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Thursday, September 11, 2008

Thursday, And A Sad One

I don't want to talk about politics at all today, because it is 9/11. That's an anniversary marking such pain and loss for so many of differing political tendencies that any political conversation is bound to cause even more pain. A minimal respect for the many individuals involved requires marking the day for what it is - a day of shared and grievous loss. I applaud the decision of both candidates to mark the anniversary together. Viola posted a poem on her blog a week or so ago that I think is appropriate:

Looking through a grid
built by all of life’s experiences,
I see the world shaded;
somewhat clear here,
not so clear there,
but always through my formed design.

How does life look through
someone else’s framework?
Quite different, I am sure!
Somewhat clear there,
not so clear here,
but always through their very own design.

~Viola M. Jaynes
I don't want to write about it either, because this is the first anniversary in which most of my brain is working (it just turned itself back on this summer over the course of a few days), and so I am finding it excruciatingly difficult. The volume, so to speak, has been turned up on the emotions. A huge hunk of me is experiencing this for the first time.

The Anchoress
has a roundup of reactions.

Regarding economics, initial claims are unremarkable and consistent with the overall decline in FUT receipts which foreshadow significant further significant rises in unemployment.

The major economic news of the day comes in the trade report, and appears to be surprising economists a bit. Why they are surprised by a larger deficit I cannot fathom. If you look at the oil segment, you see that the average import price of oil for July was $124.66. The previous July's figure was $65.57. The average import price in June was $117.13, and the average import price in May was $106.28, rising from $96.81 in April. That is, of course, now ancient history.

Best guess on oil is that it drops to around $72-76 a barrel; how quickly this happens means a great deal to the world economy. Over the course of the last year, the petroleum/non petroleum import ratio has moved like this:
07 Jul: 27,241/136,974 --- 19.9%
07 Oct: 29,977/137,232 -- 21.8%
08 Jan: 39,263/134,776 --- 29.1%
08 Apr: 39,545/141,873 -- 27.9%
08 Jul: 51,426/143,195 --- 35.9%
Needless, to say, energy prices in the spring and summer were cutting hugely into real exports for other countries (the rise in non-petroleum imports are partially due to energy-cost inflation of prices). If you look at real import/export balance (in 2000 chained dollars), you see that from July 07 to July 08 the net trade balance moved from -53,081 to -41,241. Non petroleum imports from July 07 to July 08 moved from 128,668 to 125,184, and non-petroleum exports rose over the period from 83,575 to 92,452.

This is not as good as it appears, because in fact we do not pay for imported goods and services with chain-weighted currency. However, it is truly bad news for foreign economies with a strong weight toward consumer consumption export items, especially if they internally subsidize energy costs for producing those items.

Now with reversal of the currency trend, US consumption gets a tiny boost, but the drag from energy and the loss of consumption from the deflation of houses-that-lay-equity-eggs is grinding any dollar move effects into the dirt.

The Euro has moved below $1.40, and Ike (who is really one nasty-looking storm) notwithstanding, crude prices are falling more.

You know MoM, I still have those images of 9/11 in my mind as if it happened yesterday. My heart broke.

My thoughts are with you and please keep us in your thoughts and your prayers as the hurricane moves closer toward us.
It's coming! Very big and very wet. I hope you are pretty far inland.
MoM, we are about 70 miles north of Galveston. The problem in our area here is that we have so many very tall trees. We have about 4 big ones in our back yard alone, and one very large one right in the front yard. Many trees and large trees are indicative to this area.

It is a mad house out there with people trying to prepare at the last minute. I think I am set as best as I've been able to do.

I moved "Perception" to the top. Thank you for your kind acknowledgment!
Oh, Viola, you guys are going to be very wet and windy!
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