As we start the second half of 2011, overall economic conditions worldwide seem to have deteriorated as compared to where we found ourselves six months ago. The earthquake in Japan dealt that country a blow that is being felt worldwide, particularly in autos and electronics. The "Arab Spring" has done nothing but add uncertainty to this important region. Greece, although they recently passed an austerity measure, still seems on the brink of pulling down Europe. The U.S. economy looks weaker than it already did six months ago.
Surprisingly, the pulp and paper industry seems to be marching on despite mayhem and chaos all around. New projects have been announced in the United States (Greenpac, Niagara Falls, New York, for which Talo Analytic International is playing a small role) and capital equipment people seem to be fairly busy. The industry did lose an mid-sized equipment supplier, Over Meccanica, but this seems to be an isolated case.
The U.S. economic situation will be in nothing but turmoil for the next 18 months because of the U.S. presidential election (why the Dow turned in a stellar week last week is beyond me).
It is great when we can look to the future a few months and say with some certainty what economic conditions may be. That is not possible at the moment -- stormy weather continues.