Posts Tagged ‘Global Economy’

Captain Rick: The Dow Jones started the day off with a major slide after dismal economic news from China, followed by a small gain and then a continuing slide as a result of the explosions that rocked the Boston Marathon that killed 2 and injured more than 70. The result was the largest one-day Dow plummet of 2013, erasing all gains of the past week. President Obama is addressing the nation.

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While many in the news media are accrediting this major market drop to the Boston explosions, that is not entirely true.  I circled in red in the chart above, the drop that occurred after the bombings occurred at about 2:45 EDT. Tomorrow’s market will reveal where we go from here.  I will report on more of this, especially the declining economic situation in China in future posts.

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Captain Rick: The Eurozone suffered its third consecutive quarter of decline at the end of 2012 as exports from leading economies Germany and France sank, deepening a regional recession that has driven unemployment to record highs.

Gross domestic product in the 17-nation Eurozone fell by 0.6% in the fourth quarter, leaving its economy 0.5% smaller than it was at the start of the year. The region saw a contraction of 0.1% in the third quarter.
Performances in all four of the region’s biggest economies — Germany, France, Italy and Spain — deteriorated compared to the third quarter of 2012. Output is likely to shrink in 2013 for a second year running, according to the latest forecast from the International Monetary Fund.

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17 Member Eurozone

Germany, the Eurozone’s biggest economy, which accounts for about 30% of Eurozone GDP, suffered a contraction of 0.6%. The decline in GDP was was mainly due to the comparably weak German foreign trade. Exports of goods went down much more than imports of goods.

France, the second biggest economy, suffered a 0.3% contraction. France also suffered a sharp fall in exports in the fourth quarter, down 0.6% after growth of 0.7% in the third.

Weaker growth will make it harder for Eurozone governments to meet their debt-cutting targets and intensify the debate about the impact of a strong euro on the region’s recovery prospects.

With fiscal policy tightening, and the ECB in a holding pattern, exports offer one of the few opportunities for the recession-ravaged region to return to growth.

A stronger euro threatens to cancel out some of the hard-won gains in competitiveness brought about by wage cuts in indebted European states.
 
Many of the 17 Eurozone countries are in the middle of austerity programs that are reducing demand, and prompting households and businesses to defer spending and investment.

While policymakers have signaled a willingness to give states more time to bring their budget deficits into line with European Union targets, if the economy continues to deteriorate, there is no sign of a major change in approach.

Wider 27 Member European Union

The economy of the of 27 states of the EU went into reverse in the fourth quarter, shrinking by 0.5%.

The U.K. contracted by 0.3% in the fourth quarter of 2012, bringing it to the brink of a third recession in five years. The Bank of England trimmed its forecasts for U.K. growth in 2013 Wednesday while raising them for inflation.

EU Leaders hope for U.S. Trade Pact to boost Economy

EU leaders are hoping efforts to remove trade barriers with the U.S. could provide a shot in the arm for growth. President Obama promoted this trade pact in his State of the Union Address on Tuesday evening.
Both sides said this week they wanted to move quickly to start formal talks on a trans-Atlantic free trade agreement. 

Captain Rick’s Vision

There are many benefits that could be gained by both economies with such an agreement, especially in the area of regulation…like agricultural, medical and automotive safety standards. Considering the complexities involved, it will require a multi-year approval process…perhaps a decade or more. After all, genetically modified crops, which are commonplace in the U.S., are known as ‘Frankenfoods’ by many in the EU.

A trans-Atlantic free trade agreement will not solve either the EU’s or U.S.’s monumental debt and financial problems. While it could be a tool to help both economies, the EU and the U.S. need to face the realism that their economies are in need of much larger repair…that continual deficit spending of money that does not exist must end. The course that both nations are currently on will not achieve success…more probably, eventual failure. Both nations will need a significant influx of politicians with some ‘serious spine’ to ‘right our ships’. That kind of courage is so rare that I fear for both of our nation’s ‘ships’. Both ‘ships’ are leaning heavily on the port ‘left-welfare’ side. The question that remains is whether our ships are leaning too heavily to prevent the inevitable ‘titanic’ maneuver.

I welcome your comments.

Captain Rick: Japan, the world’s third largest economy, saw its economic growth sharply contract 3.5% in the third quarter of 2012. If its GDP (Gross National Product) growth rate remains in negative territory during the fourth quarter, Japan will officially fall into recession. Some economists have warned that looks likely. Some believe Japan is in recession already. Many fear that in light of China’s economic contraction, this is wake up call that the entire region might be headed for recession. I will help clear it up in my closing thoughts below.

Japan’s economy, especially exports, has been battered by the 2011 disasters caused by the earthquake, tsunami and subsequent meltdown of several nuclear reactors. China is Japan’s largest trading partner, but its diplomatic spat with China over disputed islands has made Chinese consumers reluctant to buy Japan-made products, especially automobiles.

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Last year nearly 20% of Japanese exports were sold to China, compared to 15.3% to the U.S.

Captain Rick’s closing thoughts on Asia, Europe and the USA:

Japan has been busy gobbling up U.S. debt over the past year. Its current holdings of $1.12 Trillion might soon pass the current top holder of U.S. debt … China at $1.15 Trillion. I find this very interesting and hope to focus on it in an upcoming report as America nears the “Fiscal Cliff”.

To help clear up the controversy of whether or not Southeast Asia is headed for recession, we should consider the problems that our friends in Europe face. Several countries in Europe are already in recession and more on the brink. Europe is facing a very serious financial challenge.

The most serious of all world financial problems lies in the United States of America. Its called the “Fiscal Cliff”. If this financial “nightmare” is not addressed head on with real and meaningful cuts in spending, coupled with increases in taxes, I assure that the negative financial echo effect will have the potential to thrust all countries of our world into recession. Watch for more of my reports on this matter of major global importance.

Captain Rick: The U.S. economy grew a bit faster in the third quarter than the sluggish 1.3% of the second quarter, according to the first of three estimates for the third quarter. First estimates are notoriously optimistic, especially when they come before a presidential election. The first estimate for the second quarter was 1.5%, raised to 1.7% on the second estimate and then sank to the ‘final’ 1.3% figure. We will have to wait until December for the more realistic third estimate.

Gross domestic product (GDP) is the broadest measure of the nation’s economic health. 3% economic growth, represented by the red line in the chart below, is necessary to provide enough new jobs to keep pace with U.S. population growth. America has fallen short in all but two quarters of the past four years. This means that the percentage of eligible workers who are working continues to drop almost every month. Real unemployment is continuing to increase, in spite of the bogus and meaningless unemployment percentages the U.S. government publishes each month that show a slow decline. America’s unemployment rate is currently published to be 7.8%, but the real number is actually about twice that…and rising, not falling.

I do not see anything on the horizon that is going to raise America continuously up above that red line, where we need to be to enjoy a healthy and growing economy … at least for the next several years, perhaps 2017 or beyond. Even the Fed, the IMF and other global financial authorities forecast similar sluggish growth through 2015. Europe appears to in recession or close to it. U.S. growth of 1.3% in the second quarter is knocking on recessions door. China’s economy is slowing quickly as a result of economic sluggishness in the West. This paints an anemic image of America’s economic health, with a global ripple effect. If the U.S. legislature attacks the “Fiscal Cliff” with vengeance when they return to work in January, we might see a boost in GDP in coming quarters. I am referring to major spending cuts and yes…tax increases. Anything short of that means “kicking the can down the road”, as has been done for many years, and will give us continued economic stagnation and possible recession.

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Captain Rick: Big sell off on Wall Street as a result of three major U.S. industrial companies filing disappointing earnings reports, igniting fears that the global economy is on shakier ground than previously expected. DuPont, a Dow component fell 9% after reporting weaker-than-expected quarterly earnings and announced plans to cut 1500 jobs worldwide. United Technologies lowered its forecast and 3M missed revenue estimates. Continuing uncertainty about economic health in Europe and China contributed. This was the biggest Dow dive since June.

In September, 2012, the Dow came within 4% of the all time Dow high of 14164.53 reached before the 2008 market crash. This correction knocks it back to –7.5% from the all time high. The Dow is still up 7.24% for 2012.

I see lots of uncertainty lying ahead with the U.S. facing the “Fiscal Cliff” in January, the fiscal problems in Europe and the degrading effect that all of it is having on the economy of China, which are all working in unison as ingredients brewing a very volatile global fiscal and economic storm. I will do my best to report the important elements.

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Captain Rick: Cummins, the world’s largest producer of diesel technology with $1.85 billion in 2011 sales,  announced that it will cut as many as 1,500 jobs by the end of 2012 because of uncertainty regarding the direction of the global economy. Cummins employs about 44,000 people worldwide. Based in Indiana, it also has factories in Minnesota, New Mexico, North Carolina and several overseas. It instituted a global hiring freeze after a recent drop in sales in North America, China and Brazil.