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    Daily Digest 11/27 – End of Cheap Coal, Irish Bailout Protests, Small Business Saturday

    by DailyDigest

    Saturday, November 27, 2010, 4:00 PM

  • The End of Cheap Coal?
  • Banks Start to Dig Out From Troubled Loans
  • Spanish, Portuguese Bonds Drop as Europe’s Debt Crisis Deepens
  • ‘Pent-Up Demand’ as Shoppers Storm Malls Across U.S.
  • Thousands Protest Against Irish Bailout
  • Small Business Saturday Entices Locals to Shop Mom and Pop
  • Countries Pare Ambitions for Talks on Climate Change

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The End of Cheap Coal? (jeff)

China, the world’s biggest producer and consumer of coal, has coal resources of 187 billion metric tons, second to the U.S., according to data collected in the 2000-10 national resource survey by China’s Ministry of Land and Resources. That’s about 62 years’ worth of coal, according to Heinberg and Fridley. But the duo are skeptical of that claim, and say that coal is often more scarce and more difficult to retrieve than current estimates. Although India, which almost doubled purchases of energy coal for its power stations last year, has found that there are more coal reserves than it previously thought, ” the overwhelming global trend, as revealed by national coal surveys over the past few decades, is for the size of countries’ estimated reserves to shrink as geologists uncover restrictions,” Heinberg and Fridley said.

Banks Start to Dig Out From Troubled Loans 

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation reported this week that the proportion of troubled loans on bank books fell to 9.1 percent at the end of September, down by more than a percentage point from the record 10.3 percent figure posted at the end of 2009. “The industry continues making progress in recovering from the financial crisis,” said Sheila C. Bair, the F.D.I.C. chairwoman. “Credit performance has been improving, and we remain cautiously optimistic about the outlook.”

Spanish, Portuguese Bonds Drop as Europe’s Debt Crisis Deepens

Spanish 10-year bonds fell for a sixth straight week, the longest run since the period ending June 22, 2007, as officials raced to complete an aid agreement for Ireland in an effort to contain the meltdown of its banks. The Irish yield premium over benchmark German bonds reached a record after Prime Minister Brian Cowen requested an international bailout on Nov. 21. “The market has lost faith over the likelihood that the Irish problem can be ring fenced,” said Steven Mansell, director of interest-rate strategy at Citigroup Global Markets Ltd. in London. “It’s a transformation from a market thinking the problem resided in the weaker periphery to a situation where the market is worried about a broader-based contagion.”

‘Pent-Up Demand’ as Shoppers Storm Malls Across U.S. 

Across the U.S., stores reported heavier traffic than last year as Black Friday, the biggest shopping day of the year, got off to its earliest start yet. Foot traffic at the Mall at Robinson increased the most in five years, Krinsky said. At Macy’s Inc.’s flagship store in New York’s Herald Square, many people were shopping for themselves for the first time in two years, Chief Executive Officer Terry Lundgren said. After denying themselves in the wake of the recession, many American consumers seem ready to spend this holiday season, says Neil Stern, senior partner at Chicago-based consultancy McMillan Doolittle.

Thousands Protest Against Irish Bailout 

More than 100,000 Irish citizens took to the streets of Dublin today to protest against the international bailout and four years of austerity. Despite overnight snow storms and freezing temperatures, huge crowds have gathered in O’Connell Street to demonstrate against the cuts aimed at driving down Ireland’s colossal national debt. So far the march has passed off peacefully although there is a huge Garda presence with up to 700 officers on duty working alongside 250 security guards for the Irish Congress of Trade Unions.

Small Business Saturday Entices Locals to Shop Mom and Pop 

To counter the corporate world’s Black Friday, public and private organizations are joining American Express OPEN—the company’s small business unit—in declaring the Saturday after Thanksgiving Small Business Saturday. The first-time event encourages shoppers to include small, independently-owned businesses when they make their shopping rounds the day after Black Friday.


Countries Pare Ambitions for Talks on Climate Change 

At a two-week United Nations climate conference in the Mexican resort city of Cancun, negotiators will focus not on the stick of mandatory emissions limits but on the carrot of tens of billions of dollars in subsidies from industrialized countries to help developing nations grow on a greener path. Almost all growth in global greenhouse-gas emissions in coming years is expected to come from developing countries. The subsidies likely would, among other moves, help China build more-efficient coal-fired power plants, Brazil preserve forests, and an array of developing countries build wind farms and solar projects.

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