Letters from America

1st January 1999

13 thoughts on “Letters from America”

  1. forbin says:

    Seems China and pollution photos and Blade Runner go hand in hand


    $3.82 Trillion , the size belies the words doesn’t it

    Its not as if its shared with the population is it? The top 0.1% must be wondering what to buy next , after all , compared with our greedy brainless lots I ‘d posit they are looking to spend it on something worth while , with a good return …….


    1. Anonymous says:

      Perhaps another space mission and more high tech military gear in readiness to take over the South China sea and all the oil and gas reserves that lie beneath

  2. forbin says:

    In other news , I see Alex has pushed for all whats left of the oil for himself

    Seems the Orkneys are getting worried about their Reserve Fund, .



    “https://www.facebook.com/pages/Independence-for-Orkney-from-the-mainland/203963203022782 ”

    What the heck was Camoroons on about “volatile” oil prices – I doubt the price will drop to $20 a barrel.

    Mind you Alex is right – we did throw it away , like it or not .


    1. Anonymous says:

      Hi Forbin

      As we have discussed before the oil price movements have calmed down over the past 3 years or so. Perhaps the oil price riggers want some stability!

      So far in February the oil price has headed a bit higher though (4%) and is now at US $110.63 for a barrel of Brent crude oil.

      As to the independence issue I would imagine that the arrival of both the British and Scottish cabinets in Aberdeen has the local residents singing this.


  3. Pavlaki says:

    Not the topic above but thought you might be interested in some housing stats from the business section of a local Spanish paper: House prices fell 7.2% in Jan this year compared to 13.8% in Jan 2013. Accumulated reductions since 2007 are 45.8% along the Med coast, 43.3% in capital and large cities, 43% in metropolitan areas, 34.6% in the rest of the boroughs and just 33.8% in the Balearics and Canaries. Experts in property sector say there is another 5 to 13% drop before the bottom but the rate of decline is slowing.

    It was headlined as good news! I guess that is what passes for good news in the Euro zone these days. A banking friend says that the rate of non performing loans in the property sector is increasing quite dramatically. No figs though.

    1. Anonymous says:

      Hi Pavlaki

      Thank you. It seems that the forecasts are based on the Irish experience where house prices have seemed to find a bottom after falls of 50-55%. As to Spain there was some better news for it from Moodys.


      It didn’t get the fanfare it might as I guess many (including me..) were focusing on Wales v France in the rugby on Friday evening.

    2. Anonymous says:

      It is good news. Young people can buy cheaply and then earn money and keep it instead of handing it over to the banks.

  4. Paul C says:

    Hi Shaun,
    I like the global perspective, I was touring China a few months ago on Business. I saw the worst smog in Chongqing which is the largest westermost city. They rely on cheap energy produced from coal-fired stations often located in the cities themselves, along with the construction dust and traffic pollution it is a shocking outcome. In the summer the heat island effect of the concrete cities and obligatory air-con creates a positive feedback scenario. air-con churns heat out on to the street, leaky buildings waste the energy and need more energy to keep cold, the energy demand goes up, the power stations belch out more smoke. Folk in Chongqing told me that the last two summers were the hottest on record and unbearable, would you have guessed that?

    Your comment about the London smog is insightful, it will take them 20-30 years to fix this, the human toll will be the pressure. Our Ergohome product and “clean canyon technologies” will do their part to help.

    There’s definitely a bubble going on in Tier 1 cities, I have a colleague in Shanghai who bought last summer, off plan, his apartment was handed over recently and has appreciated 20% in the space of 8 months so I don’t know where you numbers from. Interestingly for a coastal city they experienced really bad air pollution through January because prevailing winds were from the east (industrial cities). Like London, many of the apartment high-rises are unoccupied and owned by wealthy elite.

    I visited Vanke in Guangdong, they are the biggest developer in the world and I’m meeting a Chinese delegation at Ecobuild next week so wish me luck. :-)

    Regarding the shadow banking sector, well lots of what happens in China is pretty much difficult to fathom, the population is easily messaged, individually striving and culturally traditional. If you told them all they had to start over then they would probably shrug their shoulders and get on with it.

    1. Anonymous says:

      Hi Paul C

      For all the talk of solar power technology and other green power sources my understanding is that around 65% of energy is sourced from coal. Unfortunately the power stations are not efficient and are dirty in emissions terms.

      The official numbers for Shanghai (must faster than the national average) show that your friends gains are by no means unique and frankly price rises at such a rate define bubble blowing.

      The concept of empty city high value housing districts seems to be an international one doesn’t it.

      And yes good luck,fingers crossed……

  5. Anonymous says:

    Thanks Shaun, and the ghost city of Orso article was fascinating………reminding me a little of Corby in the 80’s once British Steel was shut down…….obviously, Corby had nothing of the grandeur that Orso possesses.

  6. Dutch says:


    Is there any reliable data on the velocity of money in China?



  7. forbin says:

    Hi Shaun,

    Yes Oz better watch out

    Men at Work,

    “… Can’t you hear, can’t you hear the thunder?

    You better run, you better take cover.”


  8. Anonymous says:

    Wheat is a bigger earner than sheep. At worst, the Aussies can grow enough food to feed themselves, England needs food imports.

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