The United States and Brazil have been embroiled in a trade war over the cotton industry for quite a while. The Obama adminsitration, in an attempt to smooth over the conflict, is offering an olive branch to Brazil and it’s cotton farmers.
The Obama administration offered $147.3 million in assistance to Brazilian cotton producers and suspended an export-credit program for American farmers, in a bid to end a trade dispute with the Latin American nation.The government will also seek to ease sanitary barriers to Brazilian imports of pork and beef, U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk said in a statement today on the preliminary deal. The U.S., which lost a World Trade Organization ruling in August that said its cotton subsidies violate global trade rules, will work with Brazil to reach a comprehensive agreement by June.
If you had any stock in American cotton companies, look for it to decrease slightly. Brazilian stock should rise steadily over the next couple of days in light of this news.
The massive vehicle that was designed and produced first by the military and then by GM is apparently going the way of the dinosaur. By which I mean, the Hummer brand is being discontinued. This is because the brand has become unprofitable to General Motors, so it is being ended. Apparently there was a deal with a Chinese company in the works, but it fell apart.
General Motors, the struggling car company, announced that it will wind down production of its Hummer SUV line after a deal to sell the brand to China’s Sichuan Tengzhong Heavy Industrial Machinery fell through.
“We have since considered a number of possibilities for Hummer along the way and we are disappointed that the deal with Tengzhong could not be completed,” said John Smith, GM’s vice-president of corporate planning and alliances.
The Hummer has long been derided by many as a wasteful vehicle that no one truly needs–and it seems that image, in combination with the recession, has caused Hummer to be discontinued.
The last year or so has brought nothing but bad news to businessmen who depend upon a healthy economy. Unemployment has been rising, the stock market has been in freefall, and salaries are being cut–but some of that may be turning around. It seems there might be good news.
The unemployment rate dropped sharply last month, but employers continued cutting jobs in January as businesses remained insecure about the economic outlook.
The jobless rate fell to 9.7% from 10% in December, the Labor Department said Friday, because its survey of households found more people landed jobs than entered or returned to the labor market.
Certainly this is an improvement, let’s hope jobless rates continue to fall so the business atmosphere can improve.
Mortgage rates were abysmally high during the real estate boom that was occurring over the past decade or so in America. However, they are now bottoming out, hitting their lowest point in thirty years this week. 4.78% is the rock-bottom rate that is being passed around. Of course, Realtors and speculators are taking this as good news–that the market can only go up from here, but I’m not so sure that’s true.
“In the future, we’ll all look back on these days as the best opportunity in a generation to buy homes,” said John Holmgren, spokesman for the California Association of Mortgage Brokers. “Rates are at a historical low, home prices have fallen and the federal tax credit for homebuyers has been extended — it all adds up to a home run for people who want to buy now.”
Certainly now is a great time to refinance, though, at least. And as Mr. Holmgren says, it might be a good idea to buy. But I remain unconvinced that the market could not go any lower.