"“We have lent a huge amount of money to the U.S. Of course we are concerned about the safety of our assets. To be honest, I am definitely a little worried.” "

Chinese premier Wen Jiabao 12th March 2009

""We have a financial system that is run by private shareholders, managed by private institutions, and we'd like to do our best to preserve that system."

Timothy Geithner US Secretary of the Treasury, previously President of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.1/3/2009

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

US homes, autos, decline and decay all around I see - as Paulson sprinkles more money dust on GMAC

Key US indicator Home the S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Index through to end October 2008 was published today - showing house price declines of existing single family homes across the United States, worsened in 4th Quarter 2008.

The standard 10-City and 20-City Composites set new records, with annual declines of 19.1% and 18.0%, respectively this brings prices back to their March, 2004 levels.” said David M. Blitzer, Chairman of the Index Committee at Standard & Poor’s

Manufacturing declines in Mid - West 10% Year on Year

The federal reserve Bank also published their Chicago Fed Midwest Manufacturing Index (CFMMI) covering manufacturing activity in lllinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, and Wisconsin.

The Index decreased 1.6% in November, to a seasonally adjusted level of 96.4 (2002 = 100). . Regional output in November was down 10.8% from a year earlier.

Three of the four regional industry sectors decreased in November:
* Regional steel sector output declined 4.3%;
* Regional machinery sector output moved down 2.0%;
* Regional resource sector output decreased 1.9%; and
* Regional auto sector production increased 1.1%. - however The Midwest’s automotive output was down 24.0% in November relative to its year-ago value, and the nation’s auto output was down 15.7%.

Kerkorian pulls out of Ford - Finally

Billionaire investor Kirk Kerkorian's Tracinda Corp. held a 6.5% stake in Ford earlier this year (bought at average of US$7.10) and he has sold the lot - Ford closed at US $2.22 on Monday.

Meanwhile the US Treasury continued to pursue it's insane plan to extend consumer credit by shoring up GMAC LLC the financing arm of General Motors Corp., with US$6 billion in their continued and wasteful effort to keep the largest U.S. automaker out of bankruptcy.

Under the stupid plan The Treasury will purchase a $5 billion stake in GMAC and lend $1 billion to GM so the automaker can contribute to the lender’s reorganization as a bank holding company.

This loan money sprinkle is in addition to US$13.4 billion the Treasury agreed (after CONgress refused to pony up) earlier this month to lend to GM and Chrysler LLC.

The theory is that this will expand lending to car buyers (ie increase their debt) and help save GM. GM's domestic sales plunged 22 % through to November as GMAC ran short on cash and limited loans to people with only the best credit. (US Treasury Press release)

Delphi starts pulling out of China

Meanwhile the Hong Kong’s South China Morning Post reports that bankrupt car parts maker Delphi has decided to temporarily close a plant in China’s Suzhou, near Shanghai . Delphi was spun off from GM, as Visteon was from Ford, and Denso from Toyota - with the inention to use them as a worldwide supplier to the global auto industry.

GM in the US said about closing the Suzhou plant - opened in October 2007: “The sudden and unprecedented decline in car sales globally has resulted in our only customer, GM North America, announcing plant closures and plant stoppages.” Reuters said at the time that Delphi opened the Suzhou plant that GM had “invested more than $500 million in China, where it currently has nine joint ventures and four wholly owned factories.”..."Delphi is one of the leading foreign-invested automotive suppliers in China, the world's fastest-growing vehicle market."

GM set up Delphi in 1999 and they filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in 2005 and closed 24 of their 29 plants in the U.S. and moved a chunk of manufacturing to the Chinese mainland ( called disembowelling America). Delphi operates 15 joint ventures and wholly-owned foreign enterprises, including the Suzhou site, 11 other manufacturing operations, and training and technical centers.

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