Dec 31 2009

2009 – The Economic/Financial Year in Review

Published by at 2:51 pm under Debt and Credit,Global Economy,US Economy

“After the pact, the Royal Navy was required to scrap the Grand Fleet’s backbone.  The Admiralty pledged itself never to build a naval base in Hong Kong.  England’s absolute command of the seas, so vital to the Empire, was over.  Britannia no longer ruled the waves, not because world opinion objected, but because, having spent 5,000,000 pounds sterling during the war, it simply couldn’t afford to.” – William Manchester, The Last Lion

 

It might not be apparent why I included this passage which describes how dramatically Britain’s course was altered following World War I.  I would like to believe this isn’t indicative of where the U.S. is heading following the second Gulf War, but there are certainly parallels that should be considered.  While I don’t believe a diminished future is sealed for the United States of America quite yet, it should be clear that our current course could easily lead us to become a second-rate world power.  It is not possible for a single country, no matter how big and powerful, to please and/or protect all the humans on the planet.  Enough said.

 

I think most will agree that 2009 is ending with a slightly positive momentum compared to where we were a year ago.  Just for fun, here is my annual recap…and here’s to a better 2010 – because we all know there is plenty of room for further improvement.

 

January 2009 – 1.  The U.S. Congressional Budget Office estimates the federal government will run a $1.2 trillion budget deficit in fiscal year 2009 and that the enactment of the economic-stimulus plan would increase that deficit; 2.  The Bank of England cuts interest rates to 1.5%, its lowest level in its 315-year history; 3.  Icelandic prime minister Geir Haarde announces the collapse of his coalition government in the wake of the country’s financial crisis.

February 2009 – 1.  California’s government goes broke and issues IOUs on all expenditures not required by law; 2.  Bankruptcies in the United Kingdom rose during 2008 by 50% to an all-time high; 3.  The Dow Jones Industrial Average and S&P fall to their lowest levels since 1997.

March 2009 – 1.  The UK’s government increases its ownership stake in Lloyd’s Banking Group from 43% to approximately 60%; 2.  Japan’s economy posts a record deficit of 172.8 billion yen; 3.  Premier Wen Jiabao says China may introduce a new stimulus package if the current financial crisis intensifies and he also expresses concern over U.S. Treasury securities.

April 2009 – 1.  The Group of 20 announces a US$1 trillion agreement to combat the current financial crisis; 2.  China imposes pay limits for executive officers of state-owned financial institutions; 3.  China’s economy grows by 6.1% in the first quarter 2009, the lowest increase since 1999.

May 2009 – 1.  The Eurozone’s 16 national economies contract by 2.5% throughout the first fiscal quarter of 2009.

June 2009 – 1.  General Motors, once the largest and most powerful corporation in the world, files for bankruptcy under Chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code; 2.  Iceland’s rate of unemployment reaches 11.8%.

July 2009 – 1.  General Motors emerges from bankruptcy protection after 40 days under court supervision; 2.  China’s foreign exchange reserves reached a record US$ 2.13 trillion; 3.  The Dow Jones Industrial Average closes above 9,000 for the first time since January.

August 2009 – 1.  Hong Kong posts 3.3% growth over its previous quarter, far exceeding predictions, signaling an end to its recession; 2.  The U.S. budget deficit will reach $1.6 trillion, the highest ever recorded; 3.  The Democratic Party of Japan wins 308 seats in the 480 seat House of Representatives, ending nearly 50 years of control by the Liberal Democratic Party.

September 2009 – 1.  The G-20 Finance Ministers outline plans for banking reform, including tougher regulation of financial institutions.

October 2009  – 1.  The International Monetary Fund states that the global economy is “recovering faster than expected”, raising its forcast for global growth to 3.1% for 2010, up from 2.5%; 2.  The Dow Jones closes above 10,000 points for the first time in more than a year.

November 2009 – 1.  Dubai World, the state-owned real estate and ports giant, asks for a moratorium on its US$59 billion in debt until at least May 30, 2010; 2.  The Central Bank of the United Arab Emirates announces it will provide liquidity to Dubai banks.

December 2009 – 1.  The FDIC, which insures deposits in U.S. commercial banks, runs a deficit of US$ 8.2 billion; 2.  Japan unveils a 7.2 trillion yen stimulus package to strengthen the country’s economy amid signs it is weakening; 3.  140 U.S. banks failed in 2009.

 

And so…raise your glass to a better 2010 for all.  Cheers!

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