U.S. Setting Dubious Economic Records

The Fed’s Beige Book was released yesterday afternoon…although the Fed should rename the book ‘Lilywhite Book’ on account of what’s printed inside.

And what was printed inside, you ask? Here’s a snippet:

“Outside of real estate, reports that the turmoil in the financial markets had affected economic activity during the survey period were limited. Credit availability and credit quality remained good for most consumer and business borrowers.”

Riiight…in related news, the Mortgage Bankers Association released data from their quarterly delinquency survey, showing the number of mortgage loans entering foreclosure in the second quarter has set another record. 286,000 loans going into foreclosure, if you want the exact number.

Every time we turn around, it seems like the U.S. economy is setting another record…and none of them very good. Record lows in the stock market…record lows for the dollar…ooh, but here’s something good:

Gold for December delivery climbed $11.30, to $702 per ounce.

“It appears that investors are getting back into the market based on traditional fundamentals in order to protect and grow their investment portfolios,” said David Beahm, a vice president at Blanchard.

In other words, nothing is better wealth insurance against a falling dollar and a bipolar stock market than some of that yellow metal. Take out your wealth insurance policy here.  

And one last note…

The Chinese have had a hard time with goods they’ve been exporting to the United States lately…tainted pet food, “filthy” fish, lead toys…and now – faulty condoms? Yikes…

The Washington Post reports that “tens of thousands of condoms provided free by the District to curb HIV-AIDS have been returned to the health department because of complaints that their paper package is easily damaged and could render the condoms ineffective.”

Organizations that give prophylactics out for free reported an 80% decrease after introducing the Chinese condoms.

Added to the complaint that the wrappers were easily torn is that the expiration dates were often illegible and “as a result, recipients said they had little confidence that the condoms would offer protection.”


Kate Incontrera
for Markets and Money

Kate Incontrera
Kate Incontrera is the managing editor of Markets and Money. She is also the author of Markets and Money's Weekend Edition, a weekly wrap-up of contrarian investment analysis.

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