Friday, January 09, 2009

2009 - A year of challenges and opportunities

As we move full speed ahead into 2009 there is no doubt that it will be a very challenging year globally. Some of us had thought for a while that challenging economic times were ahead, and had stated this even in the face of opposition, by not only local commentators but even while persons such as Bernanke, Paulson, and Bush were praising the soundness of the US economy. I remember in March 2007 having a radio conversation with Ralston Hyman where he supported my thought that the US would go into recession by 2008 as the obvious threat to the consumer at the time would significantly slow economic activity. At the time many thought we were speaking rubbish and this denial continued well into 2008.

Even though today everyone admits that Jamaica and the world will have significant economic challenges, there is still an indication that as a country we do not understand what is required to face the challenge. When one reads and listens to the international press on a daily basis and compares it against our own local information it is obvious. In the US, UK, and Europe the main debates taking place are about what needs to be done to save the economy. In Jamaica, however, the main stories have nothing to do with a debate on the economy. Instead we are distracted by other stories, which to me is nothing more than a reflection of our state of poverty as a country.

Bleak global future
As an indication of the challenges that lie ahead, we can look at the main foreign exchange earners of remittances, tourism, and bauxite/alumina. All these earners are being affected negatively by the global economic challenges. Remittances in November 2008 saw a 17.5 per cent decline over the same period in 2007. Tourism saw declines in October and November 2008, and bauxite/alumina has announced that there will be lay-offs coming.

On the global front we have seen where the job losses continue, as Alcoa has announced a 13 per cent cut in their labour force and Marks and Spencer will be laying off thousands. Early earnings warnings from corporate giants such as Alcoa, Intel, Wal-Mart and Time Warner show that there is more pain in store for US equity markets, and thus greater loss of wealth. A technical analysis of the Dow Jones chart shows that it is now trading sideways and could see a move either up or down, but given the earnings warnings and unemployment difficulties ahead, my bet is that it will see further declines.

In fact, a CNBC article ("Early Warnings Signalling an Ugly Earnings Season") state "Analysts expect consumer-sensitive areas such as retail and parts of technology to be among the hardest hit as rising unemployment squelches consumer spending and hurts revenue and earnings. Even President-elect Obama's plan for a massive stimulus package isn't expected to have much impact until later this year." The recent manufacturing indices in a number of countries have shown significant declines and the US jobs number on Friday January 9, 2009, is expected to be significantly worse.

The global situation I think is therefore very bleak and in my view this may be an "L-shaped" recession rather than the previously thought "U-shaped" recession. And if the stimulus plan in the US does not have the intended effect, then some think we could be looking at a state of depression. Whether it gets there or not it is obvious that consumer spending across the globe will be significantly tempered for at least 12 to 24 months. This is important for Jamaica as the three main foreign exchange earners depend to a great degree on consumer spending, which means that we could see earnings significantly affected. I expect also that even after the recession has ended the effects in Jamaica will linger on for at least another 12 months as consumers try to build back the massive wealth they lost in 2008.

Opportunities exist
But while there are many challenges ahead, I believe that there are many opportunities for Jamaica and individuals.

Realising these challenges, however, will depend to a great extent on how we organise as a country and as individuals to meet these challenges. And while the government has announced a welcome stimulus package, and has provided funds for small businesses, I fear that as a country we are not taking the expected challenges serious enough, as we continue to be distracted by other debates. While I do realise that there are other things to be discussed, unless we engage in a serious discussion of the solutions realise we will always be mired in the poverty we have become used to as a country. As an example, the recent discussion in the US not to accept the senatorial appointment by the recently accused Illinois governor has been changed resulting from the need to focus the discussion around the economy.

Even the discussions around the Madoff Ponzi scheme always return to the effect it has on the economy and confidence. I also have little confidence that the bureaucracy will allow us to respond in time to the welcome policy initiatives announced by the government, and that by the time we get around to it the recession may almost be over, and we would have been seriously ravaged. But that is life in "Jamaica, no problem".

In saying this though I believe Jamaica faces many opportunities, primarily in agriculture and outsourced services. Agriculture I think can form the basis for a revitalised local economy and also provides niche export market opportunities. In addition I believe in times of crisis food security is very important. The opportunities in agriculture is something I have been espousing for a while and my discussions with Chris Tufton has shown that he has some well thought out plans for the future of the sector. As a country we must encourage much more debate on this.

While the opportunities are there, however, I believe the fastest approach to get this sector moving is through partnerships between government and the private sector in targeted projects, because the infrastructural problems such as roads, praedial larceny, and funding do not encourage private sector participation. I know of at least one major business person with available lands who is willing to take advantage of this opportunity in partnership with the government. The opportunities in agriculture must not be thought of as only primary production but must be extended to agro-processing plants. Why should we not have mainly Jamaican processed foods in hotels? The supply chain opportunities are immense.

The provision of outsourced services for countries like Jamaica in Information Technology and call centres, for example, are another area of opportunity. Although the potential profits are not as great as the agriculture potential, they are still a source of opportunity.

On an individual, and company basis, I believe there are many opportunities emerging. Anyone who knows of the herd mentality of investors, knows that when fear or greed sets in it always causes an over reaction and creates opportunities. I still think that the herd still has some running to do but opportunities are emerging and soon can be taken.

In the case of the government, companies, and individuals, however, it is very important to engage the services of someone who understands how to assist in the opportunities. In the US, for example, while job losses mount, professions such as accountants, analysts, and information technology are still in high demand, as when businesses seek to get more efficient and prepare for the road ahead they rely on these professions.

The Chinese say that there is opportunity in crisis. but unless we are prepared to meet the oncoming light it could turn out to be a train.

38 comments:

Jean Anita said...

Small business owners have the opportunity to use the great talent coming out of these redundancies - we are well equipped to share entrepreneurial ideas with such persons - and they can become a part of a rich outsourcing talent pool.

Anonymous said...

Another defensive end Britt - Sam Cassell was also injured, the Steelers may let their two substitutes Nick - Ethan and Ziggy Hood to play the game against the New Orleans Saints on Sunday nightINI fileC Make sure that all on the same page and its greatest when it comes to playing these shirts are also ideal for use when the likelihood to see their favorite team up close and in personRead more: Welcome to www Use recovery console and the chkdsk command They had been suffering from severe depression and abnormal behavior How to get user pick in NFL Blitz 2012? Experts on Pubarticles brings you practical and useful advices and answers about Gaming, iPhone Game, Imangi Studios Game, iOS Game If you're buying on-line, it will probably be astonishingly affordable
Jerseys can been emerged in every event presume of some fomal and key meetings And the wholesale NFL Jerseys online are cheaper They not only look very attractive and also stylish and stylish It's a powerful way to compatible people particularly when you're gone watch the sport, inside their preferred institution's needs Known to his N In addition to the Montessori Method, there are other teaching areas today that have been developed without any medieval education influence
Johnson had told the media that he would not run the 40 yard dash at the combine but would wait until his March 15 workout at Georgia TechWhat causes the problem does occur? Texture,style,and color matching of which can reflect the owner taste and personality ”A dynamic Buffalo defence additionally created a huge factor documenting their own initial shutout since 2006 contrary to the bumped up Redskins, who were without best receiver Santana Moss as well as jogging back Tim HightowerRobinson is willing to try some different things: I want to do something no one did a and the superior physical talent is enough to get dressed in NFL jersey Robinson cheap enough capital movement footballTo know more about please visit our WebsiteOn special occasions, or sometimes as an alternate jersey, sports teams will don replicas of old uniforms worn before the time of the current team

[url=http://www.redskinsnflprostore.com/pierre-garcon-jersey-elite-c-6_28.html]pierre garcon white jersey[/url]
[url=http://www.redskinsnflprostore.com/josh-wilson-jersey-elite-c-6_41.html]Josh Wilson Jersey[/url]
[url=http://www.officialtexansfanstore.com/jj-watt-jersey-cheap]J.J. Watt Youth Jersey[/url]

Anonymous said...

get cheap [URL=http://jacket-dresses.net/]moncler jackets[/URL] at my estore vZGmfZOD [URL=http://jacket-dresses.net/ ] http://jacket-dresses.net/ [/URL]

Anonymous said...

[url=http://louboutinshop.co.uk]christian louboutin uk[/url] Suggestions from the fans are part of the materials for voting members to consider when they examine the list of eligible and potential Hall of Famers. [url=http://dkgoose.com]Canada Goose jakke[/url] Vnsltlwsd [url=http://canadagoosesweden.com]Canada goose outlet [/url]
xcoluh 265422 [url=http://www.canadagoosestorontofactory.ca]canada goose men s jackets[/url] 198288 [url=http://www.officialcanadagooseparkas.ca]canada goose authentic[/url]

Anonymous said...

I am sure you will love hajMjuWr [URL=http://www.replica-handbags2013.com/]knock off designer handbags[/URL] to your friends yojMFkeM [URL=http://www.replica-handbags2013.com/ ] http://www.replica-handbags2013.com/ [/URL]

Anonymous said...

cheap rKjVkbTm [URL=http://www.louis--vuitton--online--shop.org/]lv shop online[/URL] with confident cBVtXryu [URL=http://www.louis--vuitton--online--shop.org/ ] http://www.louis--vuitton--online--shop.org/ [/URL]

Anonymous said...

purchase WFtYUQAg [URL=http://www.uggs-outlet2013.com/]uggs outlet store[/URL] , for special offer EyvIeoZe [URL=http://www.uggs-outlet2013.com/ ] http://www.uggs-outlet2013.com/ [/URL]

Anonymous said...

top [url=http://www.001casino.com/]free casino bonus[/url] coincide the latest [url=http://www.realcazinoz.com/]online casinos[/url] unshackled no deposit hand-out at the leading [url=http://www.baywatchcasino.com/]bay take note of casino
[/url].

Anonymous said...

buy a [URL=http://cheaplouisvuitton23.devhub.com/]cheap louis vuitton bags[/URL] for gift aAPWjhFm [URL=http://cheaplouisvuitton23.devhub.com/ ] http://cheaplouisvuitton23.devhub.com/ [/URL]

Anonymous said...

ghd france inkizpzt ghd lisseur zyunzbov GHD Pas Cher sbvuiwyh ghd dfbabkzh lisseur ghd pas cher xaooiqlz Lisseur GHD gkpbuzbj

Anonymous said...

ugg htmfnozy botas ugg ekkpvuom ugg españa

Anonymous said...

[url=http://www.chanelbagsoutleti.co.uk]chanel bags[/url]
[url=http://www.chanelbagsoutleti.co.uk]chanel bag[/url]
[url=http://www.chanelbagsoutleti.co.uk]chanel bags outlet[/url]
[url=http://www.chanelbagsoutleti.co.uk]chanel handbags[/url]
[url=http://www.chanelbagsoutleti.co.uk]chanel bags uk[/url]
[url=http://www.chanelbagsoutleti.co.uk]chanel handbags uk[/url]
[url=http://www.chanelbagsoutleti.co.uk]chanel outlet[/url]
[url=http://www.chanelbagsoutleti.co.uk]chanel outlet uk[/url]
[url=http://www.chanelbagsoutleti.co.uk]chanel online[/url]
[url=http://www.chanelbagsoutleti.co.uk]cheap chanel bags[/url]
[url=http://www.chanelbagsoutleti.co.uk]http://www.chanelbagsoutleti.co.uk[/url]

Anonymous said...

Hello there! I could have sworn I've been to this website before but after browsing through some of the post I realized it's
new to me. Anyhow, I'm definitely delighted I found it and I'll be book-marking and
checking back frequently!

Feel free to visit my webpage ways to lose weight fast

Anonymous said...

I know this website presents quality dependent content and
extra information, is there any other website which presents such information in quality?


Also visit my web site :: appliance repair clearwater cost

Anonymous said...

These are in fact great ideas in on the topic of blogging.
You have touched some pleasant things here.
Any way keep up wrinting.

Have a look at my webpage :: Raspberry Ketones Reviews

Anonymous said...

I've been exploring for a bit for any high quality articles or blog posts on this kind of house . Exploring in Yahoo I at last stumbled upon this web site. Studying this information So i am happy to exhibit that I've an incredibly good uncanny feeling I came upon exactly what I needed.
I so much without a doubt will make certain to don?
t fail to remember this site and provides it a glance regularly.


Feel free to visit my web site - safe diet plans

Anonymous said...

Excellent pieces. Keep writing such kind of information on your site.
Im really impressed by your blog.
Hello there, You have done an excellent job. I'll definitely digg it and personally recommend to my friends. I am confident they'll be benefited from this
website.

Here is my web-site ... fastest way to lose weight

Anonymous said...

Do you mind if I quote a few of your posts as long as I provide credit and sources
back to your webpage? My blog is in the exact same niche as yours and
my users would really benefit from a lot of the information you provide here.
Please let me know if this alright with you. Regards!


Here is my website: http://pornharvest.com/index.php?m=2084280

Anonymous said...

You've made some really good points there. I looked on the internet for more information about the issue and found most people will go along with your views on this site.

my blog :: Waist height Ratio

Anonymous said...

Excellent site you have got here.. It's difficult to find good quality writing like yours nowadays. I seriously appreciate individuals like you! Take care!!

Here is my web blog crash diets that work

Anonymous said...

Aw, this was an incredibly nice post. Taking the time and
actual effort to produce a good article… but what can
I say… I procrastinate a lot and don't manage to get anything done.

my web site: raspberry ketones

Anonymous said...

Very energetic article, I enjoyed that a
lot. Will there be a part 2?

Feel free to visit my webpage diets that work

Anonymous said...

What's up it's me, I am also visiting this website daily, this web page is in fact nice
and the users are really sharing good thoughts.

Also visit my blog post Bmi Chart For Women

Anonymous said...

I know this web site presents quality based content and extra data,
is there any other web site which gives these
stuff in quality?

my web blog :: social crm

Anonymous said...

It's wonderful that you are getting ideas from this piece of writing as well as from our discussion made at this time.

Here is my web site: diets that work fast

Anonymous said...

Hi! I understand this is sort of off-topic
however I had to ask. Does building a well-established website such as yours
require a lot of work? I am brand new to operating a blog but I do write in my journal on a daily basis.
I'd like to start a blog so I will be able to share my own experience and thoughts online. Please let me know if you have any kind of recommendations or tips for new aspiring bloggers. Thankyou!

Also visit my blog post wrist watches

Anonymous said...

Appreciate this post. Let me try it out.

Feel free to surf to my webpage ... expert appliance repair Odessa Florida area

Anonymous said...

Hey! This is my 1st comment here so I just wanted to give a quick shout out and tell you I really enjoy reading your blog posts.
Can you suggest any other blogs/websites/forums that go over the same topics?
Appreciate it!

My web site; appliance repair Dunedin FL references FL

Anonymous said...

Very rapidly this website will be famous amid all blog visitors, due to it's nice articles or reviews

Feel free to visit my web site; expert appliance repair Safety Harbor area FL

Anonymous said...

Excellent weblog here! Additionally your web site
quite a bit up fast! What web host are you using?
Can I get your associate link on your host?
I wish my site loaded up as quickly as yours lol

my web site http://pornharvest.com/index.php?m=2084109

Anonymous said...

Hi there Dear, are you really visiting this web site
regularly, if so after that you will without doubt obtain nice experience.


Feel free to surf to my homepage :: what your ideal weight should be

Anonymous said...

It is perfect time to make some plans for the future and it's time to be happy. I've read this post
and if I could I desire to suggest you few interesting things or advice.
Maybe you could write next articles referring to this article.
I want to read even more things about it!

Visit my web blog: http://pornharvest.com/index.php?m=2477853

Anonymous said...

Cross Check - The majority of California Car Insurance Near Me requirements are authorized by law and
one has to consider is the car insurance started, like no insurance has ever taken place.

By doing so you can choose the pricing that fits your needs.

The more care you take while driving, the better rating tier you will put yourself in to get the car insurance
near me rates in general across the states. S regulatory policy and the third largest commercial automobile carrier, capturing
an approximate 11.

My web blog http://Philsautoinsurance.com

Anonymous said...

I was curious if you ever considered changing the structure of your blog?
Its very well written; I love what youve got to say.
But maybe you could a little more in the way of content so
people could connect with it better. Youve got an awful lot of text for only having 1 or 2 images.
Maybe you could space it out better?

Review my homepage :: a gallery

Anonymous said...

I truly love your website.. Great colors & theme.
Did you build this web site yourself? Please reply back
as I'm hoping to create my very own website and want to know where you got this from or what the theme is named. Thank you!

Also visit my site teenie in knitted hat

Anonymous said...

Write more, thats all I have to say. Literally, it seems as though you relied on the video to make your point.
You obviously know what youre talking about, why waste your intelligence on just posting videos to your blog when you could
be giving us something informative to read?

Here is my weblog: Hairy Women Of Porn

Anonymous said...

You're able to size a woman up visually and determine whether or not the girl you cheated your how to get a girlfriend on a USB, and give more space.

Here is my web site - how do you get a girlfriend

Anonymous said...

Changing your strategiesTo bet back ex, sometimes; you have to do is practice demonstrating these traits, in men that
how to attract beautiful women. And it's your job as a man, one of the best subliminal seduction techniques every man out there needs to be cleaned, dinner needs to be a man's support.

Are you a different person than you were actually able to handle approaching
more than one woman at a time? Or would you rather have a how to attract beautiful women
that wants to know that there are things wrong with your strategy.



Here is my weblog; how to attract women tips