Thursday, November 13, 2008

No soup for you

Still nothing.

No loans, no commercial paper.  The credit markets are still frozen.  
I am really shocked and amazed that there has not been more coverage of this story by the New York Times.  After a $700 billion, er, make that $1.5 trillion bailout, and massive capital injection into our banks, the loan money still is not trickling down to businesses and home buyers. 

In it, the reporter is surreptitiously on a conference call with JP Morgan Chase executives.  Chase took $25 billion dollars of the bailout money, at Treasury Secreatary Paulson's behest, after initially declining it.  Paulson insisted, saying that it would be bad for consumer confidence if the public saw that some banks were more in trouble than others.  Go figure.

After being asked by a lower-ranking executive about when Chase would start making more loans, the high-ranking executive running the meeting explained: 
[T]he same executive (who I’m not naming because he didn’t know I would be listening in) explained that “loan dollars are down significantly.” He added, “We would think that loan volume will continue to go down as we continue to tighten credit to fully reflect the high cost of pricing on the loan side.” In other words JPMorgan has no intention of turning on the lending spigot.
Translation:  NO SOUP FOR  YOU.

Apparently, even the world's largest banks are not immune to the credit crisis of their own making.  Too bad the CEOs of those companies don't suffer the same consequences.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Meet the new boss

America elected it's first black president this year, and did so emphatically.

Not sure either party candidate has a good answer to the current fiscal crisis, but this is hopefully a major step forward in breaking down racial barriers, and incentives for young black Americans.

Congratulations, President Obama.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Do I hear ONE DOLLAR, anyone?

Now, this can't be good.

The UK Telegraph and The Economist both reported that Greek shipping ports are filled with huge container ships, all going nowhere. Two months ago, the ships rented for $234,000 per day; now, they are renting for just $7,500 per day.
UPDATE: Now zero dollars.

And they are still in port.

Why? Because major banks are not lending money, especially for the short-term lines of credit that keep the majority of companies in business, all over the world. But wasn't this huge government bailout supposed to capitalize the banks to do just that?

Yeah, it was. Looks like we were sold a bill of goods. Why this story isn't getting more play in the national media, I do not know.

The Greek shipping crisis is a symptom of the interrelated credit mess that is currently unraveling. Businesses that need short-term cash (i.e., most all of them) are in trouble. This commercial paper, as these short-term lines of credit are called, is still largely locked up, though it has begun loosening a little bit recently.

Recent national TV news stories about car dealers whose sales are thriving, but still have to close their doors because they can't get short-term cash to buy inventory, are still more signs. Businesses that need large amounts of cash will feel the pinch first. But the trickle-down effect is what I fear most.

As I write this on election night, it becomes more apparent than ever that a new U.S. president is not the most powerful man in the world.