liquidity

China’s lockdown makes global debt crisis now almost certain

Beijing has a population of 21.5 million, but you wouldn’t know it from this BBC video from last Thursday.  Normally busy streets and transport systems are eerily empty, with food deliveries often the main traffic on the roads. It’s the same picture in industry, with the Baidu Migration Index reporting only 26% of migrant workers

Resilience amidst headwinds is key for H2

Resilience is set to become the key issue as we look forward to H2, as I note in a new analysis for ICIS Chemical Business. None of us have ever seen the combinations of events that are potentially ahead of us. And none of us can be sure which way they will develop. So it

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 […]

The post High-flying “story stocks” hit air pockets as credit finally tightens appeared first on Chemicals & The Economy.

Chemical industry warns of likely global recession in 2017

The chemical industry is the best leading indicator for the global economy, and it is flagging major warning signs about the outlook for 2017.  As the chart above shows, based on American Chemistry Council (ACC) data:   Since 2009, Capacity Utilisation (CU%) has never returned to the 91.3% averaged between 1987 – 2008   It […]

Oil market speculators profit as central banks hand out free cash

Oil markets are entering a very dangerous phase.  Already, many US energy companies have gone bankrupt, having believed that $100/bbl prices would justify their drilling costs.  Now the pain is moving downstream. The problem is the central banks.  Hedge funds have piled into the oil futures markets since January, betting that there would be lots […]

New oil price fall is matter of “when”, not “if”, as inventory builds

Financial players have become convinced in recent months that the oil price will rise.  And so far, this has been a self-fulfilling prophecy.  Their buying has led to oil being stored all over the world – in tankers floating at sea and in shale oil wells, as well as in storage tanks. Unsurprisingly, prices have […]

Oil price collapse, US$ rise confirm Great Unwinding underway

Stock markets are floating ever higher on an ocean of central bank money printing.  But something else is happening in the real world where we all live and work.  Since August, I have been warning that the Great Unwinding of this policymaker stimulus is now underway.  The chart above highlights how my 2 core forecasts have now been confirmed: Brent Oil […]

Boom/Gloom Index tumbles as S&P 500 hits record

The stock market used to be a good leading indicator for the economy.  But that was before the central banks decided to manipulate it for their own purposes.  As then US Federal Reserve Chairman boasted 3 years ago on launching their second round of money-printing: “Policies have contributed to a stronger stock market just as […]

Seven global implications of China’s new policies

Everyone remembers the old joke, “Why did the elephant wear dark glasses?”, and the answer, “So that she wouldn’t be recognised”.  A new version popped into the blog’s mind this week, when finishing its new Research Note on the impact of China’s new policies on the global economy: “Why did nobody notice that China was the ‘elephant […]

The trend is your friend until it isn’t – part 2

“May you live in interesting times” is a Chinese proverb which has an alternative meaning as a curse.  And the blog suspects this duality of meaning may start to make a lot of sense as we go through 2014. We have, after all, been in a very strange world for the past 5 years.  Markets […]

Global economy approaches a T-junction

Intuition’s great benefit is that it provides a different perspective.  Thus the intuitive concept behind the launch of the IeC Downturn Monitor was that April 2011 would prove a watershed moment for policymakers’ Recovery Scenario after 2008′s financial crisis.  Their Scenario essentially had two elements: Acting as a ‘lender of last resort’ when the major banks stopped lending to each other and the […]

“No pain, no gain” the outlook for China in 2014

Its been a great year for polyethylene (PE) demand growth in China.  But whether this relates to real or speculative demand, and whether it will continue next year, is another story.  As the chart shows, with trade data from Global Trade Information Services: Overall demand has surged 14% in 2013 (red column) versus 2011 (blue) […]

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 […]

Growth remains below SuperCycle trend, whilst debt is building

Whisper it quietly, so as not to disturb policymakers’ dreams.  But the charts above from the Financial Times confirm, as if proof were needed, that their policies of the past 5 years haven’t worked. The charts compare trends in economic growth in the world’s two largest economies, the Eurozone and the USA.   As the arrows indicate, both are […]

Most major financial markets have doubled since 2009 lows

The period since March 2009 has been a wonderful time for most investors in the major markets.  As the blog’s 6-monthly update shows, almost every index has increased, and by large amounts:…

Russia has been the biggest winner, up 151%,

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 […]

Japan’s 7% Nikkei index fall highlights risks ahead

We are now nearly at the end of May, and still there is no sign of a sustained recovery in demand. This mirrors the weakness seen in January and March – normally also very strong months. Now, unless seasonal patterns are overturned, demand will remai…

Financial markets reach the ‘melt-up stage’

A month ago, the blog highlighted the potentially major implications of the Bank of Japan’s (BOJ) push to devalue the yen as follows:

“However, the BOJ has a slightly different agenda. It aims to devalue the yen, not the US$. And the yen has already f…

Demand collapses as stock markets hit new records

Financial markets long ago lost all touch with reality. Not only have central banks provided $tns of cheap liquidity with the specific aim of pushing stock markets higher. But they have also allowed computers to dominate trading, so no single market …

Western stock markets in bubble-mode, again

The blog’s 6 monthly review of global stock markets highlights a very unusual pattern since global demand and chemical markets peaked on 29 April 2011, as the chart shows:

• Markets in developed economies have powered ahead with Japan up 24%, the US…

Policy makers reach the fork in the road, again

“Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both”
These lines by famous American poet Robert Frost provide a good description of the critical cross-roads now being approached for the 3rd time since June 2008, as the impact of th…

Slowing markets underline failure of central bank policies

As we approach year-end, it is interesting to review performance of the blog’s 3 benchmark products since the start of the major central bank liquidity programmes. The chart begins in January 2009 when the G20 stimulus programme was being prepared, an…

Central bankers fail to learn the Wellington lesson

‘Masterly inactivity’ was Wellington’s policy in his successful European wars against Napoleon in the early 19th century. The English general was always under great pressure from the politicians to ‘do something’. But Wellington knew he had to defeat…

Spain’s economy in "extreme difficulty"

Some things are too ‘obvious’ for highly-paid professionals in the financial world to accept. If life was this simple, then clients might ask why their fees were so high. Therefore they maintain a fiction that what is obvious is not the full story.

I…

Oil prices remain in their triangle

A year ago, Petromatrix highlighted the short-term ‘triangle’ that was being drawn by oil prices. This describes a period when sellers and buyers are evenly balanced, and neither side can gain momentum to take prices in their favoured direction.

It u…

US polymer demand slows as consumers cut back

The above chart, from the invaluable American Chemistry Council (ACC) weekly report, highlights the scale of Q1’s inventory build in N American polymer markets (polyethylene, polypropylene, PVC).

This build took place as consumers down the value chain…

US Fed policy may be going Back to the Future

Today’s 419 point fall on the Dow Jones Average, and $6/bbl fall in WTI crude oil prices, may not be just another example of the wild volatility that has come to seem normal in financial markets.

It may also mark the end of an era.

Since 1994, the …