Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Tired of doom & gloom? Part 1

Gas today was below $3.00 in Mississippi today...click here.


Kelli R. said...

Yep, I'm tired of it!
But that doesn't stop Bloomberg from writing this:
"The U.S. is facing the worst financial crisis since the Depression. You would never know that from the Democrats' platform in Denver or its Republican counterpart, or from listening to Barack Obama or John McCain."
Forget the political statement at the end. What's your take on the first sentence?

Dr. Charlie Hall said...

Thanks for your post Kelli R. INMHO, the Bloomberg writer has it wrong when they say its "the worst financial crisis since the Depression..." Stay tuned to some future posts that support my supposition.

Lloyd Traven said...

Charlie: A one day aberration doth NOT a trend make! Take another look at TODAY'S prices, what with Gustav bearing down fast. This just illustrates that supply vs demand vs reality does not hold water vis a vis fuel---it's speculators, commodity traders, etc.
Re: 'worst financial crisis', please give an example of a WORSE crisis since the depression, especially for the Hort industry. You know I think the world of you, man, but forget parsing words about the technical meaning of a recession. If this ain't a crisis time, I don't want to see one!!!

Dr. Charlie Hall said...

Thanks for the post Lloyd! Good point on the speculative nature of fuel prices, but several of my friends scoffed 3 months ago when I said gas would go below $3.50 a gallon before the year was out.

No doubt it is extremely tough these days, particularly in some regions of the country. But some of my recent posts point to the fact that you have to drill down to the zip code level in order to sort out who is doing well versus those who aren't. I just talked with 2 growers this week whose sales are not only up this year, but ROE is in the mid-20% range. As you and I have discussed before, they are the folks that are differentiating themselves successfully.

But your point is well taken. I have spoken before about the fact that we are in the midst of another shakeout period for the industry and those who have the working capital to ride it out will be in a good position to capture market share and mind share in the future.

But when we consider the full range of economic indicators, things are not as bad as they could be. [On a personal note, I lost more money in my retirement portfolio in the early 2000's due to the dot.com collapse than I have during the current contraction). Since 1948, we have had 11 'recessionary' contractions -- an average of one every 6 years or so. Contractions are a normal part of business cycles and folks tend to over-react to them when they do occur. In other words, as a country, we have come to expect (and even feel entitled to) a growing and robust economy. Frankly, I am more concerned with the ever-increasing income gap (creating more 'haves' and have-nots').

My goal is to hopefully provide some of the good news with the bad, which IMHO, the mainstream media fails to do.