Jim’s Mailbox

Posted at 8:29 PM (CST) by & filed under Jim's Mailbox.

Dear Jim

I am sure your readers would appreciate the courage that is demonstrated herein.

Text of statement here: http://www.degaray.com/misc/144-Banks.html
CIGA Lars Schall


Dear Jim,

This seems to be a unique way to try and avoid bankruptcy.

This event is a trickle, but as a trend it will become a flood.

CIGA Green Hornet

City of Stockton will suspend bond payments to avoid bankruptcy
Published: Friday, Feb. 24, 2012 – 1:31 pm
Last Modified: Friday, Feb. 24, 2012 – 2:52 pm

STOCKTON — Hoping to stave off the ignominy of becoming America’s largest city to declare bankruptcy, Stockton officials are planning on suspending $2 million in bond payments and are seeking mediation with the city’s creditors.

In a press conference this morning, Stockton City Manager Bob Deis said City Council members will vote Tuesday on "major action" plan to rescue the financially beleaguered city in lieu of filing for bankruptcy protection.

It includes taking advantage of a new California law that allows cities to seek a 60- to 90-day mediation with creditors in hopes of reworking its payment obligations outside of U.S. bankruptcy court.


Housing market perks up, but prices are still falling

Americans largely leveraged to the previous cycle’s investment darling breathed a sigh of relief as signs of a rebound begin to emerge in the real estate sector. Only one break or bounce becomes the real turning point. While time, money flows, and credit support a short-term liquidity driven bounce, they don’t support a secular bottom. That won’t come until 2034.

Chart 1 and Chart 2 illustrate the work yet to be done in real estate.

Chart 1: U.S. Median Home Price (MHP) And MHP to Gold Ratio

Chart 2: Months Months Supply of New One-Family Houses for Sale And Change YOY

2011’s bullish setup increased the probability of a counter trend hiccup in 2012.

Chart 3: Lumber (CC) And Lumber Diffusion Index (DI)

Headline: Housing market perks up, but prices are still falling

Though the pace of home sales picked up last month as the economy and job market improved, home prices have yet to show any meaningful turnaround.

The National Association of Realtors said Wednesday that sales of existing homes – which account for most of the housing market – rose 4.3 percent in January. That pace of sales, about 4.5 million a year, is still much less than the 6 million rate that’s considered “healthy.” And it’s far below the peak of 7 million homes sold in 2005.

Home prices are still going nowhere – they fell 2.2 percent in January, according to the NAR. That’s because there is still no end in sight to home foreclosures: so-called “distressed” home sales accounted for 35 percent of sales in January, up from 32 percent in December. As those homes are sold, they push prices lower for all houses on the market.

Source: msnbc.msn.com


Hi Jim,

It appears that Iceland is the only country in the Western hemisphere that’s been able to come to terms with the debt crisis!!

Iceland? Who would have thought?

CIGA Black Swan

Icelandic Anger Brings Debt Forgiveness
By Omar R. Valdimarsson – Feb 19, 2012 7:01 PM ET

Icelanders who pelted parliament with rocks in 2009 demanding their leaders and bankers answer for the country’s economic and financial collapse are reaping the benefits of their anger.

Since the end of 2008, the island’s banks have forgiven loans equivalent to 13 percent of gross domestic product, easing the debt burdens of more than a quarter of the population, according to a report published this month by the Icelandic Financial Services Association.

“You could safely say that Iceland holds the world record in household debt relief,” said Lars Christensen, chief emerging markets economist at Danske Bank A/S in Copenhagen. “Iceland followed the textbook example of what is required in a crisis. Any economist would agree with that.”


Dear Eric,

Add to this $4 per gallon. That is the cost today in California and NYC.


One in four Americans has more debt than savings

Pop culture’s full embrace of the "live for today and forget about tomorrow" philosophy has raised generations of Americans that no longer understand that living beyond their means not only jeopardizes their future standard of living but also increases their dependency on governmental largess. One can’t help see the devilish irony that a growing number of Americans blame government largess and its crippling debt as our economy’s public enemy number one.

Regardless of your perception of economic reality, the facts remain the same. The US economy, driven by “live for today and forget about tomorrow” philosophy, has become increasingly consumption-driven since 1981-82 (see chart 1). As savings dwindled into 2005, Americans embraced debt as a means to the end rather than abandon their self-destructive philosophy (chart 2). It should come as no surprise that one in four Americans have more debt than savings. If it reaches one in three or two, will we be surprised then? I doubt market forces will give us the opportunity to find out.

Chart 1: Personal Consumption Expenditures (PCE) As A %GDP and Personal Consumption Expenditures As A %GDP Average from 1947

Chart 2: Savings (SAV) As A %GDP Average from 1947

Headline: One in four Americans has more debt than savings

Many U.S. consumers are so deep in a financial hole that even as the economy begins to turn around they can’t quite dig themselves out.

A survey by Bankrate.com released Tuesday found that 25 percent of Americans have more credit card debt than they have in emergency savings, and that spells trouble if an emergency situation actually hits.

Consumers are doing better when it comes to living within their means, said Greg McBride, Bankrate.com’s senior financial analyst. But, he added, years of stagnant wage growth, high unemployment, declining home values and escalating household expenses have strained wallets. “Even though there’s been progress things are still out of whack,” he said.

And the economic pictures may get even gloomier for consumers if gas prices continue to escalate, he pointed out. Last year, he said, “60 percent of Americans said they cut back on discretionary spending because of gasoline prices.”

Those hit hardest when it comes to debt versus savings, are individuals on the low end of the economic ladder and those with less education, according to the study that polled more than 1000 adults earlier this month.

Source: msnbc.msn.com



La Reunion is a small Island (owned by France). The people on the island make their living from tourism mainly.

La Reunion has suffered its second night of riots over the cost of living and unemployment.

Most of food and water comes from mainland. They are directly impacted by the rise of oil price.

Islands living essentially from tourism will be the first to suffer from today’ s rise of food and energy. Youth unemployment will make things even worse.

Best regards,
CIGA Christopher

Second night of riots on French Indian Ocean island Réunion

A second night of rioting erupted on the French Indian Ocean island of Réunion Wednesday. Hundreds of youths have clashed with police and attacked businesses after protests over the cost of living.

Three police officers and a night watchman were injured on Wednesday night, officials said.

A squadron of gendarmes has been sent to reinforce police on the island.

Thirty-one people were arrested, bringing the total to 49 in two days.

The trouble broke out in the main city Saint Denis, spreading to Le Port and Saint Benoît on the east of the island.

Gangs of about 200 young people attacked a shopping centre, a Peugeot showroom and other businesses, looting and setting fire to property.

They clashed with police, who fired teargas at them.

One police officer was seriously injured when a teargas grenade exploded in his hand, police sources said.