, the blog has been very critical of the quality of people appointed by the US Federal Reserve to undertake the actual trading involved in its ‘Quantitative Easing’ (QE) programmes: In October 2008, it felt “distinctly underwhelmed” by news that the person supervising decisions on which financial institutions should live or die during the peak of the Crisis […]
5 years after the Crisis began, there still seems to be a worrying lack of accountability in the banking sector, even when things go wrong on an epic scale. Take JP Morgan Chase, for example: It lost $6.2bn in London last year, which its CEO Jamie Dimon initially called “a tempest in a teapot” It has now been […]
“Don’t fight the Fed” is one of the oldest rules in stock market investment. And it has proved valid again, as this month’s IeC Boom/Gloom Index shows: The Fed and other G7 central banks have poured $10tn of stimulus into financial markets since 2008 This cash has finally taken the S&P 500 (red line) into record territory Critical to this […]
Central bankers mean well. But, of course, good intentions do not guarantee good results. Their intention since the start of the 2008 crisis has been to boost financial markets. They have therefore provided $tns of liquidity, which has indeed produced record highs in major stock market indices such as the S&P 500 and Dow Jones […]
Over the past 4 years, 18 men (no women are involved) have run the global response to the financial crisis, as politicians refused to take a lead. Instead, the world’s leading central bankers felt forced to establish their own Economic Consultative Committee (ECC). They represent countries comprising 75% of the global economy ($51tn). They now […]
Last week the blog looked back at the performance of its 3 benchmark products since the start of 2009. This week it looks at what has happened to its 3 financial market products: • Before 2009, there was normally an inverse correlation between oil/naphtha prices and the US S&P 500 stock market index. Higher oil […]
The blog’s friends at the American Chemistry Council used a very relevant quotation recently from Alexander Graham Bell, who invented the telephone and numerous other modern wonders: “Sometimes we stare so long at a door that is closing that we seek too late the one that is open.” It is a theme taken up recently […]
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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.