Hope clouds the mind.
Shin Bone Connected To The... Defaults by 'prime' borrowers are expected to accelerate this year, with the number of prime mortgages 60+ days late doubling y/y to over 800,000. The continuing delinquencies and foreclosures constitute a large 'shadow inventory' of houses that will come onto the market as the months pass.
You Ain't Seen Nothin' Yet: China has announced it will “actively” enter the global competition for oil, natural gas and mineral resources in order to ensure energy supplies for its continued economic growth. Given the shopping spree it's been on, I wonder what “actively” indicates.
Graphic Graphs: The illustrated 2010 chamber of pending horrors, from stalled GDP to small business torpor.
Stripped Centers: Vacancies in the nation's strip malls rose to 10.6% in 4Q09, a record, up from 8.9% in 4Q08. Large regional malls are only marginally better, with a record 8.8% vacancy rate. A recovery is not anticipated until 2012, “at the earliest.”
Some Like It Hot: While much of the US, the UK, and Europe are suffering record winter cold, Australia reported that 2009 was the second warmest year since 1910 and that the decade now past was the hottest on record. Confusing, no?
Siren's Song: Gold has resumed its climb, passing $1,135 an ounce on renewed fears that an economic recovery will lead to inflation. How barbaric.
Tea Leaves: There is, according to economist Paul Krugman, a 30%-40% chance of a recession in 2010 and a better than even chance that unemployment will continue to rise. It's his way of asking for another stimulus bill.
From Russia With Love: In a week or so the energy balance of the world will change as Russia completes a new oil pipeline and port complex that will significantly increase its exports to Asian markets and make Russia the world’s largest petroleum supplier and, not incidentally, increase Russia's rank in the Game of Nations.
Revisionism: In 1998, scientists predicted that Bolivia's Chacaltaya glacier above La Paz would have completely disappeared by 2015. They were wrong. It will be completely gone this year.
The Beauty of English: The Financial Accounting Standards Board wants to “decouple” bank capital rules “from normal accounting standards” and provide banks “flexibility” in determining the value of their assets.
Tempest, Teapot: The big dogs of the blogsphere have made a big deal of a couple of blogs being shut down because they were suspected of being “spam blogs” by Blogger's web crawler due to the number of html links in the blog. Me too! Me too! Twice, so far. No big deal. You appeal, they quickly review and you're back on.
The Gloom Report: Our society and our civilization have peaked. We're running out of time to avoid a serious depression. Buy farmland. And guns. Stock up on fertilizer, seed, canned goods, Scotch. And lots more
pessimistic realistic predictions. Place your bets...
Compare and Contrast: Peter Davies, BP's Chief Economist acknowledges that the world's supply of petroleum is limited, but that the idea of peak oil is not true and that “the bell-shaped curve of production over time does not apply to the world's oil resources.” He's right, too. Except for Texas, Prudohoe Bay, Daqing (China), Samotlor (Russia), Cantarell (Mexico), Gach Saran (Iran), the North Sea and so on. All the giant/super-giant fields ever found have followed the bell curve of production, but it's not mandatory.
Point After: Last week Pimco's CEO said those preaching recovery are ignoring the fundamentals. Krugman agrees that there's no “macroeconomic silver lining,” and that the recovery will take time. A long time.
Delayed Doom: About 23,497,324 Germans discovered their bank cards do not work in the New Year. Back in 1999 programmers stuck a quick fix to the Y2K problem and made any two digit date less than 10 a date in the 2000's. But the computers still see 2010 as 1910 and the cards had expired. There were similar problems with some email programs, Windows Mobile devices, and point-of-sale machines in Australia.
Porn O'Graph: Welcome to the plateau.