Sunday, 19 April 2015

Markets Face New Threat as US Federal Reserve Ponders Interest Rate Rise

THE GUARDIAN: Janet Yellen’s decision will have global consequences - and the end of ultra-low rates could mean meltdown for indebted countries

The moment US central bank chief Janet Yellen presses the button will be a massive economic event. The prospect that higher interest rates in the world’s largest economy could come this year has already sent the dollar surging against the pound and euro. It has also fuelled fears of a meltdown in countries that have borrowed heavily in the US currency.

Borrowing is inherently risky, all the more so when the interest rate can change at short notice. Higher costs for those that have borrowed in dollars could cripple companies in Brazil and Turkey that were enticed by cheap credit to fund a new factory or office building, or just to pay the wages.

At the International Monetary Fund’s spring meeting last week, chief economist Olivier Blanchard dismissed these concerns, arguing that companies may have hedged their position, while investors and finance ministers were well prepared. But a succession of market shocks in the last two years has convinced many in the financial community that a bigger crash is coming. There have been violent movements in currencies, bonds and commodity prices, especially crude oil and metals. A rise in US interest rates could add to this already volatile situation and drag stock markets towards another sudden crash. » | Phillip Inman | Washington | Saturday, April 18, 2015

Thursday, 16 April 2015

Dispatch from the North Korean Border: What Do You Want to Know?

NK News are crowdfunding to send an investigative reporter to the North Korea–China border, and they want you to shape what they’ll cover

Read The Guardian article here | Maeve Shearlaw | Thursday, April 16, 2015

Tuesday, 7 April 2015

Alexis Tsipras Flies to Moscow amid Speculation of Bailout from Putin

THE GUARDIAN: Greek prime minister to sign accords with Russia, including gas price discount and possible loans in return for Greek assets, that would alarm EU creditors

Determined to take Greek-Russian relations out of “the deep freeze”, a defiant Alexis Tsipras flew to Moscow on Tuesday for talks with Vladimir Putin, ratcheting up the pressure on western creditors keeping debt-stricken Greece afloat.

After speculation that Russia’s president might make an offer of financial help that the Greek prime minister will find hard to turn down, officials said the controversial trip should be seen through the prism of Athens’ leftist-led government doing “what is best for Greece”.

They described the visit as being both “politically friendly and economically promising”.

The two leaders, who hold formal talks and a working lunch on Wednesday, are expected to sign an array of accords, including a three-year plan to strengthen ties economically and commercially. » | Helena Smith in Athens and Alec Luhn in Moscow | Tuesday, April 07, 2015

Thursday, 2 April 2015

Greece Draws Up Drachma Plans, Prepares to Miss IMF Payment

THE DAILY TELEGRAPH: 'We are a Left-wing government. If we have to choose between a default to the IMF or a default to our own people, it is a no-brainer,' says senior Greek official

Greece is drawing up drastic plans to nationalise the country's banking system and introduce a parallel currency to pay bills unless the eurozone takes steps to defuse the simmering crisis and soften its demands.

Sources close to the ruling Syriza party said the government is determined to keep public services running and pay pensions as funds run critically low. It may be forced to take the unprecedented step of missing a payment to the International Monetary Fund next week.

Greece no longer has enough money to pay the IMF €458m on April 9 and also to cover payments for salaries and social security on April 14, unless the eurozone agrees to disburse the next tranche of its interim bail-out deal in time.

“We are a Left-wing government. If we have to choose between a default to the IMF or a default to our own people, it is a no-brainer,” said a senior official. » | Ambrose Evans-Pritchard | Thursday, April 02, 2015

Friday, 27 March 2015

Election TV Debate Live: David Cameron Says He Could Not Live On Zero Hours Contract

Prime Minister David Cameron says he couldn't live on a zero hours contract, during the General Election 2015 TV debate

Read the article here

Tuesday, 24 March 2015

THOMAS DIBACCO: A Fed That Won't Hike Rates

It's really amazing that the so-called stock market gurus were worried that the Federal Reserve Board would raise interest rates at its March 17-18 meeting, thus leading to a less bountiful Wall Street. The Fed passed once more on hiking rates. All the worry has resulted in enormous volatility in recent weeks, with stocks losing by…

Saturday, 21 March 2015

'We Don't Want to Be German Colony' - Spain Gears Up for Mass Protest

Struggling to live below the poverty line in Spain is seeing tens of thousands of protesters prepare to take action in Madrid. They're calling it a 'Dignity March' - and are demanding the government provide social guarantees and basics such as bread, work and housing.

Friday, 20 March 2015

Das Ende der Geduld

Die Teilnehmer des EU-Gipfels in Brüssel zeigen sich zerknirscht

Thursday, 19 March 2015

‘There Is Austerity for People, But Not for Europe’s Economic, Political Élite’

Protesters in Frankfurt gathered to sabotage the opening of the European Central Bank’s new €1.3 billion campus. For many Europeans, the huge luxury offices built in the midst of an economic recession represent everything that is wrong with the institution. RT talks to Costas Panayotakis, an author and professor of sociology at the New York City College of Technology.

Friday, 13 March 2015

Islande: retrait de sa candidature à l'UE

LE FIGARO: L'Islande a annoncé aujourd'hui avoir retiré sa candidature à l'Union européenne, deux ans après l'arrivée au pouvoir d'un gouvernement eurosceptique de centre droit qui promettait de mettre un terme au processus lancé en 2009.

Le ministre des Affaires étrangères, Gunnar Bragi Sveinsson, a indiqué dans un communiqué avoir fait part de cette décision à la Lettonie, qui préside l'UE et qui en a informé la Commission européenne.

"Les intérêts de l'Islande sont mieux servis en dehors de l'Union européenne", a écrit le ministère sur son site internet. » | Par avec AFP | jeudi 12 mars 2015

Grexit Would Be 'Beginning of the End' for Europe, Warns EU Chief

Alexis Tsipras called on Germany to repay Nazi war debts
to Greece earlier this week
THE DAILY TELEGRAPH: Greek prime minister insists on solidarity after Pierre Moscovici says "catastrophe" could emerge from strained debt negotiations

A disorderly Greek exit from the eurozone would mark "beginning of the end" for the currency union and spark a dangerous domino effect of market contagion across the continent, according to the EU's top finance commissioner.

Seeking to soothe talk of an "accidental" Grexit, Pierre Moscovici said any move to eject Greece from the bloc "would be a catastrophe - for the Greek economy, but also for the eurozone as a whole."

"If one country leaves this (monetary) union, the markets will immediately ask which country is next, and that could be the beginning of the end," the former French finance minister told Der Spiegel magazine. » | Mehreen Khan | Friday, March 13, 2015

Wednesday, 11 March 2015

Fannie Mae Putting Taxpayers Back At Risk With Careless Behavior, Probe Warns

Nearly seven years after it was bailed out from the housing market crash, mortgage giant Fannie Mae is still engaging in behavior that could precipitate future financial crises and taxpayer losses, a government watchdog warns in a report to be released Wednesday. The Federal Housing Finance Agency inspector general said its latest concerns involve Fannie Mae's…

Greece Demands Nazi War Reparations and German Assets Seizures as Creditor Squeeze Continues

THE DAILY TELEGRAPH: Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras revives claims for compensation and the possibility of seizing German assets in return for the crimes carried out by the Third Reich

Greece's prime minister has demanded Germany pay back more than €160bn (£112bn) in Second World War reparations as his country is squeezed by creditors to overhaul its economy in return for vital bail-out funds.

In an emotive address to his parliament, Alexis Tsipras said his government had a "duty to history, to the people who fought and to the victims who gave their lives to defeat Nazism."

The Leftist government maintains it is owed more than €162bn - nearly half the value of its total public debt - for the destruction wrought during the Nazi occupation of Greece.

"The government will work in order to honour fully its obligations. But, at the same time, it will work so that all of the unfulfilled obligations to Greece and the Greek people are met," said Mr Tsipras on Tuesday at a parliamentary debate on the creation of a reparations committee.

Syriza's leader added the atrocities of the Nazi occupation remained "fresh in the memory" of Greek people and "must be preserved in the younger generations."

Greece's demand for reparations centres on a war loan of 476m Reichsmarks the Greek central bank was forced to make to the Nazis. Athens is also calling for wider compensation for the destruction and suffering caused by the occupation.

The country's justice minister went further, threatening the seizure of German assets in order to compensate the relatives of Nazi war crimes. » | Mehreen Khan | Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Tuesday, 10 March 2015

APRÈS LA CRISE FINANCIÈRE DE 2008: Royaume-Uni: les riches 64% plus riches, les pauvres deux fois plus pauvres

L’ Une étude publiée ce mardi par un think tank britannique souligne le creusement des inégalités entre les 20% les plus riches et les 20% les plus pauvres du Royaume-Uni, depuis la crise financière de 2008.

Le fossé entre riches et pauvres ne cesse de se creuser au Royaume-Uni. Non seulement la crise financière de 2008 n'a pas porté préjudice aux 20% des Britanniques les plus riches, selon une étude publiée ce mardi par la Social Market Foundation, mais elle leur a profité. Ils sont bien moins endettés qu'auparavant. Leur richesse financière s'est en moyenne accrue de 64% entre 2005 et 2012-2013, selon l'étude de ce think tank "favoralble à la libre entreprise mais soucieux de justice sociale", comme il se définit sur son site. » | Par L’ | mardi 10 mars 2015

SOCIAL MARKET FOUNDATION: Following the financial crisis, UK households experienced the longest period of falling real wages since records began » | Nida Broughton, Ricky Kanabar, Nicole Martin | Tuesday, March 10, 2015