At what point does a drought become a famine?
From the Columbia Tribune:
Those outside of the winter wheat growing region might not be thinking about the recent U.S. drought this time of year, but precipitation is desperately needed to recharge the aquifer and replenish subsoil moisture in Kansas, Nebraska and north Texas. This region is just west of the states that sustained the worst dryness in recent history in the Corn Belt this past growing season.
The latest version of the Palmer Drought Index shows much of Kansas and Nebraska dealing with extreme drought conditions with more than a 9-inch precipitation deficit. This area of North America produces hard red winter wheat used primarily for flour for breads.
Saturday, November 24, 2012
At what point does a drought become a famine?
Friday, November 23, 2012
Stocks are up 135 and still rising on no economic news today. Oh, that's right! It's just Black Friday! The WSJ attributes it to the tech sector, but it's not because of any good news; it's because that's the sector moving most sharply higher! Sounds like a feeding frenzy!
"Business activity in Germany and the broader euro zone continued to shrink in November, indicating the region's economic downturn is steepening even as other major economies such as the U.S. and China show signs of resurgence."
But stocks are modestly higher.
Thursday, November 22, 2012
Wednesday, November 21, 2012
Tuesday, November 20, 2012
Oil prices slipped Tuesday as some traders booked profits after sharp
gains Monday, when Brent and Nymex crude surged over $2 a barrel,
reflecting concerns over the escalating Israel-Palestine conflict and
hopes that the U.S. fiscal cliff might be resolved.
Stocks have just dropped into the red, breaking through the day's earlier lows and showing no follow-through from yesterday. The day still has more than 2 hours to go, so anything can happen, but this is a disappointment after the Dow's 200-point rally yesterday.
Monday, November 19, 2012
Uncertainty abounds! It's only going to get worse from here:
Nationwide, business investment in equipment and software—a measure of economic vitality in the corporate sector—stalled in the third quarter for the first time since early 2009. Corporate investment in new buildings has declined.
Uncertainty around the U.S. elections and federal budget policies also appear among the factors driving the investment pullback since midyear. It is unclear whether Washington will avert the so-called fiscal cliff, tax increases and spending cuts scheduled to begin Jan. 2.
Companies fear that failure to resolve the fiscal cliff will tip the economy back into recession by sapping consumer spending, damaging investor confidence and eating into corporate profits. A deal to avert the cliff could include tax-code changes, such as revamping tax breaks or rates, that hurt specific sectors.
"Given the timing of the drop-off in business investment," he said, "you have to think it's not just a coincidence with the timing of the fiscal cliff."
Unless the business investment slowdown reverses quickly, it could weigh further on growth prospects and the stock market.
Despite that no "fix" is in sight, stock futures rose on Friday, even following more bad economic data. However, once Congressional leadership reported a "constructive" meeting with President Obama, stocks leaped out of the red and into the black.
Stock futures continued to rise Sunday evening and into the European session, rising modestly during the session. This, even though Spanish debt continues to deepen.
"One of the darkest parts of the Spanish economy, and therefore the European economy, the bad loans held by the banking system continues to get worse.
"Uncertainty swirling around the ‘fiscal cliff’ that must be resolved by year-end, the pending jump in capital gains taxes at the start of 2013, and the debt ceiling that will be reached in late February represent clear and present downside risks to the market in the near-term," writes David Kostin in US Weekly Kickstart.
In the Mary Mapes Dodge book titled Hans Brinker,
there is a fictional story within the story of a little Dutch boy who,
on his way to school, notices a hole in the dyke. Having nothing else
to fix the leak, he plugs the hole with his finger and stays there
through the night until workers come to repair it. We are now into the
fourth year of efforts to print trillions of little Dutch boys out of
dollars and euros in order to stop a tide from crashing through a
fundamentally damaged dyke. All of this has bought time, but no workers
have arrived, and no real repairs have been done.