300+ years of Bank of England data shows that interest rates are typically inflation plus 2.5%. At today’s level, this would imply – US rates would be 3.7% + 2.5% = 6.2%: Japan would be 3.2% + 2.5% = 5.7%: Eurozone rates would be 5.3% + 2.5% = 7.8%; UK rates would be 6.7% + 2.5% = 9.2%
Chemicals and the Economy
Economists might like to believe that inflation is somehow a monetary phenomenon. But as we are all likely to learn to our cost over the winter, food and energy prices are critical for most people. Oil prices are already rising. And food prices are joining them.
It’s too soon to talk of an actual energy crisis. But as the charts showing Brent oil and European natural gas prices confirm, it is certainly time to start planning for the possibility: Oil prices have recently risen 25%. And Europe risks gas shortages if there is a cold winter
The chemical industry is now starting to warn us of a new risk. Europe is already suffering from a cost of living crisis. And people simply can’t afford to pay even higher prices for energy. At a certain point, therefore, demand may simply collapse, and usher in deflation
The Ukraine war highlights how the real world can often be a very messy place. Issues such as geopolitics and demographics aren’t easy to understand. It can be hard to understand the detail of how key industries and markets are operating.
So it’s no surprise that most policymakers have preferred to stay in the world of theory.
The good news for consumers is that the move to renewables is already set to save European consumers €100bn in 2021-23. The technologies needed in terms of wind, water, solar and storage can successfully deliver the cheaper and more reliable energy supply needed to support the global economy.
Portugal is showing the way. Despite 6 months of drought last year, 57% of its electricity came from renewables. And its clean energy focus means it is becoming “one of the cheapest markets in Europe”. CO2 emissions will also have reduced by 75% in 2030 versus 2021.
The ‘digitalization of everything’ has transformed the global economy over the past 30 years. The rise of the internet is just one example. Now electrification is set to have a similar impact, starting with the world’s largest manufacturing industry. Fasten your seatbelts for the ride!
Nobody knows how markets will develop. But past performance is the best guide that we have. This is why our Sentiment Index is my Chart of the year for 2022.
A new report from the International Energy Agency confirms that electricity is set to be the fuel of the future, powered by renewable sources. And the new German government’s decision to allocate 2% of Germany’s landmass to windfarms confirms the scale of the changes underway. The IEA’s chart above details the expansions now planned on […]