Economic growth

China’s housing market moves from boom to bust, with $3.9tn of unsold properties on the market

China’s housing inventory is now at a record 25 months. Prices/demand continue to fall. And local government land sale income has already fallen 1/3rd since 2021 to $800bn, with a further 10% fall to expected this year. And Daiwa suggest total local government debt has already reached $14tn.

China’s housing market moves from boom to bust, with $3.9tn of unsold properties on the market Read More

Currency wars kick off as Japanese yen tumbles to 35-year low; Bank of Japan spends initial $59bn to defend it

This is the 3rd time we have forewarned of an approaching crisis. Both previous times, ahead of the Great Financial Crisis and the Covid pandemic, we were told we “didn’t know what we were talking about”. And nobody did anything to avoid the looming disaster Let’s hope its “3rd time lucky” and that “this time is different”.

Currency wars kick off as Japanese yen tumbles to 35-year low; Bank of Japan spends initial $59bn to defend it Read More

US, EU prepare for trade war with China on Electric Vehicles as auto demand patterns change

The world is now moving from today’s “Continuous Instability” into “Growing Disruption”. Real wars are already escalating in Europe and the Middle East.  Trade wars are beginning. And Demand Patterns in key industries such as autos are starting to change very rapidly. 

US, EU prepare for trade war with China on Electric Vehicles as auto demand patterns change 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

“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

An Asian debt crisis would shake the global economy, now the ‘Presidential Cycle’ effect is over

The Presidential Cycle is now over. Instead, worries about the recession and the US debt ceiling talks are moving centre-stage. But Asian currency markets are sending a warning signal. A rising US dollar and US interest rates, and a falling yen and yuan, could soon raise the risks of a major Asian debt crisis.

An Asian debt crisis would shake the global economy, now the ‘Presidential Cycle’ effect is over 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

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

“Things get to a point where you have to do the right thing”, Lord McDonald, former head of the UK Foreign Office

The election’s timing could hardly be worse, with Johnson a caretaker premier. The UK should be working closely with the EU to combat the Russian threat to food and energy supplies. But instead, we may well see candidates attacking the EU to win constituency support

“Things get to a point where you have to do the right thing”, Lord McDonald, former head of the UK Foreign Office 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

US Supreme Court throws a lifeline to Democrats for the mid-term elections

Social and political issues were always more important than economics before the SuperCycle.  And now they are resurfacing again. Does an individual woman have the right to choose what to do with her body? Or can judges tell her what she can, and can’t do? It is early days, but many women may choose to vote Democrat because of this issue in November.

US Supreme Court throws a lifeline to Democrats for the mid-term elections 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

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

2021 unlikely to see a quick return to ‘business as usual’

Investors have been spoilt in recent years by the absence of risk. 2020 confirmed the ‘risk off’ mode as central banks ramped up their support. But will Wall Street continue in party mood, despite the growing problems on Main Street?

 

2021 unlikely to see a quick return to ‘business as usual’ Read More

What would another 4 years of President Trump’s policies mean?

50 million Americans have already voted in the Presidential election. Turnout is on course to be the highest percentage since 1908. This week we analyse President Trump’s agenda if he is re-elected. Next week, we will look at Joe Biden’s alternative for the country.

 

What would another 4 years of President Trump’s policies mean? Read More

Central banks try to ‘print babies’ to boost consumption

Supply/demand balances are weakening in oil markets, whilst a Fed Governor has highlighted the serious problem that developed in Treasury markets during the March collapse. We also focus on the economic impact of the Perennials – who will provide the majority of US/Western and Global population growth over the next decade.

 

Central banks try to ‘print babies’ to boost consumption Read More

World Aromatics Conference focuses on key industry challenges

Our 16th World Aromatics and Derivatives conference will take place on 8-9 November. Co-organised with ICIS, it provides an excellent opportunity for delegates to meet and exchange views in the critical end-of-year period. It features the usual strong line-up of speakers: Ronald Doesburg, GM for Shell’s Base Chemicals business, will describe how innovation is driving new […]

World Aromatics Conference focuses on key industry challenges Read More

Hurricane Harvey: lack of insurance will hit Houston’s recovery

“By Monday, the third straight day of flooding, the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey had left much of the region underwater, and the city of Houston looked like a sea dotted by small islands.  ’This event is unprecedented,’ the National Weather Service tweeted. ‘All impacts are unknown and beyond anything experienced.’” This summary from the New […]

Hurricane Harvey: lack of insurance will hit Houston’s recovery Read More

Chemical industry data shows reflation remains hope, not reality

Western central bankers are convinced reflation and economic growth are finally underway as a result of their $14tn stimulus programmes.  But the best leading indicator for the global economy – capacity utilisation (CU%) in the global chemical industry – is saying they are wrong.  The CU% has an 88% correlation with actual GDP growth, far […]

Chemical industry data shows reflation remains hope, not reality Read More