Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Globalism Takes Hold

The G20 is now the apex of economic cooperation,the leaders of the 20 most prominent economies agreed at their Pittsburgh summit last week.This represents the triumph of globalism over the old country club of the G8,which consisted only of the developed nations.The G20 summits set forth broad frameworks which shape and coordinate the work of national governments as they grapple with the economic issues of the day.The G8 will be folded into the G20 summits as dinner meetings.It will deal mainly with security and donor issues.
At Pittsburgh,the G20 promised to develop tougher capital requirements for banks;crack down on financial executives' compensation;elevate the status of developing countries;and resist the threat of protectionism to economic stability.These promises could be handled elsewhere,but a summit gives world leaders a chance to develop personal rapport.

Please Note

The nature notes have been moved to Extra Content,which you can find a link to below.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Eli Broad Looks East

Eli Broad,the noted businessman and philanthropist,thinks we're closer to bottoming out-or have bottomed out,but we're not going back to 4.5-5% unemployment for several years.It's the wrong time to sell assets:you'll get a big discount,is what you'll get.I think the market's a bit ahead of itself,Mr.Broad said.We have some gold,some China and Asia holdings.We're heavy on credit,buying back loans at nice discounts,but light on U.S. equities.We think the dollar could continue to weaken.We think world events could shake a lot of confidence.China's gonna grow at at least six percent for the foreseeable future,in Mr.Broad's view.
Eli Broad was CEO of SunAmerica until 1999,when it merged with AIG.He had also founded KB Home with Kaufman.He is quite active with The Broad Foundation,a cultural and educational charity.

Late Heat

Today is the first full day of autumn,but it came in the form of a heat wave.A few scattered trees and vines have started to turn,but mostly we have the summer appearance in the Mid-Atlantic region.Fall decorations such as indian corn are being sold,but it will be some weeks before we really see a transformation in nature.The nights must get closer to freezing.Until then,we will have to look carefully to detect the autumnal ways.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

The Magna-Opel Deal

Canadian auto parts manufacturer Magna is leading a consortium that will acquire GM's Opel and Vauxhall makes,which employ 25,000 workers in Germany and the U.K.The news was greeted with a mixed response.While German workers welcomed it,British workers questioned whether they would indeed be secure.A German election was just a few weeks away,and this was Chancellor Angela Merkel's project:she felt it would best protect German jobs.Magna was the bidder that agreed to do so.Fritz Henderson,GM CEO,had called the Chancellor's office to notify her of the GM board's decision to sell to the Magna group.
GM will keep 35% of Opel/Vauxhall;the employees will get 10%;and the Magna consortium will get 55%.GM expects the deal to close in November or December.Magna may cut as many as 10,500 jobs at Opel/Vauxhall-up to half of them in Germany.

Nature Note:Seasonal Change

This morning I scheduled the fall furnace check-up.It's crucial for a natural gas appliance.A malfunction could mean an explosion-or at least higher energy bills.A few monarchs have been spotted.In recent years,their local numbers have been down.Perhaps their summer habitat was diminished greatly,their milkweed patches cleared for development.These migratory butterflies are on their way to Mexico,to the mountains outside Mexico City.
Maintaining a cold weather appliance;watching a wildlife transition:simple actions that signal the progress of seasonal change.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

G20 Cracks Down

The G20,which comprises the leading developed and developing economies,are cracking down on tax havens.At their meeting in London over the weekend,the G20 finance ministers agreed to punish with sanctions those who do not obey transparency requirements that G20 leaders agreed on at their summit in April.As well,the ministers are considering clawing back any bonuses executives may have received despite having precipitated financial upheaval.The ministers said they would maintain their fiscal and monetary stimulus measures as long as necessary.U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner observed that growth is now underway.However,we still face significant challenges ahead.
The G20 leaders will hold a summit in Pittsburgh,Pennsylvania on 24-25 September.

Early Edition:Robins Gone

The robins have disappeared,either flying south or to more sheltered areas,to berry patches in the woods for winter.This place is not ideal for winter survival.There are some mature trees for shelter,but the berry count is fairly limited.An occasional robin may appear over the winter,but they won't be a conspicuous presence until February or March.They will mostly be memories of the warm seasons that are drawing to a close.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

China Sets Commodities Aside

A wave of stockpiling is sweeping through China.The national government is stockpiling copper and oil.Local governments are stockpiling nickel and zinc,while companies and investors are hoarding copper and nickel.
Chinese oil consumption is growing 7-10% a year.China has 25 days' supply of oil in storage.It is aiming to protect its economy by selling some of the stockpiles to stabilize commodity prices.

Nature Note:The Sky Changes

Now it is September,the sky has changed.It is meteorological autumn,and the sky has a more refined aspect.Somehow it is rarefied,cool,ethereal.It will be a fitting backdrop for the turning leaves.Fewer insects fly through it now.It will be a path for migratory birds and butterflies.