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    Daily Digest 2/16 – Beware Gold And Silver ETFs, Strategies To Rein In Debt, Global Food Prices Rising Rapidly

    by saxplayer00o1

    Wednesday, February 16, 2011, 3:45 PM

  • Investor Beware – Gold ETFs – Silver ETFs – Expensive & Risky
  • Dave Morgan & Mike Maloney – Gold Confiscation
  • Unemployed ‘99ers’ take on the Capitol
  • Flint City Councilman Dale Weighill: Some on council willing to explore state takeover, municipal bankruptcy
  • Could bankruptcy solve Camden’s woes?
  • AISD trustees discuss slashing more than 1,000 jobs
  • Geithner: Entitlements Key to Rein in Debt
  • Parking ticket fees could rise (Alameda)
  • ‘Speed on green’ to offset budget cuts: police (Calgary)
  • North Sea one-year output takes a dive
  • Valley truckers hit hard by rising diesel prices (California)
  • Overseas demand, unrest could drive up gasoline prices in United States
  • World Bank: Food prices at “dangerous levels”
  • Companies Warn That Higher Prices Are Looming
  • Cotton may force retail prices to rise
  • Clothing Prices Set To Rise This Spring
  • Produce prices on the rise in Idaho
  • High Sugar Prices Hit Bakeries, Confectioners
  • Fed’s Lacker: Food, Energy Price Rise Definitely A Concern
  • Crop Prices Push Up Farmland Value
  • Milk production and milk prices expected to be higher in 2011
  • Candy Shop Gets Creative to Keep Chocolate Prices Stable
  • Tomato prices soar after cold weather kill-off
  • Corn prices increasing, what’ll it mean for grocery costs?
  • Global wheat prices could soar as China struggles with drought

Follow our steps to prepare for a world after peak oil, such as how to store & filter water

Economy

Investor Beware – Gold ETFs – Silver ETFs – Expensive & Risky (Adam)

Investors must search long and hard to uncover the total annual expenses associated with gold ETF and silver ETF vehicles. Gold and silver exchange traded funds, or ETFs, are designed to deduct fees and expenses from investor shares, thus they reduce one’s paper holdings over time.

Dave Morgan & Mike Maloney – Gold Confiscation (Adam)

Mike Maloney contends that if President Obama signed an executive order to confiscate or nationalize private citizen’s gold, the dollar would end up plunging to worthlessness. In other words, the chances are very remote.

[video:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wnmqMEE6CLc&feature=player_embedded#at=20]

Unemployed ‘99ers’ take on the Capitol

There are over 25 million unemployed or underemployed people in the country. They don’t even know the exact figure. The politicians are saying there is one job for every 4.6 people, but it seems to be more like for every seven people.”

Flint City Councilman Dale Weighill: Some on council willing to explore state takeover, municipal bankruptcy

The State Administration Board removed the city’s application for a $20 million bond from its meeting agenda this morning. That move came at the request of the state treasurer’s office.

The $20 million is crucial to the city’s budget and was a part of Mayor Dayne Walling’s budget plan. Without that money, city officials have speculated they won’t be able to make the city’s $1.5 to $2 million payroll every two weeks.

Could bankruptcy solve Camden’s woes?

(page 2) Camden’s police and fire department salaries and benefits account for 54 percent of city spending. Factor in salaries and benefits of nonuniformed unionized employees and that number jumps to nearly 70 percent.

Like Camden, Vallejo was feeling the impact of a lack of tax revenue, escalating pension costs and firm union contracts with perks not seen in the private sector.

AISD trustees discuss slashing more than 1,000 jobs (Austin)

Under the watchful eyes of dozens of parents and campus workers, Austin school board members Monday talked about possibly axing more than 1,000 jobs and declaring financial exigency, or a state of fiscal emergency, to clear the way to do so.

Cutting 1,012 positions , or 8 percent of the district’s work force, would save the district $53.4 million in the 2011-12 school year. Trustees need to fix an estimated $94 million to $113 million budget shortfall, or 13 to 16 percent of the budget, officials said. The board last month approved cutting nearly 500 jobs, which are included in the new total.

School districts across the state are cutting millions from their budgets as they face cuts in state funding of up to $10 billion and drops in local property tax revenue.

Geithner: Entitlements Key to Rein in Debt

“We will reject plans that slash benefits; that fail to protect current retirees, people with disabilities and the most vulnerable; or that subject Americans’ retirement savings to the whims of the stock market,” Mr. Geithner said.

The Treasury secretary also cautioned against cutting the budget too quickly as the economic recovery slowly gains momentum with stronger consumer and business spending.

Parking ticket fees could rise (Alameda)

Tickets for parking in a disabled parking zone or in areas set for people with handicap placards will rise to $285 and $335, respectively, up from $275 and $330. Scofflaws could also find themselves responsible for late fees of 35 percent and for attorney and other costs incurred by the city for unpaid tickets.

The new fines would raise an estimated $75,000 a year for the city’s general fund and put Alameda more in line with what neighboring jurisdictions are charging, city staff said in a report to the council. The city reaped $470,000 from parking penalties in 2009-2010.

‘Speed on green’ to offset budget cuts: police (Calgary)

“All that it means is there’s $2 million less that comes from the taxpayers because it’s coming from court fine revenues,” Hanson said. The cameras catch drivers speeding through intersections regardless of the colour of the light and punish them with fines of up to $351. Police began issuing tickets for infractions caught on the cameras in April 2009.

Energy

North Sea one-year output takes a dive

North Sea oil output will fall by 8.6% in March from a year earlier, illustrating the gradual drop in supply from the home of the Brent benchmark used to value two thirds of the world’s oil. Supply of nine North Sea crudes will average 2.033 million barrels per day, down from 2.225 million bpd a year earlier, data compiled by Reuters showed. North Sea oil supply is generally believed to be past its peak as the larger and easier-to-access deposits are pumped out.

Valley truckers hit hard by rising diesel prices (California)

Ten weeks of rising diesel fuel prices are the latest blow to the trucking industry, which has struggled to overcome a series of economic challenges recently. For trucking companies, the average $3.74 a gallon fuel — a 70-cent increase from last year — comes at a time when they would otherwise be gearing up for an economic turnaround. In addition, many still are recovering from pricey expenditures to meet clean-air rules. Many Valley companies pass on costs to customers with fuel surcharges, but for others that’s not an option.

Fuel typically makes up about one-third of trucking companies’ budgets, said Kristen Monaco, an economics professor who specializes in trucking at California State University, Long Beach. And with most trucks averaging 7 miles per gallon and driving hundreds of thousands of miles each year, those costs add up.

Overseas demand, unrest could drive up gasoline prices in United States

People tracking gasoline prices say drivers could be paying $4 per gallon this year. You can blame it on high consumption overseas. China and India are growing and people in those countries will use a lot more gas this year.

The ongoing turmoil in the Middle East isn’t helping either. While things have calmed down a bit in Egypt, a lot of questions remain about what the next few months have in store for the area.

Environment

World Bank: Food prices at “dangerous levels”

World Bank President Robert Zoellick says global food prices have hit “dangerous levels” that could contribute to political instability, push millions of people into poverty and raise the cost of groceries.

The bank says in a new report that global food prices have jumped 29 percent in the past year, and are just 3 percent below the all-time peak hit in 2008. Zoellick says the rising prices have hit people hardest in the developing world because they spend as much as half their income on food.

 

Companies Warn That Higher Prices Are Looming

Cotton prices are near their highest level in more than a decade, after adjusting for inflation, and leather and polyester costs are jumping as well. Copper recently hit its highest level in about 40 years, and iron ore, used for steel, is fetching extremely high prices. Prices for corn, sugar, wheat, beef, pork and coffee are soaring. Labor overseas is becoming more expensive, meanwhile, and so are the utility bills to keep a factory running. “There are cost pressures from virtually everywhere,”

Cotton may force retail prices to rise

The price for cotton started around the one dollar mark when this year’s harvest began, and then went up to one dollar and forty cents by the time the harvest was finished.

“We’re expecting the price to be a 10-12% increase, which at retail is like four to seven dollars on a shirt maybe three dollars on jeans maybe five on jeans before we’re done,”said Terry Martin, Owner, West Texas Western Store.

Clothing Prices Set To Rise This Spring

Dornink buys her fabrics from around the world, mostly from China. Prices are headed in one direction: up. In fact, the price of cotton just hit $1.90, a 150-year high and double the price from last year.

“We have seen our prices increase. A lot of our silk vendors have raised prices by 20 percent and a lot of them are guaranteeing that price for the next few months and they don’t know what is going to happen, they might be increasing even more,” said Dornink.

Produce prices on the rise in Idaho

We have been enjoying warmer temperatures recently in Idaho, but a deep freeze in parts of Texas and Mexico are causing some major problems when it comes to produce, and it could soon affect your pocketbook.

That deep freeze in the Southwest means some of your favorite produce items like tomatoes, zucchinis and peppers could double or triple in price.

High Sugar Prices Hit Bakeries, Confectioners

Poor weather in sugar producing countries has driven up world sugar prices– which have left a bitter taste in the mouths of local bakers and confectioners. Kim Brady, the cafe shipping manager at Original Smith Island Cake Co. in West Ocean City, says they’re paying eighty percent more for sugar than they were last year.

Fed’s Lacker: Food, Energy Price Rise Definitely A Concern -Bloomberg

Richmond Federal Reserve President Jeffrey Lacker said in a Bloomberg television program that while accelerating inflation is “not a done deal” yet, it’s at this point in the economic recovery when it can.

“These food and energy prices are definitely a concern,” Lacker said on Tom Keene’s “Surveillance Midday” program

Crop Prices Push Up Farmland Value

Fueled by rising crop prices, the value of irrigated and nonirrigated cropland across the region known as the 10th District jumped 14.8% and 12.9%, respectively, in the fourth quarter, compared with a year earlier.

The bank’s quarterly survey of the region, which covers western Missouri, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma, Wyoming, Colorado and northern New Mexico, found that farmland prices rose for the fifth consecutive quarter since a drop in the third quarter of 2009, when the livestock sector was contracting amid the recession.

Milk production and milk prices expected to be higher in 2011

Feed prices continue upward. The soybean meal price is projected at $340 to $380 per ton, up from last month’s projection. Slightly lower planted acreage and lower yields combined to cause the rise in the forecast. The corn price forecast was also raised, to $5.05 to $5.75 per bushel. Despite an increase in harvested acreage, corn production is forecast lower due to an expected 11.9-bushel fall in the national average yield per acre. The corn season-ending stocks-to-use ratio is forecast to be the lowest since 1995/96.

Milk prices will be higher this year. The Class IV price is expected to average $16.70 to $17.50 per cwt. The Class III price is expected to be below the Class IV price this year and to average $15.80 to $16.50 per cwt. The expected higher Class prices will push the all milk price well above 2010 to a forecast $17.70 to $18.40 per cwt for 2011.

Candy Shop Gets Creative to Keep Chocolate Prices Stable

“Sugar has doubled,” adds Hicklin. “Pecans have doubled or tripled.” Cocoa bean prices soared to highs unseen since the beginning of last year. “We have to be very careful,” says Hicklin. “We don’t want to outprice because we want people to be able to enjoy the luxury of chocolate.”

It’s forcing stores like the Candy House to cut back. It’s changing packaging and cutting out different chocolates that proved to be too costly.

Tomato prices soar after cold weather kill-off

This winter’s freezing weather is starting to have an impact at the grocery store. “It’s wreaking a little bit of havoc on the market,” Oakes Farm Market Manager Eric Oakes said.

With so many crops killed off by the cold, produce shop owners are seeing tomato prices triple. Cases that usually cost $12-15 are up to $40.

Corn prices increasing, what’ll it mean for grocery costs?

The demand for corn is going up, which is expected to increase it’s production costs. Experts say it’ll trickle down onto the price of beef and commodities at grocery stores. Coming up tonight on KETK Live @ 5, we talk to the President of the National Corn Growers of America organization. He breaks down just how exactly increasing corn prices will affect corn farmers and the grocery industry.

Global wheat prices could soar as China struggles with drought

“The wheat seedlings are so small. Because it’s so dry, the plants aren’t growing properly. We just don’t have enough water. What can we do if it’s not raining?” said a farmer from Dajingshan village.

China is one of the biggest wheat producers in the world and is generally self-sufficient when it comes to meeting the needs of its own population of 1.3 billion people. If the country were to buy large amounts of wheat overseas, prices on commodity markets would skyrocket. This comes at a time when food costs are already high, and a further increase would be devastating for millions of China’s poorest.

Article suggestions for the Daily Digest can be sent to [email protected]. All suggestions are filtered by the Daily Digest team and preference is given to those that are in alignment with the message of the Crash Course and the “3 Es.”

 

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