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The U.S. Drought Is Hitting Harder Than Most Realize

Repercussions are everywhere
Wednesday, August 29, 2012, 8:02 PM

This is an important update on the U.S. drought of 2012, the combined record-setting July land temperatures, and their impact on food prices, water availability, energy, and even U.S. GDP. 

Even though the mainstream media seems to have lost some interest in the drought, we should keep it front and center in our minds, as it has already led to sharply higher grain prices, increased gasoline costs (via the pass-through of higher ethanol costs), impeded oil and gas drilling activity in some areas (due to a lack of water), caused the shutdown of a few operating electricity plants, temporarily reduced red meat prices (but will also make them climb sharply later) as cattle are dumped on feed- and pasture-management concerns, and blocked and/or reduced shipping on the Mississippi River.  All this and there's also a strong chance that today's drought will negatively impact next year's winter wheat harvest, unless a lot of rain starts falling soon. » Read more

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The New Endangered Species: Liquidity & Reliable Income Streams

Prepare for a shift in what 'value' means
Tuesday, August 28, 2012, 11:05 AM

The causal relationship between scarcity, demand, and price is intuitive.  Whatever is scarce and in demand will rise in price to its cost basis; whatever is abundant and in low demand will decline in price.

The corollary is somewhat less intuitive, but still solidly sensible: the cure for high prices is high prices, meaning that as the price of a commodity or service reaches a threshold of affordability/pain, suppliers and consumers will seek out alternatives or modify their behaviors to lower consumption. » Read more