Consumer demand

Demographics are destiny – and today’s ageing populations are creating a “replacement economy”

Demographics are taking demand patterns in completely new directions. Sustaining future growth now depends on successfully developing and implementing new policies, focused on the opportunities offered by the emergence of the Perennials 55+ cohort.

Demographics are destiny – and today’s ageing populations are creating a “replacement economy” Read More

Asia’s debt crisis starts to approach its endgame as the yen continues to tumble

Last week, the Japanese yen fell through the US$ : ¥150 level for the first time since 1990. It has now fallen by nearly 50% against the US$ in the past two years. The currency is behaving as if Japan were a 3rd world country – whereas it is actually the 3rd largest economy in the world. Clearly, something is very wrong.

Asia’s debt crisis starts to approach its endgame as the yen continues to tumble Read More

Food banks spread in richer countries, hunger spreads in poorer countries, as Europe’s fertilizer crisis continues

Unfortunately, the problems look set to get worse rather than better. And the oil price rise caused by the Israel/Gaza crisis adds to the problems caused by the Ukraine invasion. A difficult winter, and 2024, lie ahead.

Food banks spread in richer countries, hunger spreads in poorer countries, as Europe’s fertilizer crisis continues Read More

Bond markets reach “The End of the Beginning” as traders finally realise rates will be higher for longer

300+ years of Bank of England data shows that interest rates are typically inflation plus 2.5%. At today’s level, this would imply – US rates would be 3.7% + 2.5% = 6.2%: Japan would be 3.2% + 2.5% = 5.7%: Eurozone rates would be 5.3% + 2.5% = 7.8%; UK rates would be 6.7% + 2.5% = 9.2%

Bond markets reach “The End of the Beginning” as traders finally realise rates will be higher for longer Read More

Asia’s debt crisis edges nearer, as Japan’s interest rates rise and China’s property bubble bursts

Bubbles are great fun while they last. But they are much less fun when they burst. For the past 20 years, central bank stimulus has created some of the largest bubbles ever seen. But now, led by developments in Japan and China, they are bursting

Asia’s debt crisis edges nearer, as Japan’s interest rates rise and China’s property bubble bursts Read More

It’s our 16th birthday – and the chemical industry remains the best leading indicator for the global economy

The Ukraine war highlights how the real world can often be a very messy place. Issues such as geopolitics and demographics aren’t easy to understand. It can be hard to understand the detail of how key industries and markets are operating.

So it’s no surprise that most policymakers have preferred to stay in the world of theory.

It’s our 16th birthday – and the chemical industry remains the best leading indicator for the global economy Read More

“Houston, we have a problem” – China’s move to self-sufficiency a game-changer for the plastics industry

Essentially, China’s move to self-sufficiency, and the need to deal with the issue of plastic waste, means there is no ‘business as usual’ option. Winners and Losers are already starting to emerge, as companies react to the challenges of today’s New Normal world.

“Houston, we have a problem” – China’s move to self-sufficiency a game-changer for the plastics industry Read More

FT Letters - Jackson Hole comment by Paul Hodges

Today’s financial crisis confirms that “failing to plan, equals planning to fail”

Companies and investors need to invest time now on having a genuine debate about the risks ahead. The regulatory failures of the past few days highlight what can quickly go wrong, if one hasn’t war-gamed out potential risks. As the saying goes, “Failing to plan, equals planning to fail”.

Today’s financial crisis confirms that “failing to plan, equals planning to fail” Read More

Plastics recycling starts to take off, and potential Winners & Losers emerge

Russia’s invasion has dramatically accelerated the need to transition from fossil fuels to renewables, and from single-use plastics to recycled product. In turn, this will create Winners & Losers. Some companies will decide to take advantage of the new opportunity. Others will continue to hope the issue will go away.

Plastics recycling starts to take off, and potential Winners & Losers emerge Read More

Smartphone market confirms major recession underway – 6th consecutive quarter of falling sales

The smartphone market has now been in decline for 5 years. And whilst the Fed would clearly love to get stocks racing to the moon again, history suggests that Apple’s CFO is likely to be right when auggesting that cost control, not innovation, is likely to be key for the future.

Smartphone market confirms major recession underway – 6th consecutive quarter of falling sales Read More

Japan’s premier warns of “social dysfunction” as ageing populations challenge Western and Chinese economies

Japan has wasted trillions of yen with its failed stimulus programmes. Had it devoted even a tenth of this money to developing a proper Retraining programme for people in their 50s/60s, it wouldn’t now be facing a major debt and currency crisis. The rest of the Western world needs to rapidly learn from its mistake.

Japan’s premier warns of “social dysfunction” as ageing populations challenge Western and Chinese economies Read More

Global auto fleet goes electric as “the electrification of everything” begins

The ‘digitalization of everything’ has transformed the global economy over the past 30 years. The rise of the internet is just one example. Now electrification is set to have a  similar impact, starting with the world’s largest manufacturing industry. Fasten your seatbelts for the ride!

Global auto fleet goes electric as “the electrification of everything” begins Read More

China has locked down again. Yet World Cup TV shows that normal life has resumed outside China. And the real estate bubble (29% of GDP) continues to burst

The World Cup runs till December 18. That’s a long time for Chinese viewers to ask themselves “Why am I still locked down, when the rest of the world is living a normal life again”? And in the background, the real estate bubble continues to burst.

China has locked down again. Yet World Cup TV shows that normal life has resumed outside China. And the real estate bubble (29% of GDP) continues to burst Read More

The blog’s 15th birthday – and the chemical industry remains the best leading indicator for the global economy

The US is moving into recession as the Atlanta Fed chart confirms. Chemicals have been warning of this for some time. But policymakers and commentators remain in Denial about the economy. They prefer to focus on their computer models, and ignore the real world outside their window.

The blog’s 15th birthday – and the chemical industry remains the best leading indicator for the global economy Read More

“We now understand better how little we understand about inflation”, Jay Powell, US Federal Reserve Chairman

We are facing a perfect storm of global food, energy and financial crises set off by the war in Ukraine.  Analysts need to stop focusing on monetary policy and the inversion of the yield curve. They need to look out of the window and start dealing with the geopolitical reality of Putinflation. 

“We now understand better how little we understand about inflation”, Jay Powell, US Federal Reserve Chairman Read More

Markets will see plenty of rallies, but history suggests the real bottom will be at least 2 years away

The history of the 1929 and 2000 downturns suggests the real pain is yet to come. Housing markets look terribly over-valued around the world, as I noted last month. And US consumer sentiment is at all-time lows. So most company earnings seem set to fall, with more than 60% of US CEOs now expecting to see a recession.

Markets will see plenty of rallies, but history suggests the real bottom will be at least 2 years away Read More

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.   

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

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.

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

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.

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

Time for demographics to replace economics, as Evergrande’s default marks the end of the central banks’ debt bubble

It is time for the central banks to give up their outdated economic models, and focus instead on the science of demographics. Their efforts to create economic growth by ‘printing babies’ have simply created a debt bubble. This will likely now burst as Evergrande goes bankrupt.

Time for demographics to replace economics, as Evergrande’s default marks the end of the central banks’ debt bubble Read More

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

The post Europe’s Green Deal will transform its economy, as floods confirm urgency of tackling climate change appeared first on Chemicals and the Economy.

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