SuperCycle

China’s renminbi and the global ring of fire

China’s property bubble puts it at the epicentre of the ring of fire © Reuters  China’s devaluation could be the trigger for an international debt crisis, as I describe in my latest post for the Financial Times, published on the BeyondBrics blog August has often seen the start of major debt crises. The Latin American

BASF’s second profit warning highlights scale of the downturn now underway

The chemical industry is easily the best leading indicator for the global economy.  And thanks to Kevin Swift and his team at the American Chemistry Council, we already have data showing developments up to October, as the chart shows. It confirms that consensus hopes for a “synchronised global recovery” at the beginning of the year

Global smartphone recession confirms consumer downturn

Q3 smartphone sales data show the global market in recession, as Strategy Analytics confirmed: “The global smartphone market has now declined for four consecutive quarters and is effectively in a recession.” The warning signs began in Q1, when the market plateaued for the first time, as discussed here in May: “The global smartphone market has

Financial crises and the five stages of loss

The Financial Times has kindly printed my letter as their lead letter, arguing that the rise of the populists emphasises the risk of continuing to deny the impact of today’s ageing populations on the economy. Sir,  Martin Wolf’s sobering analysis of policymakers’ post-crisis decision to “go back to the past”, ( “Why so little has changed since […]

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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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Older workers are looking for something more

The Financial Times has kindly printed my letter arguing that we need new policies to help people adapt to their extra decade or more life expectancy. Sir, There is another angle to Janan Ganesh’s interesting exploration of whether “Liberals risk the charge of complacency” (February 20). This is the question of why the policy elite has […]

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Debt, demographics set to destroy Trump’s GDP growth dream

Unsurprisingly, Friday’s US GDP report showed Q1 growth was just 0.7%, as the New York Times reported: “The U.S. economy turned in the weakest performance in three years in the January-March quarter as consumers sharply slowed their spending. The result fell far short of President Donald Trump’s ambitious growth targets and underscores the challenges of […]

Hope is not a strategy

Chemical companies face difficult times if they cling to the hope that current challenges will simply disappear.  This is my main concern in a new analysis for ICIS Chemical Business. It argues that major change is underway in petrochemicals and polymers markets, which will create winners and losers. The current round of major capacity expansions has been based on two […]

A toxic combination for economic policy

UK economic policy is now coming under discussion, as May’s Gemeral Election approaches.  The Financial Times has kindly printed my letter below, highlighting the economic impact of the demographic changes now underway. April 1, 2015 9:34 pm Sir, Your editorial “Zero significance in the UK inflation milestone”, (March 27) ignores the impact of two critical variables. As […]