Thursday, August 19, 2010

The key to making sense out of the contradictory trends in the global economy

The Financial Times reports today that, on the one hand, that there has been a sharp upturn in use of shipping containers (which should indicate a sharp upturn in trade, and in traffic of goods

On the other hand, today's FT also reaports that oil prices have been pushed below $75 due to massive stockpiles of crude oil and refined products - actually the most massive since weekly records began in 1990

The key is that most of the "trade" is speculative!

Real consumers are keeping a tight fist on consumption, not only in the West but also in the East (about the only place where real consumption appears to have risen in the last 12 months appears to be Malaysia - perhaps there is a secret there worht discovering, but I haven't got around to it yet).

In any case, the people putting money around are speculators - and as there is too much money in the world anyway, with central banks ready to print plenty more at the slightest provocation, this game will last some time yet.

But the denoument of the 2008 crisis has only been put off, even if it looks now as if it will come in the form of much more serious government bankruptcies than in the form in which it initially appeared it was going to come: of (slightly) less serious bankruptcies of banks, or indeed the (much) less serious bankruptcies of non-financial companies. Sphere: Related Content

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