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U.S. farmers are preparing to plant record amounts of soybeans and demand for corn is falling, driving prices to the lowest levels in more than two years.
Just a year after record grain costs sparked riots in Egypt and food shortages in Argentina, U.S. farmers will sow crops on a record 163.7 million acres, according to a Bloomberg News survey of 24 analysts and traders last week. Soybean fields will expand by 4.5 percent. While corn acreage will slip 1.5 percent, the recession will force livestock, dairy and ethanol producers to cut purchases, leaving the highest inventories for March in two decades, the survey shows.
“The wheels are already in motion to produce more than the world needs, barring any unusual weather,” said Jim Gerlach, president of A/C Trading Inc., a brokerage in Fowler, Indiana.
Cash prices of soybeans will probably drop 28 percent this year to below $6.50 a bushel for the first time since April 2007, while corn will tumble 31 percent to less than $2.50, the lowest since October 2006, said Commodity Information Systems President Bill Gary, who has been trading grain since 1961.
“This recession is going to last a lot longer than the one in the 1970s,” hurting demand for raw materials, Gary, 68, said by telephone on March 26 from Oklahoma City. “I don’t see any major bull move in commodities in the next several years,” said Gary, who correctly predicted in July that prices would plunge as credit tightened.
Spanish consumer prices fell 0.1 percent in March from a year earlier, making it the first euro-zone economy to post an annual rate of deflation - as opposed to inflation - since the international financial crisis began.
The year-on-year decline is the first of its sort in Spain since records began in 1961, the National Statistics Institute said Monday.
It was Spain's eighth consecutive monthly decline in the consumer price index. Year-on-year, prices were up by just 0.7 percent in February.
Economy Ministry secretary David Vegara said Spain was likely to see negative price growth for several more months, owing to oil price drops. However, he rejected suggestions the country was entering a deflationary spriral - where expectations of lower prices cause consumers to hold off spending, in turn causing retailers to lower prices further.
Other euro-zone countries are also expected to see prices shrink in the coming months and the European Central bank says the entire zone may experience deflation briefly this year.
Spain's once-booming economy has shrunk over the past year mainly because of stagnation in the key construction sector and the international crisis.
The country now has an EU-high unemployment rate of 13.9 percent, and the government forecasts it will rise to 16 percent by the end of the year.
There is more bad news for the world’s second largest economy as figures out today from the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry revealed that manufacturing output in Japan has fallen for five consecutive months.
Figures show that industrial production fell 9.4% last month, however, this was slightly better than the fall of 10.2% reported in January.
Meanwhile, separate figures from the Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association revealed that car production fell 56.2% in February to 481,396 vehicles - also the fifth consecutive monthly decline.
The export-dependent economy, which was once seen as relatively unscathed by the global financial crisis, is being hit by a slump in demand for its products overseas.
In the meantime, fears for the economy continue after economists believe the country is on the brink of deflation after retail sales fell by 5.8% in February. The fall was the sharpest monthly decline since 2001 and sales have now fallen for six consecutive months.
According to economists, overproduction by Japanese companies means that the country’s Consumer Price Index (CPI) could enter negative territory in the short-term.
A short period of deflation (where prices fall rather than increase) could be a serious threat to the economy because it deters consumers and businesses from spending in expectation of falling prices.
Recent figures show that the core CPI (which excludes fresh food) was unchanged from a year earlier and the second month in a row where there was no change - economists had expected a slight fall.
Macquarie Group economist, Richard Jerram, said “We calculate that the deflation risk is higher than ever. The Bank of Japan makes matters worse in its tolerance of deflation, both in comments from officials and in its policy framework, as this reinforces expectations that it will be allowed to persist.”
Japan is heading for the deepest recession since the World War II after it recently suffered its worst ever decline in 35 years. On an annual basis, the economy shrank at a rate of 12.7%.
Originally posted by elston
reply to post by projectvxn
Why would spending go up later in the year. Is this the typical trend? It would be a good thing .
I let this settle for a bit before Tickering it, as this morning the news was coming fast and furious, and I wanted to write one instead of three......
First, the "easier" - apparently Chrysler and Fiat have reached terms. This may take Chrysler off the table in terms of a bankruptcy. Maybe. No details as of yet.
GM on the other hand is in trouble. There are those who back Wagoner, who was forced out. I'm not one of them.
Wagoner came into the firm's top spot well aware that GM needed to make some very difficult choices and screw a lot of people, or it was done. The firm has been functionally bankrupt for twenty years, and avoided the fate back then only by levering up using cheap money in their financing side, managing to roll people into upside-down car loans to pull forward demand and then spreading out into home equity and mortgage lending to gear it up even higher.
None of this was sustainable and it still isn't, and the legacy costs are murderous. Those costs came about through several decades of knuckling under to the UAW and managing to finagle people into buying their debt. The KoolAid was definitely being drunk at all levels; it is simply impossible to build a sustainable auto company when your only seriously profitable lines are big trucks and SUVs, all of which have a sales curve that depends on "forever" cheap fuel.
The collision between reality and this corporate posture was inevitable and well-known more than a decade ago - more than enough time to tell the stakeholders to cut the crap and resolve the problems, or face being wiped out.
But Wagoner didn't do that, with this changes being incremental rather than the necessary revolutionary upset.
Now President Obama has grown a tiny little set of mouseballs and threatened to do what should have been done last year:
“We cannot, we must not, and we will not let our auto industry simply vanish,” the president said at the White House, announcing new and final deadlines for the No. 1 and No. 3 U.S. automakers to remake themselves. “But we cannot continue to excuse poor decisions. And we cannot make the survival of our auto industry dependent on an unending flow of taxpayer dollars.”
If plans for automakers fail, the administration is prepared to let them slide into a structured bankruptcy that he said would make it easier GM and Chrysler to clear away old debts and emerge as smaller, leaner operations.
A fair question is why the administration has continued to allow the poor decisions in the banking system, both regulated and shadow, to stand and be profited from on the backs of the taxpayers.
While this is clearly a good move in terms of what needs to happen, it is only a small start.
From a macro economic perspective removing the bad debt on GM's balance sheet through bankruptcy (or renegotiation) is a good thing, but it is only a first baby step along the road to returning our economy to balance.
Should Obama's mouse-balls grow into elephant nuts then there will be something to celebrate. Wake me up when President Obama forces identical haircuts on the bondholders of the banks and other financial institutions, thereby reducing the outstanding debt in the system to a meaningful degree, and cuts the Federal Budget so that he does not spend more than the government can take in. (Holding your breath in anticipation of such an act is suicidal; I do not recommend it.)
Unfortunately what I believe is going on here is yet another diversion - this time away from the ever-growing evidence that the big banks have effectively "captured" the government much like occurs in any good Banana Republic, and we're headed down the same hole as those nations in terms of our economic outlook - that is, destruction, and the government, instead of addressing the problem will continue to look for things they can misdirect with.
This misdirection is very likely to blow up in their face as I suspect the UAW's Gettlefinger is going to give the finger to Obama and GM, forcing a trip through the bankruptcy process, while at the same time the government's backing of warranties will turn into a monstrous inducement for fraud among the dealerships who are rapidly seeing their credit access and cashflow disappear.
And then there's the nearly $1 trillion in CDS that will trigger. There is no accurate way to know what the net exposure is on those, but I'd take the "over" on $100 billion, focused in you-know-where.
Originally posted by projectvxn
Bush official shifted insurer's billions into stocks just before crash
God this just keeps getting better. I don't know how much longer this fake economy is going to hold itself up with chicken wire and duct tape the way it is.
Originally posted by projectvxn
Mortgage Delinquency Creeps Higher In Commercial Sector
Let the second, larger wave begin. This will be devastating and it will be a LONG time before a recovery from such a contraction can be feasible.