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SittingBull

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  1. We talked about looming water shortages in the American southwest on another thread, and now this. I've long thought that the worldwide credit expansion (which gave rise to the housing bubble) will end with a most unexpected trigger. A good old fashioned American dustbowl would certainly qualify. It would certainly get the award for historical irony.
  2. O.k. Daddy Bear, let me try to explain. You know how you watch a movie and there a are bunch of greedy, stupid people and who act with no consideration for the implications of their actions? You know how the screenwriter shows you their despicable acts of greed and thoughtlessness to the point where the audience is screaming for justice? At some point in the plot...it seems that evil will win and these people will benefit from their deeds and the just and reasonable people will be vanquished. Then, suddenly, events begin turn, evil is on the run, and in a climatic moment the evildoers are thoroughly smashed by the forces of good. Well it's kind of like that. In the case of the HPC, the forces of good have suffered greatly, and their victory won't come without sacrifices. This was not a battle of their choosing, but with a few basic precautions they can minimize the impact of an economic shock, when the name of the game will be "wealth preservation".
  3. The Baltic Dry Index is considered a very reliable leading indicator of global economic conditions. I won't go into the details (good explanation here), but read the following article from November 2004, then look at the current BDI chart just one year later: Baltic Dry Index Charts I guess this means the hard landing scare is on again. ----article--- Hard landing scare over, the Baltic Dry index soars November 30, 2004 Globe & Mail The plunge earlier this year in the Baltic Dry Index had economists convinced that China's economy was in for a tumble, which would take the commodities market down with it. The index, which measures the cost of shipping coal, iron ore, grains and other bulk goods globally on various routes, dropped more than 50 per cent in the first half of 2004 after a Nasdaq 1999-style rise of more than 400 per cent in 2003. Last week, the index (see chart) poked through to a new high and all fingers are pointing again at Chinese demand as the driver. Some analysts figure a flurry of new orders are being shipped in anticipation of sharp price increases to come in 2005, but economist Stefane Marion of National Bank Financial figures there is another driver in a cheaper Chinese currency. Chinese currency is seen as a problem for global trade because the country refuses to raise the value at which it's pegged to the U.S. dollar. Well, that's a problem for the United States, but the falling greenback has allowed China to actually increase its trade advantage with other countries, Mr. Marion says. China hiked interest rates 27 basis points last month but the currency stimulus amounts to a rate cut of 120 points, kick-starting a new boom for exports, and a bigger appetite for raw materials, he calculates. source: Hard landing scare over, the Baltic Dry index soars
  4. Gone West, being from Canada myself I should remind you that Canada is still part of the Commonwealth and as a result would expect the full wrath of the Queen's Empire to come to the aid of Canada were the U.S. to invade us. However, I assure you that won't be necessary. With a WalMart store in most Canadian cities (257 stores in all), we're already pretty much done in. And people would be surprised that with all the water in Canada, most large municipalities also have watering restrictions in the summer months simply because of the limited infrastructure to supply fresh water. Plus, there's no such thing as "excess water". Taking it from one part of the system, regardless of how much there is, means less for those down the line who have come to depend on a certain volume. People are talking peak oil, but water supply had already peaked the day our simian ancestor first fell out of the tree.
  5. Karen, I was in Nevada in spring 2004. The tour operator knew the full story on the water politics, and yes, apparently California uses most of that water, but it leaves little for everyone else in the southwest. Lake Mead is an articial lake created by backing up the water of the Colorado via the Hoover Dam. And from what I've read it also supplies Las Vegas, Phoenix and outlying areas. And I didn't realize it but Masked Tulip is correct, the Colorado no longer empties in the ocean...it just "vanishes into the parched earth before reaching it" as one reference puts it. In this context, the massive homebuilding in the US southwest seems a bit absurd, much less that fact that investors have been tripping over themselves to get a piece of what is an increasingly dry pie.
  6. Karen, I've been to Nevada several times for obvious reasons. I took a boat cruise on Lake Mead and was astounded to see stark evidence of the depleted water supplies. What are people there going to do for water?
  7. Nice suggestions OLDFTB. I was thinking of calling them "Groundhogs" but I understand that's a North American thing. For those who don't know, Groundhog Day comes in early February. Here's how Wikipedia describes it: "Tradition states that one must observe a groundhog's burrow on this day. If the groundhog emerges and fails to see its shadow because the weather is cloudy, winter will soon end; however, if the groundhog sees its shadow because the weather is bright and clear, it will be frightened and run back into its hole, and the winter will continue for six more weeks." If our HPC Groundhogs emerge and fail to see a Spring Bounce....look out! The only hole they'll have to run back into is the sinkhole of debt they've accumulated.
  8. We need a name, and an acronym of course, for all those sellers who are waiting to list or relist their properties "when the market picks up again". I've come across a number of these on forums and via personal acquaintances. (both UK and North America) Most seem to be targeting Spring '06. I'm going to suggest WTS - Wait to Sell So just how many WTS's are there out there? My sense is that there are many, possibly very many.
  9. Too late, you'll see I've given her a nice comfy wrap.
  10. Oh to be young and foolish again.... Speaking of which, Libitina, for God's sake please put a sweater on that avatar.
  11. I appreciate the sentiment but you should take a second look at Inman. I've read their articles regularly for the past year and they're serious about going after the b.s. in the RE business. How many industry insiders would post something like this: INVESTORS WARNED TO GET OUT QUICK Sell now before prices fall further. Despite a massive effort from spivs and spin-doctors, the truth of the property market is becoming clear. The bust is here and it’s likely to get worse. Much worse. Euphemisms, such as “soft landing” and “correction”, are simply cover-up-cliches for a crash that is constantly being denied. Well, not any longer. There’s a new message for property investors who want to get-rich-quick. Get out quick. Aussie Home Loans chief, John Symond – in an interview with Graham Davis on Channel Nine’s Sunday program – has given a clear warning to property investors. Get out of the market. Do it now and do it fast because the decline in prices “will go on for several years”. The boom is long gone. Australia’s most respected (and accurate) property analysts, Australian Property Monitors (APM) praised John Symond for speaking so frankly. “A comment like that wouldn’t help his own business, so he’s calling it how he truly sees it,” said APM’s Louis Christopher. And Sydney’s Daily Telegraph said,“Mr Symond has built his business on trust. So his warning should be heeded.” But not the spivs. They want us all to keep investing in property. The Real Estate Institute’s Rowen Kelly fronted the television cameras on the weekend. Like an usher in a burning theatre, Kelly tried vainly to hose the flames burning his commissions. And in today’s press John Symond is being accussed of “scaremongering”. Well, he’s probably guilty. If a man sees smoke in a theatre and yells “Fire!” he’s going to scare a lot of people. And save them. http://www.jenman.com.au/NewsNews1.php?id=351
  12. Oh..good point...here it is!: http://www.benengebreth.org/housingtracker/
  13. I've seen more bearish stories out of Boston than anywhere else so far. Here's an excellent site for tracking changes in inventory and prices in some major American cities. http://www.benengebreth.org/housingtracker/ note: edited to include link I forgot
  14. There's a binge-purge mentality that's very much a part of the American psyche, and rooted in their puritanical past. So, where Americans undertake something to excess, they do it with the notion that any excesses will have to be accounted for -- essentially atonement. I see it all over their commentaries these days. Along with this is an apocalyptic belief that ultimate purgation comes through cataclysm. So, this makes them much more "comfortable" with the idea that a housing boom should be followed by a bust, and a quick one at that. So now the Brits out there are wondering what's taking their crash so long? Well, don't ask me, you chased the Puritans out in the first place!
  15. In my opinion, this is not a problem for gold, this is an incredible opportunity, and I thank you for bringing it to my attention. Just another reason to accumulate gold. Here's my thinking. If environmentalists and governments take on gold production, I can't see how it won't cause the price of gold to increase...either by reducing the incentive for companies to extract due to increased costs and thus reducing new supply, or, in forcing companies to pass along increased costs in terms of a higher gold prices. Unlike the fur and whaling industries, I really don't think the majority of the world will simply abandon the gold industry. And if it tries, let it, it'll only help push the gold price up. So yes, let's clean up that filthy gold mining business!
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