Global interest rates have fallen dramatically over the past 25 years, as the chart shows for government 10-year bonds: UK rates peaked at 9% in 1995 and are now down at 1%: US rates peaked at 8% and are now at 2% German rates peaked at 8% and are now down to 0%: […]
Tag Archives | European Central Bank
Monetary policy used to be the main focus for running the economy. If demand and inflation rose too quickly, then interest rates would be raised to cool things down. When demand and inflation slowed, interest rates would be reduced to encourage “pent-up demand” to return. After the start of the Financial Crisis, central banks promised […]
Italy was one of the 6 founding members of the European Union (EU) in 1957, along with France, the Netherlands, W Germany, Belgium and Luxembourg. Its referendum next month will therefore be a critical test of whether the Eurozone and EU can survive the pressure from the Populists. If the Populists win, then the future […]
Markets have one main function in life – price discovery. If I want to buy, and you want to sell, the existence of a market allows us to discover the price at which the market will balance in terms of supply and demand. History, however, provides many examples of times when rulers decided they knew […]
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 […]
40 years ago, the vast majority of the British people were in favour of joining the European Economic Community. 67% voted in favour, in the 1975 referendum to confirm the UK’s entry. Virtually all mainstream politicians were in support, with only the left-wing of the Labour Party strongly anti on the grounds that it was […]
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 […]
Financial markets are very bad at evaluating political risk. They assume people will always be rational, and expect a ‘business as usual’ scenario to continue. But as we all know, people are not always rational. And emotion, as today over immigration may cloud their judgement. This week has seen the first signs of this complacency […]
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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.