With everything that’s falling these days, we can be glad, at least, that French President Nicolas Sarkozy didn’t pull a Gerald Ford when getting off his plane yesterday in Beijing. He’s in town, along with a pack of other politicians (anyone know the proper collective noun for politician?) from 43 countries in Europe and Asia for a two-day summit. The plan is apparently to ask Beijing for help in dealing with the global economic crisis, which by now really should have a name of its own: With a nod to Calvin & Hobbes, we nominate “The Horrendous Credit Kablooie.” The full impact of the HCK on China’s mutual funds became clear today – China’s 396 funds lost a combined US$40.2 billion in value in the third quarter alone. And weaker economic numbers are rearing their heads in the wider economy as well. The China Iron & Steel Association is now saying that slowing economic growth will reduce orders from steel makers, pushing down demand for iron ore, and 40% of the steel makers in Tangshan, Hebei, have shut down. In the meantime, there’s more bad news for banks. Analysts predict that government efforts to keep the economy moving with interest rate cuts and the like are likely to hurt banks going into next year. As things continue to fall and fall apart, we hope that the awarding of the Sakharov Prize to Chinese dissident Hu Jia won’t get in the way of negotiations in Beijing.