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Hiding Bear

B$ The Bell, Friday, February 13

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:D Good Morning, Welcome to B4 the Bell! :D It's Friday the 13th, need we say watch out. :blink:

 

Brian4 may return this evening. He is our primary moderator, gone on a short vacation. But all market comments, free-flowing discussion of the events of the day, and humor, are welcome. The only rule is respect for one another, and a bearish frame of mind (Ok, so that's more like two rules).

 

BEIJING -- Pressures building within China's hard-charging economy are driving Beijing to re-examine the Chinese currency's iron-like tether to the U.S. dollar, with a loosening looking more and more like a matter of when, not if.

 

The U.S., the European Union and other trading partners have urged China to let the yuan float, contending that the currency is undervalued and fueling a predatory export boom. But it is internal economic concerns -- not outside political pressures -- that are occupying Chinese leaders' minds. The financial system is awash with money. The amount of cash and private deposits surged 20% last year, twice the rate of the torrid economy. With so much money around, banks are lending at a similarly brisk pace. Inflation, dormant for most of last year, has picked up, and in December it rose 6% over the previous month.

 

"The monetary authorities are losing control of the economy," says Hong Liang, China economist for Goldman Sachs & Co. in Hong Kong.

 

Edit: B4 is back!

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TROY, MI -- Kmart is laying off workers in a nationwide store-by-store review. The retailer won't say how many jobs are on the line, only that they will go beyond the normal reduction of part-time jobs after the holidays.

 

This past holiday season, Kmart sales fell 13.5%. Not all 1,500 stores are affected and company officials say the assessment of operations will wrap up this month. Kmart employs nearly 156,000 workers at its stores and 2,200 at its Troy, Michigan headquarters.

 

The company emerged from 27 months of Chapter Eleven bankruptcy protection on May 6th of last year, as Kmart Holding Corporation. It has 600 fewer stores and 5,700 fewer workers.

 

 

http://www.wtol.com/Global/story.asp?S=1643893

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U.S. Dec. trade gap widens dramatically By Greg Robb

WASHINGTON (CBS.MW) -- The U.S. trade deficit widened by 10.8 percent in December to $42.5 billion, the Commerce Department said. The trade deficit was well above the consensus forecast of Wall Street economists of a deficit of $39.6 billion. Imports rose while exports slipped in December. Imports rose 3.0 percent to a record $132.8 billion. Exports fell 0.2 percent to $90.4 billion. The trade deficit set a new annual record. For all of 2003, the trade deficit totaled $489.4 billion, up 17.1 percent from the previous record of $418 billion set in 2002. The U.S. trade deficit with China widened to $9.9 billion in December from $9.6 billion in the same month one year ago.

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U.S. Dec. trade gap widens dramatically By Greg Robb

WASHINGTON (CBS.MW) -- The U.S. trade deficit widened by 10.8 percent in December to $42.5 billion, the Commerce Department said. The trade deficit was well above the consensus forecast of Wall Street economists of a deficit of $39.6 billion. Imports rose while exports slipped in December. Imports rose 3.0 percent to a record $132.8 billion. Exports fell 0.2 percent to $90.4 billion. The trade deficit set a new annual record. For all of 2003, the trade deficit totaled $489.4 billion, up 17.1 percent from the previous record of $418 billion set in 2002. The U.S. trade deficit with China widened to $9.9 billion in December from $9.6 billion in the same month one year ago.

Thanks.

 

I've heard it frequently discussed in the media that the lower US dollar will lead to to lower trade deficits and faster growth. But that is by no means certain, and its quite possible that the trade deficit could actually increase over the next few months and maybe longer as the $ drops.

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Oil and gold hold steady in early trade

 

Oil prices extended their gains on Friday as the bullish US natural gas inventory report from the previous session underpinned prices.

 

US utilities took 224bn cubic feet of gas from storage last week, the sixth-largest withdrawal on record, the Energy Information Administration, the statistical arm of the US energy department, said on Thursday. Traders said that, if storage declines proceeded at a normal pace, inventories would end the winter heating season 6.1 per cent below the five-year average.

 

GFMS, the precious metals consultancy, said in its latest report on the global hedge positions of gold miners that, at the end of 2003, miners had sold forward more than 69m ounces. GFMS said the position represented a fall of about 2.2m ounces from the September quarter. It also represents a 10m ounce drop from the same quarter in 2002.

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I'm back and ready to rumble there is a window from the open to 10 past the hour-here come the fireworks! ;)

Glad to see you back, thought you wouln't be back until later. Looks like silver is ready to hit some new multi-year highs today.

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