Filed under: Events
Last month China’s electricity production fell, for the first time in years. Because American and European consumers have stopped buying imported manufactures, China’s industrial production is off sharply, with shut-downs in steel plants and other metal-smelting operations. To replace the foreign orders, China will pump almost $600 billion into their domestic consumer economy. They can do this more easily than we can because they actually have the cash. When we do a big stimulus package, we have to borrow it. Most of it from China.
One bright spot in all of this is that the cost of important commodities has plunged, and is likely to drop further. Copper and aluminum for electrical wiring, steel for powerline towers, even lead and lithium for whopping big batteries, are all going to be much cheaper for a few years. Now is the time to start building out that new smart grid and ramping up electric vehicle production.
On my way to work this morning I passed a gas station selling unleaded regular for $1.74. This makes me worry that folks are going to climb back into their SUVs. The polls say otherwise: Consumers are saving money everywhere they can now. The AAA forecasts that Thanksgiving travel will be down this weekend: air travel down 7.2%, road travel down 1.4%. If Americans drive over the river and through the woods in the smaller car, maybe gasoline purchases will drop 2% or 3% relative to Thanksgiving 2007.
My advice: Stay home. Watch football. Eat more turkey, and walk it off.
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