back to article Supply, demand and a scary mountain of debt: The challenges facing IT as COVID-19 grips the global economy

If The Register's readers are anything like its writers, Monday is not the most cheerful morning of the week. We might console ourselves with the thought that if the weekend was a blur, perhaps last week was a dream. Sadly, it was not. The worst day on financial markets since 1987? Real. The US stopping flights from most of …

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    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Well, at least i now understand why supermarkets have no loo roll...

      Use hand sanitizer!

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Well, at least i now understand why supermarkets have no loo roll...

      Some of the shortages in local supermarkets...

      Last week: skinless chicken fillets, avocados, large bottles of olive oil, luxury loo paper (but plenty of the recycled stuff)

      Yesterday: Ciabatta, Paul Hollywood crusty rolls, all loo paper... and bottled water! Who hordes bottled water?!?

      (I'm hoarding M&S Marmalade Hot X Buns... Oi!, hands off!... they're mine, all mine!)

      1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

        Re: Well, at least i now understand why supermarkets have no loo roll...

        Home Depot was short on drywall joint compound the other day. Joint compound.

        Maybe people are taking work-at-home time to do some renovations.

        (On the other hand, they still had plenty of nitrile gloves, which is good because I wanted some to wear while gluing up Schedule-40 PVC drain lines. They had cleverly put the nitrile gloves in the middle of the door hardware section, so presumably no one could find them. For once HD's astounding inability to organize their stores has benefited me.)

  1. tiggity Silver badge

    Just In Time

    And similar systems beloved by accounts are great in good times but fall apart big time in scenarios like this.

    Keeping decent stocks (oh, the horrors of a bit of warehousing) costs more but brings resilience.

    Decisions were made to sacrifice resilience to keep costs down.

    Not helped by mania for everyone wanting the "latest & greatest" (as Dan 55 said - planned obsolescence is a real issue in IT kit) so in fast changing areas like IT keeping large stocks is less of an option than in industries with a slower pace of change)

  2. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

    The NEUKlearer Option ..... in Derivative AI Futures Markets in Support of Quantum Leaping

    A lack of liquidity is going to cause complicated problems, analysts warn ..... Lindsay Clark

    I wouldn't be worried too much about a lack of liquidity complicating problems, Lindsay.

    There's bigger phish to ply and apply ........

    amanfromMars [2003161304] ....... exercising a simple penetrations testing of market leaders on https://www.zerohedge.com/markets/emergency-smes-face-global-crunch-drowned-liquidity

    Governments and central banks are committed to do whatever it takes in terms of demand-side policies, spending and increasing liquidity as much as needed to avoid a 2008-style crisis. However, these measures, which were already ineffective for years, will be even less successful this time.

    Oh?  You might like to start thinking this time is it very different depending on what/who governments and central bank provide with liquidity for spending.

    Does one have to ask for investment or is the current system able to recognise to where for what and who such funding provides and leads via its simple fiat vehicle much better utilised by other folk to a much greater extent ?

    It's not all doom and gloom out there you know. Many Spaces and Places are Thriving and Sharing Both the Experience and the Expertise to Realise it with AI and IT Presenting Views Promoted for/with Unilateral Universal Support. And that's an Almighty Heavenly Engagement and Encouragement in any language anywhere and everywhere. 

    1. Chris G Silver badge

      Re: The NEUKlearer Option ..... in Derivative AI Futures Markets in Support of Quantum Leaping

      Is the seven and a half trillion dollar US debt considered to be liquidity?

      Asking for a friend.

      1. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

        Re: The NEUKlearer Option ..... in Derivative AI Futures Markets in Support of Quantum Leaping

        Is the seven and a half trillion dollar US debt considered to be liquidity?

        Asking for a friend. ..... Chris G

        If you're holding it, any dollar US debt, the American Way is to spend it thus transferring and leaving it with others to spend again in a similarly mutually beneficial fashion/process. I'd consider that immediately available liquidity for onwards transfer to many including a Valued Client of Venture Capitalist Marketeers ..... :-) An Élan of AIMusketeers

        Keeping Everything So Simple Allows IT to be Easily Followed and to be More Fully and Much Deeper Understood.

        And whenever the markets are crashed and sub-prime drivers are required to say ..... "Whatever it takes ....... there be something different to try out this time.

        Suck it and see. It is Almightily Well Designed for you to like and love what needs to be supplied and done, and surely not many programs can guarantee delivery of that sort of Immaculate Driver.

        If there are any, can you please reference them here for us on this thread. Thanks.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: The NEUKlearer Option ..... in Derivative AI Futures Markets in Support of Quantum Leaping

          If you're holding anything in US dollars you haven't been paying much attention to the shell game that is being played in the background over there. The US dollar is tied to fossil fuel and, expressed in imperial measures, an absolute sh*t ton of debt, presided over by the king of debt bankruptcies himself.

          The only thing that was holding up the dollar was the economic blackmail that the US has been keeping up for decades. Thanks to the combination of crisis and record breaking debt, the whole house of cards is now coming down around our ears because we let this dependency continue instead of planning for the worst and now going down with it.

          Even simply on the basis of history, the pattern was clear: all Republican presidents have presided over a crisis, and thuis moron has done his damndest to maximise the damage (likely on behest of Putin) by hollowing out reserves into making them non-existent, pretty much like Gordon Brown did in his days by the brilliant idea of taxing the gains of pension funds. You'll be paying for that one for some years to come - those reserves are thus also spent.

          Looking at worst case is pretty standard for me, but really, I cannot be the only one who saw this coming. Here's some more fun news: even after recovery, I would still very much stay away from US dollar values. They've missed the boat, exactly because of their government's continued aversion to alternative energy sources. The dollar will go with it.

          1. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

            Re: The NEUKlearer Option ..... in Derivative AI Futures Markets in Support of Quantum Leaping

            Here's some more fun news: even after recovery, I would still very much stay away from US dollar values. They've missed the boat, exactly because of their government's continued aversion to alternative energy sources. .... Anonymous Coward

            Here's a leading question for you, AC ...... Are the alternative energy sources, radically private and fundamentally different proprietary intellectual property forces?

            Think SMARTR Pirates and proceed from there.

            1. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

              Re: That Leading Question on Presently ACTive Existential Threat Vectors?

              Are the alternative energy sources, radically private and fundamentally different proprietary intellectual property forces?

              I'm not saying "I told you so" but ........

              A specialist cyber force of hackers who can target hostile states and terror groups is due to be launched later in the spring, after many months of delays and turf wars between the Ministry of Defence and GCHQ. The National Cyber Force, containing an estimated 500 specialists, has been in the works for two years but after months of wrangling over the details, the specialist unit was close to being formally announced. ..... New UK Cyber Force Targets Terror Groups

              And if you think that is not quite enough you might like to ask Boris Johnson and Dominic Cummings and the Cabinet Office what they are doing/going to do about Future Shenanigans for Present Processing with Past Product Management/Established Operations, a Private/Pirate Sector Offering which has been languishing in one of their trays pending since 3 February 2020 at 17:05:36 GMT.

              I wonder if they fear IT as an Invisible Intangible Enemy and SMARTR AI RAT* rather than realising it Servers Best as a Loving Friend Best Never Crossed and Abused ......for both are easily available but only one has a Viable Vital Virile Future?

              * Systems Monitoring Analysis Reports Tracking Resources for Advanced IntelAIgent Remote Access Trojans

      2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: The NEUKlearer Option ..... in Derivative AI Futures Markets in Support of Quantum Leaping

        Of course. Massive debts have been considered liquidity ever since 2008-9.

        1. BebopWeBop Silver badge

          Re: The NEUKlearer Option ..... in Derivative AI Futures Markets in Support of Quantum Leaping

          Much longer given the classic joke about bank debts - £500 your problem, £50,000,000 the banks.

    2. Youngone

      Re: The NEUKlearer Option ..... in Derivative AI Futures Markets in Support of Quantum Leaping

      I think amanfromMars1 may have almost got the hang of English.

      I understood quite a lot of his post this time. Amazing.

      1. Julz Silver badge

        Re: The NEUKlearer Option ..... in Derivative AI Futures Markets in Support of Quantum Leaping

        The AI is learning...

  3. phuzz Silver badge

    At least a lot of IT jobs are just as easy to do from home as sat in the office, so there's no talk of shutting my employers down. In fact, what with helping all our clients rush to get VPNs and soft phones running, I wouldn't be surprised if we have quite a good month or two.

    I'm just not sure how it's going to work for companies that (eg) set up trade shows, and if they can't make money, they probably can't pay their IT supplier...

    1. The Oncoming Scorn Silver badge
      Unhappy

      Already Started Alas

      A friend of mine in the promotions\exhibitions trade, has already lost his job.

      1. phuzz Silver badge

        Re: Already Started Alas

        My brother has too, although it's formal redundancy so at least he'll get some final pay.

    2. whitepines Silver badge
      Unhappy

      they probably can't pay their IT supplier...

      That right there is the problem. I'm increasingly concerned this will cement Slurp and co. and help drive anyone smaller to the wall.

      Worse, the effects will be delayed. Normally I'd say start polishing CVs, but this time I'm thinking start looking at career shifts. Problem is I don't know where IT folk would fit in a new career.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        I forsee...

        Many, many more jobs going offshore as a result of this.

        We (IT staff) are going to be extinct here within 5 years.

        If you can get out, do it now. Don't wait. Take the exit door on your terms

        If you are sent home on no pay, use the time you would be otherwise working to develop a new skill.

        I did that after the 2008 debacle.

        I'm now a full time author. 16 books to my name so far. Not a huge income after Amazon takes its 30% (see Apple aren't the only one but I could have signed up for their 70/30, 70% to them deal).

        1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

          Re: I forsee...

          We (IT staff) are going to be extinct here within 5 years.

          Yeah, that's what they were saying in 1985, too. Still waiting.

  4. NonyaDB

    "The leader of the free world dumbly in denial over the basic scientific facts of the worst public health crisis in a generation? Opinions vary."

    And [CLOSE TAB] without bothering to read rest of this "analysis".

    1. BigSLitleP Silver badge

      Yet you still came in here and made a comment on your closed tab......

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Cultists really don’t like it when you criticise their leader.

    2. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

      And [CLOSE TABMIND] without bothering to read

      FTFY. HTH. HAND.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Reality Check

    US is the worlds THIRD largest economy, after the EU and China. It is not really the source of the worlds tech, it only thinks it is.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_GDP_(PPP)

    Their economy is puffed up by debt, loading students with debt is borrowing from the future. Government debt is borrowing from the future. Loading up sick people with medical debt they cannot afford to pay back, is borrowing from the future.

    Republicans cut taxes for billionaires. It was supposed to trickle down, it didn't. Annual deficit practically doubled $600 billion to $1.2 trillion, that would be 6% GDP growth if it made its way into the economy. It didn't. Turns out billionaires had all the money they could ever need. Who knew??!! Only everyone knew, including every Republican signing the tax cut.

    That extra borrowing is supposed to be paid for by the future children already loaded with student debt and propping up existing treasuries. How? Billionaires won't pay taxes and won't be repaying the debt borrowed to fluff them, the rest of the economy has to cover that debt.

    Republicans get 2.9% growth that year, it falls down to 2.1% by end of the year. i.e. well below 6%. THEIR FUCKING FAKE ECONOMY IS IMPLODING. Perhaps it was dumb to attack your major customers, and your largest suppliers when you're running a huge deficit?

    April 2019: Trump appoints trumpettes to the Federal Reserve board. One is a Restaurant manager who set up a PAC to help Trump get elected. Quid-pro-quos all round!

    https://www.npr.org/2019/04/06/710712202/trump-picks-partisan-nominees-for-apolitical-federal-reserve

    March 2019: No surprises China reduces its investment in US debts. May, the 10 years treasury bond auction is dismal. People don't want that junk bonds from a Trump stuffed Federal Reserve!

    https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-treasury-securities-idUSKCN1SL2U4

    Nov 2019. Federal reserve steps in an buys up government debt with magic funny money. Warns it cannot continue like this.

    Funny Trump money is flowing! What could possibly go wrong! Trump Atlantic City Junk Bonds here we come!

    Jan 2020: Covid 19 hits. The Federal Reserve goes into frantic money printing mode, it buys up a shitload more government debt, it buys up distressed stocks at face value, the money presses cannot keep up there is a FUCKING TSUNAMI OF DOLLARS FLOODING THE USA!

    You get a billion and YOU GET A BILLION and YOU GET A BILLION, BILLIONS FOR EVERYONE!!

    Now it made money free as of Sunday, Fed targeting 0%. TOILET PAPER IS WORTH MORE THAN THE DOLLAR!

    But the USA is too big to fail right? It's the worlds biggest economy? With rock solid debt? Nah. It's the worlds third biggest economy with shaky unsupportable debt.

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Reality Check

      "loading students with debt is borrowing from the future"

      The US doesn't have a monopoly of that, I'm afraid.

    2. A-nonCoward
      Alert

      have you seen Japan's? Re: Reality Check

      Years agom I looked at Japan's Debt/GDP, made the US look like responsible adults.

      Scary. Haven't looked at it again, denial is better for my nerves.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Virgin

    Peter Norris, the chairman of Virgin Atlantic, is calling for a £7.5bn bail-out.

    Is he now? Seems to me they already had it when they sued the NHS for millions just a little while ago. I sincerely hope they tell the bearded twat to fuck off and die.

    1. BebopWeBop Silver badge

      Re: Virgin

      Cheaper to buy them when they go bankrupt.

    2. macjules Silver badge

      Re: Virgin

      Never trust a virgin, they always cry when you bail out.

    3. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

      Re: Virgin and Boeing Bong Gone

      Can you imagine the dread panic at Boeing nowadays?

      So, no, nobody in their right minds should give Boeing even one penny in "short term aid". Instead, management and the board should be ordered to sell as much stock as they need - you know, the opposite of buying it back - to maintain the business, even it means sending the stock price crashing far lower.

      Because it's called capitalism, and because there is no reason why taxpayers should foot the bill for a company which instead of saving cash when times were good, was handing it out to shareholders and a handful of executives, and which should now for some insane reason be eligible for a bailout when times suddenly go bad.

      That makes sense. Is there anybody out in the market anxious to purchase or support a Double Whammy Zombie Ponzi Vampire Squid which leaves you with all the bills and expenses to be paid as they play ?

  7. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    "The fear then is that a lack of liquidity leads to another credit crunch. Instead of the 2008-09 crash warning companies off debt, they have become addicted to cheap interest rates and built up a mountain of it."

    It's not surprising. Back in 8/9 governments were so terrified of the consequences of their low interest bubble that they didn't dare burst it. Their response was to keep interest rates low and print money - disguised by inventing a new term, quantitative easing. So instead of fixing the problem they kicked it further into the future and we're now in that future. Businesses did just what governments wanted them to do and they're now worse off than ever. Let's hope that this time a tiny smidgeon of sanity ans some of the worst excesses line leveraged buy-outs far into the future.

  8. A-nonCoward
    Boffin

    graph data looks odd, am I missing something?

    here's the data from the FRED horse mouth:

    Delinquency Rate on All Loans, All Commercial Banks

    or

    Delinquency Rate on All Loans, Top 100 Banks Ranked by Assets

    https://fred.stlouisfed.org/series/DRALT100N

    neither looks anywhere like what is in the article. Defaults in 2003 were nowhere as big as the other peaks. And why 4-year old data?

    here a bunch of info on debt vs. GDP, not just for USA but also for others:

    https://fred.stlouisfed.org/searchresults/?st=debt%20gdp

    1. Palpy Silver badge

      Re: graph data looks odd, and I see what you mean.

      The only obvious thing I see is that the FRED graphs seem to indicate all debt, whilst the one El Reg posted appears to be labeled as corporate debt only. The early 2001 recession followed the collapse of the dot-com bubble in 2000, didn't it? Would that suggest that a plethora of corporate defaults -- a bunch of failed internet start-ups, I guess -- show up on the El Reg trend, but on the FRED trend they're not as prominent because in that particular recession there were not a lot of non-corporate debt defaults?

      I think my suggestions here are stretched damned thin. Tom Waits, playing the devil, delivers a great line in The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus: "Ooohhhh, I think that's a very unlikely hypothesis."

      Somebody has to have a better explanation.

  9. Julz Silver badge

    Hindsight

    "There's a real tendency in the human condition to feel that if you don't know what to do, standing still is going to keep you stable. That is not the case; the situation is evolving around you and it's entirely possible in some situations that doing nothing can be more risky than doing something."

    It is also always possible that standing still is exactly the right thing to do and that doing something is the incorrect response. The buggeration is that knowing which is which is tricky. Looking at what is going on in my neck of the woods would lead me to the conclusion that the human condition is exactly the opposite of what he thinks and that the majority are happily going about just doing something, anything, so that they feel like they have some control. Even if it is as bizarre as buying up all of the available toilet tissue.

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