Last updateTue, 19 Feb 2019 5pm


Trends & Forecasts

Reading the Cabinet Tea Leaves

Much of the news about President Obama (prior to Inauguration week) has concerned his efforts with respect to federal bailout funds, but his cabinet choices are likely to have a longer-lasting impact. Three that are of particular importance to valve manufacturers and users are his choices for Secretary of Energy, the EPA administrator, and the presidential assistant on energy and climate change. What will these people mean for the valve industry, and are they likely to make positive or negative changes?

The Need for Water Goes On and On

waterChanges in rainfall patterns, ever-increasing population and increased demand for irrigation are all contributing to a worldwide water market that shows no signs of abating—despite deteriorating economic conditions.

The lead article in the fall 2008 issue of Valve Magazine, “2009 Outlook: Riding Out the Storm,” had a section on the 2009 water/wastewater market, which included information presented by Tom Decker, a vice president with CH2M Hill, at VMA’s 2008 Annual Market Outlook Workshop. Decker identified opportunities in desalination, pointing out that while only 1% of the world’s useable water supply is provided by desalination, worldwide capacity is expected to double by 2016.

Good Riddance to 2008—and a Look Ahead

consumer_confidence_indexI think there’s a pretty good consensus that 2009 has to be better than 2008. No matter where you looked, the bad news kept rolling in, and got worse as the year wound down:

On Dec. 30 the Conference Board released its Consumer Confidence Index™ for December, which had declined to a new all-time low in December after increasing moderately in November. The Index now stands at 38.0 (1985=100), down from 44.7 in November.

Here’s to Fewer Worries in the Months Ahead

wall_st._bullIf you have held on to your investments over the past couple of years, either through sang froid, inertia or the paralysis of fear, there may be a little cheer this holiday season. Speaking on C-SPAN’s “Washington Journal” on Dec. 20, Kevin McCormally, Editor of Kiplinger’s Personal Finance Magazine, said that now may be a good time to start looking at stocks again. “We think the economy will begin improving by the end of 2009,” he said. “We’re hopeful. Congress has done a lot of work to get the economy moving again. Again, we’re not saying this is a bottom, but we think we’ll look back at this as a pretty good time to buy stocks.”

Mixed Signals for Valve Industry

With all the gloom flying around it can be difficult to find anything encouraging to report, but it's there if you look for it.

For example, with much of the valve industry tied to the oil patch, it's a bit discouraging to see that the Baker Hughes U.S. rig count was 1,941 on Nov. 14, down by 51 rigs (2.5%) from the week before and down 2% from the previous month. Yet it's not all bad. We can take some comfort that it is still 8% above year-ago levels. And API numbers back that up, at least partially. The API 2008 Quarterly Well Completion Report: Third Quarter estimated that 16,379 oil wells, natural gas wells and dry holes were completed in the third quarter of 2008, a 16% increase over last year's third quarter.

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