Saturday :: Nov 20, 2004

"It's ONLY Your Money"

by pessimist

That's what those who reside in the minority 99% would be told if the Toppers were being honest. But let's face it - there's no profit in honesty, or Dick Cheney would be the Pope.

We keep hearing from the members of Bu$hCo about how the economy is improving. Considering what I have in these three articles - all fresh - I would not hock the cow just yet - you might need the milk:

Leading Indicators Down for 5th Month

The Conference Board said its index of leading indicators fell 0.3 percent in October to 115.1, a fifth straight monthly decline. The index fell by a matching 0.3 percent in both September and August. The September figure was downwardly revised from a previously reported drop of 0.1 percent.

"A fifth straight decline in the leading indicators is a clear signal that the economy is losing steam, and may start off 2005 with a relatively weak pace of economic activity," Conference Board economist Ken Goldstein said in a statement.

Remember what I posted here?

That was only the beginning. Now that the Lord High Priest of Mammon has preached, another assault upon the American economy was unleashed.

Dollar declines following Greenspan remarks

The dollar suffered a renewed bout of selling after US Federal Reserve chairman Alan Greenspan hinted that another depreciation in the US currency might be necessary to reduce the current account deficit. "It seems persuasive that, given the size of the US current account deficit, a diminished appetite for adding to dollar balances must occur at some point," Greenspan told a conference on the euro in Frankfurt.

What he means by this? We have to decrease the amount of our deficit spending - GEORGE !

His comments pushed the dollar back towards its all-time low against the euro, which set a record on Thursday of 1.3074.

"Greenspan gives no indication that he is concerned about the fall in the dollar and appears to indicate that as long as it is orderly, there will not be a problem, keeping faith in markets to make the adjustment," noted Mitul Kotecha, senior forex strategist at CALYON.

"The door is open for more dollar weakness," said Audrey Childe-Freeman, an analyst at CIBC World Markets.

It wasn't only the euro that advanced against the dollar in the wake of Greenspan's comments, the yen was also at its strongest level since April 2000.

Though both the European Central Bank and the Bank of Japan are anxious about the speed of the appreciation of their currencies against the dollar, market intervention ahead of the G20 was not expected, analysts said.

Analysts said the ECB would now find it extremely difficult to stem the euro's appreciation without US backing. But that appeared unlikely given the views of both Greenspan and Treasury Secretary John Snow. "Like Snow, Greenspan is showing no interest in forex intervention, suggesting once again no agreement with the ECB or BoJ," said CALYON's Kotecha.

The markets were to keep a close eye on the G20 meeting in case the apparent divisions manifested themselves publicly.

OK, that was a bit esoteric. Let's look at something that will hit you closer to your wallet:

Oil Jumps More Than $2 on Winter Worries

Oil prices climbed more than $2 higher on Friday on renewed concern over supplies of distillate fuels in all main consuming centers before the Northern Hemisphere winter. Friday's jump renewed a rally that has added 48 percent to prices so far this year as rising world fuel demand strains supplies of refined products such as gasoline, diesel fuel and heating oil.

Dealers are concerned about heating oil inventories, which are significantly below last year's levels in the top markets of the United States, Germany and Japan. U.S. supplies are 16 percent less than year-ago figures.

That was the CYA. Here's the REAL reason that prices are headed up:

Third Time's The Charm - Oil Embargo v3.0.2004

Venezuelan Energy Minister Rafael Ramirez said late on Thursday his country would support a cut in oil production by oil cartel OPEC when the producers' group next meets on Dec. 10. The minister said OPEC member Iran had already made a proposal to cut production at the upcoming meeting.

Some producing nations are concerned that a potential build-up in crude stocks over the next few months could depress oil prices.

These guys must not be reading this article. Crude stocks are high because Saudi Arabia has promised Bu$hCo that they will act as a regulator with their production capacity to keep oil prices somewhat stable. Maybe they were feeling a bit guilty for having led the charge to raise the prices in the first place?

Saudis pledged oil price cut before US vote-report

Saudi Arabia's ambassador to the United States, Prince Bandar bin Sultan, promised President Bush the Saudis would cut oil prices before November to ensure the U.S. economy is strong on election day. Prince Bandar pledged the Saudi's would try to fine-tune oil prices to prime the U.S. economy for the election -- a move they understood would favor Bush's re-election.

Bandar reassured Bush that the kingdom would not allow oil shortages to hurt world economic growth after Saudi Arabia led a push by OPEC to cut output by 1 million barrels a day from April. "Saudi Arabia's policy is consistent. Number one: we will not allow any shortages in the market," Bandar told reporters on April 1 after delivering his message to Bush from Saudi Arabia's de facto ruler Crown Prince Abdullah.

The fact that the Saudis have been regulating the markets with their production capacity has not stopped domestic oil companies from having a very good year:

With Oil Production Near Peak, Analysts Worry About Meeting Growing Demand

Oil companies are reporting record profits as prices for crude on the world market remain high. Many companies have been reluctant to spend much of their new profits on exploration and development, however, because past experience has shown that rapid price increases are usually followed by sharp downturns. But, there are also experts who believe oil production could be on the verge of peaking, resulting in even higher prices ahead.

Most people in the oil and gas industry believe prices will come back down in the months ahead as new production comes online and economic growth cools.

But what would happen if oil production were not able to keep pace with demand? What if, in fact, worldwide production were to peak soon, meaning that less-and-less oil would be produced every year even as demand soars?

These are the questions that haunt people like Matt Simmons, a Houston-based investment banker who has spent 30 years working with the energy sector. In a VOA interview, Mr. Simmons expressed concern that very little is being done to prepare for a possible peak in production and that there is, as yet, no alternative form of energy available that can even come close to replacing oil.

"We do not have a plan B," he said. "We literally do not have any kind of workable solution for what we would do in a world that is basically geared up to use more and more non-renewable energy, and if that day finally comes when we are going to have to get along next year with only 98 percent of what we had this year and the year after that it is going to be 95 percent and then the year after that it is going to be 90 percent? What do we do? And the answer is that we do not have any idea."

Mr. Simmons acknowledges that he is among a small minority of people in the energy sector who believe an oil production peak is at hand.

At a recent conference on alternative energy held at Rice University, New York University Physics Professor Martin Hoffert used stark terms to address the issue of developing new sources of energy before oil production peaks. "We have never figured out a problem this difficult and I do not believe we are going to be able to solve it without a commitment similar to the Apollo project to get to the moon or the Manhattan project to develop nuclear weapons," he said.

Whether oil production peaks next year or in 50 years, these scientists believe the time to start looking for that breakthrough is now.

George 'Waste Oil' Bu$h is the President and CEO of the United States LLC. You and I are its shareholders. We recently blew a chance to get fresh blood in at the top, so now we have to lobby like Roy Disney to get a change in BEHAVIOR at the top of the organizational chart.

It's time we got moving on alternative energy projects. Sure, none of them is going to REPLACE oil consumption. No one logically can make that claim. But it can certainly REDUCE oil consumption - and reduce the need to risk our troops' lives by putting them in dangerous and unwinnable situations, reduce the drag of high energy prices on the economy, and just maybe put another dollar into your own wallet.

After all - "It's ONLY Your Money".

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Thanks to Barbara for the Electric Blue Pencil.

pessimist :: 12:56 AM :: Comments (1) :: Digg It!
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