What slowdown? What recession? Today China reported that its Q1 growth rate was a whopping 11.9%. This makes it even more likely that the country’s currency will be allowed to appreciate, not to satisfy US demands so much as to prevent China overheating. Inflation fears will squelch export enthusaists’ desire to keep the currency cheap.

Fear of inflation also is why today China boosted the minimum real estate down payment to 30% and the minimum for 2nd residences to 50% from 40% earlier. It also again called upon banks to raise interest rates for mortgages and called for measures to prevent homebuilders from holding back available homes to push up prices even faster.

The family plan to all fly off to Malaga (Spain) to marry off a cousin’s daughter tomorrow have been thrown into disarray by the grounding of flights out of Britain, France, Germany, Switzerland and Scandinavia because the air over northern Europe is full of dangerous grit from the volcanoes erupting in Iceland.