Thursday, 30 December 2010

Eurozone 'has 80% chance of losing the single currency in next decade,' claims think-tank

Daily Mail
"The financial crisis that has crippled Greece and Ireland will spread to other debt-ridden European countries in the New Year, according to the Centre for Economics and Business Research.Among those in the firing line will be Italy and Spain – the third and fourth biggest economies in the single currency bloc behind Germany and France.'We give the euro only a one in five chance of surviving in its present form for 10 years,' says CEBR chief executive Douglas McWilliams.The hard-hitting report also warns that Britain faces a tough 2011 as austerity measures bite."

Italy's debt costs approach red zone

Telegraph
"Italy's borrowing costs have jumped to the highest level since the financial crisis over two years ago, raising concerns that Europe's biggest debtor may slip from the eurozone's stable core into the high-risk group on the periphery. "

Wednesday, 29 December 2010

Microsoft co-founder relaunches tech patent suit

Reuters
"Microsoft Corp (MSFT.O) co-founder Paul Allen relaunched a wide-ranging patent lawsuit against Apple Inc (AAPL.O), Google Inc (GOOG.O), Facebook and others with specific allegations that the companies are illegally using technology owned by his company."

G20 and EU 'posturing' could exacerbate future banking crises

Telegraph
"The efforts of the G20 and European Union to overhaul financial regulations have been lambasted for being "disingenuous political posturing" that are "increasing the likelihood of future meltdowns", an influential think-tank has warned. "

Sunday, 26 December 2010

The UK inflation genie is out of the bottle

Telegraph
"Some of us have been warning this would happen. Since late 2008, this column has asserted that the UK faces inflationary dangers and that talk of British "deflation" was deeply disingenuous, an intellectual conceit to justify massive virtual "money printing" and the extension of endless soft credits to banks that should, in fact, be allowed to fail.

Such a position has been seen as heresy – not least because "quantitative easing" has friends in high places. QE, for now, has helped politically connected bankers to dodge the implications of their own hubris and incompetence. It has allowed successive British governments to stick their fingers in their ears and avoid tackling root-and-branch banking reform.

To argue that QE is dangerous and that, as a corollary, the UK faces high inflation has been to be treated by the UK's policy-making elite as some kind of economic Herod. I might as well have been suggesting we slay the first born. In recent weeks, though, the mood has changed. Reality has thankfully broken through. "

Friday, 24 December 2010

Oil pushes closer to $100 as cold snap stokes demand

Telegraph
"Benchmark Brent crude hit an intra-day high of $94.74 a barrel in early trading in London on Friday, the highest level since October 2008."The latest surge has brought $100 per barrel within range for Brent crude in particular," according to analysts at Barclay Capital in a weekly report.The rally in Brent crude is partly due to the severe cold snap in continental Europe and Britain, with more freezing temperatures and snow predicted in parts of Europe over the weekend expected to boost fuel demand further.US crude futures, the global benchmark, are trading at a 26-month high.Oil prices have climbed more than 30pc climb from this year's low in May, reviving concerns that prices could once again hit economic growth for fuel importing countries. "

Wednesday, 22 December 2010

Bloomberg sues European Central Bank over Greece 'hidden borrowings'

Telegraph
"Bloomberg News has filed a lawsuit against the European Central Bank, seeking to make it disclose documents showing how Greece used derivatives to hide its fiscal deficit and helped trigger the region’s sovereign debt crisis. The lawsuit asks the European Union’s General Court in Luxembourg to overturn a decision by the ECB not to disclose two internal documents drafted for the central bank’s six-member executive board in Frankfurt this year, the newswire reported on Wednesday.

The notes show how Greece used swaps to hide its borrowings, according to a March 3 cover page attached to the papers obtained by Bloomberg News.

ECB President Jean-Claude Trichet withheld the documents after the European Union and International Monetary Fund led a €110bn bailout for Greece. The dossier should be disclosed to stop governments from using the derivatives in that way again and show how EU authorities acted on information they had on the swaps, according to the suit, filed by Bloomberg Finance LP, the parent of Bloomberg News. "

Monday, 20 December 2010

Euro falls amid continuing debt crisis fears

Telegraph
"A string of negative announcements from the ratings agencies about various eurozone countries' debt levels have added to the pressure caused by the bail-outs of Greece and Ireland. Moody's also said last week it may downgrade Spain's credit rating again."

Sunday, 19 December 2010

Coming in from the cold Iceland has been tough with creditors and kind to itself. Ireland may wish it had done the same

the economist
"Iceland’s recuperation seems to offer two big lessons for Ireland and other troubled euro-zone countries. The first is that the extra cost to a country of not standing by its banks can be surprisingly small. Iceland let its banks fail and its GDP fell by 15% from its highest point before it reached bottom. Ireland “saved” its banks and saw its output drop by 14% from peak to trough.

A second lesson is that the benefits to a small country of being part of a big currency union are not all they were once cracked up to be. ......For all the euro’s faults, it is doubtful whether Icelanders would be keen to hold and use kronur if they were not forced to by capital controls. Easing these will be tricky. Local savers have little choice but to buy government debt, keeping yields artificially low. Firms and householders are overburdened with debts, some of which are indexed to inflation. House prices have plummeted, leaving many householders in negative equity. Around 40% of the new banks’ assets are non-performing. Not many Icelanders believe in recovery.

Even so, that Iceland’s economy has done little worse than Ireland’s is still a triumph. It has been tough with its creditors and disregarded some international norms—and recovered. Ireland has stood by its banks to the benefit of the wider European banking system. Its reward has been “rescue” loans at an interest rate that makes it hard to fix its finances. The next Irish government may look at Iceland and decide to play hardball with Europe. "

Will the Euro go down in flames?

Daily Mail
"Even a £635bn safety fund has failed to silence alarm bells over currency crisis spreading to Britain - so can anyone stop the Euro going down in flames?.....Politicians in Europe seem incapable of damping down the flames. An EU summit late last week agreed to establish a permanent £635bn fund to deal with any euro crisis from 2013 onwards. Kapilan Pillai, financial analyst at boutique investment bank Matrix, said: 'If Portugal goes over after what's already been committed to Greece and Ireland, then the £635bn fund will not be big enough to bail out Spain.'

Friday, 17 December 2010

Petrol price hits another new high: Drivers spend £8m a day more than a year ago

Daily Mail
"The price of petrol has soared to a new record high just as the great Christmas getaway begins – with even more pain in the pipeline for Britain’s 33million drivers.The average price has risen from last week’s record of 121.76p a litre to 122.14p. It means it is now selling at the equivalent of £5.55 a gallon.UK petrol car owners are now spending £8 million a day more on fuel than a year ago."

European Central Bank arms itself for Spanish crisis

Telegraph
"The European Central Bank (ECB) is to double its capital base to cope with "credit risk" stemming from the eurozone debt crisis, paving the way for direct action to shore up the Spanish debt markets if necessary. "

Tuesday, 14 December 2010

Non-jobs are out to ruin George's Christmas

Telegraph
"The curious case of the Treasury Christmas tree sounds like a cheery festive fable, but is in fact the stuff of financial nightmares. It began when George Osborne, the Chancellor, ordered his civil servants to buy a £40 tree to adorn their office in Whitehall. They discovered, however, that this was not allowed under the terms of a Public Finance Initiative (PFI) contract, signed by Gordon Brown when he was Chancellor to raise cash to refurbish the Treasury building. Dozens of public infrastructure projects, such as hospitals and schools, have been built or renovated using PFIs, which typically spread repayments over 20 or 30 years.

Doubtless this method of public financing sounded like a good idea at the time; but the country has been landed with costs that far exceed the value of the assets. It is estimated that £260 billion is owed for the provision of £60 billion of investment. In addition, decisions about spending on fixtures and fittings are taken by contractors. So when the Treasury asked for a Christmas tree to be delivered, it was presented with a bill for £875 – at which point Mr Osborne stepped in and demanded something cheaper. After much huffing and puffing, the supplier agreed to donate a tree for free, but declined to decorate it."

Monday, 13 December 2010

Euro has 'one in five chance' of survival, warns CEBR

Telegraph
"In a research paper published today, the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR) claims that keeping "the euro alive will require cuts in living standards greater than the UK faced in the Second World War" for weaker eurozone members.

"There is no modern history of falling living standards in peacetime on the scale necessary to keep the euro in its current form. This is why I think there is at best a one-in-five chance that the euro will survive as it is," Douglas McWilliams, CEBR chief executive, said.

His warning came as the Ernst & Young eurozone forecast raised the prospect of a severe recession in the eurozone to one-in-10. Its "central" prediction is for GDP to grow 1.4pc next year, against 1.7pc in 2010, and an average of 1.9pc for the following three years. Following the resurgence of sovereign debt fears, though, there are now "greater downside risks".

The eurozone is in bad need of an undertaker

Telegraph
"What the German people are being asked to do is to surrender fiscal sovereignty and pay open-ended transfers to Southern Europe, taking on a burden up to six times reunification with East Germany.“If we pool the debts of the countries in the south-west periphery of Europe, we are blighting our children’s future: the debt levels are astronomic,” said Hans-Werner Sinn, head of Germany IFO institute.Any attempt to prop up the status quo will cement the current account imbalances of EMU’s North and South, to the detriment of both sides.“I doubt that the current leaders of Europe fully understand the economic implications of their decisions. They are repeating the mistakes that Germany made over reunification,” he told the Handelsblatt.Transfers to the East are still running at €60bn a year two decades after the fall of the Berlin Wall. There has been no meaningful East-West convergence for the last 15 years. "

Saturday, 11 December 2010

Joseph Stiglitz: America's QE2 poses 'considerable' risks

Telegraph
"Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz has said the US government's second bout of quantitative easing poses 'considerable' risks to global economies.
Unintentionally, QE2 is leading to a fragmentation of global financial markets because each country takes actions to protect itself,” Mr Stiglitz said. “As more and more do that, it puts more and more pressure on those that don’t, and they will eventually be forced to take some form of action.”

Friday, 10 December 2010

Petrol prices hit record £1.22 a litre... but oil giants deny claims of profiteering

Daily Mail
"Motorists faced renewed misery today as petrol prices hit a new record high of £1.22 a litre.After a week of traffic chaos in the Big Freeze, the cost of filling up at the pumps has soared - adding almost £25 to the monthly bill of a two-car family.It comes as families across Britain struggle with higher food and energy bills.Escalating oil and wholesale fuel prices - and alleged profiteering by oil giants and retailers - are blamed for the increases in the price of petrol.Prices are likely to rise even higher in the New Year when the VAT rate goes up another 2.5 per cent - to 20 per cent.The AA, which has accused oil giants and fuel retailers of profiteering, has predicted highs of up to 124p in the coming weeks."

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

Euro at risk of collapse, says Treasury watchdog as economic crisis sweeps Continent

Daily Mail
# Eurozone finance ministers insist £635 billion bailout fund is big enough to deal with debt crisis
# Ireland braced for 'the most feared budget in living memory'
# Dublin government's £5 billion cost-cutting package to slash social welfare and cap public workers' wages

Human rights laws cost Britain £42bn in rulings and payouts

Daily Mail
"Membership of the European Court of Human Rights has cost UK taxpayers more than £42billion, according to a report.The bill for complying with its judgments has seen money thrown at litigation and diverted from essential services, it is claimed.The court, based in Strasbourg, France, has even forced Parliament to overturn a number of UK laws. It even made the government give prisoners the vote – despite strong opposition from ministers and the public."

Sunday, 5 December 2010

Cadbury goes Swiss to avoid British tax: Move by U.S. bosses will cost Treasury £60 million a year

Daily Mail
"The US owners of Cadbury are to switch control of the company to Switzerland in a move that could deprive Britain of more than £60 million in tax every year.The plan has been hatched by food giant Kraft, which took over the iconic British chocolate manufacturer earlier this year after a bitter £11 billion bid battle.It will see ownership of much-loved Cadbury brands including Dairy Milk, Crunchie and Twirl handed to a holding company in Zurich, where Kraft already has a major base."

Friday, 3 December 2010

Nearly 60% of Germans want their Deutschmark back instead of ailing euro

Daily Mail
"The latest poll for the ARD TV broadcaster also showed that 66 percent of Germans fear that the current financial crisis will torpedo their savings.While 57 percent want the D-mark back, only 32 percent said they found anything positive about the common currency.The last euro survey earlier in the year - before Greece and Ireland meltdowns - showed 51 percent wanting the mark back.And seventy five percent believe that it is the financial markets and not the politicians who will decide the eventual fate of the troubled euro.This is the highest percentage of Germans wanting the D-mark to return since several polls in the 1990's showed close to 70 percent of them wanted to retain the currency of the 'economic miracle.'The zone's financial stability is still far from certain and many analysts believe the crisis will worsen before it gets better."

Thursday, 2 December 2010

Will it work? No. What can Ireland do? Remove the bank guarantee and default

irishtimes.com
"If the analysis concludes that Ireland is insolvent, the Government should waste no time, and restructure the debt. Massive pressure from the EU will be brought on Ireland not to do so. But the right answer to insolvency is default – not liquidity support. Let the German government pay for the German banks, and for the recapitalisation of the European Central Bank, which may need to be refinanced under such a scenario as well.

A default would cause havoc, no doubt, and would cut Ireland off from the capital markets for a while. But I would suspect that the shock would only be temporary. With a more sustainable level of debt, and the benefit of a real devaluation, Ireland should be able to pull through this. Once the market recognises that solvency is assured, I would bet international investors would once again be willing to lend. Even Argentina was able to gain funding from investors a few years after its default."

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

Europe pins hopes on ECB as crisis fears spread

(Reuters) - The European Central Bank is under pressure to unveil new steps to stabilise the euro zone when it meets on Thursday as the bloc battles a crippling debt crisis that has stoked contagion fears in the U.S. and Asia.

Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Britain faces stumping up yet more bailout money as markets turn on weak European economies

Daily Mail
# Markets attack weaker economies in Spain, Portugal and Italy
# Experts predict Portugal next and Britain will have to pay
# Euro drops to three-month low after traders off load

Ireland's Debt Servitude

Telegraph
"Stripped to its essentials, the €85bn package imposed on Ireland by the Eurogroup and the European Central Bank is a bail-out for improvident British, German, Dutch, and Belgian bankers and creditors.The Irish taxpayers carry the full burden, and deplete what remains of their reserve pension fund to cover a quarter of the cost.This arrangement – I am not going to grace it with the term deal – was announced in Brussels before the elected Taoiseach of Ireland had been able to tell his own people what their fate would be."

Monday, 29 November 2010

Britain is making a HIGHER contribution to the bail-out than the euro-zone members

Telegraph
"Don’t get me wrong: we absolutely should help the Irish. They are our neighbours, our customers, our suppliers, our friends and, in many cases, our relatives. But we don’t help them by keeping them in the euro: it’s the euro which got them into this mess. The way for Ireland to return to prosperity is to decouple, devalue and price its way back into the market. If we really want to help, we should offer a temporary currency link, enabling Ireland to withdraw from EMU without seeing its euro-denominated debts balloon.

But, of course, this isn’t really about bailing out Ireland; it’s about bailing out the euro. Irish leaders never asked for the rescue package: they were more or less forced into it by the euro-zone leaders, who saw the take-over of the Republic as the best way to secure the single currency. "

Contagion strikes Italy as Ireland bail-out fails to calm markets

Telegraph
"Spreads on Italian and Belgian bonds jumped to a post-EMU high as the sell-off moved beyond the battered trio of Ireland, Portugal, and Spain, raising concerns that the crisis could start to turn systemic. It was the worst single day in Mediterranean markets since the launch of monetary union.

The euro fell sharply to a two-month low of €1.3064 against the dollar, while bourses slid across the world. The FTSE 100 fell almost 118 points to 5,550, while the Dow was off 120 points in early trading.

"The crisis is intensifying and worsening," said Nick Matthews, a credit expert at RBS. "Bond purchases by the European Central Bank are the only anti-contagion weapon left. It needs to act much more aggressively."

Sunday, 28 November 2010

Irish fury as EU 'nationalises' Bank of Ireland

Telegraph
"Despite strong representations from the Irish government that Bank of Ireland was secure, the EU-brokered €85bn (£72bn) bail-out is likely to demand that billions more euros of capital are injected into the bank to take its key Tier 1 ratio up to 12pc, higher than the demands of the Basel process.

Sources said that the move will take the Irish government's stake in the bank from 36pc to an effective majority stake and dilute all other shareholdings. "It is nationalisation by any other name," the source said. "

Friday, 26 November 2010

The game will soon be up for the euro

Telegraph
"Why, as I write, is the euro worth 84p, or $1.32? I know the British and the American economies aren’t superb, but the euro is a basket case. "

Thursday, 25 November 2010

'Ireland was just one big pyramid scheme'

Telegraph
"A sticking plaster over the open wound in the eurozone", was the judgment from Ireland's finance workers as their Government revealed a €15bn (£12.7bn) package of cuts. .....But while the austerity package may have held few unknowns for Dublin's financiers, one question is still puzzling them: Where did all the money go?
"We don't know where the money went," added the trader, half in jest, but half in earnest. "We've been debating it all morning. Cars, flat-screen TVs, Bulgarian properties? Everyone round here used to have a Mercedes. The whole country was a pyramid scheme."

Could Belgium be next? Debt crisis spreads across the continent as fears mount over the future of the euro

Daily Mail
# Belgium's debt reaches 100% of annual national income
# Portuguese and Spanish borrowing costs rose sharply
# Standard & Poor's reduce Ireland's credit rating to A
# Eire PM resists EU pressure to raise corporation tax
# Irish families each face 4,600 euro bailout bill

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Portugal will need EU/IMF bailout, say economists

(Reuters) - Portugal will probably follow Greece and Ireland at some point in seeking bailout funds from the European Union, according to a majority of economists in a monthly Reuters poll.

Feck Off Euro-Socialists

Guido Fawkes
"Euro-Socialist and Green MEPs have tabled a motion calling on Ireland to double corporate tax rates as part of a quid pro quo for a bail-out. Not a single Irish MEP has supported the motion. Ireland should just tell them to “feck off”… A World Bank report from back in May 2009 “What went wrong in Ireland?“ written by Patrick Honohan, Professor of International Financial Economics at Trinity College Dublin, put the blame squarely on joining the euro and having the wrong interest rates. Writing in 2009 he said

…the underlying cause of the problem was … too much mortgage lending (financed by heavy foreign borrowing by the banks) into an unsustainable housing price and construction boom. The boom seemed credible to enough borrowers given sharply lower interest rates with adoption of the euro … it was Economic and Monetary Union (EMU) entry that really started the housing price surge by sharply lowering nominal and real interest rates, thereby lifting equilibrium asset prices…

Ireland unveils austere €15bn budget to cut deficit

Telegraph
"The Irish people will begin to feel the pain next year when 40pc - or €6bn - of the €10bn in spending cuts and €5bn in tax increases will happen.The effect of the measures - required as the precondition for an EU-IMF bailout - will mean the average Irish household will have to pay up £3,000 in extra taxes. "

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Ireland bail-out: euro slides on contagion fears

Telegraph
"Uncertainty in Ireland's politics also unnerved investors as the country begins two weeks of political maneouvring over an austerity budget on which a multi-billion euro EU/IMF bailout is riding.Investors fear that far from stemming the eurozone debt crisis, Ireland's bailout has given it fresh legs with Portugal and Spain the next in the firing line. "The market believes the Irish bailout has failed," said the well-followed financial blog zerohedge. "

Monday, 22 November 2010

Ireland bail-out: Markets brand rescue package a failure due to lack of detail

Telegraph
"As the country descended into political chaos, hopes that the deal to pull Ireland back from the brink would stem contagion across Europe were also quickly dashed. The cost of insuring Spanish and Portuguese government debt rose, while the euro also closed down against the dollar and sterling. "

Sunday, 21 November 2010

Margaret Thatcher knew the single currency would devastate Europe

Telegraph
"...Margaret Thatcher may have been the first victim of the single currency, but there have been many more since: the millions who have lost their jobs and the nations that are being stripped (as she forecast) of their pride and independence. Baroness Thatcher has often been accused by her politically motivated enemies of callousness. But backers of the European project are today happy to countenance unlimited human suffering in their mission to enforce economic and monetary union. Mrs Thatcher knew this would be the result of their deranged plan, which is why she fought to stop it. Her last battle as prime minister could not have been fought in a greater or more compassionate cause."

Guilty Men: When are supporters of the euro going to apologise?

Telegraph
"Even more hilariously wrong is this piece by the Environment Secretary, Chris Huhne. Every line is rich in comic irony, but perhaps the best is this one:

If we get rid of sterling and adopt the euro, we will also get rid of sterling crises and sterling overvaluations. This will give us a real control over our economic environment. Our manufacturers, farmers and other trading businesses would be able to rely on the exchange rate against our main continental trading partners staying unchanged forever.

Not that I want to pick on Lib Dems. Michael Heseltine thought it was “barking mad” not to join at the beginning. Peter Mandelson averred that “the price we will pay in lost investment and jobs would be incalculable”. Ken Clarke agreed, saying “Britain’s economy would be damaged if we stayed out too long”. Five minutes on Google will show similar sentiments from Tony Blair, Chris Patten, Gordon Brown, Vince Cable, Peter Hain and the rest."

Ireland forced to take EU and IMF bailout package

Telegraph
"G7 and euro zone finance ministers including George Osborne, the Chancellor, held emergency telephone conference talks on a combined EU-IMF rescue package of up to £77 billion.British taxpayers now face paying a bill of up to £7 billion as under a deal signed by the last Labour government, British taxpayers are liable to share in the cost of any EU bail-out.On Monday Irish and euro zone governments will be watching the markets after Greece, which received a £94 billion bailout in April, warned that the EU’s debt crisis was not finished yet.Portugal has already warned that there is a “high risk” it might need economic help. If investors are unconvinced by the Irish rescue package, the euro could come under pressure while the cost of borrowing for the Dublin government could rise. "

Brown earns £60K for 50-minute speech... about the economic crisis

Daily Mail
"Gordon Brown gave his first paid speech since leaving Downing Street yesterday, earning an estimated £60,000.Mr Brown – who has barely been seen in public since he stepped down as Prime Minister in May – was a keynote speaker at a summit in New Delhi, the Indian capital.He gave a 50-minute speech on the global economic crisis and how to prevent another one, which is estimated to have earned him around £1,200 per minute.Other speakers included the Dalai Lama and former U.S. Vice President Al Gore. A source said that Mr Brown was chosen because David Miliband – who lost the Labour leadership battle to his brother Ed – turned down the invitation."

Friday, 19 November 2010

Ireland faces showdown over 'unfair' tax rate as IMF negotiates £70bn bail-out to save its crippled banks

Daily Mail
# Cameron warns Britain will have to borrow more to help save Dublin
# EU and IMF inspectors start poring over crippled banks' books
# Rising fury on the streets over bail-out threat to national sovereignty

Thursday, 18 November 2010

Was it for this?

irishtimes.com
"The true ignominy of our current situation is not that our sovereignty has been taken away from us, it is that we ourselves have squandered it. Let us not seek to assuage our sense of shame in the comforting illusion that powerful nations in Europe are conspiring to become our masters. We are, after all, no great prize for any would-be overlord now. No rational European would willingly take on the task of cleaning up the mess we have made. It is the incompetence of the governments we ourselves elected that has so deeply compromised our capacity to make our own decisions.

They did so, let us recall, from a period when Irish sovereignty had never been stronger. Our national debt was negligible. The mass emigration that had mocked our claims to be a people in control of our own destiny was reversed. A genuine act of national self-determination had occurred in 1998 when both parts of the island voted to accept the Belfast Agreement. The sense of failure and inferiority had been banished, we thought, for good.

To drag this State down from those heights and make it again subject to the decisions of others is an achievement that will not soon be forgiven. It must mark, surely, the ignominious end of a failed administration."

This is one Eurozone country we must help

Daily Mail
"On the face of it, to ask British taxpayers to help bail out a bankrupt Irish financial system is pretty rich. Not content with virtually beggaring ourselves to tackle the home-grown consequences of the credit crunch, we now have to prop up our even more profligate neighbour. The harsh reality is Britain’s banks lent £140billion to Ireland – with the almost wholly taxpayer-owned RBS leading the pack – and it accounts for seven per cent of UK exports."

Why the UK needs a Dublin bail-out... Britain's banks are owed £88BILLION by Ireland

Daily Mail
"The proposed Irish bail-out could be crucial for Britain's beleaguered banking sector after it was revealed UK banks have a massive exposure to the debt-ridden country.According to the latest Bank of England figures, total lending to Irish households and companies totals £88billion.The Royal Bank of Scotland, which is largely owned by the British taxpayer, is the most exposed at £54.4billion, with £53.3billion of retail and commercial exposure, a third of which is residential mortgages.The bank also has about £1 billion in exposures to Irish sovereign debt in its investment-banking trading book.Lloyds Banking Group has £27billion of Irish loans outstanding, including £11billion of problem loans, largely related to the property and corporate sectors.The news comes after the Governor of Ireland's Central Bank today said he expects the country to get a loan worth tens of billions through an International Monetary Fund-European Union rescue package."

End of an √Čire

Guido Fawkes
"Thousands died in the transition from being England’s first colony, to an Irish Free State and finally an independent Republic. The ironies arising from the situation in Ireland are many. Joining the Euro, hugging the state tight to the whole European project and Dublin’s politicians slavishly obeying their new masters in Frankfurt has ended in disaster. Why fight the English for 400 years for sovereignty only to surrender it to Germany? "

The horrible truth starts to dawn on Europe's leaders

Telegraph
"“We’re in a survival crisis. We all have to work together in order to survive with the euro zone, because if we don’t survive with the euro zone we will not survive with the European Union,” he said.

Well, well. This theme is all too familiar to readers of The Daily Telegraph, but it comes as something of a shock to hear such a confession after all these years from Europe’s president.

He is admitting that the gamble of launching a premature and dysfunctional currency without a central treasury, or debt union, or economic government, to back it up – and before the economies, legal systems, wage bargaining practices, productivity growth, and interest rate sensitivity, of North and South Europe had come anywhere near sustainable convergence – may now backfire horribly."

Ireland set to tap €80bn loan as it opens door to IMF mission

Telegraph
"Irish central bank governor Patrick Honohan has said he "absolutely" expects the country accept a bail-out worth “tens of billions” of euros from the European Union and International Monetary Fund. "

Wednesday, 17 November 2010

Ireland's debt crisis in pictures

Telegraph
"Abandoned building sites, vacant office blocks, protests over job losses and angry graffiti tell the story of the victims of Ireland's financial agony. "

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Ireland's debt crisis could kill the European Union stone dead, EU president warns

Daily Mail
"The debt crisis facing Ireland, Greece and Portugal could threaten the future of the whole European Union, EU President Herman Van Rompuy warned today.'We must all work together in order to survive with the eurozone, because if we do not survive with the eurozone, we will not survive with the European Union,' said Mr Van Rompuy.He spoke out as finance ministers tried to keep Ireland's market turmoil from triggering a domino effect that could topple other vulnerable nations and rock the region's currency union.Only months after saving Greece from bankruptcy in May, the 16-country eurozone has been shaken by concerns that Ireland will be unable to sustain the cost of its banks' failure.European nations are worried the tension is making borrowing more expensive for countries like Portugal and Spain, threatening to push them to the brink of default."

Monday, 15 November 2010

Greek debt position worse than feared

Telegraph
"The EU’s statistics office, Eurostat, issued its final revised accounts for Greece over the past four years. They showed that in 2009, the country’s debt was 126.8pc of gross domestic product (GDP), higher than Italy’s, previously the worst in the EU at 116pc. Greece’s debt is set to jump to 144pc of GDP this year. Greece’s deficit last year at 15.4pc of GDP was also worse than Ireland’s, at 14.4pc, the latest eurozone country to come under pressure to seek a bail-out. "

Fed's second round of QE draws new fire in open letter from economists

Telegraph
"The Federal Reserve's new $600bn round of quantitative easing has come under renewed fire from a group of economists and former Republican officials, as the political unity that accompanied the central bank's first dose fractures. "

Eurozone debt crisis: the PIGS at risk

Telegraph

"As Portugal becomes the latest European Union country to admit it could need an EU bail-out, here are the other countries, or PIGS, at risk. "

Friday, 12 November 2010

BRITAIN'S TRILLION POUND HORROR.

Channel4 (More4)
"..Story: Film maker Martin Durkin explains the full extent of the financial mess the UK is in and presents his argument of what needs to be done to make the economy boom again."

ED: MUST WATCH

Thursday, 11 November 2010

Ireland bailout likely before end of 2011 - Reuters poll

(Reuters) - Ireland will seek international rescue funds before the end of next year, according to two thirds of economists and bond strategists polled by Reuters on Thursday.

Twenty of the 30 analysts surveyed said Ireland would not make it through to the end of 2011 without tapping external funds. The value of any bailout would be around 48 billion euros (40 billion pounds), according to a median of forecasts from the 10 respondents who gave a figure.

Neat Speed Camera Locator

E.M.Smith (USA)
While making the run out here, I had the experience of hitting about a half dozen “speed cameras” in a row outside of Phoenix on I-10… The good news is that my general driving rules prevented me from triggering them. The bad news is that they are there… Drivers rapidly become aware of the location and at that point, there was a rapid slow down of the traffic with the attendant crowding and risks… It is a great traffic jam generator as it starts a peristaltic slowdown wave into the rush. The wiki said that the Phoenix cameras are set to trip at 11 mph over. Hope your speedometer is accurate…"

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

Ireland admits investors uneasy as bailout fears mount

(Reuters) - Ireland's central bank governor conceded on Wednesday a huge bank recapitalisation programme had failed to reassure investors, as borrowing costs mounted along with concerns its new fiscal plan would not avert a bailout.

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

Ireland: a sinking basket case

Catallaxy Files (Australia)
"..Karen Maley over at Business Spectator, however, has an interesting article on the most recent developments in Ireland, which include a marked spiking in the yields on Irish government bonds. A prominent Irish professor of economics is arguing that the country is in effect bankrupt because the capacity of the taxpayer to fund the bail-outs of the three big Irish banks, that are extremely exposed to the ailing property sector, is insufficient to meet the calls at the higher yields. (I’m not sure he is correct to recommend that that the Irish government should have allowed those banks to fail, in effect, however.) Fiscal austerity will not be enough.

Is it time for the IMF to come in to sort out the mess? And I’m not so sure now that the Celtic experiment will have been worth the candle."

Monday, 8 November 2010

Gold breaks through the $1,400 barrier

Daily Mail
"Gold has broken the $1,400 mark to hit a new record high following comments from the World Bank on adopting a new gold standard.The spot gold price hit $1,407.2 at 5.30pm today – a new record level for bullion.Gold fell back slightly after hitting the new high and was trading at $1,406 at 6.15pm – or £870 an ounce."

Sunday, 7 November 2010

The rest of the world goes West when America prints more money

Telegraph
"Last Wednesday was a hinge point in history. The United States decided to drop all pretence of being interested in leading – or even being part of – a coordinated global policy response to the most serious economic crisis in more than 70 years. America is now isolated and the rest of the world is furious. The widespread use of capital controls and even a lurch into 1930s-style protectionism are both far more likely than just a few days ago.

The Federal Reserve's words may have been anodyne. "We will adjust the programme as needed to best foster maximum employment and price stability," said the US central bank's Open Market Committee. But by announcing another round of "quantitative easing", America is rightfully incurring the wrath not only of the emerging giants of the East, but the eurozone too. "

Saturday, 6 November 2010

UK economy in danger of being sucked into Ben Bernanke's great inflation

Telegraph
"The great inflation is under way, its source is the US but we are close to being sucked in too. Investors are fleeing into equities as a hedge against inflation. The US is now being run by experimental economics, a $600bn (£372bn) experiment to be precise as Ben Bernanke, chairman of the US Federal Reserve, hopes to re-float the sunken American property market and punish savers, transferring wealth to debtors through negative real interest rates. "

Friday, 5 November 2010

Der Spiegel: Geologists Warning Of “Mega-Eruption”

NoTricksZone
"Der Spiegel reports on the growling-ever-louder Indonesian Merapi volcano in an article titled: Geologists Warning of Mega-Eruption of Merapi. ......'The Merapi eruptions are becoming more violent – and the big bang could be just ahead. The Indonesian volcano has been spewing 800°C ash clouds for days. .....A rough estimate indicates that there is three times more magma than what was ejected by the Indonesian volcano Tambora in 1815 – the biggest eruption in the last 10,000 years, which led to a cooling of the climate globally.'

Thursday, 4 November 2010

Fed's $600bn gamble risks throwing away America's biggest asset

Telegraph
"Apparently, there's been an election in the US. The BBC tells us that America's wholly unsurprising verdict on the past two years is frightfully important and signals the end of the Obama dream, whatever that may have been; it was never entirely clear. .....It didn't seem to occur to him that Obama's drubbing was not so much a case of haplessly falling victim to economic circumstance but was in fact largely down to incoherent legislative experiment, blind disregard for the deficit and chronic mishandling of the economy. Americans had reasonably expected better. Obama's punishment will make little if any difference to the mess the US economy finds itself in and in any case is something of a sideshow against the latest high risk policy initiative the Federal Reserve is visiting on an already battered nation. The Hill can't act, but the Fed still stands ready and willing at the roulette wheel.

The fresh $600bn (£372bn) infusion of quantitative easing announced on Wednesday may or may not provide a lift for beleaguered domestic demand – both Goldman Sachs and HSBC have said much more is needed to escape a real or imagined liquidity trap – but one thing it certainly does do is further debauch the currency. Never before has dollar hegemony been so much under threat. By flooding the world economy with yet more freshly minted dollars, America further undermines faith in the greenback as an internationally reliable store of value and is thereby squandering an economic and geo-political asset of huge importance to the nation's history.

The dollar's reserve currency status means that America can borrow at will in its own currency from the rest of the world, and at favourable rates to boot. This privilege is being recklessly thrown away. Every time the Fed prints more dollars to fight the domestic recession, it further devalues that debt. The lenders are understandably getting restless.As is now becoming steadily more apparent, dollar hegemony was a major underlying cause of the crisis, for it allowed America to go on an unrestrained borrowing binge; the developing world is ever more minded to think its demise part of the solution.

The Fed is taking a massive gamble with America's long term future by blindly pursuing further monetary stimulus; it may take time, but the dollar's all powerful reign on the world stage is drawing to a close."

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

Ireland is running out of time

Telegraph
"Ireland has been desperately unlucky.

The bond crisis is snowballing out of control before the country has had enough time to let its medical, pharma, IT, and financial services industries (don’t laugh, some of it is doing well) come to the rescue. Yields on 10-year Irish bonds surged this morning to a post-EMU high of 7.41pc. Yes, Ireland is fully-funded until April – and has another €12bn in pension reserves that could be tapped in extremis – but that is less reassuring than it looks. The spreads over German Bunds are mimicking the action seen in Greece in the final hours before the dam broke."

G.O.P. Captures House, but Not Senate

NYT
"One after another, once-unassailable Democrats like Senator Russ Feingold of Wisconsin, Representatives Ike Skelton of Missouri, John Spratt of South Carolina, Rick Boucher of Virginia and Chet Edwards of Texas fell to little-known Republican challengers.

“Voters sent a message that change has not happened fast enough,” said Tim Kaine, chairman of the Democratic National Committee.

Republicans did not achieve a perfect evening, losing races in several states they had once hoped to win, including the Senate contests in Delaware and Connecticut, because some candidates supported by the Tea Party movement knocked out establishment candidates to win their nominations. But they did score notable victories in some tight races, like Pat Toomey’s Senate run in Pennsylvania. "

Republican tsunami: Democrats lose control of the House as voters slam Obama with worst losses for 62 years

Daily Mail

Spending watchdog ran up £4.8m bill for hotels and used taxpayers' cash to fund gay rights workshop for staff

Daily Mail
"A public spending watchdog lavished millions of pounds on entertaining, staff parties and fine dining for its managers, it was revealed yesterday.Events funded by the Audit Commission for its staff included a gay rights workshop, a Christmas party at an exclusive restaurant and a ‘conflict management’ course.The quango also paid £10,000 to sponsor a book to be published by the Smith Institute, a charity with links to Gordon Brown which was criticised in a Charity Commission investigation for allowing itself to appear too political. More money went on landscaping the grounds around the commission’s offices and a ‘stakeholder briefing’ at a golf and country club."

Sunday, 31 October 2010

US midterm elections: Barack Obama's world turned upside down as Democrats face electoral disaster

Telegraph
" .....Obama's high-minded appeals for national unity are no more. His electoral strategy is one of desperate damage limitation. Most pollsters expect Democrats to lose more than 50 seats and control of the House of Representatives.

They will probably keep control of the Senate but at least six seats look lost. Obama's response has been to "slice and dice" the electorate in the way he condemned. He endured the indignity of being called "dude" on Jon Stewart's Comedy Central show as the price for enticing young voters. "

Barack loses his cool: Angry Obama yells BACK at hecklers... as new poll shows his own party isn't sure he should be President in 2012

Daily Mail
"But the unexpected loss of control was in stark contrast to the power he held over similar audiences during his 2008 presidential campaign. With the November 2 mid-term elections just days away, Mr Obama's Democratic party is facing heavy losses.The President himself is dealing with a devastating loss in popularity.Democratic voters are closely divided over whether he should be challenged within the party for a second term in 2012, an Associated Press-Knowledge Networks Poll finds.That glum assessment carries over into the nation at large, which is similarly divided over whether Mr Obama should be a one-term president."

Saturday, 30 October 2010

Migrants took 9 out of 10 jobs created under Labour

Daily Mail

"The data showed there were just over 26million people aged 16-64 in employment between April and June 1997. Of those 1,946,000 were foreign born, leaving 24,058,000 born in the UK. By the same period this year, the total in jobs was up more than two million, to 28,107,000. Of those, 3,787,000 were born abroad, and 24,314,000 born in the UK. It means 88 per cent of the rise in employment was accounted for by workers born abroad, and just 12 per cent by those born in the UK.

Ignore leftist hysteria - at last Britain's woken up to the grotesque irony that so many on welfare are better off than hard working families...

Daily Mail
"Even by understated official statistics, more than a third of today’s Londoners were born in another country, ­so Britain’s ­capital has become an international city or a ­foreign one, according to your point of view."

Friday, 29 October 2010

US recovery quickens but more QE expected

Telegraph
"The recovery has so far done little to dent an unemployment rate that's remained close to 10pc and will contribute to the heavy losses Democrats are expected to suffer in next Tuesday's elections. The following day, the Federal Reserve is forecast to unleash more quantitative easing in an effort to stimulate more spending and drive down long-term interest rates."

Halliburton used flawed cement on BP well

Reuters
"Halliburton Co. used flawed cement in BP Plc's doomed Gulf of Mexico well, which could have contributed to the blowout that sparked the worst offshore oil spill in U.S. history, a White House panel said on Thursday."

Thursday, 28 October 2010

Mervyn King must turn off the printing press

Telegraph
"..If all that new money actually were to reach the parts of the economy that needed it, I might have some sympathy. But QE has failed either to expand bank credit to small- and medium-sized enterprises or to lower its cost to them. It has, however, provided spectacular money-making opportunities for the City and inflated new bubbles in bond, commodities and emerging markets.

Goodness knows how central banks will unwind the vast positions they already hold in the debt markets, but the fear that they’ll end up taking the easy option and monetising what the Government owes – permanently adding it to the money supply, as happened in the 1970s – will only add to concerns about inflation.

There are plenty of ways to help the recovery, from raising infrastructure spending (which is perfectly compatible with deficit reduction) to boosting business confidence by enhancing the environment for investment and job creation. But please, no more QE. "

Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Greece reignites Europe debt woes

Telegraph
"Europe's debt woes have returned to the fore after Greek premier George Papandreou threw open the door to fresh elections and vowed to liberate the nation from "slavery and surveillance".

Stop printing money! Raise interest rates!

Telegraph
"What was our lowest moment during the financial crisis? I’d say it was being pitied by Zimbabweans because Gordon Brown’s economic mismanagement would lead to hyperinflation.

The cheap money crowd have now been confounded by events: the new GDP figures make a nonsense of the idea that we need further quantitative easing, as the excellent Allister Heath explains. This is not to say that we are already in the broad, sunlit uplands, far from it: there is almost certain to be a slowdown next year. But keeping the pound did the tick. Our exchange rate acted as a shock absorber, allowing us to suffer a the depreciation in our currency instead of in output and jobs. The case for a stiff rise in interest rates, already strong, has now become unarguable."

Tuesday, 26 October 2010

George's Osborne's economic recovery plan for Britain gets double boost

Telegraph
"The UK grew by 0.8pc in the three months to September, according to the first estimate from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), double the rate at which economists were expecting. In another dose of good news, Standard & Poor’s reaffirmed the UK’s AAA credit rating and raised its outlook from "negative" to “stable”.

S&P, which now joins Fitch and Moody’s in placing the UK on its safest rating possible, credited the spending review for the decision, saying: “The decisions reached by the UK Coalition ... reduce risks to the Government’s implementation of its June 2010 fiscal consolidation programme,” S&P said. "

Monday, 25 October 2010

Barack Obama echoes anti-Americanism of Europe in calling voters stupid

Telegraph
"President Obama and his fellow Democrats are mocking Republicans and the Tea Party as stupid. But they could be the ones who look foolish on election day. "

Sunday, 24 October 2010

Cost of EU agencies triples to more than £2 billion

Telegraph
"The cost of funding European Union committees and agencies has more than tripled since 2005 and is on course to reach more than £2 billion next year, new research shows. "

EU budgets and Overseas Aid

John Redwood
"I am all in favour of famine relief, and want our country to be generous when other countries face disaster or extreme poverty. I am not in favour of an EU diplomatic service, and do not think Russia, China and India need our overseas aid. Two of the budgets which are rising over this period of public sector restraint are the EU and Overseas Aid budgets. Over the five years of this planned government £41 billion will be spent on contributions to the EU and £39 billion spent on overseas aid, a grand total of £80 billion. The annual figure for the two combined hits £18.9 billion in 2014-15. The government plans to borrow an extra £460 billion over period 2010-2015, so these two programmes account for over one sixth of the additional borrowing."

Saturday, 23 October 2010

Spending review: The 'cuts' that mean public spending soars

Telegraph
"The one which has rightly drawn most flak is the colossal 47 per cent jump in our spending on overseas aid, due to rise from £7.8 billion to £11.5 billion. This includes, for instance, a further rise in the £800 million a year we already donate to India, one of the world’s fastest growing economies. This will be spent, inter alia, on promoting gender equality, assisting the Indians with their space programme, and of course on climate change (such as the £10 million free gift the Department For International Development is making to Dr Rajendra Pachauri’s Teri research institute). "

Friday, 22 October 2010

Fury as travellers living on Europe's largest illegal camp leapfrog thousands of people on council house waiting list

Daily Mail
"Four travellers facing eviction from Europe's largest illegal travellers' camp have leap-frogged more than 4,500 people to go to the top of a housing list in Essex.However, the residents of the controversial Crays Hill site near Billericay have turned down the properties on offer because they want caravan pitches instead of permanent housing.The news that the four had been prioritised on the housing list was revealed at a hearing at Southend County Court and it will infuriate the local community."

Wednesday, 20 October 2010

UK facing 'Sober' decade, warns Bank of England Governor Mervyn King

Telegraph
"The Governor's call for a transformation in the national character comes as the Chancellor on Wednesday outlines the sharpest spending cuts since at least the Second World War. He will unveil detailed plans to cut spending by £83bn to address the £935bn national debt and £109bn structural deficit – the annual overspend left once the economy has fully recovered. "

Government slashes spending and raises retirement age

Reuters
"(Reuters) - The government will cut half a million jobs, slash the welfare state and raise the retirement age as part of an unprecedented cost-cutting drive that will test the strength of both the economy and the ruling coalition."

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

£83billion sounds a lot – but these cuts are nowhere near enough

Telegraph
"Today will be a start. It will not, though, be anything like all that is required, and, above all, it will keep spending rising. Any assertion to the contrary will merely be an example of the spin our present masters promised to repudiate, but which they embrace with all the fervour of their unlamented predecessors. "

Foreign worker numbers surge to a record 2.4m as Eastern Europeans return to Britain

Daily Mail
* Eastern European workers reaches record of 551,000
* 2.401million non-UK nationals active in the economy

"The number of foreigners working in Britain has hit an all-time high despite the fragile state of the recovery.This summer, the total topped 2.4million for the first time after thousands arrived from abroad in the spring.Some of them were Poles and other Eastern Europeans who began to return to the UK. The number of Eastern European workers also reached a record – of 551,000.It means the workforce of foreigners has surged by more than a ­million in only seven years."

Monday, 18 October 2010

Anglo-Irish Bondholders Should Take the Losses Is the ECB Forcing Ireland to Protect German Investments?

Guido Fawkes
"Anglo-Irish Bank did not represent a systemic risk to the Irish economy, it wasn’t a high street bank like AIB or the Bank of Ireland. If it had been allowed to go the way of Lehmans the only losers would have been shareholders and bondholders. The Irish state stepped in and nationalised a bank that was basically run by crooks lending to property speculators. The Irish people are taking losses that should rightly have been shouldered by bondholders.

Every child in Ireland is being bequeathed a huge debt at birth to protect the interests of foreign, mainly German, bondholders – why? Guido was once a bond trader, it was always understood that sometimes the bond issuer defaults. That is the risk investors take.

So why is Dublin’s political establishment so keen to protect foreign investors at the expense of future generations? Guido has obtained the list of foreign Anglo-Irish bondholders as at the close of business tonight. These are the people whom Dublin’s politicians really seem to care about: ..."

----------------------
Irish bank bail-out outrage du jour comes courtesy of Guido Fawkes. FT

Sunday, 17 October 2010

Multiculturalism in Germany has 'utterly failed', claims Chancellor Angela Merkel

Daily Mail
"‘We are a country which at the beginning of the 1960s actually brought guest workers to Germany,’ Ms Merkel said.

‘Now they live with us and we lied to ourselves for a while, saying that they won't stay and that they will have disappeared again one day.

‘That's not the reality. This (multicultural) approach - saying that we simply live side by side and are happy about each other - this approach has failed, utterly failed.’

Saturday, 16 October 2010

China's not the villain if the West tries to debase its debt through QE

Telegraph
"What is now clear is that some of the world's leading economies are deliberately debasing their currencies in order to make their exports more competitive and lower the real value of the massive debts they owe the rest of the world. ..."

The price of a Belgian apparatchik

Hermann Van Rompuy, President of the EU, looks to be a very expensive figurehead indeed, says Christopher Booker, Telegraph
"There was some excitement over the discovery by Bruno Waterfield, The Daily Telegraph’s Brussels correspondent, that the EU President, Hermann van Rompuy, spent more than £4,000 of EU taxpayers’ money on a motorcade, to take nine members of his family to catch a holiday flight from Paris in August. Mr Waterfield also noted that the EU’s new post of president, created under the Lisbon Treaty, has a salary of £263,000 a year, more than President Obama’s.

He might also have added that EU taxpayers are now paying £280 million to build Mr van Rompouy a lavish presidential palace in Brussels – £40 million of it contributed by UK taxpayers."

Friday, 15 October 2010

Pound hits 8-month high as US hints on QE

Daily Mail
"Sterling hit an eight-month high against the dollar today as US monetary chief Ben Bernanke made further overtures towards quantitative easing. But the pound dropped back from its $1.610 high as details on the US Federal Reserve's plans were scant."

Thursday, 14 October 2010

Quango cuts announced

Telegraph
"The Government has announced that 192 public bodies will be abolished or merged as part of David Cameron’s “bonfire of the quangos.” ....The move will save money and also stop ministers being able to “hide behind” quangos as a way of avoiding accountability, Francis Maude, the Cabinet Office minister said. It means of the 901 existing public bodies only 648 will remain, 118 will be merged, 380 will be retained, 171 retained but reformed substantially and 40 remain under consideration. "

Tuesday, 12 October 2010

US Federal Reserve set on QE2 course as dissenter speaks out

Telegraph
"The Federal Reserve's leading opponent against more quantitative easing said there's "no strong evidence" it will work, as the minutes from the central bank's last meeting cemented expectations that his colleagues believe more money printing is necessary. ......Thomas Hoenig, the president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas, on Tuesday launched his most strident attack yet against QE, arguing it would not help drive an economic recovery.

"There is simply no evidence the additional liquidity would be particularly effective in spurring new investment, accelerating consumption, or cushioning or accelerating the deleveraging that is hopefully winding down," Mr Hoenig told an audience in Denver. "

Saturday, 9 October 2010

Ed Miliband is the costliest politician in British history

When Ed Miliband won the Labour leadership, the commentators overlooked his most startling achievement, says Christopher Booker(Telegraph)
"Signally missing from all the attempts to find any substance in the strangely two-dimensional figure who is now leader of the Labour Party has been any reference to Ed Miliband's most spectacular achievement – the fact that he is potentially the most expensive politician in Britain's history,

The only real contribution David Miliband's little brother has so far made to our lives in his meteoric political career was to put through the 2008 Climate Change Act. This commits Britain, uniquely in the world, to cutting its CO2 emissions by 80 per cent by 2050, at a cost estimated, on the website of his old Department for Energy and Climate Change, at up to £18.3 billion every year for the next four decades. In cash terms this amounts to £734 billion, making it far and away the most costly law ever put through Parliament. It will equate to more than £700 a year for every household in the land, as we pay for thousands more useless windmills and other quixotic gestures through fast-rising taxes, soaring electricity bills, draconian regulatory costs and heaven knows what else. Furthermore, neither Mr Miliband himself, nor any of his Act's supporters, could begin to explain how that 80 per cent target is to be attained without closing down virtually our entire economy."

Wednesday, 6 October 2010

Population 'will soar to 70m by 2027': Official figures reveal full impact of migrant influx

Daily Mail
"Britain’s fast-growing population will hit 70million in just 17 years’ time if immigration goes unchecked, official figures revealed yesterday.The projections mean that numbers are racing towards a point which even Labour politicians believe will mean overcrowding and extra costs.The breakdown from the Office for National Statistics shows how the population is expected to rise if different rates of immigration are sustained over the next 25 years.It indicates that numbers will reach 70million in 2027 if net migration – the number of immigrants arriving in the country minus those who leave – continues at last year’s level.The 196,000 added to the population by net migration last year – the equivalent of a city the size of Portsmouth – was the fourth highest level on record."

Tuesday, 5 October 2010

IMF admits that the West is stuck in near depression

Telegraph
"If you strip away the political correctness, Chapter Three of the IMF's World Economic Outlook more or less condemns Southern Europe to death by slow suffocation and leaves little doubt that fiscal tightening will trap North Europe, Britain and America in slump for a long time. "

Monday, 4 October 2010

Wall Street Sees World Economy Decoupling From U.S.

Bloomberg
“The world has already become partially decoupled,” Nobel laureate Joseph Stiglitz, a professor at New York’s Columbia University, said in a Sept. 20 interview in Zurich. He will speak at an IMF event this week. "

Friday, 1 October 2010

A trillion and rising: Britain’s £1,000,000,000,000 debt means we now pay as much in interest as we do for defence

Daily Mail
"Britain's debt has grown to a hitherto unimaginable level, it emerged yesterday – smashing the £1trillion barrier for the first time.Government borrowing hit £1,000,389,000,000 at the end of March – or £40,000 per household – the Office for National Statistics said.The figure is so enormous, equivalent to more than one million million pounds, that the country must pay £40billion interest on it in this year alone – roughly what is spent on the entire defence budget.It follows unprecedented levels of spending under Labour which saw the Government borrow nearly £450million a day under Gordon Brown. But the £1trillion figure does not include items such as the cost of public sector pensions and private finance initiatives.Experts believe the true debt, including these hidden items, is between £4trillion and £5trillion."

Thursday, 30 September 2010

Irish taxpayers brace themselves for another bank bailout

Channel 4 News
"Ireland's Central Bank said the expected cost of bailing out the Anglo-Irish Bank would be 29.3bn euros but another 5bn euros may need to be poured into the nationalised lender in a "stressed scenario". Allied Irish Bank will also need another 3bn euros on top of the funding it has already received through the banking bail out."

Wednesday, 29 September 2010

Labour Party Conference: David Miliband 'criticises' Ed's Iraq War comment

Telegraph
"David Miliband was caught admonishing Harriet Harman after she applauded his brother’s declaration that the invasion had been a mistake.In an attempt to please Labour’s faithful at the party’s conference in Manchester, the new leader said Labour had been “wrong” to invade Iraq. ...Alongside him Miss Harman, the deputy leader, clapped enthusiastically. Mr Miliband was caught by television cameras looking at her disdainfully before asking her: “Why are you clapping? You voted for it."

Tuesday, 28 September 2010

Irish borrowing costs balloon on S&P warning

Telegraph
"An S&P analyst said in an interview broadcast on Tuesday that the agency's estimate that Ireland would have to pour €35bn (£29.6bn) into Anglo Irish, the nationalised bank, looked increasingly realistic and any amount beyond that could trigger rating downgrades. The €25bn of aid earmarked for Anglo Irish so far would already push Ireland's 2010 budget deficit to around 25pc of gross domestic product, compared with an EU limit of 3pc that Dublin aims to reach by 2014."

Monday, 27 September 2010

Labour has climbed in its coffin and is nailing down the lid

Daily Mail
"Unless he performs a self-transformation that would make Superman's quick telephone box changes look amateur, he will spend the next few years in a wilderness familiar in times past to Michael Foot and Neil Kinnock - as a party darling with little to say to the British people that they are foolish enough to believe. Miliband got his job against the wishes of a majority of Labour MPs and party members, because Britain's trade unionists think him the man most likely to fight for their sectional interests - no matter that these priorities are not shared by the nation."

Saturday, 25 September 2010

Ed Miliband's dazed triumph

Yahoo News
"..A stuffed trout would have seemed more animated as Ed Miliband gawped out at his new-found followers. He tottered on to the stage, looking utterly stumped by what to do next. The applause died away as his new-found followers waited for him to speak. He stared out. Was he savouring the moment? Or was he about to expire? An audience member laughed awkwardly. Finally, the new Labour leader spoke up.

"Never in my wildest imagination did I ever dream... I would lead this party," he said.

Ed Miliband crowned Labour leader, beating brother David into second

Daily Mail
"Ed Miliband tonight won the Labour leadership contest, edging his older brother David into second place by the tiniest of margins.Once regarded as the dark horse in the competition, the energy spokesman, 40, took the crown thanks to the party's complicated voting system.Seemingly surprised by the result, Ed said: 'I never thought I would be leader of the Labour Party.'

Charlie Whelan Wins by a Whisker

Guido Fawkes
"Unite’s massive effort to persuade disinterested union members to vote for Ed Miliband paid off. Ed won 50.65% of the vote. He lost in the MP and membership sections of the electoral college but took so much of the union vote it didn’t matter. The unions bought the election, endorsements and incredibly heavy promotion of their chose candidate paid off.

Are the Tories right to rejoice about Iain Duncan Miliband?

Telegraph
"Reading body language is perilous, as Nick Robinson just found out. It turned out that David Miliband’s smile before the result was forced, and Ed Miliband’s look of despair was the dawning realisation of what had just happened to him. The giveaway, in hindsight, was the smug smile on Ed Balls’ face, which should have told us that his deadly rival David M had just been stuffed ....Ed Miliband as leader is something the Tories have been praying for. ...The numbers alone will have them rubbing their hands with glee. The new leader is Labour’s Iain Duncan Smith, elected without the majority support of MPs."

Obama Stimulus Made Economic Crisis Worse, `Black Swan' Author Taleb Says

Bloomberg
“Obama did exactly the opposite of what should have been done,” Taleb said yesterday in Montreal in a speech as part of Canada’s Salon Speakers series. “He surrounded himself with people who exacerbated the problem. You have a person who has cancer and instead of removing the cancer, you give him tranquilizers. When you give tranquilizers to a cancer patient, they feel better but the cancer gets worse.”

Today, Taleb said, “total debt is higher than it was in 2008 and unemployment is worse.”

Obama this month proposed a package of $180 billion in business tax breaks and infrastructure outlays to boost spending and job growth. That would come on top of the $814 billion stimulus measure enacted last year. The U.S. government’s total outstanding debt is about $13.5 trillion, according to Treasury figures. "

Thursday, 23 September 2010

Irish economy shrinks by 1.2% in second quarter

Irish Times
"Mr Lenihan said the only way Ireland could emerge from recession was to continue to drive exports.“The figures for exports are strong and I am encouraged by this - the necessary competitiveness improvements are working. We must export our way out of our current difficulties, there is simply no other way,” he said.

Bloxham’s chief economist Alan McQuaid said the overall figures were “disappointing to say the least”.

Wednesday, 22 September 2010

It’s A Fed Day!

E.M.Smith
"...I’m expecting no interest rate change (so little impact on bonds) but ‘happy talk’ about more Q.E. on the cards (and that spooking some of the market a little with more future inflation fears). With $100 Trillion of shortfall on Social Security (once you figure in the demographics) over the next decade or two and a similar $100 Trillion of shortfall in Medicaid and similar ‘entitlement’ programs, IMHO, the only choice our government and The Fed has is to “inflate away the debt” longer term. So I’m pretty sure they will say “QE2″ is being prepared to sail if needed. And that will cause commodities to rise and stocks to fall. We’ll see if I’m right when The Fed announces."

Commonwealth Games 2010: crisis worsens as portion of weightlifting arena roof caves in

Telegraph
"...Jawaharlal Nehru stadium, but Indian Cabinet Secretary, KM Chandreshekhar, was quick to play down the latest disaster.

"The cables which were to be set up for the data network were placed on the false ceiling and due to the weight of the cables the ceiling fell off," he said. "

Sunday, 19 September 2010

The next recession is already on its way

Adamsmith
"All around you the seeds of the next recession are being sown. While entrepreneurs plant their malinvestments, the Bank of England’s credit hose will make sure they flourish. Thanks to the Bank of England’s monetary policy the next recession is already on its way. The cost of credit remains artificially low, thanks to the Banks ongoing decision to keep interest rates at a mere half percent. They have been at this level since March 2009, well over a year now. When combined with the £200 billion of quantitative easing – printing money – then we have a lethal economic combination."

British terrorism suspect arrested in Amsterdam

Telegraph
"A British man of Somali origin has been arrested on suspicion of terrorist activity after leaving Britain on his way to East Africa. .....The man had already flown the first leg of his flight from Liverpool’s John Lennon Airport to Schiphol in Amsterdam and was on the plane ready to take off for the second leg. "

Friday, 17 September 2010

Judge issues astonishing warning over Eastern European crime gangs coming to Britain

Daily Mail
"A judge has launched an astonishing attack on criminal Eastern European gangs who come to Britain with the purpose of targeting elderly and vulnerable people.District judge Bruce Morgan said he was 'deeply concerned' about the impact of criminals who arrive in the country to steal and rob innocent people. ....The court proceedings were explained to Dadic via a translator speaking the Romany gipsy language with the Bosnian dialect."

Thursday, 16 September 2010

Your foreign service

Dr Richard North
"EU foreign policy chief Cathy Ashton has announced the appointments of 27 new heads and one deputy head to the EU's new diplomatic service, with the more influential member states securing the better share of the new ambassadorial postings.

The postings are for the EU's new European External Action Service (EEAS),
established under the Lisbon treaty, which came into effect last December, in "an effort to give the European Union a strong and unified voice in global affairs and bolster the bloc's influence overseas."

Tuesday, 14 September 2010

Italy Seizes Mafia-Linked Assets Worth $1.9 Billion

Bloomberg
"A statement by anti-Mafia investigators in Rome identified the businessman as Vito Nicastri, who works in alternative- energy production. He has not been arrested. His seized assets include more than 100 properties, 43 companies operating mainly in the wind-power industry, luxury cars, a 46-foot catamaran, bank accounts and securities, according to the statement. "

Monday, 13 September 2010

Nobel Peace Prize winner Barack Obama to sign biggest arms deal in U.S. history with Saudi Arabia

Daily Mail
"The Obama administration is set to confirm the sale of £39billion worth of weaponry to Saudi Arabia - the largest U.S. arms deal in history.The deal is expected to create at least 75,000 jobs and could see the sale of advanced fighter jets and military helicopters to America's key Middle Eastern ally.Talks have been ongoing between the two countries for months, but the scale of the deal has only now been revealed."

The TUC still has its head in the sand

Telegraph
"..If the threats of Mr Serwotka and his colleagues are to be believed, then we are in for the most turbulent period of industrial relations in decades. The Coalition has previously extended an invitation to the unions to discuss how savings could be made while limiting job losses – for instance, by reforming pensions, freezing pay or moving to part-time working – but they simply do not want to know. Perhaps if the bosses listened more to their members they might not be so quick to inflict serious hardship on the country when it is crawling out of economic recession."

Sunday, 12 September 2010

Obama Funds Pemex, Not American Oil

E.M.Smith
"So we will have a load of drilling rigs in the Gulf, just Mexican rigs, not US rigs. My advice for folks in Louisiana and the Gulf Coast drilling community is to learn to speak Spanish. (I’d suggest it for the folks in Texas, but they already speak Spanglish ;-)

But Pemex is State Owned. Part of the Mexican Government. Any way we could invest some money in it?

You already have… "

Here comes the bride... heading for a police van: Sham marriage suspects arrested at ceremony

Daily Mail
"Damian Green, Minister for Immigration, said: 'Illegal immigration is big business. At home and abroad, we are tackling highly organised crime groups who make their living by trying to exploit the immigration system and breach our border security.

'Some of these hide people in lorries in an attempt to cross our borders illegally; some provide them with fake identity documents; others set up bogus colleges or arrange sham marriages. Worst of all - some force women and children to work against their will in the sex industry.'

Saturday, 11 September 2010

David Cameron to bury poverty report in clash with Frank Field

Telegraph
"Mr Field will submit an interim report to Downing Street on "poverty and life chances" within days – but Number 10 has told the maverick MP there are "no plans" to publish it.

The decision follows a growing irritation among senior members of the Cabinet, including George Osborne, Iain Duncan Smith and Michael Gove – who believe Mr Field is trampling on their Whitehall turf and coming up with proposals which could never be implemented. "

On Sept. 11 Anniversary, Rifts Amid Mourning

NYT
"The ninth anniversary of the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, was marked on Saturday by the solemn memorials and prayer services of years past, but also by events hard to envision just a year ago — heated demonstrations blocks from ground zero, political and religious tensions and an unmistakable sense that a once-unifying day was now replete with division. "

Thursday, 9 September 2010

Lobbyists Rush to Hire G.O.P. Staff Ahead of Midterm Vote

NYT
"JPMorgan Chase, among at least a dozen recent hires, bought in Mel Martinez, the former Republican senator from Florida, as a senior executive. Robert L. Wilkie, a top Pentagon official in the administration of President George W. Bush, was hired by CH2M Hill, a construction and design firm, as a vice president overseeing military projects. And Research in Motion, which makes the BlackBerry, hired Jason C. Scism, a top Republican aide to Representative Darrell Issa of California, into an executive spot that was last held by a Democrat. "

Wednesday, 8 September 2010

Taking the Democrats with him

Andrew Bolt, Herald Sun (Australia)
Democrats in Congress are no longer asking themselves whether this is going to be a bad election year for them and their party. They are asking whether it is going to be a disaster.

The answer will probably be found in states such as Wisconsin, one of a growing number of spots on the map where Democrats accustomed to winning reelection with ease - including Sen. Russell Feingold - are unexpectedly in trouble.

The GOP pushed deep into Democratic-held territory over the summer, to the point where the party is well within range of picking up the 39 seats it would need to take control of the House. Overall, as many as 80 House seats could be at risk, and fewer than a dozen of these are held by Republicans.

Political handicappers now say it is conceivable that the Republicans could also win the 10 seats they need to take back the Senate. (Washington Post)

Tuesday, 7 September 2010

New poll shows majority of Americans disapprove of Obama as he announces $50bn infrastructure plan to rebuild U.S.

Daily Mail
" * Plan to rebuild 150,000 miles of roads, 4,000 miles of railways and 150 miles of airport runways
* Congressional Republicans vow to oppose stimulus proposals over fear they will lead to massive tax rises

The majority of Americans disapprove of Barack Obama for the first time in his presidency, according to a new poll.Some 52 per cent of those questioned said he was not doing the job well, a huge increase of 27 per cent since he came to office.Mr Obama’s poor handling of the economic downturn was mostly to blame - a record 57 per cent said they were not happy with his response to the country's financial troubles."

Monday, 6 September 2010

Iran on brink of nuclear weapon, warns watchdog

Telegraph
"Iran has passed a crucial nuclear threshold, weapons inspectors have warned, and could now go on to arm an atomic missile with relative ease. "

Sunday, 5 September 2010

Obama wrongly attributes quotes on his new Oval Office rug to Martin Luther King and Abraham Lincoln

Daily Mail
"It took Barack Obama 18 months to put his own stamp on The Oval Office but it appears he needs a history lesson about its new contents.The new rug adorning the famous floor, it was said, was woven with quotes from Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, John F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King.But the quotations attributed to Abraham Lincoln and Martin Luther King in the wheat-coloured carpet in fact came from reformist and abolitionist Theodore Parker."

Saturday, 4 September 2010

Blair Book's Journey To Crime Section

Sky News
"More than 3,000 people have joined a group on the social networking site called "Subversively move Tony Blair's memoirs to the crime section in book shops".The memoir - entitled A Journey - has turned up in various "inappropriate sections" including Horror, Crime and Dark Fantasy.The Facebook group claims it wants to "make bookshops think twice about where they categorise our generation’s greatest war criminal".

Friday, 3 September 2010

Barack Obama is locked in a lose-lose situation

Telegraph
"..Nobody could have expected Mr Obama to fix all these problems in the 20 months he has been in the job, but they might by now reasonably have expected at least a glimpse of the promised sunlit uplands.

There is no such vision on the horizon. Joblessness remains stubbornly high and, far from becoming self-sustaining, the recovery shows signs of stalling. In short, Mr Obama's economic policies have failed, or at least that is the growing public perception. ....Rarely have Americans felt so down in the dumps; collectively, they seem to have lost their innate sense of self-belief and optimism. Not since the 1930s has the American dream looked so forlorn. What's gone wrong, and why has the patient proved so unwilling to respond to the extraordinary fiscal and monetary medicine applied? ......Whatever his other achievements, Mr Obama will go down in history as the worst president since Jimmy Carter if he cannot make headway on either of these issues. It's hard to be optimistic. Mr Obama looks like a beached whale. "

How Barack Obama Became Mr. Unpopular

Time
"..This shift in perception — from Obama as political savior to Obama as creature of Washington — can be seen elsewhere. When Obama arrived in office in January '09, his Gallup approval rating stood at 68%, a high for a newly elected leader not seen since John Kennedy in 1961. Today Obama's job approval has been hovering in the mid-40s, which means that at least 1 in 4 Americans has changed his or her mind. The plunge has been particularly dramatic among independents, whites and those under age 30. With midterm elections just nine weeks off, instead of the generational transformation some Democrats predicted after 2008, the President's party teeters on the brink of a broad setback in November, including the possible loss of both houses of Congress. By a 10-point margin, people say they will vote for Republicans over Democrats in Congress, the largest such gap ever recorded by Gallup."

Wednesday, 1 September 2010

Wall Street Surges After Upbeat Reports on Economy

NYT
"Wall Street surged out of the gate and then kept going on Wednesday fueled by upbeat economic news from Australia, China and, somewhat surprisingly, on manufacturing in the United States. Markets were higher in Asia and Europe after reports showing a closely watched purchasing managers’ index in China picked up slightly in August after several months of slight declines, and Australia reported that its economy had expanded more than analysts had expected during the second quarter. In the United States, shares also got a lift from a report showing an unexpected jump in a manufacturing index. "

Monday, 30 August 2010

Japan renews QE as recovery falters

Telegraph
"Japan has launched a fresh monetary and fiscal boost to shore up its faltering recovery and stem the slide into deflation, becoming the first major country to inject further stimulus since the Great Recession ended. ....Japan's curse is that the yen strengthens in times of crisis as investors repatriate money for safety. Life insurers and pension funds rotate from US bonds back into Japanese bonds as the yield gap narrows, which compounds Japan's deflation woes. "

Friday, 27 August 2010

U.S. Economy Slowed to 1.6% Pace in 2nd Quarter

NYT
"In a speech Friday morning, the chairman of the Federal Reserve, Ben S. Bernanke, said that he expected the economy to continue on a growth track, “albeit at a relatively modest pace.”He also indicated that the Fed would be willing to resume large purchases of longer-term debt if the economy worsened. Such moves could have the effect of lowering mortgage rates. Although rates are already at historic lows, economists suggest that lower rates could eventually spur some home-buying or at least refinancing, which gives households more cash to spend."

Thursday, 26 August 2010

Number of immigrants living in the UK long-term SOARS by 20% as a quarter of babies are born to foreign mothers.

Daily Mail
# Net immigration rises by 33,000 to 196,000 in one year
# Country has highest population of EU countries
# 25% of babies born to foreign mothers

Wednesday, 25 August 2010

Time for the IFS to come clean – they swing to the Left

CBW
"..What is odd, though, is that the Institute for Fiscal Studies have become Britain’s leading cheerleader for the idea that progressive=good, regressive=bad, promoting the concept that particular types of economic policy are politically better than others.

The IFS’ pitch and reputation is that it is both non-partisan and politically unbiased – that it does not prefer one set of political ideas over another, but it just wants the sums to add up. As they say on their website, “our most cherished asset is a hard-won reputation for objectivity and impartiality”. Given that this status imparts such huge weight to their reports, particularly within the BBC, it is bizarre and misguided that they are increasingly moving beyond bean-counting and into flag-waving."

Ireland's credit rating downgraded by S&P on bank fears

Telegraph
"S&P cited the danger to the country's budget deficit posed by the rising cost of supporting its struggling banks.The credit ratings agency estimated the cost of recapitalizing Ireland's banking system could now reach €50bn from a previous estimate of a maximum of €35bn.t said “a further downgrade is possible if the fiscal cost of supporting the banking sector rises further, or if other adverse economic developments weaken the government’s ability to meet its medium-term fiscal objectives."

Tuesday, 24 August 2010

100 of Baroness Ashton's EU diplomats paid more than William Hague

Telegraph
"At least 50 of her 114 senior officials will earn between £157,000 to £171,000 a year, higher salaries than David Cameron's annual wage of £142,500 in the new EU foreign service, which was created by the Lisbon Treaty.

As the EU's foreign minister, Lady Ashton earns £230,702 a year, making her the best paid female politician in the Western world, and controls a budget three times bigger than the British foreign office, despite never having been elected to public authority. "

Brussels establishes a new fund to promote European citizenship

Telegraph
"While urging its member nations to constrain their expenditure, the EU is simultaneously demanding that they cough up more in order to proselytise for the deeper integration. A new million-euro fund has been established to “develop a sense of active European citizenship“.Politicians generally, and Eurocrats especially, tend to overestimate the effect of propaganda. Hundreds of millions of euros are spent every year on trying to convince school children, university students, professional organisations and NGOs of the merits of Euro-federation; yet almost every referendum throws up a “No” vote. Then again, propaganda is only the secondary function of these grants; their primary purpose is to provide a living for their recipients. And this they do very well."

Monday, 23 August 2010

A president in need of a political spark

The Washington Post
"I turn back to these comments because the country is still struggling with Obama's views on the right of Muslims to build a mosque near Ground Zero. Intervening on this issue was a classic dumb move, politically. Hillary Clinton, say, would have known instantly that the correct answer is to leave this complex issue to the elected officials of New York City. The White House had taken this position until Obama decided, on principle, that he must speak out for tolerance.

I think the president is right on the mosque issue (as on health care and his economic rescue efforts). But the larger point is that we truly have a leader who keeps doing the wise thing on policy (assuming you agree with him) but the dumb thing on politics. "

Britain faces a cultural war. With blood

Andrew Bolt,Herald Sun (Australia)
"One of these two men - and their fans - is a menace to the freedoms and even safety of fellow Britons. ....One of the two doesn’t belong in the country and its culture. And it’s the one who, oddly enough, echoes precisely Enoch Powell’s famous warning in 1968, made to the cost of his career and reputation: ..."

Sunday, 22 August 2010

Fate of Australian parliament rests in hands of independent MPs

Telegraph
"After a tense night of vote-counting yielded no clear result, the country was headed for a hung parliament with independent MPs Tony Windsor, Rob Oakeshott and Bob Katter, who all hail from regional seats, holding the balance of power.The group is scheduled to meet in Canberra in the coming days to discuss how to help form a stable government."