Daily Digest

Daily Digest 4/11 - Troubled Euro States At Risk From High Oil, Green Energy Strains Rare Earths, Spain, EU Reject Bailout Talk

Wednesday, April 11, 2012, 9:43 AM
  • The interest-only mortgage timebomb: Hundreds of thousands struggle to pay their debts prompting fears for the health of the property market
  • Plan calls for major cuts to LA county juvenile courts system
  • Troubled euro zone states most at risk from high oil
  • Potential $50M Property Tax Shortfall Could Lead to L.A. Cuts
  • Idahoans work past retirement
  • Student-loan debt affecting aging Americans
  • Houston County School Lunch Prices May Increase
  • Team tells City Council that Seattle can't afford pension plan
  • Green Energy Strains Rare Earth Supply
  • Iran cuts oil to Spain ahead of nuclear talks
  • CalSTRS' unfunded liability rises 13%, funding ratio falls to 69.4%
  • Spain and EU reject talk of bailout

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Economy

The interest-only mortgage timebomb: Hundreds of thousands struggle to pay their debts prompting fears for the health of the property market (UK)

Hundreds of thousands of homeowners on interest-only mortgages are struggling to pay off their debts - prompting fears for the health of the property market. An estimated 300,000 people with the loans have missed one or more of their repayments. Together they owe between £14.8billion and £23.7billion, according to Financial Services Authority estimates.

Plan calls for major cuts to LA county juvenile courts system

All 13 Informal Juvenile and Traffic Courts will be closed and four Delinquency Courts shuttered under the latest Los Angeles County Superior Court plan to deal with millions in proposed state budget cuts, according to an email sent last week by Juvenile Court Presiding Judge Michael Nash to L.A. County officials.

Troubled euro zone states most at risk from high oil

Oil prices at record levels in euro terms are threatening to rock the euro zone's economy more than might be expected, with those countries least capable of riding out a shock being the worst hit.

Standard estimates of the impact of oil prices on the euro zone economy are that a 10 percent price hike dents annual growth by some 0.2 percent in the ensuing three years, with disagreement over whether the hit is greater at the start or at the end.

Potential $50M Property Tax Shortfall Could Lead to L.A. Cuts

Los Angeles County could receive almost $50 million less than expected in property taxes next year, according to the latest estimates, which could lead to cuts in law enforcement, education and other services.

Last year, Assessor John Noguez estimated that the county property tax base would grow by almost $18.7 billion for the next fiscal year. But he revised that figure to $5.1 billion last week.

Idahoans work past retirement

A survey released last month by the Employee Benefit Research Institute shows that only 14 percent of Americans believe that they will have enough money to retire comfortably, a historic low for a survey that has not changed significantly since 2009. “Workers are planning on working longer because many have virtually no savings,” said Steve Blakely, a spokesman for the institute, an organization that does research and education for development of employee benefit programs.

Student-loan debt affecting aging Americans

New research shows Americans 60 and older owe $36 billion in student loans. About 5 percent of the $85 billion of student loans in the U.S. and another 12 percent of the total is by borrowers 50-59. John Dombrowski with Grand Canyon Planning Associates said many of these people are getting a rude awakening about their student-loan debt when they apply for social security.

"(The federal government is), at that point, going to withhold some if not all of the social security check," he said.

Houston County School Lunch Prices May Increase

Whitehurst started serving long before automated lunch cards, 32 years ago. Then, she says school lunches cost 50-cents.

At Houston elementary schools, lunches now cost $2.00 at elementary schools. They cost $2.25 at middle and high schools. Both may go up a quarter next fall. Now, based on a 180 day school year, lunch costs $360 annually per elementary school child and $405 for middle and high school students. The new price would raise the cost to $405 at elementary schools and $450 a year for middle and high school students

Team tells City Council that Seattle can't afford pension plan

Seattle's generous employee-pension system, underfunded by $1 billion over the next 30 years, will require larger infusions from the city treasury or reduced benefits for newly hired workers, a study team told the City Council on Monday. The $1.8 billion pension fund hasn't fully recovered from its $616 million loss during the 2008 financial crisis and is facing additional strain from the longer life spans of retirees.

Green Energy Strains Rare Earth Supply

As the world moves toward greater use of low-carbon and zero-carbon energy sources, a possible bottleneck looms, according to a new MIT study: the supply of certain metals needed for key clean-energy technologies.

Wind turbines, one of the fastest-growing sources of emissions-free electricity, rely on magnets that use the rare earth element neodymium. And the element dysprosium is an essential ingredient in some electric vehicles’ motors. The supply of both elements — currently imported almost exclusively from China — could face significant shortages in coming years, the research found.

Iran cuts oil to Spain ahead of nuclear talks

Iran has cut oil exports to Spain and may halt sales to Germany and Italy, Iran's English-language state television reported on Tuesday, in an apparent move to strengthen its position ahead of crucial talks with world powers later this week.

Iran has played a tit-for-tat game over crude shipments since the European Union agreed in January that it would stop all Iranian oil imports as of July. EU states have since scrambled to find alternative supplies before that deadline, with Iran threatening to cut exports before then.

CalSTRS' unfunded liability rises 13%, funding ratio falls to 69.4%

The unfunded liabilities of the California State Teachers' Retirement System climbed 13% to $64.5 billion in the 12 months ended June 30, reducing its funded ratio to 69.4%, from 71.5%, according to a report from its actuary.

The $152.2 billion system had an $8.5 billion increase in pension obligations during the 12-month period, according to report by Milliman Inc., the retirement system's actuary.

Spain and EU reject talk of bailout

Spanish ministers and European Union officials took turns on Tuesday to deny that the country needed an international bailout, in an effort to soothe the bond market. Investors have taken fright at the size of Spain’s budget deficit, the rise in its public debt and the weakness of domestic banks.

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7 Comments

saxplayer00o1's picture
saxplayer00o1
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Jul 30 2009
Posts: 4066
thc0655's picture
thc0655
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Apr 27 2010
Posts: 1517
Silver manipulation

 Here's Ted Butler with the best thinking I've seen on why JPMorgan would send Blythe Masters on CNBC to 'splain away their silver short positions.  Something big may be about to break, and in the favor of silver longs.

http://www.zerohedge.com/contributed/2012-15-10/silver-smoke-screen?utm_...

And here's a great piece that has me spitting nails about the fraud endemic in the system.  Is there such a thing as a "fraud bubble?"  If so, this one has got to pop soon.

http://etfdailynews.com/2012/04/10/precious-metals-deja-vu-for-morgan-st...

 

rjs's picture
rjs
Status: Gold Member (Offline)
Joined: Aug 8 2009
Posts: 445
reserves: US drains, China fills

Managing strategic petroleum reserves - The Wall Street Journal suggests today that part of the latest surge in China's oil imports is attributable to a desire to boost the country's oil stockpiles. The Wall Street Journal reports that for 2012:Q1,

China's crude imports rose 11% from the year-ago quarter, a much stronger pace than full-year 2011's increase of 6%, the China's General Administration of Customs said....  China has brought new storage facilities online in recent months, said market observers and the International Energy Agency, another sign of a potential strategic reserve buildup. Also, China's desire for energy security is becoming stronger amid turmoil in the Middle East, they said. 

It's interesting that this move by China is coming at the same time as the U.S. and its allies are moving in the direction of selling more oil out of their strategic stockpiles. Indeed, the 50 million barrel increase by China anticipated by Mr. Wu is about the size of the 60 million barrels sold from the strategic reserves of the U.S. and other countries last year.

Tall's picture
Tall
Status: Platinum Member (Offline)
Joined: Feb 18 2010
Posts: 564
Is it Too Late for Sustainable Development?

Dennis Meadows thinks so...

On March 2, 1972, a team of experts from MIT presented a groundbreaking report called The Limits to Growth to scientists, journalists and others assembled at the Smithsonian Castle. Released days later in book form, the study was one of the first to use computer modeling to address a centuries-old question: When will the population outgrow the planet and the natural resources it has to offer?

http://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/Is-it-Too-Late-for-Sustainable-Development.html?c=y&page=1

littlefeatfan's picture
littlefeatfan
Status: Silver Member (Offline)
Joined: Jul 20 2009
Posts: 141
New 3Es postings

 3E links, cartoons and resources at  http://3es.weebly.com/ 

Arthur Robey's picture
Arthur Robey
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Feb 4 2010
Posts: 3936
Jumping fleas, Nuclear subs and Rumours of War.

Dr Kent Moors says

The IMF's outlook that oil prices will decline this year and through 2013 is "misguided."

and something about sticking all the world's navies into the Straits of Hormuz which is 2 miles wide is just asking for an unplanned event.

And not unrelated  from Rossi's eCat March news release

The highest temperature that could be achieved in the reactor of the domestic ECAT is just below the melting point of Nickel

(2913 C, hot enough) and

Siemens has shown an electricity solution for Andrea Rossi with 33% efficiency for 25MWe at 250C, 40bar and a smaller version with 30% efficiency for 5-8MWe also at 250C, 40bar in the secondary circuit

5 to 8 MW. No oxygen required. Nice.   Nuclear submarine anyone? Everyone.

Defkalion asked me if I want to make their product in Australia. I just cannot think big enough. This flea has been taught how high it is allowed to jump. Not very.

Doug's picture
Doug
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Oct 1 2008
Posts: 3125
Strait of Hormuz
Quote:

Straits of Hormuz which is 2 miles wide

Actually, the shipping lanes are two miles wide, one entering the other exiting, with a 2 mile buffer between them.  The strait is actually over 20 miles wide, much of which is navigable by deep draft vessels.

I don't know how much difference this makes militarily, but it does seem to be a popular misconception.

Doug

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