Thursday, 20 November 2008

A lovely Thursday

They are setting up the Christmas decorations in the local villages around here. Even the smallest hamlet seems to have the council workers out stringing the fairy lights from one side of the road to the other. It all seems a bit strange as the sun is beating down from a cloudless sky. At the hypermarket in Perugia they have taken to playing an Italian take on Bing Crosby's favourite Christmas songs over the loudspeakers.

On the television news yesterday a chairman of one of the big 3 Detroit car makers said that sales of new cars in the US would fall to 11 million units next year. He went on to say that 1) sales could be 13.5 million but the dealerships couldn't get the credit for the additional car loans from the banks and 2) as a ratio of sales to the size of the American population 2009 will be the worst year since WWII. US consumer confidence is at a 40 year low. It now looks as if the banks have stopped any new loans this year and are waving prepayment penalties in order to get their customers to pay off existing loans. Here in Italy there are few signs so far of economic malaise although last week an old family run store that has been going for 100 years in the centre of Perugia shut its doors for lack of custom. I have a feeling that there will be much more to follow early next year.

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