Tag Archives | volatility

West faces “demographic deficit” as populations age

Rising life expectancy, and falling fertility rates, mean that a third of the Western population is now in the low spending 55-plus age group.  Given that consumer spending is around two-thirds of the economy in developed countries, the above charts provide critically important information on the prospects for economic growth. They show official data for household […]

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The return of volatility is the key market risk for 2018

We are living in a strange world. As in 2007 – 2008, financial news continues to be euphoric, yet the general news is increasingly gloomy. As Nobel Prizewinner Richard Thaler, has warned, “We seem to be living in the riskiest moment of our lives, and yet the stock market seems to be napping.” Both views […]

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6 impossible things not to believe about oil before breakfast

 “Sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.” Oil traders know how the Queen felt in Lewis Carroll’s famous book, Alice Through the Looking-Glass.  The list of impossible things that they are being asked to believe grows almost by the day:   Last week, prices jumped 4% on the basis that strong […]

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A VUCA world of Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity, Ambiguity

“A week is a long time in politics” was the insight of former UK premier Harold Wilson.  It is tempting to think that the events of the past week – a terrorist massacre in France: an attempted army coup in Turkey: a fatal US sniper attack: the overnight emergence of a new government with new […]

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IMF’s Greek memo confirms VUCA world has arrived

The good news was that the Eurozone leaders did realise, at the last moment, that Sunday was a “moment of truth” for the currency union and for Europe.  They spent 17 hours negotiating through the night as a result.  But reports suggest it wasn’t an easy time: The BBC carried live reports of arguments between […]

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Chemical companies highlight increased uncertainty and volatility in Q1 results

Volatility creates uncertainty.  And uncertainty can easily lead to paralysis, if a company hasn’t planned ahead for the range of potential scenarios that might develop.  This is the risk highlighted in my usual analysis of quarterly results. A key warning sign is the divide that has developed recently in performance in different regions and industry sectors, […]

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Market volatility highlights dangers for Q2

Today’s market conditions are some of the most dangerous that I can ever remember. Of course, markets are always unpredictable.  As UK prime minister Harold MacMillan noted in the 1960s, when asked what kept him awake at nights.  “Events, dear boy, events”.  But today’s markets have a 3-dimensional unpredictability: They have the normal issue of trying to understand fundamental levels […]

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“The policy Kings/Queens have no clothes”

There seems almost no need to publish a forecast for 2014.  Policymakers have toured the TV studios to confirm that this is finally the year of recovery.  They admit it may have taken nearly 5 years longer than first expected, and that there have been numerous ‘false dawns’ on the way.  But now, they are certain that […]

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Volatility rises as players bet on recovery or recession

Nobody ever said that financial and chemical were meant to be easy to understand. But current developments are clearly far more complex than normal. We have grown used to manipulation by policymakers, via their various quantitative easing (QE) programmes. But today, we also have completely opposite views in the markets themselves: • Benzene prices (green […]

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V is for Volatility

Unilever CEO Paul Polman suggests we are living in a VUCA world, as we discuss in chapter 11 of Boom, Gloom and the New Normal. Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity and Ambiguity make planning for the future more difficult than for a generation. This week, the blog will run a special series that examines how this VUCA […]

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