Here is a quick snapshot of some key overnight news, views, and data.
Prices too high?
Unleaded petrol is almost $2 per litre at the pump. That is 'caused' by rising crude prices, and high taxes. But our analysis shows that oil company margins are at the top of their normal range as well. Expect prices to go through the $2 barrier soon.
Prices going higher
Rising food prices are a problem around the world, and the G-20 is worried about the impacts. More countries are taking local action. India is worried about the price of onions. In China, the commerce minister has said this government will boost imports of agriculture products of which China is short and boost state reserves of products, including sugar and meat. He seems more worried about supply than price, with a beggar-thy-neighbor policy - but it could be good for New Zealand producers.
A tough budget for tough times
California has a new governor who is about to takle their budget problems head-on with spending cuts and tax boosts, Greek-style. He faces formidible challenges convincing enough people. Arnie couldn't do it, but maybe he softened them up for Jerry.
more below ...
|8 am||--- 52 week --|
|Crude oil||in US$/bl||91.04||88.24||91.45||70.15|
|US Treasuries||30 yr bond||4.47%||4.48%||4.78%||3.61%|
US courts are ruling against the way big banks have handled themselves in the foreclosure (= mortgagee sale) processes. The rulings are so definitive, it is affecting the stock prices of most banks, wiping away billions of shareholder value.
Being a regulator can be very profitable. The US Fed has just returned a US$78 billion dividend to the US Treasury for 2010 - way higher than the US$47 billion dividend it made in 2009. These margins are in addition to the US$25 billion in profits the US Treasury itself made with its bailout activity. But they are small returns compared with the US$14 trillion in debt built up over the generations since 1950 - and most of it since 1990.