Monday, May 26, 2008

SAR #8147

Securitization worked wonderfully until it didn't.

Bye By Birdie: Mexico's oil output fell 9% in the first four months of the year. Their exports (nearly all to the US) fell 13%. A refresher on the Export Land Model, is here.

Round Trip: Several recent reports warn that there is a growing tide of bank failures. An examination of their history of ignoring prudent banking practices suggests the failures occurred some time ago.

Answer Sheet: The media has been asking for months now how high gasoline would have to go before it affected the American consumer. According to the Transportation Department, $3.50 - $3.75 a gallon.

Easy Street: Wall Street claims you should invest in equities to build your retirement funds. Over the last 8 years, your nest egg would have grown .45% a year invested in the S&P 500. In the Russell 2000 you'd have averaged 3% a year. In NASDAQ stocks you would have lost over 8% a year.

Spiral: The former Soviet Union's collapse into chaos and subsequent reorganization is suggestive of the future that awaits the US. But add a far greater level of civil violence, for the Russians had not been drunk on consumerism, affluence, and entitlement. Nor were they trained to maintain their privileges with a gun.

Air Conditioning: Regulators estimate that the $62 trillion CDS market is exposed to probable defaults on over 2% of the notional amount. This will produce $150 billion in defaults, leading to a chain of unmet counterparty demands which will freeze the financial system. At least it'll be summer.

Beached: Getting away from it all by lying on a tropical beach isn't really getting away from it all: upwards of 30% of the 'sand' actually is microscopic shards of plastic. According to a report in Science, this "represents only a small proportion of the microscopic plastic in the environment."

An American Prospect: Dmitry Orlov's new book is not all doom and gloom, just the immediate future. He foresees a distant future in which the US is "flourishing after the collapse."

Math, Again: For every $1 banks write off or have to bring back on their books, $10 in potential loans disappears. Meredith Whitney suggest the losses (so far) will remove $3 trillion from capital markets by the end of the year. That's $10,000 per person in the US. That's a lot of shoes.

Cracked Up: A network of cracks more than 10 miles long has been found on Ward Hunt, the largest of the ice shelves in Canada's far north. The cracks are precursors to the disintegration the ice shelf, another dramatic illustration of the hoax perpetrated by those who deny global warming.

Porn O'Graph: Delinquencies and Foreclosures, same slope.

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