Saturday, December 27, 2008

SAR #8362 / Weekender

If it could be proved, it wouldn't be politics.

Received Wisdom: Reports claim Chinese GDP growth less than 5% is a recession, for it needs that much expansion to absorb new workers. It is thought unthinkable that China could have a negative GDP growth. Yet China's electric power output dropped 8% in November...

Prediction for 2009: Here's a summary of the experts' forecasts for the New Year: It's going to get worse, much worse.

Demand Decreases: By December 31st the world demand for petroleum will have dropped to 85.83 million barrels a day. That's due to rampant demand destruction of 700,000 barrels a day. This 0.8% decrease in demand provides support for economists' explanation of the $110 per barrel drop in prices. Some of the oil statistics floating around simply cannot be right.

Data: Retail sales, excluding cars and gasoline, fell 2.5% in November, 4% in December.

Who Can You Trust: How many other Ponzi schemes are there besides Madoff's? How many more financial psychopaths are ginning up fake account statements? How many little old ladies are there out there who think they have money in an account, but it's all just some big scam? How many more bad banks? How many bad brokerage houses? How many more bad companies with bad stock? How many more bad government entities with bad finances and worse bonds? How many bad pension funds? [Quoted from Byron King]

How Bad Is It? State lotteries are reporting a drop in sales as fewer and fewer suckers poor people waste their money play. If this represented growing wisdom it would be a good sign. It is most likely an indicator of desperation, when the gullible no longer buy the dream. Scratch 'em off.

Down Payment: Japan's factory output has biggest fall on record, declines 8.1 from October. Is Mr. Bernanke still sure the US should follow Japan's lead?

Need To Know: Bank of NY/Mellon, JPMorgan Chase, and 19 othersl were asked what they had done with the billions in taxpayer money they had received. None provided a specific answer, most claimed they chose not to disclose how they had disposed of the funds. Most simply said, "Go away, kid, you're bothering me."

Most Import Meal: Young people who skip breakfast tend to engage in sex earlier than those who eat Wheaties.

Machiavellian: Misdirection may provide a way for US politicians to finally accept what the population has wanted for the last ten or fifteen years - national healthcare. The US government cannot let a group of big states go bankrupt - as seems to be in store for California, New York and a few others. But bailing Arnold out is not a popular idea. If the Feds were to assume the enormous financial burden that healthcare is for every state - equally throughout the nation - it could go a long way to helping out the individual states while advancing a national healthcare agenda.

Demanding Supplies: Falling petroleum prices have derailed many current and planned oil-field projects. This guarantees the price of oil will rapidly rise once the world decides it wants to make things again. The top five net oil exporters shipped 24mbd in 2005, but will only export 18mbd in 2012, perhaps less. The decline in investment guarantees a rise in price. Teaching point: Small changes in demand have large effects on the price of a commodity in limited supply.

Connections: Kyrgyzstan's ongoing electrical blackouts are inconvenient. But without electricity the pumps that drive public water systems do not work. Air, water, food. In that order.

Porn O'Graph: Retail Sailing...


Anonymous said...

This 0.8% decrease in demand provides support for economists' explanation of the $110 per barrel drop in prices. Some of the oil statistics floating around simply cannot be right.

I bet that the majority of the drop is caused by speculators shorting the oil futures. They are betting on OPEC to panic and cut output too much which then will slam prices above USD 200 once the constant demand meets with the dropping output.

Charles Kingsley Michaelson, III said...

fajensen - There is a lot of merit to your view. Add in hedge funds liquidating to raise cash before they crash and end of the year dress-up by other funds. The data do not support the price track, and like you I smell manipulation.
- cjn