credit bubble

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

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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

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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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US chemical companies face ‘wake-up call’ as Biden focuses on the Climate Change agenda

I worked for many years at a world-leading chemical company, ICI. But sadly, it lost its way as senior management began to focus more on financial metrics than market developments. In 2007, it disappeared. Today, other companies including the once-mighty ExxonMobil risk making similar mistakes: EM was the world’s most valuable company just 9 years ago It 

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Chemical output signals trouble for global economy

A petrochemical plant on the outskirts of Shanghai. Chinese chemical industry production has been negative on a year-to-date basis since February Falling output in China and slowing growth globally suggest difficult years ahead, as I describe in my latest post for the Financial Times, published on the BeyondBrics blog Chemicals are the best leading indicator for the

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High-flying “story stocks” hit air pockets as credit finally tightens

“Nobody could ever have seen this coming” is the normal comment after sudden share price falls.  And its been earning its money over the past week as “suddenly” share prices of some of the major “story stocks” on the US market have hit air pockets, as the chart shows: Facebook was the biggest “surprise”, falling […]

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China’s lending bubble is history

As China’s shadow banking is reined in, the impact on the global economy is already clear, as I describe in my latest post for the Financial Times, published on the BeyondBrics blog China’s shadow banking sector has been a major source of speculative lending to the global economy. But 2018 has seen it entering its […]

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Chart of the Year: Bitcoin, the logical end for stimulus policies

Last year it was the near-doubling in US 10-year interest rates.  In 2015, it was the oil price fall.  This year, there is really only one candidate for ‘Chart of the Year’ – it has to be Bitcoin: It was trading at around $1000 at the start of 2017 and had reached $5000 by August […]

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China’s lending bubble sees Beijing home prices jump 63%

Greed and fear are the primary emotions driving China’s housing and auto markets today, as China’s lending bubble hits new heights.  For ordinary citizens, greed is the key driver:    Average home prices in Beijing rose an eye-popping 63% between October 2015 – February 2017    In Shanghai, one enterprising estate agent (realtor) […]

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US watchdog warns on today’s “quicksilver markets”

What could go wrong in today’s financial world?  Many stock markets in the West are hitting new highs, and central banks are promising they will do nothing to spoil the party.  But as Gillian Tett of the Financial Times warned on Friday: “Before anyone gets too thrilled about equities, they should read a sobering research document from […]

US watchdog warns on today’s “quicksilver markets” Read More

Polyethylene, shadow banking and China’s ‘collateral trade’

The blog’s latest post for the Financial Times, published on the BeyondBrics blog is below. By Paul Hodges of International eChem Strange things are happening in China’s polyethylene (PE) market. Despite a slowdown in the economy, demand is surging. Our research suggests that PE, like copper and iron before it, is the latest instrument of China’s […]

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$20tn US, China stimulus and lending – but recovery elusive

Despite all the positive headlines, the world’s two largest economies have failed to deliver sustained recovery, even though the 2 governments have now spent a combined $20tn in stimulus and lending. US STIMULUS REACHES $10tn The US government and Federal Reserve have spent $10tn since the Great Recession began in 2008.  Federal deficits have increased by $6.27tn, whilst […]

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The €2bn WiFi company that wasn’t

Blog readers often travel a lot.  And they certainly use WiFi.  So here’s a question: Q.  Do you ever remember using a WiFi service called Gowex? A.  Lots of puzzled looks in response Q.   Not sure?  You think it might be vaguely familiar, but maybe not.  Well this is what the company’s website says: “Your […]

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‘Bubble, bubble, toil and trouble’ as China, West’s policy diverge

Sometimes its good to take a step back from the day-to-day markets, and focus on the bigger picture.  Thus the chart looks at how markets have moved since the start of 2008 when the sub-prime bubble came to an end: Prices peaked in June/July 2008 as oil peaked at $147/bbl (blue line) and naphtha at $1147/t […]

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China’s earthquake opens fault-lines in debt-fuelled ‘ring of fire’

We can all hope that China’s ‘collateral trade’ turns out not to be as big a problem as seems likely.  But history shows that this type of problem has a way of escalating once people start investigating more closely. Thus state-owned Citic revealed yesterday that it has lost $40m in the Qingdao scandal, as half of its […]

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China’s commodity imports have financed its property bubble

Today, the blog launches a major new Research Note in the ‘Your Compass on China’ series, produced in association with leading Hong Kong-based financial advisory firm Polarwide. Titled ‘Here today and gone tomorrow – a simple guide to China’s world of trade finance’, it is probably the single most important paper it will publish all […]

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“Investors retreat as deflation fears rise”

The blog’s important eBook, ’Boom, Gloom and the New Normal: How Ageing Western BabyBoomers are Changing Demand Patterns, Again’, was published 3 years ago this month.  Co-authored with John Richardson, it identified the major changes taking place in global and national demand patterns: Growth accelerated from the 1980s, as the population became concentrated in the wealth creating 25 – 54 […]

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China’s credit cuts will send seismic tremors around the world

Monday’s Interesting Quotes post highlighted how China’s leadership clearly recognise they have a massive debt problem, as detailed in the blog’s recent Research Note. Further evidence for this was provided by yesterday’s bank lending figures, which showed total lending down 19% versus March 2013 at Rmb2.07tn ($333bn), and the lowest increase in money supply since 2001. This makes […]

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Cement Shen’s $563m ‘Peach Blossom Palace’ bankruptcy

The sight above may become more familiar as China’s new leadership seek to burst the property bubble.  It shows unfinished town houses on the Peach Blossom Palace estate in Fenghua city, south of Shanghai. They were built by local developer ‘Cement Shen’, whose Zhejiang Xingrun (ZX) property company went bust last month, owing Rmb3.5bn ($563m).  […]

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Demographics drive demand and fertility rates have fallen

A major debate is underway in Eurozone financial markets about the imminent approach of deflation.  As the chart above shows, Eurozone inflation has ben falling steadily for the past 2 years.  Yet most still fail to recognise that today’s demographics make this development more or less inevitable.  The Financial Times has kindly printed  the blog’s […]

Demographics drive demand and fertility rates have fallen Read More

China’s lending problems begin to worry wider world – too late

Suddenly, people are starting to talk about China and the risks it creates for the global economy.  There is a lifecycle to the way that such issues develop in the general consciousness, as John Mauldin has observed.  And so this development suggests that we are now well along the process, as highlighted in the chart above: […]

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China’s lending bubble could now lead to zero GDP growth

China has been primarily responsible for driving global growth since the Crisis began in 2008.  Auto sales, for example, would have seen negative growth world-wide without China.  And auto manufacturing is the world’s largest manufacturing industry.  The chemical industry has been in a similar position.  Whilst China is also now responsible for nearly 50% of global […]

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And now the stumble?

Last week the US Federal Reserve announced the second move in its so-called tapering process, and reduced its bond buying by another $10bn/month.  But there was only a temporary repeat in stock markets of the enthusiastic response to its first reduction in December.  We are thus about to test whether the blog’s theory of ‘two steps and a […]

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China auto sales could drop if lending squeeze continues

Imagine for a moment that you had become president or premier of China following the leadership transition in March.  You know that the country’s economic model has to change.  But you also know that you have to carefully develop your powerbase, whilst also putting in place new policies. Probably you would take things cautiously at […]

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The trend is your friend, until it isn’t

Investing in today’s financial markets is relatively easy.  You simply have to believe that governments in the US, Japan and Europe will continue to provide plenty of free cash to investors as part of their Recovery Scenario of a quick return to ‘normal growth’.  It doesn’t matter whether the investor believes in the Scenario, the driver is simply the fear of […]

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Boom/Gloom Index hits record high as western financial markets soar

The best view is always from the top of the mountain.  At least that is how it feels today, with this month’s IeC Boom/Gloom Index (blue column) hitting a record high.  Nor it is alone, as the S&P500 (red line), the world’s most important financial market index is also at record levels. Central banks broke […]

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A little bit of China stimulus goes a long way in housing

It was only a “mini-stimulus” that was delivered by China’s new leaders in July.  Well, thank goodness it wasn’t more, to judge by the above chart from Albert Edwards at SocGen.  It shows how house price inflation has jumped in 69 of China’s 70 main cities between March and September: In March (orange column) inflation […]

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Investors decide central banks may not know what they are doing

The blog was speaking last week at the major Euromoney investor conference on bond markets.  It followed a keynote by the head of the UK’s Debt Management Office, who noted that the Bank of England now ‘owned’ ~30% of total UK government debt compared to none in 2008 The reaction to his speech revealed just how investor […]

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Financial markets worry as Fed talks of ending stimulus

After 5 years of government stimulus, policymakers are having to think about their exit plans.  US Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke retires in January, and most of the blog’s clients in the financial community believe that he intends to start the process before he leaves, perhaps as early as next month. This is likely to prove very scary […]

Financial markets worry as Fed talks of ending stimulus Read More

London’s £300m house

Blog readers are often very successful people. So the blog thought you might like to know that the London house above is now on sale.

A bargain at just £300m ($480m), the Financial Times reports it has 45 bedrooms on 7 floors and overlooks Hyde Park…

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The banana skin risk

This week’s news provided more evidence to support the blog’s fear that the global economy is close to recession:

• The German economy, Europe’s motor, saw negative growth in Q4
• US retail sales grew just 0.1% in December, despite good auto sales…

The banana skin risk Read More