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Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Great Recession Roundup — April 1, 2009

Items of Interest:

Obama Said to Find Bankruptcy Likely for GM, Chrysler -- President Barack Obama believes a quick, negotiated bankruptcy is the most likely way for General Motors Corp. to restructure and become a competitive automaker, people familiar with the matter said.

Obama also is prepared to let Chrysler LLC go bankrupt and be sold off piecemeal if the third-largest U.S. automaker can’t form an alliance with Fiat SpA, said members of Congress who were briefed on the GM and Chrysler situation before the president said two days ago that the automakers’ viability plans were insufficient...

Wall Street Journal: New GM Chief Bends to U.S. Pressure
Joe Weisenthal / Clusterstock: Obama Turns Up The Heat On GM Bondholders
New York Times:
MarketWatch: Ford U.S. March sales drop 40.9%
Holman Jenkins, Wall Street Journal: GM Bankruptcy? Tell Me Another
J. Surowiecki / Balance Sheet: Automakers & The Banks: Double Standard?
Calculated Risk:
March Economic Summary in Graphs -- Vehicle Miles driven in January

By this measure, vehicle miles driven are off 3.6% Year-over-year (YoY); the decline in miles driven is worse than during the early '70s and 1979-1980 oil crisis.

As the DOT noted, miles driven in January 2009 were 3.1% less than January 2008.

miles driven in January 2009 were 3.1% less than January 2008
Calculated Risk:
New Home Sales: Just above Record Low -- The Census Bureau reports New Home Sales in February were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 337 thousand. This is slightly above the record low of 322 thousand in January...
Jan new home sales just above record low----
National Association of Realtors:
Gain Seen In Pending Home Sales, Housing Affordability Sets New Record --
Pending home sales have edged up, hinting at a possible pickup of sales activity in coming months, according to the National Association of Realtors.

The Pending Home Sales Index, a forward-looking indicator based on contracts signed in February, rose 2.1 percent to 82.1 from a reading of 80.4 in January, but is 1.4 percent below February 2008 when it was 83.3...
Officials are investigating a sailboat abandoned on the marshy banks of a creek in Mount Pleasant, S.C.Brett Flashnick / NY Times:
Boat owners are abandoning ship -- Boat owners are abandoning ship.

They often sandpaper over the names and file off the registry numbers, doing their best to render the boats, and themselves, untraceable. Then they casually ditch the vessels in the middle of busy harbors, beach them at low tide on the banks of creeks or occasionally scuttle them outright.

The bad economy is creating a flotilla of forsaken boats. While there is no national census of abandoned boats...

Calculated Risk

MishTalk - Mike Shedlock

Paul Krugman - NY Times

The Big Picture - Barry Ritholtz

naked capitalism - Yves Smith

Pragmatic Capitalism

Washington's Blog

Safe Haven

Paper Economy

The Daily Reckoning - Australia