Planes and Cranes

With a baby and toddler both wide awake for almost the entire 12-hour journey home from New Brunswick yesterday, downtime was in especially tight supply. Turns out those plastic straw-cups also behave a little bit differently in-flight; when our two-and-a-half year old finally popped her cup’s cap on flight #2 ex Toronto, a seemingly endless, high-velocity stream of orange juice shot to the ceiling before landing on startled heads in the next row. A moment of clarity to be sure – perhaps explaining why on the previous flight, an elderly woman seated in the row directly behind us ordered a double scotch shortly after take-off (5:30 a.m. departure).

So a headline glimpsed in The New York Times was saved for the seabus this morning: Construction and Real Estate Hinder China’s Growth. “The pattern among Chengdu’s construction cranes is evident across the country. As summer fades into autumn, Beijing is stepping up investment in a bid to rescue the economy, but consumers, businesses and debt-burdened local governments are showing little interest in spending money again.”  The street perspective continues, suggesting “Anecdotal evidence from brokers is often the best guide to real estate prices in China, where government indexes of transactions are flawed.”

Also in the news regarding China, industry analyst Daryl Swetlishoff of Raymond James (see NAWLA Vancouver Meeting 2011), spoke to BNN on Friday here.  He similarly sees “lower spending” on construction at the moment, noting China’s slowdown is reflected in reduced shipments of low grade lumber for concrete formwork, while demand grows for higher grade boards – cedar in particular – to be remanufactured into furniture, doors, and windows.  Looking ahead, Swetlishoff is bullish on lumber for Q4 and next year, pointing to “depleted inventories” in China at present and continued “moderately better demand” in the U.S. market.

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