Britain’s EU Exit Vote Reflects Lack of Trust In Expert Opinion

China, Company Strategy, Economics, Europe, European economy, Naphtha & other feedstocks, Oil & Gas, Polyolefins, US



By John Richardson

MOST politicians, central bank governors, economists and business leaders told everyone that there was no way that the US housing market could drag the world into a global financial crisis.

Then we were told that China’s economy could not possibly slow down, and that its vast investment in manufacturing capacity during 2009-2013 did not represent a threat to jobs overseas.

This helps to explain, why, despite, all the expert advice about why it made sense for Britain to stay in the EU, Britain has voted to leave the EU.

And even if at this late stage, the vote swings back in favour of Remain, the strength of the Leave vote is one more example of a global phenomenon:  A huge lack of trust in political and economic elites everywhere.

To some extent,has happened in Britain reflects deep regional economic, social and political divisions going back to the 1980s. But, as I said, I strongly believe that the inability of the Remain programme to win the debate also substantially reflects these more recent global economic difficulties. In my view, the underlying problem is the failure to recognise what is driving the rise of Populist politics everywhere: The end of the Economic Supercycle.

So, what happens next in global chemicals markets? Most obviously, oil prices could fall substantially more than their 6% initial decline in reaction to the Leave victory. This would disrupt seasonal pricing patterns in the key China market. I now see far greater volatility and weakness in Asian chemicals prices on both cheaper crude and weaker global economic confidence.

And this lack of global economic confidence, if it persists long enough, will threaten what has always been a very fragile, patch and unsustainable recovery following the Global Financial Crisis – because of the end of Economic Supercycle.


US Economy: More Of The Same Will Not Work...


  By John Richardson US Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen’s solution for...

Learn more

Brexit The Result Of Diminished Economic Opportunities


By John Richardson THE above diagram is just a sample of the complexity facing...

Learn more
More posts
China’s shift towards styrene self-sufficiency adds to pressure for new petrochemicals business model

By John Richardson IT IS dead simple, apparently. All you have to do is find alternative geographica...

Why a hard look at the data show China has not seen a V-shaped recovery

          Note: All the data comparisons below are year-on-year By John Ric...

China moves closer to Iran as tensions with the US build: Implications for petrochemicals

By John Richardson Opinions and emotions and can shape how we interpret data, but, as we all know, o...

China polyolefins market H1 review: so far so good, but beware of the risks ahead

By John Richardson ALL looks fine in the polyolefins world. The Old Normal appears to have reasserte...

Polyethylene market recovery could be threatened by slower China crude buying, weaker economic growth

By John Richardson EVEN by China’s standards, where just about every number is eye-wateringly larg...

Why the polypropylene industry must switch from volumes to value

By John Richardson EVERYONE knows about the oversupply in the polyethylene (PE) market as it has bee...

China consulate closure underlines long-term split with US, potential big shift in petchems trade flows

The views in this blog post are, as always, my personal views and do not reflect the views of ICIS. ...

China’s real GDP could have been negative in Q2: What this may mean for PP

By John Richardson CHINA’S official GDP growth of 3.2% for Q2, which was announced last week, may ...


Market Intelligence

ICIS provides market intelligence that help businesses in the energy, petrochemical and fertilizer industries.

Learn more


Across the globe, ICIS consultants provide detailed analysis and forecasting for the petrochemical, energy and fertilizer markets.

Learn more

Specialist Services

Find out more about how our specialist consulting services, events, conferences and training courses can help your teams.

Learn more

ICIS Insight

From our news service to our thought-leadership content, ICIS experts bring you the latest news and insight, when you need it.

Learn more