demographic cliff

Global chemical industry – key trends for success in today’s New Normal

The chemical industry is the best leading indicator for the global economy. On Friday, I had the privilege of discussing a wide range of key issues with Ajaya Sharma in a lunchtime interview for India’s main business station, ET Now. Our interview focused on a number of critical areas and why the future is going

Oil prices signal potential end to the V-shaped recovery myth

Oil prices have moved into another ‘flag shape’ – which previously provided critical warning of the March collapse, and of those in 2014 and 2008. The shape is important as it means the bulls and bears have been battling each other to exhaustion, making it likely one or the other will give up. This time,

Flexible working is key to reversing today’s collapse in fertility rates

Women in most parts of the world are not having enough children to replace our population. This is one of the great issues of our time, but is hardly ever discussed. Yet the issue is very topical, with Chinese births falling to a 60-year low last year.  Only 15.23 million babies were born, the lowest

The tide of global debt has peaked: 8 charts suggest what may happen next, as the tide retreats

The results of the central bankers’ great experiment with money printing are now in, and they are fairly depressing, as the charts above confirm: On the left are the IMF’s annual forecasts from 2010 – 2018 (dotted lines) and the actual result (black) Until recently, the Fund was convinced the world would soon see 5% […]

The post The tide of global debt has peaked: 8 charts suggest what may happen next, as the tide retreats appeared first on Chemicals & The Economy.

Central banks’ reliance on defunct economic theory makes people worry their children will be worse off than themselves

“Average UK wages in 2022 could still be lower than in 2008”  UK Office for Budget Responsibility While Western stock markets boom under the influence of central bank money-printing, wages for ordinary people are not doing so well.  So it is no wonder that Populism is rising, as voters worry their children will be worse […]

The post Central banks’ reliance on defunct economic theory makes people worry their children will be worse off than themselves appeared first on Chemicals & The Economy.

The Great Reckoning for policymakers’ failures has begun

Next week, I will publish my annual Budget Outlook, covering the 2018-2020 period. The aim, as always, will be to challenge conventional wisdom when this seems to be heading in the wrong direction.  Before publishing the new Outlook each year, I always like to review my previous forecast. Past performance may not be a perfect […]

The post The Great Reckoning for policymakers’ failures has begun appeared first on Chemicals & The Economy.

Today’s New Normal world – the challenge of the 100-year life

2016 saw the start of the Great Reckoning for the failure of stimulus policies. Political and social issues are now beginning to dominate the landscape.  As we saw in the UK’s Brexit vote to leave the European Union, voters no longer see economics as the sole issue in elections.  This paradigm shift was then followed […]

Economic policy needs to focus on impact of the 100-year life

Nearly two-thirds of people in the world’s top 25 countries feel their country is heading in the wrong direction, according to a new poll from Ipsos MORI.  As their chart shows: China, Saudi Arabia, India, Argentina, Peru, Canada and Russia are the only countries to record a positive feeling The other 18 are increasingly desperate […]

Common sense continues to elude central banks as they battle demographic cliff

Central banks are in a losing battle, as they try to reverse the inevitable slowdown created by the arrival of the demographic cliff.  Last year’s 5% fall in global GDP in current dollars tells its own story. Common sense would tell them they can’t possibly win.  After all, how do you persuade New Olders in […]

1 in 5 of world population will be in New Old 55+ generation

An amazing development is taking place in the world today.  For the first time in human history, more people are joining the 55+ age group than the 25 – 54 age group: 600m people will be joining the New Old 55+ cohort between now and 2030, taking their numbers to 1.8bn This is twice the […]

Pension funds suffer as retirement ages have fallen whilst life expectancy has risen

10k Americans have been retiring every day since 2011, and 18k Europeans, as the BabyBoomer generation reaches the age of 65.  But pension schemes have not adapted to the fact that average life expectancy is now 20 years at age 65.   This is causing major problems for the economy as pensioners leave the workforce […]

US interest rate dilemma highlights fragile global economy

Should it really matter that the US Federal Reserve might raise US interest rates by 0.25% tomorrow?  Surely the IMF/World Bank should not need to argue that such a small increase could really be critical for the world economy? The fact that such a debate has been taking place at all, highlights the damage done by stimulus […]

Stock markets weaken as ‘Ring of Fire’ fault-lines open

“Central banks have created a debt-fuelled ‘Ring of Fire’, and we will no doubt have felt many tremors (large and small) as a result, by the time my next 6-monthly update appears in September“. That was my forecast for world stock markets back in March, and I imagine few would argue with it today, as we review developments […]

45-year baby drought stalls Western economic growth

200 years ago, most blog readers would have been dead at their current age.  Life expectancy in the West was just 34 years in 1820, and averaged only 24 years everywhere else.  Today, as the chart shows, Western life expectancy has risen to 79 years (red area).  In the the emerging economies, it has nearly […]

Unilever says Q2 market growth slows in emerging countries, developed countries weak

The global economy really isn’t getting any better.  That’s the key conclusion from the blog’s quarterly survey of company results for Q2. Of course, some companies are doing well – either because of shale gas economics, or their own market positioning.  But consumer giant Unilever summarised the general picture very well: “Market growth continued to slow in emerging […]

Dow’s CEO says “pre-2008 economy was a bubble”

Now its official.  Andrew Liveris, Dow CEO, told CNBC last week that the “pre-2008 economy was a bubble“.  And exactly mirroring the analysis of Boom, Gloom and the New Normal, he went on to add that “for a couple of years after 2008, we had a head-fake that the growth might have returned, but it […]

America’s New Old 55 plus are now 38% of consumer spending

Maybe the concept that spending is related to age and income is just too simple for policy makers to understand?  Could that be the reason why they insist on continuing to try to stimulate demand, despite the fact that Western and many other populations are now ageing fast? That was the blog’s thought on studying newly […]

Markets remain “volatile and challenging” says BASF chairman

Nothing has really changed over the past year.  That seems to be the key conclusion from the blog’s quarterly summary of company results for Q1. A year ago, BASF noted that “achieving our earnings target is significantly more challenging today than we had expected”.  This month, chairman Kurt Bock “warned the markets will remain volatile and […]

Pension promises unaffordable due to demographic change

As promised yesterday, the blog looks today at the impact of today’s rapidly ageing populations.  The key point is that global life expectancy been rising for over 40 years, whilst fertility rates have been falling.  A paradigm shift is thus inevitable, where future demand will be very different: 1970 Onwards.  Growth accelerated, as the population became concentrated in the […]

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 […]

“US population is aging: older people tend to consume and spend less”

Its not just the UK that is seeing an earthquake taking place in consumer demand patterns, as the blog discussed last week.  The same earthquake is taking place in the world’s largest consumer market, the USA.  As the Wall Street Journal reports: “For the past three years running, unit sales of consumer products have been […]

“Unparalleled seismic demographic shifts now underway” in UK

What happens to demand when women stop having lots of babies, and the general population starts living very much longer? Common sense would suggest economic growth would go through 2 quite remarkable changes: Phase 1.  Growth would accelerate, as the population became concentrated in the wealth creating 25 – 54 age group, and the need […]

McDonald’s starts hiring young and old as the ‘demographic cliff’ arrives

Its really not that difficult to work out that much of the world faces a ‘demographic cliff’. But very few companies seem to want to act on the implications. So hats off to McDonald’s Europe for highlighting what needs to be done. Their chief people officer, David Fairhurst, told the Financial Times this week: “The […]

“Stagnation might prove to be the new normal” for the US

The blog returns today to its series on how demographic changes are impacting the 5 largest economies in the world.  Having looked at China and Japan in NEA, it now moves across the Pacific to the USA.  Like all the major economies, the US is now ageing fast as a consequence of the trends in the chart above: […]

The end of constant economic growth

You can’t turn 55-year-olds back into 30-year-olds.  That, in a nutshell, is why today’s globally ageing populations are creating major changes in demand patterns. Household consumption is more than 60% of GDP in all developed countries, and also the key driver for future growth in emerging economies.  So the rise of the New Old 55+ […]

G7 births hit new record low in 2012

The G7 group of countries are almost half (47%) of global GDP*.  They also have the highest incomes, and are therefore still the major driver for the global economy.  If we understand what is happening to their populations, we have a great insight in the key driver for demand, as we showed in ‘Boom, Gloom and the […]

The blog on MoneyWeek TV

The importance of demographics in driving demand is clearly becoming more widely understood.

This week, the blog was interviewed by the editors of MoneyWeek (the UK’s leading investment magazine) in the implications of today’s ageing western populatio…

Sustaining growth as the West reaches the ‘demographic cliff’

2013 is the year that the Western world reaches the ‘demographic cliff’. Its BabyBoomers (born between 1946-70) are the largest and wealthiest generation that the world has ever known. Now they are ageing rapidly. They have less money to spend as th…