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Retail gasoline deliveries, already well below 1980 levels, have absolutely fallen off a cliff. Is the plunge inventory-related, i.e. are storage facilities so full that retailers are simply putting off deliveries?
Though I don’t have data on hand to support this, I know from one of my correspondents who is in the gasoline distribution/delivery business that gasoline is very much a “just in time” commodity: gas stations are often close to running out of fuel when they get a delivery. Stations aren’t holding huge quantities of surplus gasoline; that’s not how the business works.
Given the absence of “extra storage” in gas stations (and the fact that the number of gas stations has fallen dramatically since 1980), it is reasonable to conclude that retail delivery is largely a function of demand, i.e. gasoline consumption.
Even if you dismiss the recent plunge as an outlier, the declines in retail gasoline deliveries are mind-boggling.
March 31, 2011 in Campaign 2008, Campaign 2010, Campaign 2012, Capitalism, Economy, Family values, Politics, socialism, Uncategorized | Tags: Barack Obama, debt ceiling, Federal Reserve, Treasury bills, Zero Hedge | 2 comments
March 25, 2011 in Campaign 2008, Campaign 2010, Campaign 2012, Capitalism, Economy, Family values, Politics, socialism, Uncategorized | Tags: Central planning, China real estate, GDP, Zero Hedge | Leave a comment
While Zero Hedge readers have long known about the eerie phenomenon known as China’s ghost cities (and ghost malls), Australia’s SBS’ Dateline has done a terrific documentary on the topic of “64 million empty apartments in China.” As each passing day brings more confirmation that not only is China’s real estate market one massive bubble, but it is also, as expected, completely hollow, both literally and metaphorically. The full brief clip is a must watch for all those who wonder how central planning manages to hit its goal-seeked and manipulated GDP number each and every quarter .We are surprised that in keeping with the Japanese earthquake economic miracle, China has not destroyed the vacant city yet only to rebuild it immediately.
See ZEROHEDGE for the full article: http://www.zerohedge.com/article/sbs-datelines-documentary-chinas-64-million-empty-apartments
February 24, 2011 in Campaign 2008, Campaign 2010, Campaign 2012, Capitalism, Economy, Family values, Politics, socialism, Uncategorized | Tags: Barack Obama, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, underwater mortgages, Zero Hedge | 1 comment
Ever wonder why the banks have been stowing away cash as if in anticipation of a torrential rainy day? Well, it just started pouring. According to the WSJ: “The Obama administration is trying to push through a settlement over mortgage-servicing breakdowns that could force America’s largest banks to pay for reductions in loan principal worth billions of dollars…Terms of the administration’s proposal include a commitment from mortgage servicers to reduce the loan balances of troubled borrowers who owe more than their homes are worth, people familiar with the matter said. The cost of those writedowns won’t be borne by investors who purchased mortgage-backed securities, these people said…some state attorneys general and federal agencies are pushing for banks to pay more than $20 billion in civil fines or to fund a comparable amount of loan modifications for distressed borrowers…Regulators are looking at up to 14 servicers that could be a party to the settlement…Banks would also have to reduce second-lien mortgages when first mortgages are modified…Under the administration’s proposed settlement, banks would have to bear the cost of all writedowns rather than passing them on to other investors. The settlement proposal focuses on pushing servicers who mishandled foreclosure procedures to eat losses, by writing down loans that they service on behalf of clients. Those clients include mortgage-finance giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, as well as investors in loans that were securitized by Wall Street firms.” In other words, we have just reached the pinnacle of banana republic socialist insanity. In one fell swoop the teleprompter will not only grant reprieve to the banks for decades of fraudulent mortgage activity, but undercapitalize themselves and have them at risk for another liquidity run, which would of course mean another record multi-trillion taxpayer bailout. And the worst case: the 10 million or whatever underwater mortgages will get an average reduction of $2000 each. This is unf******believeable!
From the WSJ:
A settlement could help lift a cloud of uncertainty that has stalled the foreclosure process since last fall. Economists have warned that foreclosures need to proceed for the housing market to continue on a path to recovery. It’s unclear how many borrowers would benefit from a deal. Servicers have thus far had difficulty managing the volume of troubled loans.
So far, most loan modifications have focused on shrinking monthly payments by lowering interest rates and extending loan terms. Banks, as well as mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, have been shy to embrace principal reductions, in part due to concerns that many borrowers who can afford their loans will stop paying in the hope of being rewarded with a smaller loan. But some economists warn that rising numbers of underwater borrowers will drag on housing markets and the economy for years unless more is done to help them.
Several federal agencies have been scrutinizing the nation’s largest banks over breakdowns in foreclosure procedures that erupted last fall. Last week, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency said only a small number of borrowers had been improperly foreclosed upon. But the regulator raised concerns over inadequate staffing and weak controls over certain foreclosure processes.
A settlement must satisfy an unwieldy mix of authorities, including state attorneys general and regulators such as the newly formed Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection, who support heftier fines. They must also appease banking regulators, such as the OCC, that are concerned penalties could be too stiff.
“Nothing has been finalized among the states, and it’s our understanding that the federal agencies we are in discussions with have not finalized their positions,” said a spokesman for Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller, who is spearheading a 50-state investigation of mortgage-servicing practices.
February 1, 2011 in Campaign 2008, Campaign 2010, Campaign 2012, Capitalism, Economy, Family values, Politics, socialism, Uncategorized | Tags: Argentina, commodities, cotton, Economic crisis, futures, inflation, Zero Hedge | 1 comment
September 28, 2009 in Campaign 2008, Campaign 2012, Capitalism, Economy, Politics, socialism, Uncategorized | Tags: Barack Obama, Federal Reserve, Goldman Sachs, Treasury Dept., Zero Hedge | 2 comments
“Last spring, in a far corner of the Internet, an unknown blogger began to piece together a conspiracy theory: The investment bank Goldman Sachs was using sophisticated, high-speed computers to siphon hundreds of millions of dollars in illegitimate trading profits from the New York Stock Exchange, invisibly undercutting the market and sidestepping the regulatory reach of the Securities and Exchange Commission.”
“Only a few loyal readers paid attention to the blog called Zero Hedge, a no-frills site full of arcane analysis decipherable only by finance professionals. But when a former Goldman Sachs computer programmer was arrested for allegedly stealing software codes used for the firm’s electronic trading arm, and a federal prosecutor was quoted saying the codes could be used to “manipulate markets in unfair ways,” the once-obscure blog ignited a chain reaction.”
“On July 24, the Times published a front-page article on so-called high-frequency trading and its potential abuses, which in turn prompted Chuck Schumer, a member of the Senate Finance Committee, to draft a letter to the SEC that same day. Twelve days later, the SEC signaled that it was considering a ban on the very computerized trading that Zero Hedge had attacked. “
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