Here is a quick snapshot of some key overnight news, views, and data.
December car sales strong
We are still buying new and used-import cars at a fast clip. 2010 new car sales were up +14% over calendar 2009, although the 2010 totals of 62,000 were way below the 2005 totals of 78,000. We imported 88,600 used imports in 2010, +28% more than the previous year.
Banking Day is reporting that Australian banks may be downgraded by S&P because of persistently high rates of credit growth relative to GDP and seemingly high property prices. These aspects will be now important to S&P as it adopts revisions to its credit analysis. Although it gives low-risk assessments to many parts of the New Zealand banking system, it judges our economic imbalances as 'high risk' because of persistently high current account deficits, and high external debt to current account receipts.
The Bill Daley problem
Daley is President Obama's new chief of staff. He has been at the very top of one of the US largest financial insitutions - JPMorgan-Chase. Some say he represents the capture of the White House by Wall Street.
Banks and debt
"I sincerely believe that banking establishments are more dangerous than standing armies, and that the principle of spending money to be paid by posterity, under the name of funding, is but swindling futurity on a large scale."
- Thomas Jefferson
more below ...
|8 am||--- 52 week --|
|Crude oil||in US$/bl||89.24||88.44||91.45||70.15|
|US Treasuries||30 yr bond||4.48%||4.48%||4.78%||3.61%|
Goldman's Facebook pitch
You need to be seriously wealthy to get the Goldman Sachs invitation to buy into Facebook. But the Wall Street Journal couldn't help but notice some similarities between the Goldman invitation, and a Nigerian scam. You be the judge.
On the edge
Vietnam is growing fast, but its not all good. It is buffeted by rampant food price inflation, official corruption, and stifled by huge inefficient state-owned enterprises. It's in a real quagmire.
Some of its own medicine
French intelligence services are looking into China’s possible role in an industrial espionage scandal at car maker Renault that a senior minister has said involved 'economic warfare'. But France itself has a major industrial spying program.
"a worrisome new phase"
Many in Europe say a breakup of the eurozone would be nearly impossible. But a German bank doesn't think it is at all far-fetched, as real contagion spreads from the PIIGS to Belgium and France. It's looking ugly.