As the head of Germany’s Employers’ Associations warned last month: “We are facing the biggest crisis the post-war Federal Republic has ever had. We have to be honest and say: First of all, we will lose the prosperity that we have had for years”.
Chemicals and the Economy
Central banks and investors believed stimulus programs had created a “New Paradigm” where asset prices would always increase. Now they are starting to realise that stimulus is irrelevant against the 3 Horsemen of the Apocalypse – China’s continuing battle with the pandemic, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and potential for famine as rising gas/fertilizer prices mean farmers can’t afford to grow their crops or feed their animals.
The seeming genius of many private equity funds in recent years has been based on this ability to borrow at cheap rates during the ‘up’ part of the business cycle. Now we are heading into the ‘down’ cycle. And the central banks have abandoned Bernanke Theory and are back to worrying about inflation. So today’s excess leverage means many over-leveraged companies will go bust.
Our pH Report Sentiment Index has been a very reliable guide to the S&P 500 in recent years. Now it is suggesting a major downturn may be underway as the US and Chinese stimulus programmes come to an end.
Evergrande’s default will only be the first of many. Companies and countries that have “bet the ranch” on China’s “perpetual motion machine” need to urgently decide how to minimise their potential losses, whilst there is still time.
Net Zero is clearly the key issue of our time. With COP26 about to start, 3 key elements need to come together to ensure success. Political leaders have to agree to meet the Net Zero targets, and to provide $100bn/year to help poorer nations fund the changes needed. But nothing will happen on the ground […]
China is at the start of its biggest economic shake-up since 1978, when Deng Xiaoping launched his post-Mao reform programme. President Xi Jinping’s ‘Common Prosperity’ policy aims to retain his focus on increasing living standards. But it wants to spread the wealth far more widely. The electricity rationing now underway across China highlights the need […]
“How did you go bankrupt?” Bill asked. “Two ways,” Mike said. “Gradually, then suddenly.” These lines from Ernest Hemingway’s classic novel “Fiesta” (USA title ‘The Sun also Rises’), summarise where we now are with Evergrande’s likely default in China. It did indeed begin “gradually” at first – starting in February 2016. As I noted here […]
The blog has now been running for 14 years since the first post was written from Thailand at the end of June 2007. And quite a lot has happened since then: There was the 2008 financial crisis, one of the blog’s early forecasting successes This led to the publication of ‘Boom, Gloom and the New […]
OPEC used to dominate global oil markets. In the early 1980s, there was even talk of another OPEC cartel to control gas prices. But those days are long gone. Instead OPEC members such as the UAE are increasingly aware they have only a limited time left to monetise their vast reserves of fossil fuels. This is […]