I was at a lunch recently with about 10 people. One of the participants was an analyst from Portugal — smart guy, delightful accent.

The table was discussing the BRIC countries — what a tiresome acronym THAT has become — and our Portuguese pal mentioned the PIGS countries.

PIGS? What the heck is a PIGS?

It turns out that PIGS stands for Portugal, Italy, Greece & Spain — P.I.G.S.

Why so crude an acronym? They are all in, or on the verge of tumbling into, a recession. Their significance is that they are the soft white underbelly of Europe. While not as economically important as Germany or England or even France, they are still a substantial chunk of nations, consumption and output for Europe. Our dashing Portuguese analyst expects their slowdown to spread to the rest of Europe.

PIGS: Now you know. 


UPDATE: July 9, 2008 11:09AM

I am aware of the dispute between whether Italy or Ireland is part of the PIGS. I am going to defer to the Economist magazine, which notes:

One danger is that fractures within the euro area will distract the ECB from staying on top of inflation. A particular worry is
what could be called the PIGS—Portugal, Italy, Greece
and Spain
, Europe’s negative version of the fast-growing BRICs. The fear is that these countries may be in a hole they
cannot easily climb out of and that the ECB will be
pressed into running a looser monetary policy to save them.



Category: Economy

Cool Tool: Housing + Transportation Affordability Index

Category: Economy, Real Estate, Web/Tech

T. Boone Pickens on Oil Prices, Wind Power

Boone Pickens details to reduce America’s dependence on foreign oil:

click for Video

UPDATE: July 9, 2008  9:43pm

Jeff Matthews points out Picken’s flip flop

“I was in wind energy for a minute…. I hate it. And when I got to looking at those damn things I said, I don’t want to be a part of putting that on the horizon. I think it’s homely and I don’t like it. We took a loss and got out of it and I’m glad I did.”

—T. Boone Pickens, Bloomberg, February 17, 2005

Boone Pickens: A man with an energy plan   
C/NET July 8, 2008 4:20 PM

Big Pickens: T. Boone, the Oilman, Ups the Ante in His Wind Bet
Keith Johnson
Environment, July 8, 2008, 2:11 pm

Texas oilman T. Boone Pickens wants to supplant oil with wind 
Dan Reed
USA TODAY   July 8, 2008


Category: Commodities, Energy, Video

Read it here first: Implode-O-Meter Hits the NYT

Category: Credit, Financial Press, Real Estate

The End of a 20-Year Energy Cycle

Category: Commodities, Energy, Markets, Politics, Psychology

Quote of the Day: Citibank on Glass Steagel

We’re going way back for this one: “With an aggressive legal maneuver, Citicorp is taking another step in the battle to unshackle the banking industry from the restraints of the Glass-Steagall Act of 1933.  The strategy, being watched closely by the entire banking industry, has been used for years to push the deregulation of the…Read More

Category: Credit, Politics, Real Estate, Taxes and Policy

Pending Home Sales Index Falls 14.6% below May 2007

Category: Data Analysis, Real Estate

Five phases to the current down-cycle

Category: Consumer Spending, Credit, Economy, Inflation

Pricing in a Bush Presidency

Category: Markets, Politics, Psychology, Trading

Rubin: Economy Facing `Extended Difficulties’

Serious words from Robert Rubin:

"Former U.S. Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin said that the world economy still faces "extended difficulties” from the fallout of the U.S. subprime mortgage crisis and rising energy and food costs.

"It’s possible that it could get better during the course of this year, but it’s far more likely that we will have extended difficulties for quite some time yet if you consider what is happening with housing prices, the price of oil and so much else,” Rubin said today in an interview in Rome.

Record oil and food prices are fueling inflation and choking growth at a time when the fallout from the U.S. subprime mortgage market meltdown has already taken a toll on the global expansion. The Organization for Economic on June 4 cuts the growth forecast for its 30 members to 1.8 percent for this year, the slowest since 2002."

click for video


Rubin Says Economy Facing `Extended Difficulties’
Alessandra Migliaccio and Flavia Rotondi
Bloomberg, July 1 2008

Category: Economy, Video