China is "destroying" US jobs, says, Dr. Peter Morici of the University of Maryland on Bloomberg News, calling China "the most protectionist regime the world has ever seen." He gets really angry in this interview, calling outright for projectionist actions, and saying that there's no real difference between China printing money (to buy US debt) and the US printing money (to buy US debt) and that the US government should call China's "bluff" on not buying treasuries. He's very much in the "it's all China's fault" camp. Watch sentiment like this.
Also, Brazil - which is seeing huge surges in default rates - is talking about import quotas, but I don't have a good URL for that right now. (Here's where I saw the translated story. That URL won't be available during trading hours because of the Fed meeting.)
Brad Setzer, btw, talks about the collapse in trade, and in particular, China's lack of demand for goods from outside China - see paragraph one, above. RGE Monitor has more on China's latest economic reports, here. (As an aside, the Baltic Dry Index is back into the low 1000s, which would normally be a sign of recovery... except that it's still essentially entirely in Cape Index-class ships, which are the largest bulk carriers, which implies more hirings for oil storage, but not necessarily so. But remember: these are dry bulk good carriers, not cargo-container vessels, which are different.)
Anyway, I'm hearing more rumours but I don't have good data. But a lot of countries are starting to talk about Doing Something about imports. This isn't a good path.
Canada's a big exporter, of course - 40% of GDP - so Ottawa should be particularly concerned. RGE Monitor's Rachel Ziemba writes about the Canadian budget and stimulus programme, here, but it was written a couple of days ago before the full budget was announced. The Throne Speech, of course, warned that "Canadians face a difficult year — perhaps several difficult years."
In potential perpwalk news, New York Attorney Gen. Cuomo subpoenas ex-CEO Thain. "'The fact that Merrill Lynch appears to have moved up the timetable to pay bonuses before its merger with Bank of America is troubling to say the least and warrants further investigation,' Cuomo said in a statement." Yes; yes, it does. Karl is praying that Mr. Cuomo doesn't have any Spitzer issues to distract him. So'm I. And while it's a good start, more are needed. Lots more.
This and that:
GE is in ratings trouble, despite the statement's attempt to downplay it. You already know about record-low consumer confidence numbers, but there's a link anyway. Britain is picking up an old French idea; the subsidised and restricted workweek. When France was thinking about it, it was a four-day week; the UK is considering three. The US is talking about more nationalisations. Wall Street workers are whinging about not getting enough bonuses. SAP is cutting jobs - the article doesn't say it's 3,500, but it is. Corning's cutting 4,900. IBM upped their layoff estimates. There's more - more in the thousands, even - but that's what Layoff Daily is for. Today's tally was around 10,000, according to their estimate.
And the only update I have from Iceland is that they may have a new PM, Jóhanna Sigurdardóttir, who would be the first openly lesbian or gay PM in the world.