News Letter 5844-051
25th day of the Eleventh month 5844 years after creation
February 21, 2009
Shabbat Shalom Brethren,
I want to thank the 100 or so who have written to encourage me and tell me they support those things I am saying here. It was a blessed weekend to have read them all. We are not alone. There are many of us who are wrestling with keeping the Sabbatical Year.
I have also been told I am being scrutinized by the leaders of certain groups. Instead of searching the scriptures to prove what the scriptures say, they are seeking to discredit me. That is not hard because I am human and have screwed up before and most likely will again. But I will get up and keep going.
The Web site has now passed 300,000 hits.
Please keep sharing this News Letter with everyone you can. It is having an effect. But especially seek out those who are all ready obeying Yahweh. You have the best hope of convicting them of this message. My sheep will hear my voice and recognize it says Yeshua. Yahweh`s restoration Ministry has now put up on their site an article about the Jubilee. Although they are saying to start at Atonement, they are going to be keeping the Sabbatical year in 2009. Pray for other groups to be convicted in their hearts and to begin to obey Yahweh in all His commandments.
Those who will not believe and refuse to obey will see with their own eyes this third curse take place when they attend the funerals of their own family members. That may will be when they repent. So find those who are already trying to obey. Go to your FaceBook friends and YahSpace and Aviv the many other Ning networks where messianic brethren meet. Paltalk and any other place you know of. Let them know to watch the DVD. Some of you are just sending this on to people who have no idea what it is about.
Please take a moment and introduce them to this message before you thrust it on them.
You do not realize how great an impact many of you are having. This message is reaching the highest of the big organizations. They are taking note and they do not like it. Keep up the good work brethren. We have a long way to run yet and much more to do. Pace yourselves and do not let up.
There are also Rabbis and Pastors writing who have not heard this message. Please help, go out and find them all and share this message with them.
This week we must look at what I was telling you about last week. More news has come to light since I mailed last week’s News letter. Sobering news, and indeed a lot of news papers are covering this news, just not the North American ones.
We also have information for those who want to know how to determine when the Holy Days are. In order to do that you need to know about the Biblical Calendar. You can read this at: “About Calendar’s and why you Need to Know.” written by my friend Norman Willis and called About Calendars and Why You need to Know.
I also urge each of you to purchase a biblical calendar from Michael Rood at http://www.michaelroodministries.com/
This week Martin Weis reviews the situation we are currently in and it ain`t pretty. Then Jerome R. Corsi from World Net Daily shows us that the amount of money the USA is borrowing is 65.5 Trillion which is 4 times the GDP of the USA and greater than the entire world GDP, the ENTIRE WORLD.
Why do I keep showing you the USA financial crisis, which is also the world’s financial crisis? As I said on the DVD the financial crisis leads into the next curse. That next curse is going to Rob you of your children if you do not obey Yahweh and keep the weekly Sabbath and the annual Holy Days and the Sabbatical years. The Next Sabbatical year begins Aviv 2009 in just over one month’s time.
With the dollar in danger how does this affect you? I show you again the article about Chinas drought and again how the Yuan is getting stronger and the USA dollar weaker. This will lead to the massive purchasing of food by those with a strong currency and the inability of those with a weak currency being able to purchase food for their populations.
Some of you do not think it is going to happen to you, because you are following Yahweh, and you keep the annual feast days. Please read very carefully the following note I just received from Kenya.
Greetings in Yahshua’s Name,
We hope and pray you are well and have been doing good. Again thank you for the newsletter and the DVD. Yahshua said the glad tiding must be preached to all ends of the world, even for a witness. We know you are doing exactly that and we back you with prayers.
We have thought it alright to bring your attention to the fact that people, even those of the household of faith have been hit by severe famine and hunger. You have highlighted all this in the DVD.
We only have you brother out there to cry to. We do not know anyone else we can approach.
It is not an honorouble thing to bare our nakedness but the ruach gives us the boldness to approach you. Please help us. Even ask other believers to help indigent lovers of Yahshua, some of whom are sleeping on empty stomachs.
We are happy to be those who have heard the message. We know times will get worse. We can not cry aloud and spare not with empty stomachs. Please help in any small way you can
You have always come to our assistance and we are grateful. As the day of Passover and FUB nears we can only pray YHWH will provide.
Shalom and blessings
As we come to the end of the third year tithe, brethren, and as we begin to keep the Sabbatical year, know you have brethren who are already facing this third curse of Lev. 26. Can you turn your backs and think that you are doing good. The time for playing religion has gone and it is now time to put into real life practice, what the Torah is all about. Love towards your fellow man.
We now begin to read Martin Weiss’s letter this week.
Let’s also not waste time pointing fingers ” the Clinton administration for creating the tech bubble, the Bush administration for creating the housing bubble, or the Obama administration for giving us what promises to be a whole new government debt bubble.
Most important, let’s not waste our breath debating whether the plethora of government actions and programs since 2007 are philosophically right or wrong.
The fact is, they have failed.
In addition to the $152 billion Bush stimulus package in the spring of last year and the $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) in the fall, the U.S. government has loaned, invested or committed $200 billion to nationalize the world’s two largest mortgage companies, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac … over $42 billion for the Big Three auto manufacturers … $29 billion for Bear Stearns, $150 billion for AIG, and $350 billion for Citigroup … $300 billion for the Federal Housing Administration Rescue Bill to refinance bad mortgages … $87 billion to pay back JPMorgan Chase for bad Lehman Brothers trades … $200 billion in loans to banks under the Federal Reserve’s Term Auction Facility (TAF) … $50 billion to support short-term corporate IOUs held by money market mutual funds … $500 billion to rescue various credit markets … $620 billion for industrial nations, including the Bank of Canada, Bank of ! England, Bank of Japan, National Bank of Denmark, European Central Bank, Bank of Norway, Reserve Bank of Australia, Bank of Sweden, and Swiss National Bank … $120 billion in aid for emerging markets, including the central banks of Brazil, Mexico, South Korea, and Singapore … trillions to guarantee the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation’s new, expanded bank deposit insurance coverage from $100,000 to $250,000 … up to $500 billion in Fed purchases of asset-backed securities … plus trillions more for other sweeping guarantees.
Grand total: Over $9 trillion … and counting!
These efforts were designed to stimulate the economy, avoid a housing bust, restore public confidence, contain the credit crunch, reduce the danger of a global debt collapse, and shore up sinking banks.
But based on the overall net results to date, every single one is an outright, unambiguous, proven failure:
The economy was not stimulated. Quite the contrary, it plunged at an annual rate of 3.8% in the fourth quarter and is expected to shrink by a whopping 5.2% in the first quarter, according to a survey of economists published last week by the Philadelphia Fed.
The housing bust was not avoided; the S&P-Schiller Index of average home prices in 20 metropolitan areas has been falling nonstop for 28 months, with the most recent declines the worst on record. (See S&P’s home price spreadsheet, column W, rows 237-266.)
Public confidence was not restored; it has been sinking nearly nonstop … with the University of Michigan’s Consumer Sentiment Index now hovering close to its lowest level in 28 years.
The credit crunch was not contained; we’ve seen the biggest contraction in credit availability in recorded history â€” new home mortgages shrinking at an annual rate of $327.5 billion, commercial mortgages shrinking $56.7 billion, commercial paper tumbling $272.6 billion, and corporate bond financing plunging $291 billion. (See Federal Reserve’s Flow of Funds, pdf page 18.)
The danger of a global debt collapse was not reduced; it has actually gotten far worse. The evidence:
â€¢ The nation’s 25 largest banks have upped their bets on the single most dangerous form of derivatives â€” credit default swaps. (See OCC’s latest report on derivatives, page 1, fourth bullet.)
â€¢ On average, the nation’s five largest banks â€” JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America, Citibank, Wachovia and HSBC â€” have increased their exposure to defaults. At yearend 2007, their average credit exposure to derivatives was 264% of their capital, already extremely dangerous. Nine months later, it had risen to 317% of their capital. (OCC, pdf page 12, bottom line.)
â€¢ Similar risks are rising dramatically in Western Europe, Japan and emerging market economies.
In other words, a global debt collapse is even more likely today than it was before the U.S. government began its massive interventions.
The finances of the nation’s banks were not shored up; they have actually gotten much worse. Just look at what has happened and you’ll understand why:
Ever since the nation’s banks were told last year that the federal government was planning to buy up their rotting assets, they’ve been holding on … waiting … hoping.
In the interim, dozens of banks have turned down bids from investors to buy their bad assets at deep discounts. They have strenuously argued that their assets are “worth much more than buyers will offer.” They have flatly refused to accept fair market prices. And government officials have nodded in agreement.
Result: As the housing bust has progressed and the foreclosure epidemic has spread, the value of the banks’ assets has plunged even further … the banks’ losses have multiplied … and the banks’ balance sheets have sunk into an even deeper hole.
Meanwhile, by accepting $45 billion each in federal bailouts, Bank of America and Citigroup â€” two of the three largest banks in the U.S. â€” have tacitly admitted that they are failed institutions. They are living on government life support. They are insolvent.
We used to be alone in this assertion. But now, leading economists are finally recognizing what we’ve been telling you all along. Steve Lohr, writing a lead story on the front page of Thursday’s New York Times, puts it this way:
“Some of the nation’s large banks, according to economists and other finance experts, are like dead men walking.
“A sober assessment of the growing mountain of losses from bad bets, measured in today’s marketplace, would overwhelm the value of the banks’ assets, they say. The banks, in their view, are insolvent.”
In sum …
The Objective Evidence Shows That the Massive Bush Administration Actions to Save the Economy Have Failed.
Now, the Same Evidence Shows That the Massive Obama Efforts Are Likely to Meet the Same Fate: Failure!
Never forget: Everything you see today â€” the collapsing economy, the failing banks and the continuing danger of a global debt collapse â€” is happening despite the most numerous, most radical and most expensive government rescue efforts in history.
Yet, rather than recognize their futility, the Obama administration is pushing forward with even larger actions â€” always with the same general goals (to prevent collapse) and forever using the same blunt instrument (more government money).
The Obama stimulus package is $787 billion, five times larger than the Bush package just one year earlier. They promise larger attempts to save the sinking housing market … more money to avoid an even broader credit crunch … more money to prevent a more catastrophic debt collapse … and more money to shore up banks that have now sunk into an even deeper hole.
Federal obligations exceed world GDP
Does $65.5 trillion terrify anyone yet?
Posted: February 13, 2009
11:35 pm Eastern
By Jerome R. Corsi
Â© 2009 WorldNetDaily
As the Obama administration pushes through Congress its $800 billion deficit-spending economic stimulus plan, the American public is largely unaware that the true deficit of the federal government already is measured in trillions of dollars, and in fact its $65.5 trillion in total obligations exceeds the gross domestic product of the world.
The total U.S. obligations, including Social Security and Medicare benefits to be paid in the future, effectively have placed the U.S. government in bankruptcy, even before new continuing social welfare obligation embedded in the massive spending plan are taken into account.
The real 2008 federal budget deficit was $5.1 trillion, not the $455 billion previously reported by the Congressional Budget Office, according to the “2008 Financial Report of the United States Government” as released by the U.S. Department of Treasury.
The difference between the $455 billion “official” budget deficit numbers and the $5.1 trillion budget deficit cited by “2008 Financial Report of the United States Government” is that the official budget deficit is calculated on a cash basis, where all tax receipts, including Social Security tax receipts, are used to pay government liabilities as they occur.
But the numbers in the 2008 report are calculated on a GAAP basis (“Generally Accepted Accounting Practices”) that include year-for-year changes in the net present value of unfunded liabilities in social insurance programs such as Social Security and Medicare.
Under cash accounting, the government makes no provision for future Social Security and Medicare benefits in the year in which those benefits accrue.
“As bad as 2008 was, the $455 billion budget deficit on a cash basis and the $5.1 trillion federal budget deficit on a GAAP accounting basis does not reflect any significant money [from] the financial bailout or Troubled Asset Relief Program, or TARP, which was approved after the close of the fiscal year,” economist John Williams, who publishes the Internet website Shadow Government Statistics, told WND.
“The Congressional Budget Office estimated the fiscal year 2009 budget deficit as being $1.2 trillion on a cash basis and that was before taking into consideration the full costs of the war in Iraq and Afghanistan, before the cost of the Obama nearly $800 billion economic stimulus plan, or the cost of the second $350 billion in TARP funds, as well as all current bailouts being contemplated by the U.S. Treasury and Federal Reserve,” he said.
“The federal government’s deficit is hemorrhaging at a pace which threatens the viability of the financial system,” Williams added. “The popularly reported 2009 [deficit] will clearly exceed $2 trillion on a cash basis and that full amount has to be funded by Treasury borrowing.
“It’s not likely this will happen without the Federal Reserve acting as lender of last resort for the Treasury by buying Treasury debt and monetizing the debt,” he said.
“Monetizing the debt” is a term used to signify that the Federal Reserve will be required simply to print cash to meet the Treasury debt obligations, acting in this capacity only because the Treasury cannot sell the huge of amount debt elsewhere.
The Treasury has been largely dependent upon foreign buyers, principally China and Japan and other major holders of U.S. dollar foreign exchange reserves, including OPEC buyers purchasing U.S. debt through London.
“The appetite of foreign buyers to purchase continued trillions of U.S. debt has become more questionable as the world has witnessed the rapid deterioration of the U.S. fiscal condition in the current financial crisis,” Williams noted.
“Truthfully,” Williams pointed out, “there is no Social Security ‘lock-box.’ There are no funds held in reserve today for Social Security and Medicare obligations that are earned each year. It’s only a matter of time until the public realizes that the government is truly bankrupt and no taxes are being held in reserve to pay in the future the Social Security and Medicare benefits taxpayers are earning today.”
Calculations from the “2008 Financial Report of the United States Government” also show that the GAAP negative net worth of the federal government has increased to $59.3 trillion while the total federal obligations under GAAP accounting now total $65.5 trillion.
The $65.5 trillion total federal obligations under GAAP accounting not only now exceed four times the U.S. gross domestic product, or GDP, the $65.5 trillion deficit exceeds total world GDP.
“In the seven years of GAAP reporting, we have seen an annual average deficit in excess of $4 trillion, which could not be possibly covered by any form of taxation,” Williams argued.
“Shy of the government severely slashing social welfare programs, federal deficits of this magnitude are beyond any hope of containment, government or otherwise,” he said.
“Put simply, there is no way the government can possibly pay for the level of social welfare benefits the federal government has promised unless the government simply prints cash and debases the currency, which the government will increasingly be doing this year,” Williams said, explaining in more detail why he feels the government is now in the process of monetizing the federal debt.
“Social Security and Medicare must be shown as liabilities on the federal balance sheet in the year they accrue according to GAAP accounting,” Williams argues. “To do otherwise is irresponsible, nothing more than an attempt to hide the painful truth from the American public. The public has a right to know just how bad off the federal government budget deficit situation really is, especially since the situation is rapidly spinning out of control.
“The federal government is bankrupt,” Williams told WND. “In a post-Enron world, if the federal government were a corporation such as General Motors, the president and senior Treasury officers would be in federal penitentiary.”
And on top of this consider the following and think of the implications this has on your family. From http://www.marketskeptics.com/2009/02/does-chinas-60-million-tons-of-wheat.html
My reaction: This is a really scary idea. What if China’s 60 million tons of wheat reserves don’t actually exists?
1) The Chinese wheat crop is the single largest wheat crop in the world, roughly equal to the entire US and Russian wheat crops put together.
2) A serious crop failure in China would have major global implications, if China’s wheat reserve don’t actually exist.
3) Considering it (theoretically) has an amount of wheat roughly equal to the anticipated entire US 2009 production in state reserves, the Chinese government is making an extreme effort to save its crops (spending $12.69 billion in drought-hit areas).
4) There was a huge scandal in China not that long ago when it was discovered that storekeepers were getting paid by the government to store grain that wasn’t actually there.
5) China’s 60mmt wheat reserves could be a giant Madoff-style grain storage scheme.
6) China imported wheat last month.
Conclusion: If this is even remotely true, 2009 is going to be a really interesting year.
Catastrophic Fall in 2009 Global Food Production
by Eric de Carbonnel
Global Research, February 10, 2009
After reading about the droughts in two major agricultural countries, China and Argentina, I decided to research the extent other food producing nations were also experiencing droughts. This project ended up taking a lot longer than I thought. 2009 looks to be a humanitarian disaster around much of the world
To understand the depth of the food Catastrophe that faces the world this year, consider the graphic below depicting countries by USD value of their agricultural output, as of 2006.
Now, consider the same graphic with the countries experiencing droughts highlighted.
The countries that make up two thirds of the world’s agricultural output are experiencing drought conditions. Whether you watch a video of the drought in China, Australia, Africa, South America, or the US , the scene will be the same: misery, ruined crop, and dying cattle.
The drought in Northern China, the worst in 50 years, is worsening, and summer harvest is now threatened. The area of affected crops has expanded to 161 million mu (was 141 million last week), and 4.37 million people and 2.1 million livestock are facing drinking water shortage. The scarcity of rain in some parts of the north and central provinces is the worst in recorded history.
The drought which started in November threatens over half the wheat crop in eight provinces – Hebei, Shanxi, Anhui, Jiangsu, Henan, Shandong, Shaanxi and Gansu.
China’s largest crop producing province, Henan, has issued the highest-level drought warning. Henan has received an average rainfall of 10.5 millimeters since November 2008, almost 80 percent less than in the same period in the previous years. The Henan drought, which began in November, is the most severe since 1951.
Anhui Province issued a red drought alert, with more than 60 percent of the crops north of the Huaihe River plagued by a major drought.
Shanxi Province was put on orange drought alert on Jan. 21, with one million people and 160,000 heads of livestock are facing water shortage.
Jiangsu province has already lost over one fifth of the wheat crops affected by drought. Local agricultural departments are diverting water from nearby rivers in an emergency effort to save the rest.
Over 100 million cubic meters of water has been channeled in from outside the province to fight Hebei’s drought.
1.34 million acres of crops across the bone-dry Shanxi province are affected by the worsening drought.
Since last November, Shandong province has experienced 73 percent less rain than the same period in previous years, with little rainfall forecast for the future.
Relief efforts are under way. The Chinese government has allocated 86.7 billion yuan (about $12.69 billion) to drought-hit areas. Authorities have also resorted to cloud-seeding, and some areas received a sprinkling of rain after clouds were hit with 2,392 rockets and 409 cannon shells loaded with chemicals. However, there is a limit to what can be done in the face of such widespread water shortage.
As I have previously written, China is facing hyperinflation , and this record drought will make things worse. China produces 18% of the world’s grain each year.
Australia has been experiencing an unrelenting drought since 2004, and 41 percent of Australia’s agriculture continues to suffer from the worst drought in 117 years of record-keeping. The drought has been so severe that rivers stopped flowing, lakes turned toxic, and farmers abandoned their land in frustration:
A) The Murray River stopped flowing at its terminal point, and its mouth has closed up.
B) Australia’s lower lakes are evaporating, and they are now a meter (3.2 feet) below sea level. If these lakes evaporate any further, the soil and the mud system below the water is going to be exposed to the air. The mud will then acidify, releasing sulfuric acid and a whole range of heavy metals. After this occurs, those lower lake systems will essentially become a toxic swamp which will never be able to be recovered. The Australian government’s only options to prevent this are to allow salt water in, creating a dead sea, or to pray for rain.
For some reason, the debate over climate change is essentially over in Australia.
The United States
California is facing its worst drought in recorded history . The drought is predicted to be the most severe in modern times, worse than those in 1977 and 1991. Thousands of acres of row crops already have been fallowed, with more to follow. The snowpack in the Northern Sierra, home to some of the state’s most important reservoirs, proved to be just 49 percent of average. Water agencies throughout the state are scrambling to adopt conservation mandates.
The Texan drought is reaching historic proportion . Dry conditions near Austin and San Antonio have been exceeded only once beforeâ€”the drought of 1917-18. 88 percent of Texas is experiencing abnormally dry conditions, and 18 percent of the state is in either extreme or exceptional drought conditions. The drought areas have been expanding almost every month. Conditions in Texas are so bad cattle are keeling over in parched pastures and dying. Lack of rainfall has left pastures barren, and cattle producers have resorted to feeding animals hay. Irreversible damage has been done to winter wheat crops in Texas. Both short and long-term forecasts don’t call for much rain at all, which means the Texas drought is set to get worse.
Augusta Region (Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina)
The Augusta region has been suffering from a worsening two year drought. Augusta’s rainfall deficit is already approaching 2 inches so far in 2009, with January being the driest since 1989.
Florida has been hard hit by winter drought, damaging crops, and half of state is in some level of a drought.
La NiÃ±a likely to make matters worse
Enough water a couple of degrees cooler than normal has accumulated in the eastern part of the Pacific to create a La NiÃ±a, a weather pattern expected to linger until at least the spring. La NiÃ±a generally means dry weather for Southern states, which is exactly what the US doesn’t need right now.
The worst drought in half a century has turned Argentina’s once-fertile soil to dust and pushed the country into a state of emergency. Cow carcasses litter the prairie fields, and sun-scorched soy plants wither under the South American summer sun. Argentina’s food production is set to go down a minimum of 50 percent, maybe more. The country’s wheat yield for 2009 will be 8.7 million metric tons, down from 16.3 million in 2008. Concern with domestic shortages (domestic wheat consumption being approximately 6.7 million metric ton), Argentina has granted no new export applications since mid January .
Brazil has cut its outlook for the crops and will do so again after assessing damage to plants from desiccation in drought-stricken regions. Brazil is the world’s second-biggest exporter of soybeans and third-largest for corn.
Brazil’s numbers for corn harvesting:
Harvested in 2008: 58.7 million tons
January 8 forecast: 52.3 million tons
February 6 forecast: 50.3 metric tons (optimistic)
Harvested in 2009: ???
Severe drought affecting Paraguay’s economy has pushed the government to declare agricultural emergency. Crops that have direct impact on cattle food are ruined, and the soy plantations have been almost totally lost in some areas.
Uruguay declared an “agriculture emergency” last month, due to the worst drought in decades which is threatening crops, livestock and the provision of fresh produce.
The a worsening drought is pushing up food and beverage costs causing Uruguay’s consumer prices to rise at the fastest annual pace in more than four years in January.
There hasn’t been a drop of rain in Bolivia in nearly a year. Cattle dying, crops ruined, etcâ€¦
The severe drought affecting Chile has caused an agricultural emergency in 50 rural districts, and large sectors of the economy are concerned about possible electricity rationing in March. The countries woes stem from the “La NiÃ±a” climate phenomenon which has over half of Chile dangling by a thread: persistently cold water in the Pacific ocean along with high atmospheric pressure are preventing rain-bearing fronts from entering central and southern areas of the country. As a result, the water levels at hydroelectric dams and other reservoirs are at all-time lows.
Horn of Africa
Africa faces food shortages and famine . Food production across the Horn of Africa has suffered because of the lack of rainfall. Also, half the agricultural soil has lost nutrients necessary to grow plant, and the declining soil fertility across Africa is exacerbating drought related crop losses.
Kenya is the worst hit nation in the region, having been without rainfall for 18 months. Kenya needs to import food to bridge a shortfall and keep 10 million of its people from starvation. Kenya’s drought suffering neighbors will be of little help.
A poor harvest due to drought has prompted Tanzania to stop issuing food export permits. Tanzania has also intensified security at the border posts to monitor and prevent the export of food. There are 240,000 people in need of immediate relief food in Tanzania.
Crops in the north of Burundi have withered, leaving the tiny East African country facing a severe food shortage
Severe drought in northeastern Uganda’s Karamoja region has the left the country on the brink of a humanitarian catastrophe. The dry conditions and acute food shortages, which have left Karamoja near starvation, are unlikely to improve before October when the next harvest is due.
South Africa faces a potential crop shortage after wheat farmers in the eastern part of the Free State grain belt said they were likely to produce their lowest crop in 30 years this year. South Africans are “extremely angry” that food prices continue to rise.
Other African nations suffering from drought in 2009 are: Malawi, Zambia, Swaziland, Somalia, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Tunisia, Angola, and Ethiopia.
Middle East and Central Asia
The Middle East and Central Asia are suffering from the worst droughts in recent history , and food grain production has dropped to some of the lowest levels in decades. Total wheat production in the wider drought-affected region is currently estimated to have declined by at least 22 percent in 2009. Owing to the drought’s severity and region-wide scope, irrigation supplies from reservoirs, rivers, and groundwater have been critically reduced. Major reservoirs in Turkey, Iran, Iraq, and Syria are all at low levels requiring restrictions on usage. Given the severity of crop losses in the region, a major shortage of planting seed for the 2010 crop is expected.
In Iraq during the winter grain growing period, there was essentially no measurable rainfall in many regions, and large swaths of rain-fed fields across northern Iraq simply went unplanted. These primarily rain-fed regions in northern Iraq are described as an agricultural disaster area this year, with wheat production falling 80-98 percent from normal levels. The USDA estimates total wheat production in Iraq in 2009 at 1.3 million tons, down 45 percent from last year.
Syria is experienced its worst drought in the past 18 years, and the USDA estimates total wheat production in Syria in 2009 at 2.0 million tons, down 50 percent from last year. Last summer, the taps ran dry in many neighborhoods of Damascus and residents of the capital city were forced to buy water on the black market. The severe lack of rain this winter has exacerbated the problem.
Lack of rainfall has led Afghanistan to the worst drought conditions in the past 10 years. The USDA estimates 2008/09 wheat production in Afghanistan at 1.5 million tons, down 2.3 million or 60 percent from last year. Afghanistan normally produces 3.5-4.0 million tons of wheat annually.
Jordan’s persistent drought has grown worse, with almost no rain falling on the kingdom this year. The Jordanian government has stopped pumping water to farms to preserve the water for drinking purposes.
Other Middle Eastern and Central Asian nations suffering from drought in 2009 are: The Palestinian Territories, Lebanon, Israel, Bangladesh, Myanmar, India, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Thailand, Nepal, Pakistan, Turkey, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Cyprus, and Iran.
Lack of credit will worsen food shortage
A lack of credit for farmers curbed their ability to buy seeds and fertilizers in 2008/2009 and will limit production around the world. The effects of droughts worldwide will also be amplified by the smaller amount of seeds and fertilizers used to grow crops.
Low commodity prices will worsen food shortage
The low prices at the end of 2008 discouraged the planting of new crops in 2009. In Kansas for example, farmers seeded nine million acres, the smallest planting for half a century. Wheat plantings this year are down about 4 million acres across the US and about 1.1 million acres in Canada. So even discounting drought related losses, the US, Canada, and other food producing nations are facing lower agricultural output in 2009.
Europe will not make up for the food shortfall
Europe, the only big agricultural region relatively unaffected by drought, is set for a big drop in food production. Due to the combination of a late plantings, poorer soil conditions, reduced inputs, and light rainfall, Europe’s agricultural output is likely to fall by 10 to 15 percent.
Stocks of foodstuff are dangerously low
Low stocks of foodstuff make the world’s falling agriculture output particularly worrisome. The combined averaged of the ending stock levels of the major trading countries of Australia, Canada, United States, and the European Union have been declining steadily in the last few years:
2002-2005: 47.4 million tons
2007: 37.6 million tons
2008: 27.4 million tons
These inventory numbers are dangerously low, especially considering the horrifying possibility that China’s 60 million tons of grain reserves doesn’t actually exists .
Global food Catastrophe
The world is heading for a drop in agricultural production of 20 to 40 percent, depending on the severity and length of the current global droughts. Food producing nations are imposing food export restrictions. Food prices will soar, and, in poor countries with food deficits, millions will starve.
The deflation debate should end now
The droughts plaguing the world’s biggest agricultural regions should end the debate about deflation in 2009. The demand for agricultural commodities is relatively immune to developments in the business cycles (at least compared to that of energy or base metals), and, with a 20 to 40 percent decline in world production, already rising food prices are headed significantly higher.
In fact, agricultural commodities NEED to head higher and soon, to prevent even greater food shortages and famine. The price of wheat, corn, soybeans, etc must rise to a level which encourages the planting of every available acre with the best possible fertilizers. Otherwise, if food prices stay at their current levels, production will continue to fall, sentencing millions more to starvation.
Competitive currency appreciation
Some observers are anticipating “competitive currency devaluations” in addition to deflation for 2009 (nations devalue their currencies to help their export sector). The coming global food shortage makes this highly unlikely. Depreciating their currency in the current environment will produce the unwanted consequence of boosting exports of food. Even with export restrictions like those in China, currency depreciation would cause the outflow of significant quantities of grain via the black market.
Instead of “competitive currency devaluations”, spiking food prices will likely cause competitive currency appreciation in 2009. Foreign exchange reserves exist for just this type of emergency . Central banks around the world will lower domestic food prices by either directly selling off their reserves to appreciate their currencies or by using them to purchase grain on the world market.
Appreciating a currency is the fastest way to control food inflation. A more valuable currency allows a nation to monopolize more global resources (ie: the overvalued dollar allows the US to consume 25% of the world’s oil despite having only 4% of the world’s population). If China were to selloff its US reserves, its enormous population would start sucking up the world’s food supply like the US has been doing with oil.
On the flip side, when a nation appreciates its currency and starts consuming more of the world’s resources, it leaves less for everyone else. So when china appreciates the yuan, food shortages worldwide will increase and prices everywhere else will jump upwards. As there is nothing that breeds social unrest like soaring food prices, nations around the world, from Russia, to the EU, to Saudi Arabia, to India, will sell off their foreign reserves to appreciate their currencies and reduce the cost of food imports. In response to this, China will sell even more of its reserves and so on. That is competitive currency appreciation.
When faced with competitive currency appreciation, you do NOT want to be the world’s reserve currency. The dollar is likely to do very poorly as central banks liquidate trillions in US holdings to buy food and appreciate their currencies.
By Eric deCarbonnel
When faced with competitive currency appreciation, you do NOT want to be the world’s reserve currency. The dollar is likely to do very poorly as central banks liquidate trillions in US holdings to buy food and appreciate their currencies.
I am as strongly as possible suggesting that each of you build a cistern and get it ready as quickly as possible. Building it during this Sabbatical year would be a good thing. I will be building them in my yard this summer. It is going to be a life or death situation.
Many of you are stocking up food in keeping with the law to store food for the Sabbatical year which begins Aviv 2009, expected to be around March 28th or 29th of 2009. I applaud you, but suggest you store more for the next year as well based on the reports from the videos I have shown you above.
China’s wheat shortage set to spark prices
BEIJING : Northern China is facing one of the severe drought â€“ most severe since 1951 – which is likely to affect its grain production â€“ chief among them wheat â€“ sparking speculation that wheat prices may go up in future.
Do you feel the prices could increase? Discuss
Experts say this had to happen as this region has close to 40 per cent of the total population and 50 per cent of arable land but less than 20 per cent of water available in China. Massive industrialization and urbanization worsened the situation.
Sitting in India, trade in markets across the globe
Northern China is its breadbasket and its vast 9.3m hectares grows wheat as one of the main crops. But Office of State Flood Control and Drought Relief Headquarters states that more than 43 per cent of the wheat crop is likely to be lost. Local media reported that this figure could be as high as 63 per cent.
It has already reported to the government that 3.7 million people and 1.85 million livestock have already lost access to drinking water.
China has put in place immediate measures to counter this. Other than 100m yuan of funding to help farmers, rains through seed clouding are also planned.
Drought threatens China’s wheat crop
The region that produces 95 percent of the country’s wheat is facing its worst drought in 50 years.
By Peter Ford | Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor/ February 11, 2009 edition
Peter Ford/The Christian Science Monitor
A woman digs a ditch in parched wheat fields in Yu Tai, China.
Reporter Peter Ford discusses some of the potential consequences if the drought in China’s interior provinces continues.
Reporter Peter Ford
Photo gallery: China copes with drought
Liu Shanni yanks a yellowed seedling from her plot of wheat, brushes the dusty soil from its withered roots, and tosses it away disdainfully.
“Dead,” she spits. “If it doesn’t rain soon, ‘ll have no harvest at all.”
Nor will millions of other peasant farmers in the drought-stricken belt of northern China that normally produces 95 percent of the country’s winter wheat. “Winter crops are entering a critical period,” the head of China’s drought-relief efforts, Er Jingping, said on Tuesday. “If it does not rain in the next 15 days, we will face an even more daunting task.”
The most prolonged drought for half a century has parched fields and stunted crops in this remote village at a particularly difficult time. Many of the residents who normally migrate to the cities, and send money home, have lost their jobs as China’s economic growth slows. Suddenly, the wheat harvest here in Zhaogou matters again as a question of subsistence.
Local authorities are keenly aware of the looming crisis and are digging new wells in the plains north of here in search of irrigation water. But that will not help Ms. Liu, or other farmers in the countless villages dotted around the hillsides of Henan Province, which grows one-quarter of China’s wheat. “We depend on the sky to survive,” she says.
That sky has offered her rain only once since she planted her wheat last August, she says: a light shower four days ago that moistened the surface of her fields.
Not just the weather
Officials blame farmers” difficulties on the weather. “There has been very little rain and unusually high temperatures this winter which have caused heavy moisture loss in the soil,” Mr. Er told reporters. Three cold snaps, he added, froze irrigation channels in many places and rendered them useless.
Independent agricultural experts, however, say human factors are to blame, too. “The fundamental problem in northern China is a lack of water,” says Li Guangyong, a water conservation expert at the Agriculture University in Beijing. :There simply is not enough.: And if reservoirs are emptying and wells drying up, he adds, it is because of the wasteful way in which Chinese farmers use water.
Farmers in irrigable areas like to use old fashioned flooding methods, Professor Li explains, sending water coursing down their rows of seedlings and thoroughly soaking them. “They are suspicious of sprinklers or micro-irrigation,: he says. :They don’t think those systems use enough water.”
More-efficient sprinkler systems, moreover, are not well suited to the tiny plots that make up most family farms. The result: Farmers waste 55 percent of the water they use, where the international average for such waste is 30 percent.
That is also because most of China’s irrigation systems â€“ the canals, pumping stations, locks, and wells that feed the wheat fields â€“ are old and function poorly, if at all.
“After several decades of use many of them have long been out of repair,” Er acknowledged. He estimated that between 40 and 50 percent of China’s hydraulic engineering networks needed to be mended.
That is a problem here in Henan, says Wang Tianli, an official with the local drought-relief office. Along with the six wells his office has drilled in the past two months, it has restored another three that had fallen out of use.
The money, he says, comes from a $50 million emergency fund the government set up to cope with the drought, and from the giant economic stimulus package unveiled last November. Mr. Wang’s engineer colleagues are spending it digging deeper wells and replacing leaky cement pipes with plastic ones as they seek to stem 50 percent losses of the water they find.
Such emergency measures across the wheat belt, Er assured a press conference, “will prevail and ensure a good harvest.” He added a note of caution, however, warning that Chinese” cannot lose sight of the fact that the drought has had some impact on agricultural production.”
The government has also turned to cloud-seeding chemicals to try to produce rain. Parts of the north got light rain and sleet last week after nearly 2,400 rockets and some 400 cannon shells loaded with chemicals were shot into clouds, the weather bureau reported.
Liu and her neighbors who live in the hills, far from any irrigation channels, fear that for the second year running, drought will destroy their crops.
Last year they could shrug off the loss. Liu’s husband worked in a local brick factory, for example, and her two sons had jobs at a coal mine; between them, they brought in several hundred dollars each month and the family could afford to buy grain.
As economic storm clouds gathered over China, though, the brick factory suspended production three months ago and the coal mine closed for good. “About 40 percent of the men here worked at those two places,” says Zhao Linjiang, a member of the village committee. “Now it’s hard to find work.”
“The factories are closing, but we can’t close our mouths,” complains Liu. “We have to eat. If only it would rain.”