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 […]
Tag Archives | US Federal Reserve
Whisper it quietly, so as not to disturb the world’s central bankers as they rest. But the impact of their latest round of quantitative easing programmes (yellow highlight, QE3) may already be slowing. As the chart shows, these had an immediate impact on financial markets from their launch in June: • The benchmark S&P 500 […]
Here we go again’ seems to be the reaction of financial markets to the US Federal Reserve’s latest push to expand liquidity. So far, policymakers have tried 4 times to return the economy to the world of the Supercycle between 1982-2007. As the chart shows: • Major stimulus programmes were launched by the G-20 in […]
‘Waiting for Godot’, the great play by Irish writer and Nobel Literature Prizewinner, Samuel Beckett, deals with the meaning of existence. Written just after the Second World War, its two characters wait endlessly for the arrival of Godot. US financial markets are currently staging their own version of the play: • They no longer see […]
Financial markets cannot make up their minds about the outlook. As this month’s IeC Boom/Gloom Index shows, sentiment (blue column) remains exactly at the dividing line between optimism and pessimism. This parallels the behaviour of the S&P 500 Index (red line). It had recovered strongly from March 2009, but has since found it very difficult […]
The US Federal Reserve has provided a wonderful new example of the problems with spreadsheets. It also shows how a naive belief in the credibility of any computer-generated output has come to over-ride common sense. In turn, policy can become based on myth, rather than reality. The chart above from the Wall Street Journal shows […]
Today the blog ends its review of the VUCA world with A for Ambiguity. The global economy often seemed to be on auto-pilot during the 25 years of the economic Supercycle between 1982-2007. The chart above shows US GDP since 1929 (when records began), with the pink columns showing the official dates for recession: • […]
The Wall Street Journal carried an interesting opinion piece on Friday, assessing current market conditions from the viewpoint of the film character, Forrest Gump. Gump’s key insight is that “Stupid is as stupid does”. Thus the Journal noted: “Oil staged its last price surge along with other commodity prices when the Fed revved up its […]
This time last year, the petchem industry stood on the edge of an unseen precipice. Life seemed good. Prices were racing ahead and demand appeared buoyant. But in reality the buyers were only buying forward to protect margins, whilst end-user demand was slowing fast. This year, the blog fears, we may be about to take […]
Today’s 419 point fall on the Dow Jones Average, and $6/bbl fall in WTI crude oil prices, may not be just another example of the wild volatility that has come to seem normal in financial markets. It may also mark the end of an era. Since 1994, the US Federal Reserve has used all its […]
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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.