Saturday, 28 February 2009

Sir Fred Goodwin is stealing the show from the real culprits

"The thirst for vengeance is distracting us from a terrible reality - that the economy is in a worse state than anyone will admit..I've not heard We're in the Money played on the bagpipes, but given that Sir Fred is practically unemployable he will have plenty of time to learn it. His remarkable transition from Britain's most successful banker to Public Enemy Number 1 is all but complete. Not even Abu Qatada at his most unappealing could hope to match the intensity of abuse heaped on The Shred. ....If the inappropriately named Goodwin did not exist, the Government's Department of Propaganda would need to invent him. By casting Sir Fred as the pantomime villain – the credit crunch's Dick Dastardly – the unholy trinity of Gordon Brown, Alistair Darling and Lord Mandelson has been able to deflect attention from Labour's calamitous stewardship. ...The Chancellor is not an evil man, but is so far out of his depth that sonar systems can no longer track him. Like Mr O'Reilly, the Irish builder in Fawlty Towers, with each attempt at fixing the previous botched job, he creates a new, more threatening, set of problems. In the end, the roof falls in."

Friday, 27 February 2009

Shares tumble across globe as figures reveal U.S. economy shrank 6% in last quarter - the fastest rate in 25 years

Daily Mail
"Shares across the world plummeted today after news the U.S. economy contracted a staggering 6.2 per cent at the end of last year.The Commerce Department report showed the biggest GDP drop in 25 years and far worse than the 3.8 per cent estimated by the government last month.Consequently, London's FTSE 100 index plunged 127.35 points to 3,788.29 and America's Dow Jones fell 132.45 points to 7,049.63."

Is BBC reporter Robert Peston a government stooge?

Daily Mail
"Fresh questions have been raised over whether BBC Business editor Robert Peston is being used as a Government stooge during the financial crisis. ...Peston has shot to national fame with a series of exclusive stories on the credit crisis and bank rescue plans."

Taxpayers heading for a loss of nearly £100 billion

"The total taxpayer investment so far is £45.5 billion. That's £15 billion in October 2008, another £5 billion the same month and £25.5 billion this month. Next up is the taxpayer insurance for £325 billion of toxic RBS assets. Not all of that will turn bad, but bankers and analysts close to the situation think the taxpayer's loss from this aspect of the rescue will amount to £50 billion. Add the two together and that makes £95.5 billion. It is almost three times the annual defence budget (£35 billion) and not far off what we spend on Health each year (in excess of £105 billion). It is crippling and will end up on the national debt. And this is for just one bank; there is also the toxic stew of Brown's Lloyds/HBOS hybrid to consider."

Thursday, 26 February 2009

Moody's predicts default rate will exceed peaks hit in Great Depression

"We certainly think that this credit cycle will be worse than the last two in the early 1990s and 2000s. In fact, in 2009 we expect to see the largest number of defaults since the advent of high yield bond market in the early 1980s. And the default rate for non-investment grade bonds may reach levels even higher than those registered during the Great Depression."

Bank Governor says deep debts run up by Labour during the boom years are hampering the country's recovery

The Times
"The Governor also underlined the Bank's intention to use quantitative easing - sometimes called printing money - to boost the economy. But he tried to allay fears that the move could cause a jump in inflation: “We are not going to allow a great inflationary surge. The problem at present is not that the amount of money in the economy is growing too rapidly, threatening an inflationary surge, it’s that the amount of money in the economy is growing too slowly," he said."
Comment: Last Chance saloon......

Minister agreed deal says ex-RBS chief

"In a letter seen by the Independent, Sir Fred said Lord Myners had been told about the pension payments and had agreed the deal on the basis the banker would forego other contractual benefits when he stood down last October."
Comment: Closing the door after agreeing to let the horse go...

Wednesday, 25 February 2009

Brown told us not to question banks on risky practices, says City watchdog

Daily Mail
"In damning evidence to the Treasury select committee, Financial Services Authority chairman Lord Turner said there was clear 'political' pressure not to question the business models of banks such as Northern Rock, HBOS and Bradford and Bingley.
....In spite of the disastrous state to which the banking system has been consigned, the FSA also announced today that it would be paying out £21 million in bonuses to staff. Chief executive Hector Sants told the committee that each employee would get between £7,000 and £8,000."

Britons need to face up to its excesses over the previous decade

"The economy is in a recession which will last until well into next year, if not longer. A further 1.5 million people have yet to lose their jobs. The average homeowner is losing £575 a week on his or her home, based on price performance over the past year. And we are already mired in deflation. Anyone who still doubts this last fact should examine the data: over the past five months alone, prices have fallen by 3.8 per cent. Even the consumer price index, which excludes house prices and mortgage interest rates, is down by 1.5 per cent in the same period. Only the annual inflation rate, which still includes the effect of the oil price shock last year, is still in positive territory, and won't be for much longer."

Tuesday, 24 February 2009

Why is the Government using our money to bribe a bank to puff up a new house price bubble?

Daily Mail
"Now, if reports are to be believed, the bankers are getting their own back. Lloyds Banking Group - that dog’s breakfast of an institution brought into being under Gordon Brown’s tutelage - owes us, the taxpayer, £4 billion, in the shape of preference shares that are supposed to pay a fixed dividend of 12 per cent, which ought to mean £480 million a year for the Exchequer.But it seems Lloyds would really rather not part with this money....
It so happens that the British Government does not want to swap debt for corporate control - it has no wish to own any more banks, having already wound up holding Northern Rock, Bradford & Bingley and Royal Bank of Scotland.
In the real world, Lloyds would have little choice but to put up with the situation. But in Bailout Land, a fantasy solution is, apparently, to hand. The preference shares can be converted into non-voting ordinary shares.In other words, the shares that carry no votes but which do carry a fixed interest payment will be changed into shares that carry no votes and carry no interest payments."

One in nine people living in Britain now born overseas as 300,000 more foreigners settle in the UK

Daily Mail
"With dole queues now lengthening, the Government is facing increasing pressure to safeguard jobs for local workers, in the wake of a series of wildcat strikes over the use of foreign workers at a refinery in Lincolnshire."
China nears deflation trap as rail freight collapses (Telegraph)

Monday, 23 February 2009

ECB's Trichet sounds alarm over Europe's credit contraction

"The eurozone's financial system is under "severe strain" and risks setting off a downward spiral as the banking crisis and economic recession feed on each other, according to European Central Bank president Jean-Claude Trichet. ..Professor Tim Congdon from the London School of Economcs said the contraction of eurozone credit was "extremely disturbing" but inevitable after moves in October to force banks to raise their capital ratios. "It was a catastrophic decision," he said."
ECB faces mutiny from national bank governors as recession deepens
"The credit default swaps that measure bankruptcy risk on the debts of Ireland, Austria and a clutch of Latin Bloc states have vaulted to dangerous levels. In the case of Ireland, the slump is spilling on to the streets. Some 120,000 marched through Dublin over the weekend to protest austerity measures."

Saturday, 21 February 2009

The next Labour leader is destined to be a loser

The battle to succeed Gordon Brown is ferocious because it matters so little:
"...The present round of leadership hysteria has at its centre the great survivor Harriet Harman, whose protestations of loyalty to Gordon are carefully phrased so as to make clear that she would be more than happy to fill the breach on the sad day when the Dear Leader retires to spend more time with his library."

Comment : While Rome Burns....

Friday, 20 February 2009

Borrowing to save the economy is like trying to sober up a drunk by giving him a large whisky

Daily Mail
"Hard though it is to believe, Chancellor Alistair Darling still claims that borrowing is under control, while Gordon Brown continues to insist that the British economy is built on ‘sound fundamentals’.
..These latest official figures show that Britain’s financial state is now far, far worse than countries such as Greece or Italy, which we have traditionally looked down upon and sneered at for their profligacy.
....The Prime Minister is currently set on a spending surge unmatched by any other government in British history. Tragically, however, this extra spending comes at a moment when government revenues are collapsing at a record rate.
....Rather than making the national balance sheet add up, the Chancellor is resorting to the printing presses in a desperate attempt to save the day. This is a technique which only the most improvident and short-termist governments ever use — Weimar Germany after World War One, Argentina in the 1970s, Zimbabwe in the past few years."

The number of UK homes repossessed last year rose 54pc to a 12-year high of 40,000, figures from the Council of Mortgage Lenders show.

"He said there had been a sharp rise in cases where borrowers were handing back their keys or abandoning their properties."
UK car production fell 58.7pc in January, confirming the dramatic decline in the country's motor industry.
Tony Blair, peace laureate? Have they heard of Iraq?
"Our newly decorated man of peace is the same one who, as Middle East peace envoy, failed to utter a single word of public condemnation about last month's Israeli bombardment of Gaza – even though it was denounced as disproportionate by Ban Ki‑Moon, the general secretary of the United Nations. It was only after Gordon Brown mocked his old adversary, by suggesting that he must be on holiday, that Mr Blair found his voice."

Thursday, 19 February 2009

Britain faces years of tax rises as bank bailouts add £1.5 TRILLION to public debt

Daily Mail
"Britain faces years of tax rises and huge cuts in public spending as the government battles to control public debt that could soar to £15 trillion, an official report has revealed."
Welcome to Brown's Billions: a farce remade as a tragedy
"In Brown's Billions, a Scottish finance minister gets his hands on as much money as he can and spends it all. In a decade-long splurge, he pumps up public spending, vastly extends welfare entitlements and blocks the meaningful reform of public services. With the credits ready to roll, he – and we – have very little to show for it.
Just how much has been wasted becomes apparent on a reading of a powerful new report published this week by Conservative Home. Bankrupt Britain is by Malcolm Offord, a City fund manager. It is dynamite." (Telegraph)

Wednesday, 18 February 2009

Bank of England asks Darling's permission to start printing more money as Brown calls for a new global economic deal

Daily Mail
"The meeting came after policymakers on its Monetary Policy Committee unanimously agreed they have no choice but to start printing money to ease the credit crisis.Mr King formally communicated that wish to Mr Darling, where he asked for consent to 'conduct purchases of government and other securities, financed by the creation of central bank money,' ....
Howard Archer, economist at IHS Global Insight, said: 'It is now very much a question of when will - rather than will - the Bank of England engage in quantitative easing.
'The answer seems to be sooner rather than later - very possibly as soon as March - and that this will take up the thrust of the Bank of England's efforts to drive the economy out of recession.'
COMMENT: "quantitative easing" (printing money) is a form of devaluation in all but name.

PS The Bank of England has been doing this for over a year,so now it goes into overdrive!

Tuesday, 17 February 2009

Gold hits record against euro on fear of Zimbabwean-style response to bank crisis

"Gold jumped to multiple records on Tuesday, triggered by fears that East Europe's banking crisis could set off debt defaults and lead to contagion within the eurozone. It touched €762 an ounce against the euro, £675 against sterling, and 47,783 against India's rupee.
...The trend by central banks and global wealth funds to shift reserves into euro bonds may have peaked as it becomes clear that the European region is tipping into a slump that is as deep – if not deeper – than the US downturn. Germany contracted at an 8.4pc annual rate in the fourth quarter. The severity of the crash in Britain, Ireland, Spain, the Baltics, Hungary, Ukraine and Russia has shifted the epicentre of this crisis across the Atlantic. The latest shock news is the 20pc fall in Russia's industrial production in January. The country is losing half a million jobs a month."
Inflation has plunged to its lowest rate in nearly half a century, raising the spectre of outright deflation. (Daily Mail)

Monday, 16 February 2009

Things will get even worse than we predicted, say the Bank Of England

".....he acknowledges the fact that the Bank had actually made warnings about the very factors which caused the financial crisis itself back in 2006. Bean said: "a number of bodies identified the vulnerabilities that were building up as a result of the accumulation of debt. Indeed, in 2006 our own Financial Stability Report highlighted many of the risks which have subsequently crystallised. And we debated these vulnerabilities at meetings of the Monetary Policy Committee on various occasions. But no-one really foresaw the virulence with which the crisis would unfold and the route it would take."
Lloyds in line for second bail-out as Brown says he has no regrets over HBOS merger (Daily Mail)

£100bn 'black hole' predicted for Government as it tries to bring recession under control

Daily Mail
"The Confederation of British Industry's latest economic forecast says the UK economy will shrink by 3.3 per cent in 2009, compared with its November forecast of a 1.7 per cent contraction.Net borrowing for 2009/10 is expected to reach £149billion, compared with the £118billion predicted by Chancellor Alistair Darling in his Pre-Budget Report last year."
Revealed: Olympic bosses classify foreign workers as British... because they live in B&Bs in London

Sunday, 15 February 2009

A former HBOS executive says he has documents that prove the Prime Minister must take responsibility for the mess in the markets

"Paul Moore, the former head of risk at HBOS, told the IoS that he has more than 30 potentially incendiary documents which he will send to MPs on the Treasury Select Committee. He says they disprove Mr Brown's claim about the reasons for HBOS's catastrophic losses – now estimated to be nearly £11bn – and show that it was the reckless lending culture, easy credit and failed regulation of the Brown years that led directly to the implosion of British banks."
ComRes poll for The Independent on Sunday shows Labour has slumped seven points to 25 per cent and is now just three points ahead of the Liberal Democrats on 22. The Tories are now 16 points ahead of Labour, on 41 per cent.

Saturday, 14 February 2009

Failure to save East Europe will lead to worldwide meltdown

"It is East Europe that is blowing up right now. Erik Berglof, EBRD's chief economist, told me the region may need €400bn in help to cover loans and prop up the credit system.
Europe's governments are making matters worse. Some are pressuring their banks to pull back, undercutting subsidiaries in East Europe. Athens has ordered Greek banks to pull out of the Balkans."
Alistair Darling risks rift with Germany and France over bank rescue

A fatal attraction: Labour's fascination with the super-rich will destroy the party and could take Britain down with it

Daily Mail
"In August 2007, Britain passed a grim landmark. Consumer debts in the form of mortgages, loans and credit card bills totalled £1.35trillion and overtook the entire gross domestic product of the country, which stood at £1.33trillion."

The return of Brown the Brooder

"And among Labour backbenchers, there is only despair. "It's simple. No one, and I mean no one, believes we are going to win the next election," says a well-connected former minister. Having lauded Mr Brown as a strategic genius, many MPs now think he has run out of ideas – citing this week's decision to delay the Budget until late April, one refers to him as Mr Micawber, "hoping that something will turn up".
Darling makes us wait an extra month for the budget
As shares plunge following £10billion losses, is Lloyds the next to be nationalised?
(Daily Mail)

Thursday, 12 February 2009

European bank bail-out could push EU into crisis

"A bail-out of the toxic assets held by European banks' could plunge the European Union into crisis, according to a confidential Brussels document....The secret 17-page paper was discussed by finance ministers, including the Chancellor Alistair Darling on Tuesday".

Bit by bit, Gordon Brown's fantasy is being pulled apart by the facts

"For, in addition to destroying shareholder value and causing mayhem in the markets, bankers have embarrassed the Government. By their folly, they have helped expose, albeit unwittingly, the ignorance of ministers, flaws in the Financial Services Authority and impotence at the Bank of England. This will never do. What's more, they have established beyond dispute the Prime Minister's inability to pick a winner. Or, put another way, the Curse of Brown."

Wednesday, 11 February 2009

Pound tumbles after Bank governor warns Britain is in a deep recession and economy could shrink by 6%

Daily Mail
Economist George Buckley of Deutsche Bank said: ‘This is the grimmest set of forecasts from the Bank of England that I have ever seen. It is as simple as that.’
Economist Simon Ward of fund managers New Star said the Bank’s growth and inflation projections ‘stretch plausibility’.
Michael Saunders of investment bank Citigroup said: ‘The scale of the forecast downturn is breathtaking. Indeed, things may be even worse, and we look for gross domestic product to fall by 3-4 per cent this year, with a slower recovery in 2010-11."
PM's adviser quits financial watchdog over sacking of 'reckless banks' whistleblower (Daily Mail)
HBOS whistleblower stands firm
"Mr Moore told MPs it was obvious that the bank was "going too fast", but he was eventually sacked by Sir James as head of regulatory risk in 2005. ....Mr Moore hit back casting doubts on the independence of the investigation and saying that he had a "significant body of detailed additional evidence" to back his claims." (Independent)
HBOS whistleblower Paul Moore breaks silence to condemn Crosby (Telegraph)
"He told the Daily Telegraph that he "totally stood by" his claims about his sacking and said he had extensive correspondence to back them up which he was prepared to submit to an inquiry for scrutiny.
...And he described an unpublished report by the respected accountants KPMG which exonerated Sir James of wrongdoing as "inaccurate, inadequate and without weight".
The Bank of England’s Governor admitted yesterday that Britain is now in “deep recession” and signalled that it is ready to start “printing money” as soon as next month in aggressive, last-ditch moves to limit the slump. (The Times)

Comment: “quantitative easing” has been taking place for well over a year
Britain's beleaguered car industry has already received generous taxpayer handouts of over half a billion pounds - even before a penny of Lord Mandelson's current £2.3bn bailout is dished out. (Daily Mail)

Tuesday, 10 February 2009

Financial stocks plummeted tonight as the markets reacted with horror to the Obama Administration's economic rescue plans.

The Times
"Quincy Crosby, chief investment strategist at The Hartford, one of America's biggest investment companies, said that the White House's financial rescue plan had disappointed the financial markets with its lack of detail."

Comment: sound familiar to you Gordon ?

Monday, 9 February 2009

Labour and Gordon Brown in poll wipeout despite economy hopes

The Times
"The latest Populus poll for The Times, undertaken at the weekend, shows that the bounce in Mr Brown’s ratings after the banking rescue has now been largely wiped out. Labour has dropped by 5 points to 28 per cent since last month, its lowest level for nearly six months."
The European Union has called an emergency summit of national leaders this month to halt the drift towards protectionism and stem the risks of a debt crisis as the slump deepens. (Telegraph)

Sunday, 8 February 2009

Bank of England to warn recession will last far longer than Government's forecast

"The Bank is expected to cut its growth forecast from the already-bearish projection that the economy would shrink by 1.3pc in 2009 made in November, to one which factors in a far steeper decline. It undermines the Treasury's assessment in the pre-Budget report that the economy would start growing again in the second half of the year."
The International Monetary Fund could run out of cash to firefight the economic crisis in as little as six months, its managing director has warned.
"Today, the IMF's resources are enough to face the situation but because we are facing a global crisis, the needs may be much bigger than previously," he said. "We have to intervene in Asia, Africa and Central Europe, Latin America, and maybe elsewhere. I can't promise that in six to eight months from now, we will have enough resources."

Saturday, 7 February 2009

Governments need to give banks a decade-long guarantee of their liabilities to end crisis

"..Banks invested in toxic assets which will never be worth what they originally paid. But they also invested in assets which may well be perfectly ok. The snag is that they can't sell these illiquid assets in current market conditions - or, if they did, they would have to take massive haircuts."

Friday, 6 February 2009

British workers realise that Brown can't deliver the goods

"If I were competing with Portuguese and Italians to get scarce work at a British oil refinery, and were told by Lord Mandelson of Hartlepool and Foy (who will receive a six-figure pension from the European Commission) that I was "xenophobic", I think I would invite him to return to the Continent which he loves so much, using strictly Anglo-Saxon words."

Thursday, 5 February 2009

Savers now on ZERO interest as base rate is slashed yet again to a new record low

Daily Mail
"The relentless assault on savers continued yesterday with another interest rate cut.
It means that, for the first time ever, many so-called savings accounts will pay no interest at all."

Bank rate lowest in its 315-year history

"The Building Societies Association (BSA), which had campaigned for unchanged rates, said the cut was an "assault on savers", who have now seen their interest payments drop by 83 per cent since July 2007. ...Since the last decision, it has emerged that the UK economy shrank by 1.5 per cent in the fourth quarter of last year - the biggest contraction in almost 30 years.Unemployment has soared, with thousands of jobs being shed across the UK each week. January's figures showed jobless totals jumped by 131,000 in the three months to November to 1.92 million, the highest figure for more than a decade.On top of this, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has predicted that Britain will suffer more than any other advanced nation in the worst global recession since the Second World War.The Bank of England today said the global economy was in the throes of "a severe and synchronised downturn"."Credit conditions faced by companies and households have tightened further. The underlying picture for consumer spending appears weak," it said."

Wednesday, 4 February 2009

Economists warn of 'feeble' UK recovery

"Britain's economy will shrink by 2.7 per cent this year and stage only a "feeble" recovery in 2010, one of the country's most respected economic forecasters warned yesterday.The think-tank's prognosis for the UK's economy includes a string of gloomy projections. The NIESRbelieves unemployment will hit 7.4 per cent by the end of this year, rising to 8.4 per cent in 2010, which would equate to joblessness rising well above 3 million."

Taxpayers could face 4p hike to fill the £14bn black hole

Daily Mail
"Taxes would have to go up by between 3 and 4p in the pound to fill a £14billion black hole in Treasury revenues caused by the banking collapse, research will reveal today.The National Institute of Economic and Social Research will say ministers should delay tax increases or spending cuts until the crisis abates.The warning came after it emerged bankers have temporarily dumped £287billion worth of stricken mortgages on the Bank of England as they attempt to restore their finances to health.That is more than five times the amount first predicted by the Bank when it set up its Special Liquidity Scheme last year."

Tuesday, 3 February 2009

FSA was warned about Icelandic bank

"The City watchdog was warned that Icelandic bank Kaupthing was not "fit and proper" to run the UK bank Singer & Friedlander, MPs were told today.Tony Shearer, former chief executive of Singer & Friedlander (S&F), said he contacted the Financial Services Authority about his doubts in April 2005 during the takeover of the group by Kaupthing.He said he and fellow directors took "every step that they thought was reasonable" to alert the FSA that they did not think Kaupthing was "fit and proper to run a UK bank".

Monday, 2 February 2009

Why these strikers may tear down the EU empire

Daily Mail
"The Government has been exposed as quislings for the Brussels empire.What is most satisfying about watching the Government's twisting in all this – beyond the fear and paralysis of Gordon Brown in the face of the strikers, and the way Peter Mandelson has been exposed as utterly out of touch with true British Labour gut instinct – is that the Government may have created for itself what could blow up into a crisis to match the liquidity crisis in the banks."
Wildcat strikes threaten to escalate after Lord Mandelson calls protests 'xenophobic'
"The issue is causing a split at the highest levels of the Labour Party. Alan Johnson, the Health Secretary and former union leader, has called for European directives to be renegotiated if necessary. It is claimed that firms are using loopholes in European law to only hire workers from certain countries. The proposal for the Government to intervene is also backed by senior Labour figures including former ministers Peter Hain and Frank Field." (Telegraph)

Sunday, 1 February 2009

You promised British jobs for British workers, Gordon - now you must make it happen

Daily Mail
:Frank Field, Labour MP for Birkenhead
"The facts speak for themselves. The Government quite rightly boasts that more than three million new jobs have been created since Labour was elected in 1997. It has contemptuously brushed aside worries expressed by a tiny handful of its MPs that nine out of ten of these jobs have gone to foreign workers. .....Likewise, the Government has continued to pretend it is living in an Alice In Wonderland-type world when faced with what is happening on the Olympic site in the London borough of Newham. ....But what do the facts tell us? Since 2005 more than 50,000 national insurance numbers have been issued in Newham and practically all of them have gone to non-British workers. .....the scheme that allows entry to skilled workers who have no job to come to must cease immediately. ...the Government must recognise that there is still something wrong with our education system if nine out of ten new jobs go to non-British workers. ....Labour risks a wipeout at the next General Election unless it gets a real grip of its immigration policy.