Archive for the ‘economics’ Category

Sign Of The Economic and American Industry Times: New Cars Go On Sale, Cancelled in Same Month

November 15, 2008

“There have been significant market changes from the time we started to put hybrids in these vehicles until the time we decided to close the plant early.”

By Eddie Alterman
The New York Times
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HYBRID versions of the Chrysler Aspen and Dodge Durango seem likely to secure a spot in automotive history: the two vehicles fell under the executioner’s ax in the same month they went on sale.

 
2008 Dodge Durango

2008 Dodge Durango

The hybrid S.U.V.’s became available at dealerships in early October. But on Oct. 23, Chrysler announced that at the end of the year it would close the Delaware plant where they are built.

Production of the hybrid models began on Aug. 22. Even if production continues until Dec. 31, the Aspen and Durango hybrids are almost certainly the shortest-lived new models from a major manufacturer in modern times.

One of the shortest previous model runs was for the Lincoln Blackwood, a luxury pickup that failed to excite buyers in 2001-2.

A Chrysler spokesman, Ed Saenz, said last week that 400 of the hybrid S.U.V.’s had already been built; this suggests that total production may not exceed 800.

The Durango and Aspen hybrids, which are 2009 models, use the two-mode gas-electric powertrain that was jointly developed by General Motors, BMW and DaimlerChrysler.

G.M. was first to market with the technology and is now offering two-mode versions of the Chevy Tahoe, GMC Yukon and Cadillac Escalade; it also plans two-mode versions of the Saturn Vue crossover and full-size pickups.

Since Daimler and Chrysler have split, both parts have claimed the technology; Mercedes-Benz plans a two-mode S.U.V. called the ML450 BlueHybrid to go on sale in fall 2009.

The two-mode system packaged a suite of fuel-efficient technologies in one powertrain. Along with engine cylinders that shut down when not needed, there are two motor-generators in the transmission that provide electric propulsion when electronic sensors see fit.

Chrysler Aspen Hybrid, on sale since October, is already on borrowed time.

Read the rest:
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/11/16/automobiles/16ASPEN.
html?_r=1&hp&oref=slogin

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Iran Economists Slam Ahmadinejad For “Policy of Tension” With World

November 8, 2008

Iran‘s confrontational attitude toward the rest of the world is costing the country dearly in lost trade and investment, according to a letter signed by 60 economists published on Saturday.

The open letter, the latest broadside against President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and published by the semi-official Ilna news agency, denounced the “heavy price paid by the country over the negative consequences of government policy.”

  

Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad speaks with journalists ...
Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad speaks with journalists after meeting with his cabinet in Tehran January 23, 2008.REUTERS/FARS NEWS/Files

In particular, it spoke of the “misguided trade policy and the policy of tension with the rest of the world, which has deprived Iran of opportunities for trade and foreign investment.”

by Siavosh Ghazi, AFP
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It said the sanctions imposed by the UN Security Council over Iran’s refusal to halt uranium enrichment had added billions of dollars in extra costs to the country’s foreign trade.

The letter, signed by economists from major universities around the country, criticises what it calls “extremist idealism,” an “undue haste in acting” and the “absence of cost assessment on economic programmes.”

The economists also warn that the current global economic crisis “will impose heavy costs on the country,” while also pointing out that government finances will be severely hurt by the precipitous recent drop in oil prices.

Crude oil income accounts for 80 percent of foreign earnings…

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/200811
08/wl_mideast_afp/iranpolitics
economy_081108202009

Euphoria of Obama’s Election Victory Fades Fast: Markets Down 10%; Toyota Says Auto Crisis “Unprecedented”

November 6, 2008

Toyota Motor slashed its profit forecast Thursday, warning the global auto industry faces an “unprecedented” crisis as Asian stocks tumbled on fears the US is sinking deeper towards recession.

The Japanese giant became the latest automaker to reveal plunging profits due to the financial crisis, following on the heels of BMW, Nissan and Honda.

From Breitbart

The headquarters of German luxury carmaker BMW are pictured ... 

Toyota , vying with General Motors for the title of the world’s top automaker, cut its annual profit forecast by more than half after a terrible year so far.

It now expects a 68 percent plunge in net profit to 550 billion yen (5.6 billion dollars) — the first drop in nine years.

“The financial crisis is negatively impacting the real economy worldwide, and the automotive markets, especially in developed countries, are contracting rapidly,” Toyota executive vice president Mitsuo Kinoshita said.

“This is an unprecedented situation.”

Elsewhere in the transport sector, European aircraft manufacturer Airbus warned it expects a sharp reduction in new orders in 2009 as the global economy slows.

Airbus A380.jpg

Amid the gloomy news, Asian stock markets fell heavily. Japan’s Nikkei stock index plunged 6.53 percent even before the Toyota warning, which came after the close of trade.

The drop wiped out gains seen a day earlier on hopes that US president-elect Barack Obama will get to work on fixing the world’s largest economy in the face of the worst financial crisis in decades.

“Now that the event is over, investors are sobering up and looking at the economic gloom,” said Mizuho Investors Securities broker Masatoshi Sato.

Seoul ended with a loss of 7.6 percent while Sydney shed 4.3 percent. Hong Kong shares were down 6.4 percent at midday.

The sharp falls came after the Dow Jones index slid 5.05 percent on Wall Street on Wednesday as investors braced for a gloomy economic ride after the euphoria of Obama’s election victory faded.

Read the rest:
http://www.breitbart.com/article.php?id=081106082217.v53hc2v7&show_article=1

Since Obama Election, Stock Market Down 929 Points

November 6, 2008

Wall Street plunged for a second day, triggered by computer gear maker Cisco Systems warning of slumping demand and retailers reporting weak sales for October. Concerns about widespread economic weakness sent the major stock indexes down more than 4 percent Thursday, including the Dow Jones industrial average, which tumbled more than 440 points.

Comments from Cisco that it saw a steep drop in orders in October and reports from retailers that consumers are skipping trips to the mall provided fresh evidence of the economy’s struggles. While sales at Wal-Mart Stores Inc. benefited from bargain-seekers, some specialty retailers posted huge drops in monthly sales.

Adding to investors’ list of worries, the Labor Department said the number of people continuing to draw unemployment benefits jumped to a 25-year high, increasing by 122,000 to 3.84 million in late October. It marked the highest level since late February 1983, when the economy was being buffeted by a protracted recession.

While new claims for unemployment benefits dipped by 4,000 to a seasonally adjusted level of 481,000 last week, the levels remain elevated. The findings added to the market’s unease ahead of Friday’s October employment report, a widely watched barometer of the economy’s health.

“I think everybody kind of simultaneously — the consumers and businesses — is tightening belts so that’s triggering a reasonably precipitous slowdown that’s widespread,” said Ed Hyland, global investment specialist at J.P. Morgan’s Private Bank. “This is something that we haven’t really seen, this level of this rapid and significant pullback both in the market and the economy.”

Thursday’s rout follows a drop of more than 5 percent in the market Wednesday that saw the Dow plunge nearly 500 points as investors fretted that weak readings on employment and downcast profit forecasts and job cuts from financial companies to steelmakers signaled broad economic troubles.

Still, the market’s two-day slide follows an enormous run-up since last week so some pullback was expected, analysts said. Through the six sessions that ended Tuesday, the benchmark Standard & Poor’s 500 index, surged 18.3 percent.

Read the rest:
http://biz.yahoo.com/ap/081106/wall_street.html
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By Alexandra Twin
CNN Money
NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) — Stocks slumped for a second straight session Thursday, bringing the Dow’s losses to 929 points since Election Day, as fears of a prolonged recession sent investors running for the exits.

The Dow Jones industrial average (INDU) lost around 443 points, or 4.9%. The two-session decline of 929 points, or 9.7%, marked the biggest two-session point loss ever and the biggest two-session percentage decline in 21 years, according to Dow Jones.

The Standard & Poor’s 500 (SPX) index lost 5% and the Nasdaq composite (COMP) declined by 4.3%.

The Dow slumped 486 points Wednesday as President-elect Barack Obama’s historic victory gave way to worries about the economy he inherits. Those same worries continued to drag on stocks Thursday.

Read the rest:
http://money.cnn.com/2008/11/06/markets/markets_newyork/index.htm?postversion=2008110615

Hail to the Chief: A mandate without clear meaning?

November 5, 2008

I come to this moment of national decision with deep concerns about the next president. His victory is likely to unleash an ideological and vengeful Democratic Congress. In the testing of a long campaign, Barack Obama has seemed thoughtful but sometimes hesitant and unsure of his bearings. He promises outreach and healing but holds to a liberalism that sees no need for innovation.

And as the result of a financial panic that unfairly undermined all Republicans, Obama has stumbled into the most dangerous kind of victory. A mandate for change but not for ideas. A mandate without clear meaning.

By Michael Gerson
The Washington Post
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But a presidential election is more than a political choice; it is a moral dividing line. It involves not just the triumph of a majority but a transfer of legitimacy that binds the minority as well. This is a largely undiscussed topic in modern political debate: legitimacy. It is a kind of democratic magic that turns votes into authority. It does not require political agreement. It does imply a patriotic respect for the processes of government and a determination to honor the president for the sake of the office he holds.

In the past few decades, the magic of legitimacy has seemed to fade. Opponents of President Bill Clinton turned their disagreements (and Clinton’s human failures) into an assault on his power. Some turned to insane conspiracy theories, including accusations of politically motivated murder. After President Bush‘s reelection, elements of the left began their own attack on his legitimacy, talking of impeachment while repeating lunatic theories about deception and criminality.

After a deserved honeymoon, the new president is likely to find that the intensity of this bitterness has only gathered. Because of the ideological polarization of cable television news, talk radio and the Internet, Americans can now get their information from entirely partisan sources. They can live, if they choose to, in an ideological world of their own creation, viewing anyone outside that world as an idiot or criminal, and finding many who will cheer their intemperance. Liberals have perfected this machinery of disdain over the past few years. Given the provocation, the same approach is likely to be turned against the new president by the right as well.

Read the rest:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/
2008/11/04/AR2008110404477.html?hpid=opinionsbox1

Britain’s economy expected to fall in 2009

November 3, 2008

The European Commission said Monday Britain would be hit the third hardest in the economic slowdown among European Union members.

 

The EU said Britain would be the hardest hit of any of the larger economies in its jurisdiction. Only Latvia and Estonia were expected to suffer worse economic downturns among EU nations, The Guardian reported Monday.

In Britain the economy is expected to decline 1 percent in 2009 and grow by 0.4 percent in 2010, the report said.

Next year, Estonia’s economy is expected to decline 1.2 percent. Latvia’s is expected to contract 2.7 percent, the report said.

The largest economies in the European Union, those of Germany, France and Italy, are expected to be flat next year, the report said.

In Britain, “the central outlook envisages a marked fall in private consumption in 2009 and 2010, driven by more restrictive borrowing conditions and lower household wealth,” the report said.

UPI

US manufacturing hits 26-year low

November 3, 2008

US manufacturing activity fell in October to its lowest level for 26 years, according to a new report from the Institute for Supply Management.

The report cited “significant demand destruction”, for the third consecutive month in which the sector contracted.

BBC

The figures were far worse than the market had expected and pushed the Dow Jones index briefly into negative territory in early morning trading.

However, US construction spending in September fell far less than expected.

The institute’s index of national factory activity fell to 38.9 from 43.5 in September. Any score of less than 50 represents a contraction in manufacturing.

Manufacturing recession

October’s score is the lowest-recorded since September 1982.

Every sector surveyed, apart from clothing and electronic products, reported a contraction for the month.

New orders, production, employment and supplier deliveries all fell, with only inventories of unsold goods increasing on September’s score.

Read the rest:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/business/7706905.stm

Stocks likely to recover no matter who’s president

November 2, 2008

Wall Street prefers Republicans, McCain supporters argue. But stocks have done better under Democratic presidents, Obama supporters fire back.
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When it comes to the stock market — especially this turbulent market — does it really matter who is elected president?

Yes and no.

By MADLEN READ, AP Business Writer

Politicians do influence the economy — and they’ll play a big role in how the country emerges from this current crisis. But analysts say neither presidential candidate can be a cure for what’s ailing Wall Street.

Wall street broker William F. Lawrence looks at a monitor as ... 
Wall street broker William F. Lawrence looks at a monitor as he works on the trading floor of New York Stock Exchange shortly after the market opened Tuesday, Oct.28, 2008 (AP Photo/David Karp)

“The economy is a big, big machine, and the president is one government bureaucrat,” said Ron Florance, Wells Fargo Private Bank Director of Asset Allocation.

Moreover, most analysts believe the battered stock market has nowhere to go but up next year, no matter who ends up in the White House — and history will probably give the victor credit even if he actually had little to do with the rally.

“The timing couldn’t be better,” Florance said.

Still, the stock market is just one part of the economy, and under either Barack Obama or John McCain, the United States needs to recover from a downturn whose severity has not yet been determined. And either candidate will face a budget deficit of around $500 billion when he’s sworn into office — a shortfall expected to climb to $1 trillion next year.

Because of the deficit, the financial climate might end up affecting the new president’s policies more than his policies will affect the financial climate.

“This whole financial crisis will largely serve as an agenda buster for at least the first year,” said John Lynch, chief market analyst at Evergreen Investments.

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20081102/ap_on_bi_ge/
election_stock_market;_ylt=AjHIhG0
9rDPBeQhWEHXZESys0NUE

Bush Loyalists Say President is a Good Man Who Got A Bad Rap

November 1, 2008

By Dan Eggen
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, November 2, 2008; Page A01

On a cold, gray morning a week before Election Day, President Bush briefly emerged from the White House for an unannounced visit to the headquarters of the Republican National Committee in Southeast Washington.

Outside the RNC building, Bush continued to face record-low approval ratings and a presidential campaign focused on his failings. But inside an overflowing conference room, he was greeted with roaring applause as he urged his fellow Republicans to keep pushing for the finish line.

“His general message was to thank the staff for everything we’ve been doing and encourage us to keep working hard all the way through Election Day,” said one person who attended the closed event. “It was upbeat and very exciting.”

Even for a declared optimist, Bush has appeared remarkably sanguine in this season of discontent. The economy is melting down, his own party has shunned him and Tuesday’s election is shaping up as a searing rebuke to his eight years in office.

Yet according to allies inside and outside the White House, Bush’s mood remains buoyant and his attention is focused on the global financial collapse. In private meetings with business leaders, Bush has made a point of saying that he is happy the crisis happened on his watch so the next president and a new economic team do not have to grapple with it.

Read the rest:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/
2008/11/01/AR2008110100850.html?hpid=topnews

In India, The Shopping Spree is Over?

November 1, 2008

By Rama Lakshmi
Washington Post Foreign Service
Saturday, November 1, 2008; Page A10

GURGAON, India — When Moshumee Jha moved to a luxurious suburban condominium called Belvedere Towers four years ago, she had never shopped in a mall before.
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But within months, her home was surrounded by six new, gleaming, glass-fronted malls, and a whole new world of air-conditioned shopping opened up for her. Like millions of Indians, she grew to love weekends browsing the shops as soothing elevator music played in the background.
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That was before the slowdown. In recent weeks, she has cut back on her visits because of her concerns about the economy.
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On Sunday, when she went to buy the ritual piece of gold for this week’s Diwali festival, she was shocked.
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“It was almost empty, there was no crowd. ‘Is it just me here?’ I wondered,” said Jha, 41, a portrait photographer and mother of two. “What has happened? Where is everybody? Where is the festival shopping rush?”

A man window-shops outside a store at Forum Mall, the oldest shopping mall in Bangalore. A retail survey taken at malls across the country this month reported a 22 percent decrease in buying compared with the previous three months.

A man window-shops outside a store at Forum Mall, the oldest shopping mall in Bangalore. A retail survey taken at malls across the country this month reported a 22 percent decrease in buying compared with the previous three months. (By Aijaz Rahi — Associated Press)

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For the first time since Indian malls began to boom seven years ago, shopping has dropped sharply. For merchants, the timing could not be worse: In the midst of India’s most important month for retail, worries triggered by the worldwide financial meltdown are scaring away customers.
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Much like the Christmas season in the United States, the Hindu holiday of Diwali, which was Tuesday, is traditionally a time of consumption-driven celebration. It is considered an auspicious season to buy clothes, jewelry and home appliances, and to decorate homes.
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An extensive retail survey by Bangalore-based Harish Bijoor Consults taken this month in 38 malls across 10 cities has reported a drop in mall visits and buying. The survey showed a 22 percent decrease in buying and a decline of 14 percent in people visiting stores, compared with the average for the previous three months.

Read the rest:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/w
p-dyn/content/article/2008/10/31
/AR2008103103412.html?hpid=sec-world