Boom Gloom and the New Normal

US-China trade war confirms political risk is now a key factor for companies and the economy

There are few real surprises in life, and President Trump’s decision to launch a full-scale trade war with China wasn’t one of them.  He had virtually promised to do this in his election campaign, as I noted here back in September 2015: “The economic success of the BabyBoomer-led SuperCycle meant that politics as such took a back

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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

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“What could possibly go wrong?”

I well remember the questions a year ago, after I published my annual Budget Outlook, ‘Budgeting for the Great Unknown in 2018 – 2020‘.  Many readers found it difficult to believe that global interest rates could rise significantly, or that China’s economy would slow and that protectionism would rise under the influence of Populist politicians. […]

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Commodity price fall pushes Japan back towards deflation

The combination of ageing populations and declining fertility rates means the world is following the Japanese model into deflation – despite all the efforts of policymakers to artificially induce price rises via their money-printing.  As discussed last November, under the title. ”Oil price fall set to push Japan back into deflation“, it was already clear then that […]

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10 forecasts for the New Normal world in 2020

We seem to be approaching Stage 2 of the Great Unwinding of policymaker stimulus, as the economic implications of demographic change become ever stronger. The combination of today’s ageing populations with the collapse in fertility rates means it is totally unrealistic to expect growth rates to continue at the SuperCycle levels of the past.  They were turbo-charged by […]

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The great ‘Deflation Shock’ is coming closer

  The world is about to be hit by a demand shock equivalent to 1973′s supply shock.  Yet, astonishingly, most commentators remain so focused on central bank activity, that they have completely missed what is happening.  Here’s how it is playing out. You may remember the ‘The pH Report‘ forecast in early December that: “Oil prices […]

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The blog’s 7th birthday

Who would have believed the blog would still be here, 7 years after it began with a post from Thailand in June 2007?  Who would have believed the range of developments that have appeared for it to discuss over this period? It started at the end of the SuperCycle as central banks pumped cash into the […]

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Time again to ‘Manage by Walking About’

Different times demand different skills.  During the SuperCycle, one could assume growth was a constant.  So forecasting meant a focus on better understanding developments down the value chain in the relevant product silos.  Then managers could be set ‘stretch targets’ to ensure they met expectations for revenue and profit growth. But today, as the blog has […]

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