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Competence starts to replace charisma as a key factor in politics as the pandemic continues

The appalling tragedy in India reminds us that the Covid pandemic is very far from being solved. And more generally, the latest Ipsos ‘What worries the world’ global poll shows high levels of concern over unemployment, inequality, corruption and crime. Unsurprisingly, almost 2/3rds of people think their country is heading on the wrong track. One The post German and French elections will mark new era for EU leadership appeared first on Chemicals and the Economy.
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Biden’s Earth Day Summit puts plastics recycling on the fast track

Plastics has long been the ‘odd one out’ in terms of recycling. Steel, aluminium, glass, cardboard, rubber and paper routinely have up to a 70% rate of recycling. But plastics has been stuck at around 10% for a long time. President Biden’s Earth Day Summit is likely to change this picture, and quickly. The reason The post Biden’s Earth Day Summit puts plastics recycling on the fast track appeared first on Chemicals and the Economy.
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Pandemic leads to ‘baby bust’ as births decline in most countries

A year ago, many were suggesting the lockdowns might produce a “baby boom” as couples spent more time together. But early data suggests the world is instead seeing a “baby bust”. As Nikkei Asia reports: “Births (in December/January) have fallen between 10% and 20% in such countries as Japan, France and Spain — and even The post Pandemic leads to ‘baby bust’ as births decline in most countries appeared first on Chemicals and the Economy.
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Americans hunker down on spending as the pandemic’s impact continues

US stock markets have been hitting new records recently, as investors swoon over the likelihood that the $1400 stimulus payments will power a major surge in consumer spending. But unfortunately, the facts show this is most unlikely. The chart from the New York Federal Reserve measures consumers’ intentions with regards to the 3 stimulus cheques The post Americans hunker down on spending as the pandemic’s impact continues appeared first on Chemicals and the Economy.
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Smallpox was the first vaccination to change the world – now we have a new opportunity to improve our lives

The pandemic has reminded us of the critical role played by vaccination in our lives. But few realise the enormous impact made just 200 years ago by Dr Jenner’s discovery of smallpox vaccination. It literally changed the world.  And today, we have a new opportunity to reshape our world.  Please click here to download a PDF The post Smallpox was the first vaccination to change the world – now we have a new opportunity to improve our lives appeared first on Chemicals and the Economy.
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COP 26 set to accelerate development of the 15-minute city

One of the good things to happen in the pandemic over the past year is that ‘cooking has become the new commute’ for many people. Working from home means they have often saved an hour or more a day in commuting time. And instead of sitting in a crowded bus or train, or being stuck The post COP 26 set to accelerate development of the 15-minute city appeared first on Chemicals and the Economy.
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Circular economy set to replace today’s broken global supply chains

The Great Freeze in Texas has confirmed once again the problems with today’s global supply chains.  As the New York Times has highlighted: “The pandemic has disrupted every stage of the (supply chain) journey”. The problems began last year with the disruption to the global shipping container system. Millions of containers were used to ship The post Circular economy set to replace today’s broken global supply chains appeared first on Chemicals and the Economy.
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China’s dual circulation policy aims to reduce debt reliance

Every now and then, people wake up to the fact that debt is only good news when it adds to growth. Otherwise, it simply destroys value. China is usually the case study for this analysis, as the chart confirms. It shows the rise in debt from 2002, when official data begins, versus the rise in The post China’s dual circulation policy aims to reduce debt reliance appeared first on Chemicals and the Economy.
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Rising US interest rates, US$ and oil prices set to pressure financial markets

Everyone who has ever played the Beer Distribution Game on a training course knows what is happening in supply chains today. A small increase in underlying demand is rapidly leading to a massive increase in ‘apparent demand’. As the New York Times reports, “the pandemic has disrupted every stage of the (supply chain) journey.”  And The post Rising US interest rates, US$ and oil prices set to pressure financial markets appeared first on Chemicals and the Economy.
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Weak demand – and the illusion of a return to “normal”

My new interview with Real Vision focuses on the major changes underway in the economy. Our analysis of the chemical industry, auto market, and technology sector, suggests a return to the “old normal” is highly unlikely. Instead, major changes are underway in Demand Patterns, Reshoring, Energy Abundance, the Circular Economy and in Advanced Manufacturing.  For The post Weak demand – and the illusion of a return to “normal” appeared first on Chemicals and the Economy.
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UK set to take hard line on EU trade under David Frost

The Brexit debate has always been about politics, not economics.  So it was no surprise that December’s UK-EU Trade & Cooperation Agreement (TCA) was the first trade deal in history to actually increase barriers rather than reduce them. The reason is that Brexiters are focused on a very narrow concept of “sovereignty”. And last week’s The post UK set to take hard line on EU trade under David Frost appeared first on Chemicals and the Economy.
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Iran highlights OPEC’s dilemma on output cuts

Saying you “won’t do something” may stop you digging a bigger hole for yourself. But it doesn’t help in deciding what you should do instead. That’s OPEC’s dilemma today on raising oil output. Everything seemed simple enough a year ago, as the pandemic took hold: Saudi Arabia’s first reaction was to assume it would have The post Iran highlights OPEC’s dilemma on output cuts appeared first on Chemicals and the Economy.
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