Daily Digest 3/9 - Dow In Silver, Debt Clock Over $500 Billion, States Failing To Pay Bills
- Dow In Silver
- New CoreLogic® Data Shows 23 Percent of Borrowers Underwater with $750 Billion Dollars of Negative Equity
- Europe May Face More Ratings Cuts, Greek Default, S&P Says
- Southwest joins $10 increase in airfares
- Rising prices stoke fuel thefts in B.C.
- Adding Up China's Debt Load
- Debt Clock shows National deficit over $500 billion
- Nevada gas prices jump 46 cents in one month
- Traffic tickets increase as N.J. towns look for revenue
- Dartmouth to Raise Tuition Rates by 5.9%
- Illinois Fails To Pay Its Bills
- Redevelopment money Salinas seeks to shield from state rises to $31M
- Mayor sees red over fire station #4
- SRJC joins the rush to raise parking fines
- NJ Lawmakers Consider Increasing Penalties For Drivers Using Cell Phones
- US says Saudi oil boost can't keep crude under $100
- Oil markets brace for Saudi 'rage' as global spare capacity wears thin
- UN Seminars Start to Help States Cope With Food-Price Surge
- Cotton price surge makes dollar bills more costly
- Russia seeks to stem rise in food prices
- Rising food costs could force U.S. eatery overhaul
- Price of food in Canada could jump between 5 and 7 per cent in 2011: economist
Dow In Silver (adam)
The Dow Jones Industrial Average has had tremendous nominal growth since bottoming in March of 2009. Although the Dow has risen to over 12,000 it is important for investors to keep in perspective that nominal point gains of the Dow don't necessarily mean stock investors have increased their overall wealth and purchasing power versus other asset classes.
CoreLogic (NYSE: CLGX), a leading provider of information, analytics and business services, today released negative equity data showing that 11.1 million, or 23.1 percent, of all residential properties with a mortgage were in negative equity at the end of the fourth quarter of 2010, up from 10.8 million, or 22.5 percent, in the third quarter. The small increase reflects the price declines that occurred during the fourth quarter and led to lower values. An additional 2.4 million borrowers had less than five percent equity, referred to as near-negative equity, in the fourth quarter. Together, negative equity and near-negative equity mortgages accounted for 27.9 percent of all residential properties with a mortgage nationwide.
Some countries in the euro region may have their credit ratings cut further while a Greece debt default is a “possibility,” said Moritz Kraemer, managing director of European sovereign ratings at Standard & Poor’s.
Asked if the worst was over for the region’s sovereign credit-rating outlook, Kraemer said: “I wish I could say yes, but the answer is no.”.... Kraemer said a debt default by the Greece’s government is “a possibility” and that investors may recover between 30 percent and 50 percent of the total value if that happens.
Southwest Airlines Co. has joined a sweeping increase of $10 in the price of many domestic round-trip airfares, citing the need to offset high fuel prices....It's the sixth time airlines have raised fares already this year. FareCompare.com CEO Rick Seaney says leisure travelers may now have to pay $260 for a ticket that cost $200 back on Jan. 1.
“Guys are getting desperate. They don't know how they are going to pay for fuel,” said Marion Gamache of Dan Gamache Trucking. “People are getting desperate and they do desperate things.”...Which is likely why someone emptied one big rig of diesel overnight Saturday and another semi was almost bled dry. Trucker Wayne Coulson, 67, had just two inches of diesel in his tanks when he started his truck on Sunday. “I figure they took about 150 gallons,” he said, which equates to about $500.
Adding up the official data on debt from these other parts of the government as well as from state banks and an estimate of debt owed by asset-management companies puts China's total government liabilities at $3.55 trillion, equivalent to 59% of GDP. Some economists who follow the issue say those official data underestimate items like nonperforming loans created by a surge in lending over the past two years. Stephen Green, China economist at Standard Chartered Bank, estimates total debt, including contingent liabilities, at 77% of GDP. Arthur Kroeber, managing director of Beijing-based research firm Dragonomics, puts the total debt at 75% of GDP.
After being retired in 1997 with a balanced Canadian budget, the National Debt Clock is being rolled out again. Canada’s debt is now over $500 billion, so the Canadian Taxpayers Federation is taking the clock across the country to remind citizens how much the country is in the red. According to the clock, our national debt increases by $1,400 every second.
At $3.62 per gallon, Nevada holds the unwanted distinction of having the sixth-highest average gas price in the nation, according to the latest AAA survey. California has the most expensive average price at $3.91 per gallon.
Nevada's $3.62 price tag at the pump — the average cost for regular, unleaded gasoline in the state — marks a 46-cent increase since the last AAA survey, conducted Feb. 8. One year ago, the average gas price in Nevada was $2.82, according to AAA data.
Eager, cash-strapped municipalities have doubled -- in some cases tripled -- the number of traffic and parking tickets issued, a move some motorists call a blatant grab for money. Half of the state's boroughs, townships and cities handed out 250,000 more tickets in the last six months of 2010, when compared to the same period a year earlier, a New Jersey Press Media investigation found. The ticket boost has easily added millions of dollars to local and county coffers.
And nearly half of the those new tickets were issued in municipalities that installed automated red-light cameras, which record every violation 24 hours a day, the investigation found.
Dartmouth’s Board of Trustees recently announced plans to increase tuition, room, board and fees for the upcoming school year by 5.9%. With the increase the total amount for all of these fees will equal $55,365, making Dartmouth the most expensive Ivy League school of those that have announced their tuition rates for the 2011-12 school year.
The cost of room and board for undergraduate students will rise from $12,297 to $13, 629 while the tuition rate will increase from $39,978 to $41,736. The increase in rates is designed to help the school deal with the growing budget gap, as funding from other sources continues to dry up.
A group of local human service organizations are banding together to complain about the state's failure to pay its bills. The leaders of a variety of local human services groups say that because the state has not paid them they must find some way to pay the billions of dollars it owes.
They say a debt-restructuring plan is the state's best bet.
The redevelopment tax dollars the city of Salinas is seeking to shield from the state has risen to $31 million as city staff continue to update their report hours before the council’s emergency vote tonight.
The council’s action comes as city officials anticipate state lawmakers will vote this week to eliminate about 400 redevelopment agencies statewide to help balance the budget -- despite negotiation setbacks between Gov. Jerry Brown and lawmakers....It’s unknown if the strategy will work, but according to Brown’s proposal, the state wouldn’t take funding needed by RDAs to pay for existing debt and other contractual responsibilities.
He's worried whether there'll be enough money generated through speed cameras to pay for projects the city's budgeted this year.
City Manager Paul Eckert says a legislative proposal to set a maximum fine for tickets issued electronically will only affect cameras installed at intersections, like the city's red light cameras, not speed cameras.
SRJC’s board of trustees is slated to follow Sonoma State University, Santa Rosa, Sonoma County and other agencies that have hiked the cost of parking citations to offset Sacramento’s increased appetite for such revenue sources.
In December, the cash-strapped state government upped its claim on each ticket from $9.50 to $12.50, a 32 percent increase that prompted the city, county and SSU to bump up citations by $3 to replace the lost revenue. SRJC, though, is looking to get a little extra out of its response.
The bill (A-3154), released unanimously by the Assembly Law and Public Safety Committee, would increase fines for motorists who get caught more than once while driving and talking on a hand-held device or texting.Under current law, the fine for using a hand-held electronic device while driving is $100. This bill would increase the fine for a first offense to $200; the fine for a second offense to $250-400 a second offense; and to $500-600 for third or subsequent offenses.
US oil price to reach record $102/barrel yearly average...U.S. gasoline may exceed $4 a gallon this summer... In its new monthly forecast, the EIA said it expected total OPEC crude oil production to fall from 29.79 million bpd in February to 28.95 million bpd in March, mainly reflecting a a loss of Libyan oil.
The agency also increased its 2011 forecast for U.S. oil by $9 to a record yearly average of $102 a barrel, near the very top end of analysts forecasts.
Chris Skrebowski, editor of Petroleum Review, said the long-denied oil crunch is starting to bite. "We cling to the comfort blanket that spare capacity exists, but it is mostly fictional, or inoperable. If you take 2m bpd off the figure, the whole dynamic of global oil supply changes," he said.
A Wikileaks cable cited a Saudi geologist claiming that the kingdom's reserves had been overstated by 40pc. A second cable questioned whether the Saudis "any longer have the power to drive prices down for a prolonged period".
The United Nations’ Food & Agriculture Organization is holding seminars across four continents to help governments cope with record food prices.
The meetings will include government officials and farm groups from 20 countries and cover policy responses, the Rome- based agency said in a notice on its website today. World food prices rose to a record in February, according to an index from the FAO, which is predicting higher prices in the coming decade. Rising prices contributed to riots across North Africa and the Middle East in the past several months that toppled leaders in Egypt and Tunisia.
In 2010, the cost of making one note jumped 50% from what it cost the government in 2008.The government produced 6.4 billion new currency notes last year. Each one cost 9.6 cents to produce, including the cost of paper and printing. In 2008, it only cost 6.4 cents a note, a tiny bit more than it did in 2007, according to the U.S. Bureau of Engraving and Printing.
With the price of raw cotton at a 140-year high, things could get worse.
It's a phenomenon that is fairly symptomatic for foodstuffs in the country. Cabbages and potatoes - other popular mainstays of the Russian diet - nearly doubled in price in 2010, according to the Federal State Statistic Service.
The prices for other staples such as bread, butter and milk rose upwards of nearly 23 percent last year.
Record-high food prices could be the tipping point this year for U.S. restaurants already struggling with high debt loads and tight-fisted consumers.
The economic downturn and drop in consumer spending has sent a handful of restaurant chains -- such as Uno Chicago Grill pizza, Fuddruckers and Charlie Brown's Steakhouse -- into bankruptcy court during the past year. And 2011 is not likely to be much better, experts say.
With the United Nations blaming higher crude oil prices for pushing global food prices to an all time high, Canadians have been spared so far because of cutthroat grocery store competition and the high loonie making the cost of imported goods cheaper.
But it's just a matter of time until higher commodity prices trickle down to Canadian grocery shelves and Canadians have to reach further into their wallets, says Douglas Porter, deputy chief economist at BMO Nesbitt Burns.
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