Wednesday, September 28, 2011

I am glad someone finally said it : Germany slams 'stupid' US plans to boost EU rescue fund

I am glad someone finally said it : Germany slams 'stupid' US plans to boost EU rescue fund

Germany and America were on a collision course on Tuesday night over the handling of Europe's debt crisis after Berlin savaged plans to boost the EU rescue fund as a "stupid idea" and told the White House to sort out its own mess before giving gratuitous advice to others.

US becoming a less friendly business environment than China

US becoming a less friendly business environment than China
By Alan Rappeport in New York

Coca-Cola now sees the US becoming a less friendly business environment than China, its chief executive has revealed, citing political gridlock and an antiquated tax structure as reasons its home market has become less competitive.

Muhtar Kent, Coke’s chief executive, said “in many respects” it was easier doing business in China, which he likened to a well-managed company. “You have a one-stop shop in terms of the Chinese foreign investment agency and local governments are fighting for investment with each other,” he told the Financial Times.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

RARE Friedman Footage - On Keys to Reagan and Thatcher's Success

RARE Friedman Footage - On Keys to Reagan and Thatcher's Success

Geithner :$200K Per Job ,White House Jobs Plan Is Still a Bargain

Geithner :$200K Per Job ,White House Jobs Plan Is Still a Bargain

Sept. 26, 2011

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner didn't dispute a Harvard economist's estimate that each job in the White House's jobs plan would cost $200,000, but said the pricetag is the wrong way to measure the bill's worth.

And he also pointed out, in an interview today with ABC News' David Muir, that there is no other option on the table for getting the economy moving and putting more people back to work.

"You've got to think about the costs of the alternatives," Geithner said when asked about Harvard economist Martin Feldstein's calculation that each job created by President Obama's American Jobs Act would cost taxpayers about $200,000.

PAY BACK TIME : SEC May Recommend Legal Action Against S&P

PAY BACK TIME : SEC May Recommend Legal Action Against S&P

The staff of the Securities and Exchange Commission is considering recommending civil legal action against the Standard & Poor's debt ratings agency over its rating of a 2007 collateralized debt offering

Collateralized debt obligations  , also known as CDOs, are securities tied to multiple underlying mortgage loans. The CDO generally gains value if borrowers repay. But if borrowers default, CDO investors lose money. Soured CDOs have been blamed for making the 2008 financial crisis worse. Ratings agencies have been accused of being lax in rating CDOs.

The SEC staff said it may recommend that the commission seek civil money penalties, disgorgement of fees or other actions.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Now the IMF Needs A Bailout

Christine Lagarde: IMF may need billions in extra funding
Louise Armitstead and Jonathan Russell8:04PM BST 25 Sep 2011

Christine Lagarde has signalled that the International Monetary Fund (IMF) may have to tap its members – including Britain – for billions of pounds of extra funding to stem the European debt crisis.

The head of the IMF has warned that its $384bn (£248bn) war chest designed as an emergency bail-out fund is inadequate to deliver the scale of the support required by troubled states.

In a document distributed to the IMF steering committee at the weekend, Ms Lagarde said: "The fund's credibility, and hence effectiveness, rests on its perceived capacity to cope with worst-casescenarios. Our lending capacity of almost $400bn looks comfortable today, but pales in comparison with the potential financing needs of vulnerable countries and crisis bystanders."

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Global economy pushed to the brink

Global economy pushed to the brink
By Chris Giles and Alan Beattie in Washington, Michael Mackenzie in New York and Richard Milne

Time is running out to find a solution to the eurozone crisis and prevent another global recession, finance ministers warned on Friday, as they hinted that discussions were under way to boost the firepower of European rescue funds.

Financial markets experienced another day of intense volatility as investors struggled to interpret an emergency statement from the Group of 20 leading economies, which met on the sidelines of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank meetings in Washington.

Investors were initially unimpressed by the G20’s message of support for the global economy, but several said they did not want to get caught out should policymakers unexpectedly decide on a radical policy response.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Warnings mount on euro crisis, BRICS mull more aid

Warnings mount on euro crisis, BRICS mull more aid
By David Lawder and Walter Brandimarte

WASHINGTON - World leaders and finance chiefs pushed Europe to quell its debt crisis and big emerging economies said they might provide more money to help stop the chaos from spreading.

As finance ministers and central bankers gathered for talks amid growing concern about sharply slowing growth and plunging stock markets, the leaders of seven big economies stressed the need to contain the euro zone crisis.

"Euro zone governments and institutions must act swiftly to resolve the euro crisis and all European economies must confront the debt overhang to prevent contagion to the wider global economy," the leaders of Australia, Canada, Indonesia, Britain, Mexico, South Africa and South Korea wrote in an open letter to France, chair of the Group of 20 leading economies.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Warren Buffett to host fundraiser for Obama in Chicago

Warren Buffett to host fundraiser for Obama in Chicago

Billionaire U.S. investor Warren Buffett will help raise money for President Barack Obama's re-election effort at a $35,800-a-ticket fundraiser next month in Chicago, an Obama campaign official said on Wednesday.

Buffett will attend the Oct. 27 event at a private home on Chicago's North Shore that is expected to include major donors to Obama's 2008 presidential run. The Democratic president, who is not expected to attend, is running for re-election in 2012.,0,2294.story

Moody's downgrades big banks on changed policy

Moody's downgrades big banks on changed policy
By Joe Rauch and David Henry
Wed Sep 21, 2011 6:05pm EDT

(Reuters) - Moody's Investors Service lowered debt ratings for Bank of America Corp, Citigroup Inc and Wells Fargo & Co on Wednesday, saying the U.S. government is getting less comfortable with bailing out large troubled lenders.

The government is "more likely now than during the financial crisis to allow a large bank to fail should it become financially troubled," said the rating agency, a unit of Moody's Corp.

"This is crystallizing the fact we're in a new political reality," said Jason Ware, equity analyst with Salt Lake City-based Albion Financial Group.

Moody's decision hit Bank of America hardest, as it downgraded the long- and short-term debt of the holding company and long-term deposits at its main banking unit.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

IMF: World economy enters 'dangerous new phase'

IMF: World economy enters 'dangerous new phase'
IMF says global economy in 'dangerous new phase,' slashes growth forecasts for US and Europe

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The world economy has entered a "dangerous new phase," according to the chief economist of the International Monetary Fund. As a result, the international lending organization has sharply downgraded its economic outlook for the United States and Europe through the end of next year.
The IMF expects the U.S. economy to grow just 1.5 percent this year and 1.8 percent in 2012. That's down from its June forecast of 2.5 percent in 2011 and 2.7 percent next year.

To achieve even that still-low level of growth, the U.S. economy would need to expand at a much faster rate in the second half of the year than its 0.7 percent annual pace in the first six months.

Most economists expect growth of between 1.5 percent and 2 percent in the final two quarters. Though an improvement, it wouldn't be enough to lower the unemployment rate. The rate has been 9 percent or higher in all but two months since the recession officially ended more than two years ago.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Europe digs ever deeper debt hole

Europe digs ever deeper debt hole

Europe is digging an ever-deeper hole as it vows to resolve the eurozone crisis, experts said on Sunday as Greece readies for a pivotal week of international debt diplomacy.

"The otherwise fractious European Union leaders have united in their criticism of the markets, the IMF and now (US Treasury Secretary) Tim Geithner -- for being honest about the scale of problems facing the eurozone," Sony Kapoor, head of the Re-define think tank, told AFP.

En route to New York and a frantic week at International Monetary Fund, World Bank and G20 gatherings, he said "kill the messenger seems to be the new strategy" for an EU "plagued by parochialism, pettiness and procrastination."

"This does not bode well for the ability of EU leaders to respond to the big and urgent challenge posed by the unsustainable borrowing costs facing Italy," the eurozone's third economy, he said.

“If the euro fails, then Europe fails.”

As Europe’s leaders pledge support for the single currency, the talk among some is of default. An outline of the possible outcomes

“If the euro fails, then Europe fails.”

Angela Merkel’s staunch defence of the single currency, made in the Bundestag this month, is widely shared by other European leaders. The German chancellor’s sentiment demonstrates the political will not to let Europe’s sovereign debt crisis undermine the single currency.

So long as this level of political capital is invested in the euro, monetary union is highly likely to survive. However, the talk among investors and some European politicians this week has been of Greek default. The graphic below outlines the likely consequences of a default by Greece. It is a description, not a prediction – a description that includes the possibility of the break-up of the eurozone, though even in the event of Greek default that outcome is far from inevitable.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Geithner warns EU of ‘catastrophic risk’

Geithner warns EU of ‘catastrophic risk’
By Joshua Chaffin and Alex Barker in Wroclaw and Kerin Hope in Athens

The US Treasury secretary told Europe’s leaders to stop bickering and take control of the debt crisis that has brought “catastrophic risk” to financial markets.

In a blunt warning that reflected Washington’s growing concern, Timothy Geithner urged European leaders to halt a months-long clash with the European Central Bank and argued that the EU’s growing reliance on foreign lenders would imperil the bloc’s ability to control its own destiny.

“What is very damaging [in Europe] from the outside is not the divisiveness about the broader debate, about strategy, but about the ongoing conflict between governments and the central bank, and you need both to work together to do what is essential to the resolution of any crisis,” Mr Geithner said on the sidelines of a meeting of eurozone finance ministers in Wroclaw, Poland on Friday.

Europe's debt crisis prompts central banks to provide dollar liquidity

Europe's debt crisis prompts central banks to provide dollar liquidity
European and US stocks surge on news that world banks will flood markets – but Lagarde warns of 'dangerous' new phase

Larry Elliott, economics editor and Dominic Rushe in New York, Thursday 15 September 2011 16.12 EDT

Fears of a deepening of Europe's debt crisis have prompted the world's leading central banks to pump US dollars into the financial system, in a co-ordinated action designed to boost market confidence.

The Bank of England joined the US Federal Reserve, the European Central Bank, the Swiss National Bank and the Bank of Japan on Thursday to announce that they would flood money markets with dollars over the coming months.

The move, on the third anniversary of the collapse of the US investment bank Lehman Brothers, sent shares soaring in banks heavily exposed to debt default by Greece and the other struggling members of the 17-nation eurozone. The euro, which had been falling in recent days, rebounded, rising roughly 1% in European trading on Thursday.

IMF threatens to withhold Greek loan

IMF threatens to withhold Greek loan
By Peter Spiegel in Brussels, Alan Beattie in Washington and Joshua Chaffin in Wroclaw, Poland

Christine Lagarde, head of the International Monetary Fund, on Thursday raised the spectre of her organisation withholding its portion of an €8bn ($11bn) aid payment Greece needs by the end of this month, saying Athens had implemented requisite economic reforms “in parts”.

Speaking ahead of a highly anticipated meeting of IMF, US and European finance officials in Poland, Ms Lagarde said Athens had to re-ignite “the urge to deliver on commitments” made by its government after a period during which “momentum had slowed down”.

Monday, September 12, 2011

JPMorgan chief says bank rules ‘anti-US’

JPMorgan chief says bank rules ‘anti-US’
By Tom Braithwaite in New York and Patrick Jenkins in London
Published: September 12 2011 00:01

New international bank capital rules are “anti-American” and the US should consider pulling out of the Basel group of global regulators, Jamie Dimon, chief executive of JPMorgan Chase, has said.

In an interview with the Financial Times, Mr Dimon said he was supportive of forcing banks to have more capital but argued that moves to impose an additional charge on the largest global banks went too far, particularly for American banks.

Thursday, September 08, 2011

UBS: Euro Can't Survive, Demise to Spark Chaos

UBS: Euro Can't Survive, Demise to Spark Chaos
Wednesday, 07 Sep 2011 12:39 PM
By Forrest Jones

The euro cannot exist in its current state, and with its demise authoritarianism and possibly civil war could consume parts of Europe, global financial giant UBS writes in a report.

"Under the current structure and with the current membership, the euro does not work. Either the current structure will have to change, or the current membership will have to change," UBS says in the report, according to Zero Hedge.

The currency has been embattled by debt crises in peripheral countries like Greece and Italy and threatens to spread, while healthier countries are debating on how to rescue those in trouble and preserve the monetary union.

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

In Euro Zone, Banking Fear Feeds on Itself

In Euro Zone, Banking Fear Feeds on Itself
Published: September 6, 2011

Remember the collapse of Lehman Brothers? Europeans certainly do

As Europe struggles to contain its government debt crisis, the greatest fear is that one of the Continent’s major banks may fail, setting off a financial panic like the one sparked by Lehman’s bankruptcy in September 2008.

European policy makers, determined to avoid such a catastrophe, are prepared to use hundreds of billions of euros of bailout money to prevent any major bank from failing.

But questions continue to mount about the ability of Europe’s banks to ride out the crisis, as some are having a harder time securing loans needed for daily operations.

American financial institutions, seeking to inoculate themselves from the growing risks, are increasingly wary of making new short-term loans in some cases and are pulling back from doing business with their European counterparts — moves that could exacerbate the funding problems of European banks.

Monday, September 05, 2011

Fears rise again over Europe debt crisis

Fears rise again over Europe debt crisis
By Richard Milne in London

German benchmark borrowing costs fell below 2 per cent to all-time lows while Italy’s shot up as worries about the eurozone debt crisis and the fragility of banks once more intensified.

European lenders bore the brunt of a broad-based sell-off across equity markets while the cost of insuring bank and government debt hit record highs as investors fled from risky assets to safer ones.