Consumer demand

Smartphone sales set to tumble as China’s lockdowns continue

The market downturn couldn’t have come at a worse time for Apple. It was already facing major supply chain chaos in Q2. And now it has to face a major decline in the smartphone market itself. Inevitably this will lead to a brutal battle for market share as companies struggle to survive.

The chemicals industry continues to be the best leading indicator for the global economy

Central banks and investors believed stimulus programs had created a “New Paradigm” where asset prices would always increase. Now they are starting to realise that stimulus is irrelevant against the 3 Horsemen of the Apocalypse – China’s continuing battle with the pandemic, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and potential famine as rising gas/fertilizer prices mean farmers can’t afford to grow their crops or feed their animals.   

Time to focus on the danger of corporate and household leverage as “subprime on steroids” comes to an end

The seeming genius of many private equity funds in recent years has been based on this ability to borrow at cheap rates during the ‘up’ part of the business cycle. Now we are heading into the ‘down’ cycle. And the central banks have abandoned Bernanke Theory and are back to worrying about inflation. So today’s excess leverage means many over-leveraged companies will go bust.

Automakers, governments, start to prepare for the launch of Autonomous Vehicles

Automakers are ahead of the game in terms of strategic planning. They soon realised the move to EVs meant their traditional business model, based on proprietary engine technology, would inevitably become obsolete. And so they quickly realised they need to pivot to focus on AVs and become software-driven. The rest of us need to catch up.

UN Environment Assembly starts endgame for single-use plastics

Plastics recycling is set to become a major new industry, based on the need to use renewable carbon. As the Nova Institute has shown, there is scope to expand production by 15x by 2050. And so if plastics companies don’t get to work now, new entrants will quickly emerge to replace them. 

The stock market bubble starts to burst

Exponential rapidly rising or falling markets usually go further than you think, but they do not correct by going sideways.

China’s ‘perpetual motion’ housing machine is starting to slow

Evergrande’s default will only be the first of many. Companies and countries that have “bet the ranch” on China’s “perpetual motion machine” need to urgently decide how to minimise their potential losses, whilst there is still time

Europe’s Green Deal will transform its economy, as floods confirm urgency of tackling climate change

The floods raging in Germany and Benelux highlight the scale of the Climate Change challenge ahead.  Last week, Europe announced its roadmap towards a Net Zero economy.  It emphasised that achieving Net Zero, even by 2050, will be impossible if we don’t start now. As the Commission noted in presenting the strategy: “Climate change is

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China’s used cars put a dent in global industry

China is now developing a used car market for the first time in its history.  This means the end of global auto sales growth, as I describe in my latest post for the Financial Times, published on the BeyondBrics blog China’s car market has been key to the recovery in global auto sales growth since […]