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Category Archives: Uncategorized
By Martin Fluck | Published: March 10, 2013
China’s growth has been "unbalanced, uncoordinated, and unsustainable," its outgoing premier Wen Jiabao admits. And popular resentment is rising. So recent actions by China’s new leadership beg the question whether it will try to satisfy the rising expectations of its huge population, and prevent the growing polarisation of wealth from leading to open revolt, by swapping breakneck growth for greater social equity.
By Martin Fluck | Published: December 19, 2012
Onshore wind turbines only last 10 to 15 years, not the 20 to 25 years claimed by the wind industry and the government, the Renewable Energy Foundation reported today. And the picture is even worse for offshore turbines. Britain's experimentation with wind farms is likely to end up leaving the country littered with abandoned wind turbines, like the 14,000 turbines left behind in the US after the 1980's.
By Mart | Published: December 11, 2012
Rising wages and poorer productivity growth is shifting the global terms of trade, to the advantage of the West, as I pointed out in Bursting the Bubble of Chinese Competitiveness last year. But there are some interesting manufacturing synergies as well, which lie behind General Electric’s decision to move much of its far-flung appliance manufacturing operations back home and Apple' decision to start manufacturing in the US, as this article on the“in-sourcing” boom in the Atlantic explains.
By Mart | Published: October 30, 2012
Atlantic hurricane frequency has not increased since the late 1800s despite any warming of sea surface temperatures (Vecchi and Knutson 2011). Estimates of global and Northern Hemisphere Accumulated Cyclone Energy (ACE) from 1971 to the present indicate that they are close to their lowest levels since the late 1970s. According to NOAA, this is the [...]
By Martin Fluck | Published: October 5, 2012
Back in April, I suggested that calling for a break-up of the too-big-to-fail banks could be a winner for either presidential candidate, now that campaigning for a break-up of the big banks has gone mainstream. It's intriguing therefore, that Romney turned on the TBTF banks in the first presidential debate.
By Martin Fluck | Published: September 27, 2012
What’s been worrying a few investment strategists is the disconnect between stock markets and reality. Forward earning expectations are still unbelievably positive, considering Europe is being sucked into an economic black hole. And that’s after a number of major bellwethers, like FedEx and Caterpillar, have reported bleak earnings outlooks. When Caterpillar warns its sales are going to slump until 2015, it’s saying that we are about to experience a repeat of the 2009 crash, once the true state of the global economy becomes apparent to even the dimmest analyst. Just that this time it could be even worse.
By Martin Fluck | Published: September 13, 2012
Anyone who bought into the recent grain bubble and sent the price of corn soaring past its 2011 high - on the back of the worst drought in the US in more than 50 years - must be a little consternated. The US crop doesn’t look its going to collapse as was expected.
By Martin Fluck | Published: September 6, 2012
The markets have been transfixed by the ECB’s plan for unlimited purchases of bonds - or outright monetary transactions, as they are to be called. But the ECB’s implicit deal with Germany, to link any bond purchases to the European rescue funds’ strict fiscal conditions, has tied its hands. Saving the euro now depends on proud nations like Spain and Italy being willing to kowtow to their new masters in Berlin. Judging by the mood of the Spanish people, it’s more likely that Spain will call Germany’s bluff and threaten to leave the euro forthwith, unless it is given unconditional support.
By Martin Fluck | Published: August 18, 2012
Unable to make up for the shortfall in electricity as it phases out nuclear power and boosts its dependency on wind and solar power, Germany now faces an energy crisis of its own making. It will only be a matter of time before the nuclear phase and its ‘energy revolution’ are abandoned, because jobs are now clearly threatened.
By Martin Fluck | Published: August 14, 2012
There’s an air of unreality in the financial markets right now. Discreetly, behind the scenes, various market actors are preparing for a collapse in the euro, even though no-one wants to publicly admit that the Germans are about to pull the plug on Greece, and probably the whole shebang. Similarly, investors are putting off reckoning with the day of reckoning by purposefully ignoring the signs of an impending global recession – in the belief that central banks will bail them out.