Monday, February 16, 2009

Two Important Articles...

Please carefully note this article:
Part of the problem is that the U.S. is "overstored," as retail analyst Jennifer Black and even store officials often say. Indeed, few can argue that the more than 200 million square feet of retail space added each year since 2004 was truly needed. J.C. Penney CEO Mike Ullman, chairman of the National Retail Federation, estimates that there is at least 100 million more square feet of retail space than the market needs.

And then this article:
The sums needed are beyond the limits of the IMF, which has already bailed out Hungary, Ukraine, Latvia, Belarus, Iceland, and Pakistan – and Turkey next – and is fast exhausting its own $200bn (€155bn) reserve. We are nearing the point where the IMF may have to print money for the world, using arcane powers to issue Special Drawing Rights.

Its $16bn rescue of Ukraine has unravelled. The country – facing a 12pc contraction in GDP after the collapse of steel prices – is hurtling towards default, leaving Unicredit, Raffeisen and ING in the lurch. Pakistan wants another $7.6bn. Latvia's central bank governor has declared his economy "clinically dead" after it shrank 10.5pc in the fourth quarter. Protesters have smashed the treasury and stormed parliament.

"This is much worse than the East Asia crisis in the 1990s," said Lars Christensen, at Danske Bank.
Both provide very stark yet very realistic warnings. Again, we must re-allocate wasted capacity toward useful and sustainable capacity. There will be less and, therefore, that which remains must be better.