Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Poll: McCain Now leads Obama and Clinton

Democrats trail Republican John McCain, according a Reuters/Zogby poll released on Wednesday.

The poll showed Arizona Sen. McCain, who has clinched the Republican presidential nomination, is benefiting from the lengthy campaign battle between Obama and Clinton, who are now battling to win Pennsylvania on April 22.

McCain leads 46 percent to 40 percent in a hypothetical matchup against Obama in the November presidential election, according to the poll.

That is a sharp turnaround from the Reuters/Zogby poll from last month, which showed in a head-to-head matchup that Obama would beat McCain 47 percent to 40 percent.

Matched up against Clinton, McCain leads 48 percent to 40 percent, narrower than his 50 to 38 percent advantage over her in February.

Among independents, McCain led for the first time in the poll, 46 percent to 36 percent over Obama.

He was behind McCain by 21 percent among white voters.

For the matchup between McCain and his Democratic rivals, 1004 likely voters were surveyed. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.2 percentage points.

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Economy Expected To Avoid Recession in 2008

The U.S. economy will likely avoid a recession but growth will slow to a crawl during the first half of this year, a panel of business economists forecast on Monday.

Among the panel of 49 National Association for Business Economics economists surveyed between January 25 and February 13, about 45 percent said they believe a recession will have occurred by the end of this year. But most believe it will be short and shallow.

The remaining 55 percent said a downturn will be relatively muted.
"While a slight majority of our panel of our forecasters expects the economy to avoid a recession in 2008, growth is expected to average just 0.75 percent before accelerating in the second half in response to fiscal and monetary stimulus,"
said Hughes-Cromwick.

The economists say that the stimulus package, signed into law earlier this month, with tax breaks for businesses and tax rebates worth up to $600 per individual and $1,200 per couple, could boost economic growth in the second half to a 2.8 percent annual rate.

That would bring growth for the year to 1.8 percent, still down significantly from the 2.6 percent growth projected in the prior survey taken in November.

About 40 percent of those surveyed said the fiscal stimulus package will help ward off a recession. Another 30 percent believe it will keep any recession short and mild and the remaining 30 percent polled believe the package will either have a negligible impact, is unnecessary, or is coming too late.

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Monday, March 17, 2008

World Oil Supply Not Running Out !

According to an article in the The Times of London, leading oil industry experts say, human factors, not geology, will drive the oil market.

A landmark study of more than 800 oilfields by Cambridge Energy Research
Associates (Cera) has concluded that rates of decline are only 4.5 per cent
a year, almost half the rate previously believed, leading the consultancy to
conclude that oil output will continue to rise over the next decade.

Peter Jackson, the report's author, said:
"We will be able to grow supply to well over 100million barrels per day by 2017."


Current world oil output is in the region of 85million barrels a day.

The optimistic view of the world's oil resource was also given support by
BP's chief economist, Peter Davies, who dismissed theories of "Peak Oil" as
fallacious. Instead, he gave warning that world oil production would peak as
demand weakened, because of political constraints, including taxation and
government efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Speaking to the All Party Parliamentary Group on Peak Oil, Mr Davies said
that peaks in world production had been wrongly predicted throughout history
but he agreed that oil might peak within a generation "as a result of a
peaking of demand rather than supply".

He said it was inconceivable that oil consumption would be unaffected by
government policies to reduce carbon emissions. "There is a distinct
possibilty that global oil consumption could peak as a result of such
climate policies," Mr Davies said.

Cera analysed the output of 811 oilfields, which produce 19 billion barrels
a year, out of total world output of 32 billion.

Cera reckons that oil output, including unconventional oil, such as tar
sands, could allow oil to peak at much higher levels of as much as 112
million barrels per day, with average rates of more than 100million bpd.

The Cera analysis targeted oilfields producing more than 10,000 barrels a
day of conventional oil and concluded that overall output was declining at a
rate of 4.5 per cent a year and that field decline rates were not
increasing.

This is much lower than the 7 to 8percent average rate that is generally
assumed in the industry. Typically, Peak Oil theorists believe that the
output of oil reserves can be plotted on a graph as a bell curve, rising to
a peak and then falling rapidly.