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Friday, September 26, 2008

HOW IS THE U.S. ECONOMY DOING? HAWAII?

To follow-up on the Huntington Post article of yesterday, let me be at least the second person to state that we are in recession, as the Dow Jones Industrials have dropped about 20% from the start of the year. The entire New York Stock Exchange is down a bit more. However, every major global market has plummeted by more than 20%, save for London at only -19%, with Shanghai a dismal two-thirds lower, so, all in all, on a relative basis, the USA is doing okay.

Hawaii? That’s another story. The State needs to cut spending by about a billion dollars this year, and that will only be the beginning, for the 10 to 15% drop in visitors could well be 25% or higher when the bottom is reached, with real recovery several years away. If the price of crude oil drops below $100/bbl and stays there, the rebound will occur sooner. If the price jumps past $150/bbl, and higher, the cost of jet fuel will decimate the State economy for the next decade, and longer. Our only possible solution is a new mode of air travel. Stay tuned to this blog next month for one possible option.

Gold has come up a bit, although silver is 10% lower and platinum falling 20%. People tend to buy gold when the economy is looking to get worse.

Crude oil last week (September 19) was about even from the start of the year, but jumped 20% just on September 22, then settled just below $110/barrel. The metastability is ominous.

American airline companies are doing better, with small declines, save for United Airlines, down almost 25%. MacDonald’s and Hershey are on the plus side, but only barely. Retailers, however, are doing great, with Wal-Mart Stores up 12%.

Oh yes, that Congressional bailout. No doubt some agreement will be reached, but the conservative Republicans in the House are sticking to their principles, unlike the White House. This is not the Black Friday of 1929, for, even with disarray in Congress, the Dow Jones Industrials today went up 121 points to 11,143 and the price of crude slipped to $107/bbl. The gasoline shortage issue, though, seems to be getting worse rather than better.

Typhoon Jangmi is at 110 MPH, but could well strengthen to 140 MPH over the next 36 hours. It is expected to only bring some rain to the northern Philippines, weaken a bit from that 140 MPH peak, and hit southern Taiwan on Monday. Then on to China.
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Tropical Storm Kyle appeared north of Haiti, and a relief for that country, is heading north. Now not quite 60 MPH, it should reach hurricane intensity in three or four days, but keep tracking north towards Maine and Nova Scotia.

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