Confidence makes the Rare Earth Materials go Round

OK, so I paraphrased from “Cabaret” and a Queen song. From an earlier post this is the Part II of it. Kind of alike a cliff hanger blog.

The problem with Economics is that it is a science. Behavioral Economics is more in line with my thoughts but it still doesn’t hit us where it needs to. University of Michigan releases it’s consumer confidence report monthly and when confidence rises all things are going well. Let’s face it, the 90s were a boom and confidence levels were at high levels. Early 2000 and in 2007 the confidence levels plummeted and in a recession we went. Even if you are sitting on a ton of money you are not going to invest unless you feel things are on the way up. Just human nature. That’s one reason why people don’t beat the stock market consistently (unless your last name is Buffet).

People put money in when things are going well. When other people think things are going well. When their wife or husband thinks things are going well. And they don’t invest or pull out when things are going bad, or the perception that things are going bad. Human nature and mob thinking essentially. That’s why the stock market can take a 500 or 700 point drop in a day (systems in place now to try to eliminate loss swings) and then the very next day go up 400 points. What changed? in the closing of the bell and the beginning of the next?  Did Coca-Cola or GM or IBM suddenly become more valuable in the 14 hours the market was closed? Obviously the answer is no.

So if consumer confidence is not high then you and I are saving our nuts and not spending them. Our wives or husbands are clipping coupons. We’re not going out as often. It’s a staycation versus a vacation. Same holds true with businesses. They aren’t hiring when they could. They will wait until what next quarter looks like. It really comes down to do they see roses or thorns from those glasses. If it’s thorns nobody is spending and the economy as a whole will suffer. If there are successful days, weeks and months then the consumer sentiment changes and once a collective agreement occurs then the economy can again start moving on all cylinders.

I agree I took a very simplistic approach to the idea of confidence being the solution but it’s often the most simple things we overlook. We won’t be able to sell more materials until the businesses feel better about stocking more products and the consumers buying those products. In this case it’s the tail wagging the dog.

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Spotlight on Industry

Jobs reports, LIBOR rates, Euro interest rates, re-elections…raw materials. Yes, it’s crazy but they all go together.

We’re in the business of selling high purity nano powders, rare earth, and specialized oil & gas products. Anybody who wasn’t born yesterday or hasn’t recently fallen off any turnip trucks knows that so the economy goes, so go elections. And as just about every company is connected to the economy and so their business is affected as well. Some of the stalwarts of economic downturns have been booze and gambling. Even in the tough depression we’ve faced this last decade we know Las Vegas has even been hurting.

For the most part companies are sitting on cash hoards totaling in the billions and not spending anything. Companies like Apple have most of their billions in other countries and if they brought it back to the USA they would be taxed on it so they don’t. But that’s another story. So how do we come out of this economic turmoil without hurting too badly? For us it’s about selling more rare earth minerals, oil industry products, and nano powders. How will we do that?  I’ll shed light on this in our next blog entry but I have a one word fix for it all….it’s called “confidence”.

Summer in Texas

The summer heat is upon us. We are located in Houston which means hot or hotter (just two temperatures here). I was looking at my electric bill for last month and it was getting close to $300. And that was for May’s usage. Again, the idea to look up and see what solar panels are costing lately has crept up into my mind.

Searching throughout the internet I noticed that PV Insights are stating polysilicon prices are still down in the low 20s. I remember when hitting $35/kg was low. So, what are the panels selling at in the marketplace? I’ve seen the end-user pricing as low as $0.50 per watt for a panel. That’s a drastic drop from even 6 months ago. If you are going to install solar panels before, now might not be a bad time to re-visit it.  If my math is correct with the low cost per wattage I might be able to get the panels for my house for under $10,000.

That doesn’t include inverters, assembly, etc. but imagine knocking off  your entire energy bill forever for $10,000?  Crazy….or is it?  I might re-visit this topic again after careful study and I might put another blog out with total cost for a do-it-yourselfer.