Are you having a sense of deja vu yet?
True Lies: The boosters say 'Foreclosures fell for second straight month!' And they did. 4% fewer m/m. Others say the quarter just ended were “the worst three monts of all time” for foreclosures. And it was. Just shy of a million families thrown onto the street, a 23% increase y/y. JPMorgan Chase says we have not seen the peak yet. In addition, over $400 billion in home mortgages that were chopped up and packaged into securities are in default. But foreclosures did fall for the second straight month, maybe because the government's loan modification program has put a large number of would-be foreclosures into a 90 - 150 day suspension. They'll be home by Christmas.
Whispered, Loudly: Daisuke Uno, a prominent Japanese banker, said “The dollar’s fall won’t stop until there’s a change to the global currency system.” He expects the dollar to drop from 90 yen, now, to 50 yen next year.
Crude's Up, Gasoline's Down: Crude oil zoomed upwards after government data showed a large drop in gasoline inventories. But refineries are only running at 80% of capacity because the profit from refining crude into gasoline is so low. Expect pump prices to waken from their recent slumber.
... Or Get Off the Pot: The head of the UN's IPCC told the Copenhagen conference on climate change to quit talking about goals for 2050 or 2100 and to focus on today and tomorrow, because carbon emissions have to peak by 2015 at the latest. If that's not done, the rest is moot.
Wish I'd said: “ Triple-digit oil prices - not an overextended financial system plugged into subprime mortgages - caused the current recession.” And the recovery will drive oil prices right back into tipple digits.
Asked and Answered: “Does banking contribute to the good of society?” Theoretically. It depends on your definition of banking and if you can find an actual bank as opposed to a den of iniquity. Despite ample evidence of the damage wrought by the financial sector, it has managed to secure even greater rewards for its predation and incompetence while we sit dumbly by.
Home Sweet Home: Tight budgets and falling tax revenues have prompted many states to release inmates early. But somedon't want to leave. That's the trouble with letting them watch CNBC.
News & Views: China appears to be increasing its energy needs, boosting global oil demand above expectations. This has led to a surge in oil prices that the IEA finds worrisome, fearing that more than $75 a barrel will again dampen the global economy. The demand appears to be coming from developing nations because petroleum usage in the industrialized economies peaked in 2005. And if we're going to use less of their oil, the Saudis want us to pay more for it.
Pre-Pay: Got plans for a European vacation next year? Better get your euros now – at $1.49 each. Goldman Sachs says the dollar will weaken to $1.55 vs. the euro within a few months.
Wheels Within Wheels: The Pentagon is reviewing Bush's policy of starting wars of aggression whenever the mood stuck, claiming the international environment is “more complex” than when Cheney was going around thumping foreigners who wouldn't sell us oil or let us build pipelines.
Yea, Boo: Wal-Mart is the only S&P 500 company that has done well throughout the recession. (Dollar-type stores have done okay, too). It seems that what is bad for the economy is good for Walmart. I think I read that somewhere 10 years ago...