Sunday, December 21, 2008

Deck the Lamps with.............

Merry Xmas

Wellsboro Pennsylvania is all decked out for Xmas it seems. Canadians from Quebec are part of the festive scene in New York City each December when as many as 300 Xmas tree sellers mostly from Trois Rivieres region descend on the Big Apple. They stand on street corners for up to 12 hours a day selling the trees for $45 a pop. New Yorkers themselves can't stand the rigours of this chilly trade so cede this niche market to outsiders. Meanwhile the Canadian contribution to Xmas in Britain might well be the official song of yuletide in 2008, Leonard Cohen's Hallelujah. It is in the running but who gets to vote? Merry Xmas in 2008 everyone.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Chinese Dragon Danse

Are the good times grinding to a halt?

Crouching Dragon

Just four short months after the euphoria of a successful Olympic Games the economic news from China has deteriorated rapidly. The China Rising of a few years ago is being replaced by something different. Growth is now down to 9% from the 10 and 11 percents of not long ago. Most countries would give their eye teeth for that. However it is said anything less than 8 percent means the job market can not provide for the huge peasant exodus to the cities where incomers are in search of a new life, mostly in the industrial complex. The latest statistics claim 70,000 factories have closed up shop in recent months. When the rest of the world sneezes China catches cold. However with its vast reserves gained from its export surplus China is now undertaking a stimulus investment to build more infrastructure. Yep as if there wasn't enough construction already! Apparently though observers see less crains and the housing market has seen values fall 30% recently. Inflation is showing up and currency exchanges are hurting rather than hindering China. The dragon is crouching for the first time in a while.