Blog

Italy’s oil consumption back at 1967 levels

The wrong diagnosis can often make the problem worse not better, as doctors know very well. But the message hasn’t got across to policy makers. They refuse to believe that ageing populations spend less and save more – even though all the evidence con…
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"Growth won’t save us – there won’t be any"

Merryn Somerset Webb, editor-in-chief of Money Week and also a Financial Times columnist, has devoted her latest post to the implications of the ageing Western population: “I can’t be sure of much about next year. But here’s one fact you can’t argue w…
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The Cycle of Deflation continues to develop

In January, the blog suggested that political issues would continue to gain increased importance. Its argument was that the strong economy between 1982-2007, when the US suffered just 16 months of recession, meant political and social issues took a ba…
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Global auto sales remain slow as China boosts exports

Auto sales continue to struggle in 3 of the world’s main markets. The chart shows combined sales by month in China, US, EU, Japan and India. These were 76% of global demand in 2011. Overall, volume is up 6% versus last year: • China’s sales are …
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US Fed’s doubling of QE3 fails to impress markets

Over the past 4 years, 18 men (no women are involved) have run the global response to the financial crisis, as politicians refused to take a lead. Instead, the world’s leading central bankers felt forced to establish their own Economic Consultative…
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High oil prices present recession risk

Oil prices are heading for a second successive year of record annual prices. Last year, Brent averaged $111/bbl and it is averaging similar levels so far in 2012. History suggests this is very bad news for consumers, for companies and for the global …
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ACS Chemistry & the Economy webinar today

The blog’s regular Chemistry & the Economy webinar with the American Chemical Society takes place today at 14.00 hours Eastern Time. As always, it will be moderated by friend and colleague Bill Carroll – chair of the ACS and Vice President of Occident…
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Demographics drive robot development in Japan and China

Changing demographics are leading to major growth in robot development in both Japan and China: • In Japan, the ageing population means there is a shortage of people to do the heavy lifting required when people become ill • Equally important, as…
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Pimco says demographics turning boom to bust

The head of Pimco, the world’s largest bond fund managers, provides influential support this month for the blog’s argument in ‘Boom, Gloom and the New Normal’ about the importance of today’s demographic changes. Bill Gross comments as follows in his …
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China’s polymer market faces years of slow growth

China’s important polyethylene market (PE) showed little sign of any major upturn in October. Trade data from Global Trade Information Services shows: • Demand was up just 4% versus 2010 levels • Production was up 3%, as China’s refinery operatin…
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Germany’s Bundesbank warns on the growth outlook

Last week the blog looked back at the performance of its 3 benchmark products since the start of 2009. This week it looks at what has happened to its 3 financial market products: • Before 2009, there was normally an inverse correlation between oi…
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