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.

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