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(email exchange)

>   
>   On Tue, Dec 23, 2008 at 2:43 PM, Russell
>   wrote:
>   
>   Warren:
>   
>   You have known I have been negative on this
>   market collapse for a long time.
>   

Yes!

I was more hopeful for the right political response after it went bad in July. 🙁

>   
>   And what happens on a day to day basis only
>   stirs the pot. The reason for trucks not being
>   able to lift anything at the ports is that trade
>   finance has disappeared and the reason why
>   the Baltic Dry Index declined 98% in 90 days.
>   The banks are technically bankrupt. I said that
>   about Citi way back when.
>   

Yes, they weren’t bankrupt back then, and they were open for business. Now that the government has let it go bad after an OK Q2, previously sort of OK/money good assets have further deteriorated and are no longer money good if this is left to its own ways.

A $1 Trillion of the right fiscal response turns it all around.

Idle Cranes From Long Beach To Singapore

Idle shipping cranes at Frozen Ports From Long Beach to Singapore portend a bleak 2009-2010.

Chris Lytle, chief operating officer of the port of Long Beach, California, took in a panorama of the slumping world economy from his rooftop observation deck one day this month. Shipping cranes stood still, truck traffic trickled and a cargo vessel sat idle, moored to a pier.

“You never see that,” Lytle said. “It’s quiet. Too quiet.”

Port traffic has slowed from North America to Europe and Asia as a recession erodes consumer demand and the credit crisis chokes off loans to export-dependent companies. International trade is set to fall by more than 2 percent next year, the most since the World Bank began measuring it in 1971. Idle ports around the globe are showing how quickly a collapse in trade can spread, undermining growth in each country it reaches.

“Everybody expects 2009 to be a bleak year,” said Jim McKenna, chief executive officer of the Pacific Maritime Association, a San Francisco-based group representing dock employers at U.S. West Coast ports. “Now, it looks like 2010 is going to be just as bleak.”

Coal is piling up at the Mozambique port of Maputo. Brazil’s exports of cars, household appliances, machinery and furniture fell in November from a year earlier. The port in Singapore, the world’s busiest for containers, posted its first month-over-month decline in seven years in November, at 1.5 percent.

“You take it for granted until it blows up,” said Bernard Hoekman, trade economist at the World Bank, in an interview. “Now it’s blowing up.”


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