Friday, December 5, 2008

Weekend Open Thread

I woke up this morning to hear not so positive news on so many fronts. The chicken are coming home to roost now and the years of credit excesses, leverage, denial, 'Greenspan Put' and speculation are clearly hurting the mainstream economies both in Canada and the US.
  • US unemployment rose by over a whopping half a million. Worst since 1982. Bye Bye Goldilocks economy. Bye Bye quick recovery.
  • Canadian unemployment rose by 77,000, a much worse number than the US if we account for population.
  • The West is fairing better at this time, but it's only a matter of time. Layoffs are occurring at GE, Jacobs etc and the full effect of the ensuing commodity bust is only starting to getting felt.
  • Oil is at $43 and more importantly natural gas is below $6. A fall to $25 and $4 will kill the economy of West in a replay of 1982. But 1982 will look like a picnic as compared to what's unfolding right now. Just for perspective, the 1982 recession was 18 months long. This recession is already 12 months old and until recently leading economists did not even admit that there was a recession. And Canada is only in a 'technical recession' as per our esteemed leaders. Expect things to get much worse on the employment front with a double digit unemployment rate a very real possibility.
  • With manufacturing tanking and the commodities bust about to show its ramifications, what's going to happen to the real estate? Not a very pretty picture.
  • The bust is here. It can't be wished away and most readers of this blog knew what was coming. Yet a few delusional ones bought and even had the chutzpah to lure others into buying by making specious arguments. With a grim employment picture, it won't take much convincing to anyone to put off buying homes. Or will it? When people have sleepless nights before signing on the mortgage papers and committing themselves to a debt for 25 years, we'll know the market has become normal.
  • Finally, the loonie is down to 77 cents and change. The true companion of $25 oil would be a 65 cents loonie. So much for the collapse of USD.
  • And here's a little bit of humour on this otherwise gloomy news day(from Calculated Risk blog comment post):
Lawrence Livermore Laboratories has discovered the heaviest element yet known to science. The new element, Governmentium (symbol=Gv), has one neutron, 25 assistant neutrons, 88 deputy neutrons, and 198 assistant deputy neutrons, giving it an atomic mass of 312. These 312 particles are held together by forces called morons, which are surrounded by vast quantities of lepton-like particles called peons. Since Governmentium has no electrons, it is inert. However, it can be detected, because it impedes every reaction with which it comes into contact. A tiny amount of Governmentium can cause a reaction that would normally take less than a second, to take from 4 days to 4 years to complete. Governmentium has a normal half-life of 2 to 6 years. It does not decay, but instead undergoes a reorganization in which a portion of the assistant neutrons and deputy neutrons exchange places.

Have a great weekend everyone.
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