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Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Ah, Yes, The Legends Meet The Reality

The second half rebound in China is off to a good start for Japan
Exports fell 8.1 percent from a year earlier, compared with an estimated 2.9 percent decline. Imports rose 2.1 percent. ... 

Shipments to the European Union fell 25 percent in July from a year earlier, the biggest decline since October 2009, while those to China slipped 12 percent, the ministry said
Japan's trade deficit in July was 517.4 billion yen, considerably above the estimated. I think everyone expected European exports to be low, but a 12% drop to China falls into the "very dead mackerel in face" category.

I suppose we could say this may be possibly related:
“The Chinese economy is only at the beginning of a harsh winter,” Zhang Hongxia, chairman of China’s largest cotton- textile maker, said in an interview in Hong Kong on Aug. 20. “China now is facing a situation where everything from coal to steel inventories are piling up.”
Corporate earnings in China are disappointing.  Singapore's July wasn't that great either. When the banks are saying one thing and the companies are saying another, I'd bet on the companies. Shipping lines seem to be hurting very badly, between the increased cost of fuel and overcapacity.

India has a plan, though:
Half of the short-term borrowings of the state-owned utilities, which generate or buy and distribute electricity, will be transferred to the books of the regional governments, according to a power ministry draft proposal obtained by Bloomberg News. The rest will be rescheduled by the banks and allowed a three-year moratorium on principal repayments. 

 Cash losses at utilities widened 15 times over three years to 288 billion rupees ($5.2 billion) in the year ended March 2010, prompting them to seek short-term loans even as dues to power producers and coal miners rose. The difference between the average cost of supplying electricity and the average tariff has almost doubled in the 11 years to March 2010, according to the draft, leading banks to refuse loans.
I'm sure being unable to collect on the old loans is really going to want to make banks give them new loans, eh? At some point, if you don't pay for the energy you use, you stop getting the energy. Odd how that happens.

If they are not willing to raise prices so that the utilities can pay their costs, I"m failing to see how this helps much. It starts to make negative nominal yields for Bunds look somewhat attractive!

It turns out that one major cause of the power failures was utilities drawing more than their allocated because they didn't want to have to buy more expensive power - or rather, they couldn't afford to buy it. 

But an elevated vision is trumping this dirty, crass, ignoble reality. Read this florid editorial on the blackout and climate change:
However, the multi-dimensionality of climate impacts makes it vital that India adopts an approach that is interdisciplinary in its character, breaks traditional ministerial boundaries, and learns rapidly from the effects of warming that are ongoing and our successes and failures in dealing with them. 

Experts are still learning about sub-regional impacts of climate change, but we know for sure that reducing emissions is urgent as is reducing vulnerability. We suggest the following processes: first, through a collaborative and systematic method, identify development decisions in different sectors that could lock in structures, technological systems and institutions leading to high emissions pathways, which as it turns out are also generally inequitable, and find plausible alternatives. Second, incorporate increasing climate resilience into decision-making. Climate resilience generally refers to the capacity to respond effectively to climate change.
Or you could write off the bad loans so the whole cycle could start again.  If you will go back and read the first article again, you'll note that power production by independent producers is dropping, due to the fact that the utilities can't pay for it:
NTPC Ltd. (NTPC), the country’s biggest power producer, was forced to cut generation by 13 billion kilowatt hours, or 6 percent of total production in the year ended March 31, as state government utilities reduced purchases, Chairman Arup Roy Choudhury said on Aug. 7. The company may have to cut output by almost as much this fiscal year.
We have a global epidemic of ignoring reality and blaming it on something else. We live in Fantasy Island, and it's not just a Western disease.

"We have a global epidemic of ignoring reality and blaming it on something else. We live in Fantasy Island, and it's not just a Western disease. "

That is way too true. We are more likely to be betting on a fantasy than betting on reality. That is why or win/lose ration is getting so low.
The cost of extracting and processing a barrel of oil has significantly increased input energy cost across the entire spectrum of energy consumption. Economic models based on cheap plentiful energy supplies is the core of worldwide economic fantasy.
I don't know what "Economic models based on cheap plentiful energy supplies..." is supposed to mean.

Markets seemed to work pretty well when lighting came from whale oil, which has to be one of the most expensive energy sources ever devised by man. Give people the chance to make a profit, and they'll figure out how to get cheaper energy.
Why don't we have cars running on compressed natural gas. CNG. In Argentina, half the cars run on it. And a big percent of those cars run on both, that is either, gasoline or CNG. There is no technological problem here.

Sig: You're more then welcome to have any car converted. Honda makes a CNG Civic. Beats me why you can't buy more new ones with that option.

Other than the terrible power output compared to gasoline or diesel, of course.

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