Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Gina Rinehart Threatens to Sell Stake in Fairfax Unless Given Editorial Influence

THE DAILY TELEGRAPH: The world's richest woman, Gina Rinehart, has publicly threatened to sell her stake in Fairfax, Australia's oldest media company unless she is allowed direct influence over editorial decisions.

The Australian billionaire mining magnate, a staunch conservative who does no media interviews, has branded herself as a "white knight" trying to rescue the ailing – and liberal-leaning – Fairfax Media.

Mrs Rinehart recently moved to a 19 per cent stake in the company, just short of the 20 per cent mark at which she would have to launch a formal takeover bid. She has been vying for three board seats but has insisted that she should not have to abide by the company's charter of editorial independence.

In a statement to ABC Television, her company, Hancock Prospecting, said Mrs Rinehart was a potential saviour of the company and had started buying shares after its three biggest mastheads suffered long-term circulation declines. » | Jonathan Pearlman, Sydney | Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Related »

Friday, 22 June 2012

Moody's Cuts Credit Ratings on 15 Major Banks

LOS ANGELES TIMES: Moody's Investors Service has lowered the ratings of some of the world's largest banks, including Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup and Goldman Sachs.

The ratings agency said late Thursday that the banks were downgraded because their long-term prospects for profitability and growth are shrinking. » | Associated Press | Thursday, June 21, 2012

Related »

Thursday, 21 June 2012

Debt Crisis: Moody's Downgrade of Britain's Banks to Hit Families

THE DAILY TELEGRAPH: Home owners and businesses face having to pay higher interest rates following a downgrade in the credit ratings of Britain’s biggest banks, analysts warned on Thursday.

Moody’s, a leading international ratings agency, on Thursday night cut its scores for Barclays, Lloyds and Royal Bank of Scotland because of the eurozone crisis.

Senior politicians warned the banks not to use the downgrade as an excuse to charge more for borrowing on the high street.

The downgrade coincided with a warning from the CBI, Britain’s biggest business group, that the fragile economic recovery was at risk of being “choked off by a lack of finance”.

Credit ratings help determine what banks must pay to borrow money on international markets. The lower the rating, the higher the interest rates they pay and the more collateral they must offer. » | James Kirkup, Deputy Political Editor | Thursday, June 21, 2012
Achtung Drachme

Der Sieg der Konservativen in Griechenland bringt nur eine kurze Verschnaufpause in der Euro-Krise. Experten sind überzeugt, Griechenland ist kaum mehr zu retten und Spanien könnte bald in der gleichen Situation sein. Die Rundschau zeigt, was die Folgen für die Schweiz wären und wie sich die Schweizer Wirtschaft auf den Euro-Crash vorbereitet.

Rundschau vom 20.06.2012

Zum Teil in Schweizerdeutsch (Schwyzertüütsch) übertragen.
Spanish Stage Anti-Austerity Protests

The Finance minister of another debt-stricken nation - Spain - insists his country doesn't need a full-blown bailout. But protesters, taking part in nationwide rallies against spending cuts and recent rescue packages for banks, disagree. Al Jazeera's Paul Brennan reports from Madrid.

Pakistan Plagued by Economic Problems

Pakistan's president has asked parliament to meet on Friday to elect a new prime minister. The dismissal of Yusuf Raza Gilani by the Supreme Court on Tuesday has added to the political instability in Pakistan. And as Imtiaz Tyab reports, it's already saddled with massive economic and security problems.

Berlusconi fossoyeur de l'euro ?

LE POINT: Le Cavaliere pourrait prendre la tête d'une coalition faisant campagne pour l'abandon de l'euro par l'Italie.

"On criera au scandale, mais aujourd'hui, l'hypothèse de l'abandon de l'euro par l'Italie n'est pas un blasphème ". C'est Silvio Berlusconi qui a jeté mercredi ce pavé dans la mare de la crise européenne. Ce n'est pas la première fois que l'homme qui présidait aux destinées de la péninsule jusqu'au 16 novembre dernier prend ses distances de l'euro. Le 1er juin, le Cavaliere avait écrit sur sa pageFacebook : "Si Angela Merkel refuse que la BCE fasse marcher la planche à billets, on devrait avoir le courage de dire ciao et d'abandonner l'euro tout en restant dans l'Union. Ou alors c'est l'Allemagne qui devrait quitter la zone euro."

Un scénario qui donne des sueurs froides aux économistes. La sortie de l'Italie de l'euro serait immédiatement suivie d'une dévaluation de 20 à 40 % de la "nouvelle lire". Si l'exportation en bénéficierait, le coût de la facture énergétique et du financement de la dette exploserait, l'inflation s'emballerait. Mais le Cavaliere persiste et signe. Il organisera le 15 juillet prochain un séminaire auquel il a annoncé la participation de "plusieurs Prix Nobel d'économie". » | Dominique Dunglas, correspondant du Poit à Rome | jeudi 21 juin 2012
Fed to Pump $267bn into Economy with Warning that US Recovery Is Slowing

THE GUARDIAN: Ben Bernanke extends Operation Twist stimulus but warns that unemployment is unlikely to improve before end of the year

The US Federal Reserve announced a $267bn plan to underpin the US's fragile recovery Wednesday as chairman Ben Bernanke warned that unemployment was unlikely to improve before the end of the year.

The plan – an extension of a scheme known as Operation Twist – aims to drive down long-term interest rate and encourage borrowing. The announcement came as the latest statement from the Fed painted a gloomier picture of the US economy and said it was prepared to take more action if necessary.

The Fed said that the growth in employment "has slowed in recent months, and the unemployment rate remains elevated," and that household spending "appears to be rising at a somewhat slower pace than earlier in the year." The Fed also reiterated its concern that "strains in global financial markets continue to pose significant downside risks" to growth.

That news will be a blow to the Obama administration in the run-up to an election that looks set to be dominated by economic news in general and the unemployment rate in particular.

At a press conference Bernanke said the Fed had been too optimistic in its projections for recovery, and warned again that Europe was a significant drag on the US recovery. » | Dominic Rushe in New York | Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Germany Set to Allow Eurozone Bailout Fund to Buy Troubled Countries' Debt

THE GUARDIAN: Angela Merkel poised to remove opposition to direct lending by rescue fund in move seen as step towards sharing debt burden

Angela Merkel is poised to allow the eurozone's €750bn (£605bn) bailout fund to buy up the bonds of crisis-hit governments in a desperate effort to drive down borrowing costs for Spain and Italy and prevent the single currency from imploding.

Germany has long opposed allowing the eurozone's rescue fund, the European Financial Stability Facility, to lend directly to troubled eurozone countries, fearing that Berlin would end up paying the bill, and the beneficiaries would escape the strict conditions imposed on Greece, Portugal and Ireland.

But Merkel has come under intense pressure as financial markets have pushed up borrowing costs for Spain to levels that many analysts see as unsustainable.

Analysts are likely to see the decision as the first step towards sharing the burden of troubled countries' debts across the single currency's 17 members, though it falls short of the "eurobonds" proposed by the European commission president, José Manuel Barroso.

A spokeswoman for Merkel said: "Nothing has been decided yet." » | Patrick Wintour in Los Cabos | Tuesday, June 19, 2012

THE GUARDIAN: Germany surrenders over eurozone bailout fund: All the financial firepower Europe can muster will be used to drive down Spain's borrowing costs – that, at least, is the talk » | Larry Elliott, economic editor | Tuesday, June 19, 2012
Microsoft präsentiert “Surface”

G20 fordern Ende der Euro-Krise

Monday, 18 June 2012

Le G20 enjoint l'Europe à résoudre la crise de la dette

REUTERS FRANCE: LOS CABOS, Mexique - L'hypothèque électorale grecque à peine levée, les dirigeants européens sont sous pression pour s'engager à prendre "toutes les mesures nécessaires" pour mettre fin à l'interminable crise de la dette, lors d'un sommet du G20 placé sous le signe de l'emploi et de la croissance.

Au lendemain de la victoire des partis favorables aux mesures d'austérité en Grèce, qui éloigne temporairement le spectre d'un éclatement de la zone euro, le groupe des vingt pays les plus industrialisés et des puissances émergentes (G20) a entamé lundi une réunion de deux jours à Los Cabos, au Mexique.

Selon le projet de communiqué final lu à Reuters par une source du G20, les membres de la zone euro sont invités à s'engager à "prendre toutes les mesures politiques nécessaires pour préserver l'intégrité et la stabilité de la zone euro, y compris en matière de fonctionnement des marchés financiers et en brisant la boucle qui lie les Etats souverains et les banques".

Les partenaires européens de l'Espagne lui ont offert il y a dix jours un plan de 100 milliards d'euros pour venir en aide à ses banques, ce qui n'a fait qu'attiser les craintes d'une nouvelle escalade de la crise financière, illustrée par la flambée lundi du coût de la dette espagnole et italienne. » | Par Stella Dawson et Luke Baker | Benoit Van Overstraeten et Tangi Salaün pour le service français, édité par Natalie Huet | lundo 18 juin 2012
G20 Summit: Barroso Blames Eurozone Crisis On US Banks

THE GUARDIAN: EC president says European leaders have not come to Mexico to receive lessons on how to handle the economy

The opening day of the G20 summit was threatening to deteriorate into a fractious row between eurozone countries and other non-European members of the G20, notably the US, as EU commission president José Manuel Barroso insisted the origins of the eurozone crisis lay in the unorthodox policies of American capitalism.

As Europe's leaders came under intense pressure to act decisively to cure the euro's ills, and a campaign gathered pace to relax some of the austerity programmes laying waste to countries burdened with unsustainable debt levels, Barroso insisted that Europe had not come to the G20 summit in Mexico to receive lessons on how to handle the economy.

When asked by a Canadian journalist "why should North Americans risk their assets to help Europe?" he replied: "Frankly, we are not here to receive lessons in terms of democracy or in terms of how to handle the economy.

"By the way this crisis was not originated in Europe … seeing as you mention North America, this crisis originated in North America and much of our financial sector was contaminated by, how can I put it, unorthodox practices, from some sectors of the financial market." » | Patrick Wintour in Los Cabos, Ian Traynor in Brussels and Helena Smith in Athens | Monday, June 18, 2012
Millions of Working Families One Push from Penury, Guardian Research Finds

THE GUARDIAN: Findings that 2.2m children live in households on economic cliff-edge challenge coalition claim people are better off in work

Almost 7 million working-age adults are living in extreme financial stress, one small push from penury, despite being in employment and largely independent of state support, according to the most comprehensive study of the finances of employed households, commissioned by the Guardian.

Unlike the "squeezed middle", these 3.6m British households have little or no savings, nor equity in their homes, and struggle at the end of each month to feed themselves and their children adequately. They say they are unable to cope on their current incomes and have no assets to fall back on, leaving them vulnerable to something as simple as an unexpectedly large fuel bill.

The findings challenge the argument made by the work and pensions secretary, Iain Duncan Smith, who last week said parents should get a job to ensure their children are not brought up in poverty. » | Amelia Hill | Monday, June 18, 2012
Australian Broadsheets Switch to Tabloids in 'Momentous' Shake-up

THE DAILY TELEGRAPH: Two Australian broadsheets, The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age, will move to a tabloid format, slash staff, charge for online content and could potentially stop printing altogether in a "momentous" shake-up of Australian media.

The move came as Gina Rinehart, the world's wealthiest woman, positioned herself to gain control of the owner of the newspapers, Fairfax Media, which is the main Australian rival to Rupert Murdoch's newspaper stable.

Mrs Rinehart, the Perth-based iron ore magnate whose staunchly conservative political views stand in stark contrast to those of Fairfax's main newspapers, is the largest single shareholder and has reportedly asked for the right to hire and fire editors.

Fairfax on Monday announced it will cut 1900 jobs – more than a fifth of its workforce – over the next three years and close its two main printing presses in New South Wales and Victoria by 2014.

The Sydney Morning Herald, which began publishing in 1831, and The Age, which began in 1854, will shrink to "compact" size next March and erect pay-walls on their websites following a continuous decline in print readership since 2006.

"Readers' behaviours have changed and will not change back," said the company's chief executive, Greg Hywood. "The days of the huge printing plants, built for our legacy print classified business, are well and truly over." » | Jonathan Pearlman in Sydney | Monday, June 18, 2012

THE SYDNEY MORNING HERALD: Rinehart steps up Fairfax board battle » | Kirsty Simpson | Monday, June 18, 2012
Athènes condamné à la rigueur ou à la faillite

LE FIGARO: Le sommet européen du 28 juin à Bruxelles sera capital pour l'avenir de la Grèce.

Le nouveau gouvernement, lorsqu'il sera constitué, ne connaîtra pas d'état de grâce. Il entrera aussitôt dans une course contre la montre pour éviter le défaut de paiement de la Grèce. » | Par Renaud Girard, Alexia Kefalas | dimanche 17 juin 2012

Sunday, 17 June 2012

Italians Vent Anger at Austerity Measures

Thousands of demonstrators in Rome have taken to the streets of the Italian capital to protest against the country's latest austerity measures. Many Italians fear that the government's spending cuts will harm worker rights and pensions. The protest came as Mario Monti, the prime minister, said the country was flirting with economic disaster. Al Jazeera's Claudio Lavanga reports from Rome.

Saturday, 16 June 2012

Lagarde souhaite voir la zone euro franchir une nouvelle étape

REUTERS FRANCE: PARIS (Reuters) - La directrice générale du Fonds monétaire international, Christine Lagarde, souhaite qu'une nouvelle "étape forte" de la construction de la zone euro soit rapidement franchie, avec la mise en commun des politiques budgétaires et des mécanismes de supervision et de résolution des crises bancaires.

L'ancienne ministre française des Finances s'exprime dans un entretien publié samedi par Libération, avant l'ouverture lundi d'un sommet du G20 qui sera presque exclusivement accaparé par la crise en Europe.

"Ce qu'il faut, c'est une détermination collective pour avancer vers une étape forte de la construction de la zone euro", déclare Christine Lagarde.

"Il faut dépasser l'union monétaire pour mettre en commun les politiques budgétaires, avec aussi des instruments de supervision du secteur financier au sens large et des mécanismes de résolution des crises bancaires. Le tout sous une autorité de la zone euro, et non pas des banques centrales nationales." » | Jean-Baptiste Vey, édité par Jean-Philippe Lefief | samedi 16 juin 2012
Goldman Sachs Executive Convicted of Fraud

MONTGOMERY ADVERTISER: Calls link him to convicted trader

NEW YORK — Former Goldman Sachs board member Rajat Gupta lived the American Dream before being led astray by a wealthy friend who was a master at insider trading.

That was the view of two jurors who on Friday voted with 10 others to convict Gupta of three counts of securities fraud and one count of conspiracy for sharing corporate secrets with hedge fund manager Raj Rajaratnam.

With the verdict, Gupta became the most prominent defendant convicted so far in a wide-ranging Wall Street inquiry conducted by investigators armed with wiretaps.

Prosecutors had alleged that Gupta’s tips gave Rajaratnam an edge over ordinary investors on trades of more than 350,000 shares of Goldman stock in 2008.

Rajaratnam, the billionaire founder of the Galleon hedge fund firm who was convicted last year, “was a very manipulative man,” juror Rick Lebkowski said after the verdict. “He made it very easy for Mr. Gupta to give him this information.”

Recordings of Rajaratnam and Gupta casually chatting on the phone convinced juror Ronnie Sesso that Rajaratnam “was a savvy and sneaky man. … He was a little snake in the grass.”

Gupta — born in India, educated at Harvard and well-respected on Wall Street — was “a wonderful example of the American Dream,” Lebkowski said. “I wanted to believe the allegations weren’t true.” But on the counts the jury found Gupta guilty, “the evidence was overwhelming,” he added. » | Saturday, June 16, 2012
What a Return to the Drachma Really Looks Like

BLOOMBERG: From a distance, returning to the drachma seems like a great solution for Greece. Economists such as New York University’s Nouriel Roubini say that by quitting the euro, Greece would seize control of its fate. It could pay off its euro debts with less valuable drachmas—stiffing creditors. Having a cheap currency would make Greece’s goods and services more affordable, drachma advocates say, shrinking a current-account deficit that’s about 9 percent of the entire economy. It actually poses a huge risk.

There’s no question that quitting the euro would be an easy way for Greece to shrink its unsupportable debt. Yet if Greece does leave or is kicked out of the single currency, it will most probably suffer inflation, layoffs, capital flight, shortages of essential commodities, and civil unrest, judging from what happened in Argentina when that country quit its dollar peg a decade ago. “Leaving is difficult and messy, so anyone who thinks it’s easy is just wrong,” says Lorenzo Bini Smaghi, a University of Chicago-trained economist who left the European Central Bank’s executive board last year.

What’s more, Greece is likely to find that a devalued currency doesn’t buy competitiveness. Outside of agriculture, many Greek exporters rely on imported components and raw materials that would soar in price in drachma terms, erasing the hope that exports could quickly lead the nation back to a trade balance. » | Peter Coy, Nick Malkoutzis, Carol Matlack, and Gabi Thesing | Thursday, May 24, 2012
Nervous Greek Voters Brace for Drachmageddon

THE AUSTRALIAN: BANKS closed, supermarkets looted, riots, people frisked for hidden wads of euros as they flee the country, government wages and pensions paid in IOUs, aircraft evacuating stranded holidaymakers. That is the nightmare scenario of a disorderly Greek exit from the eurozone that has been dubbed "drachmageddon".

A nervous calm prevailed in Athens yesterday as the country heads into an election on Sunday that could provoke panic. A win by leftist Syriza would raise the prospect of a Greek exit from the euro, even though Syriza insists it wants to remain in the zone.

Experts see a "Grexit" as fraught with danger. "I would wish for a good scenario to take place, or the least bad. But one can't exclude a bad scenario, where people react, I won't say violently, but nervously, and we will have all kinds of trouble," said Thanos Dokos, director of the respected ELIAMEP think tank in Athens.

"People looting shops and banks - although what kind of money would they get out of a bank? Clashes between the police and extremist elements who would take advantage of the opportunity to cause trouble. Shortages of goods can also happen."

Secret talks between European finance officials this week are understood to have examined possible limits on withdrawals from cash machines, reimposing border checks despite Greece's membership in the Schengen zone and reinstituting capital controls. One fear is that a Syriza victory would provoke a run on the banks that would force the country out of the euro before the new government could take office.

Syriza leader Alexis Tsipras dismisses such talk as fear-mongering by his political opponents. At a press conference, he warned: "The biggest threat is not our creditors. It's our own panic."

Syriza officials, however, admit there is a realistic prospect that the incoming government will have to limit bank withdrawals. » | James Bone, Athens | The Times | Friday, June 15, 2012

Friday, 15 June 2012

”Deutschlands Stärke ist nicht unendlich”

Schäuble sträubt sich gegen Bankunion

Greeks Pull Money from Banks ahead of Polls

The Greek election will be closely watched, especially by financial markets hoping for stability in Greece. Many Greeks are reluctant to keep their own money in banks, meaning billions of dollars have left the country's financial system. They have been removing their money from greek banks for two years, sending it to Germany, the United States and other safe havens. As the general election approaches, the initiative has gathered pace. Central bank figures show that deposits shrank by about 17 per cent, or 44.4 billion dollars in 2011. At the end of April this year they stood at 208.1 billion dollars. Consumers are stocking up on nonperishable food, worried about the election outcome. Al Jazeera's Tim Friend reports from Athens.

Greece Tourism Hit by Eurozone Crisis

On the Greek island of Agistri, fewer tourists are now coming to the beaches, and every day the ferries fail to deliver the visitor numbers needed. Greek tourism has been hit hard by Europe's financial crisis, and many locals expect a bleak future ahead. Al Jazeera's Andrew Simmons reports from Agistri.

George Osborne and Mervyn King Announce £80bn Lending Boost

The chancellor of the exchequer, George Osborne, and the governor of the Bank of England, Sir Mervyn King, announce new emergency measures to help British banks boost business lending. In the proposal, banks will receive cut-price long-term loans, provided they pass the benefits on to their business customers


Read the article here | Larry Elliott, Jill Treanor and Ian Traynor in Berlin | Thursday, June 14, 2012
Debt Crisis: Rich Greeks in London Face Tax Investigation

THE DAILY TELEGRAPH: The Greek finance ministry has said it will investigate wealthy Greeks in London for potential tax evasion as part of a wider effort to improve abysmal levels of revenue collection.

With estimates that the government could run out of money early next month, caretaker finance minister George Zanias summoned the heads of the main tax offices to a meeting on Wednesday.

He told them that 550 Greek owners of property in Britain would come under the “the cross-checking microscope” in order to establish if they had long-term outstanding debts to the state.

Rich Greeks have been parking their money in the London the property market at an accelerating rate over the past two years as their country has slipped closer to the abyss. According the estate agent Savills, enquiries from Greeks about luxury London homes rose by 40 per cent in April.

Reports in the Greek press said the Athens finance ministry had received information from the Treasury on property purchases by Greeks.

In a tone of some amazement, one newspaper said these details „even included the tax paid on the purchase“, referring to stamp duty. » | Alex Spillius, in Athens | Friday, June 15, 2012

Thursday, 14 June 2012

Entscheidende Wahlen in Griechenland

Mit Bangen schaut die Welt nach Griechenland, wo am Wochenende entscheidende Wahlen für die Zukunft des Landes und auch für die Zukunft Europas stattfinden. Für die Menschen in Griechenland bedeutet die Krise ihres Landes seit Monaten ein täglicher Kampf. Das Gesundheitssystem steht vor dem Kollaps.

Tagesschau vom 14.06.2012
Britain Faces Victorian Levels of Inequality, Says Oxfam

THE DAILY TELEGRAPH: The poor in Britain face a "perfect storm" of benefit cuts, rising living costs and a lack of jobs that result in a return to Victorian levels of inequality, a charity has said.

Oxfam has called for a rise in the minimum wage as part of a package of measures ahead of today's publication of official figures which they predicted would show an increase in the number of working people in poverty.

Already six in every 10 of the 7.9 million working-age adults in poverty are not from jobless households, it said, because austerity measures are "disproportionately impacting" the low-paid.

Thousands more than last year are turning to food banks and other charity facilities as average earnings have shrunk 4.4%, the report noted, while pay of FTSE 100 company directors rose 49%.

Improving that rate requires actions such as reversing cuts to working tax credits and reducing the amount of the new Universal Credit people lose when starting a job, from 65% to 55%.

Oxfam's director of UK poverty Chris Johnes said: "Despite the Government's rhetoric about making work pay, having a job is no longer necessarily enough to lift someone out of poverty. » | Telegraph reporters | Thursday, June 14, 2012

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Oil Price Could Plunge to $50, Says Credit Suisse

THE DAILY TELEGRAPH: The oil price could almost halve later this year if the crisis in the eurozone escalates, Credit Suisse believes.

“Brent oil prices would again hit $50 (£32) a barrel” in a worst-case scenario, according to analysts Jan Stuart and Stefan Revielle. “Oil demand would deflate sharply following acute crises of confidence.”

The analysts said that all potential negative scenarios involved Europe “to some degree” with the starting point of collapse coming over the summer. However, Brent crude rose $1.06 to $98.20 yesterday after the US Energy Department said the country’s stockpiles had seen a surprise fall of 191,000 barrels to 384.4m barrels last week.

Comparing the situation in 2008 and today, Mr Stuart and Mr Revielle noted that “global imbalances are worse and much of the available political and real capital has merely been squandered in the interim.” » | Garry White | Wednesday, June 13, 2012
Grèce : Berlin serait prêt à assouplir le plan d'austérité


LE FIGARO: Plusieurs options sont en discussion pour éviter une sortie de la Grèce de la zone euro: troisième plan d'aide, austérité adoucie ou report de dette.

À l'approche des élections législatives grecques de dimanche, Berlin multiplie les signes d'ouverture pour persuader Athènes de s'accrocher à la monnaie unique. Officiellement, Angela Merkel continue de tenir un discours de fermeté à l'égard de la Grèce, priée de tenir ses engagements pour toucher l'argent du second plan de sauvetage financier de l'UE. En coulisses, toutefois, la chancelière laisse entendre qu'elle serait prête à assouplir les conditions du plan d'austérité imposé à Athènes.

«Les pays qui partagent une monnaie commune finiront par s'entendre», a-t-elle lancé mardi en faisant allusion à la Grèce. Selon le Financial Times Deutschland, Berlin serait prêt à adoucir les coupes budgétaires et les augmentations d'impôts dictées à la Grèce. Il ne s'agit toutefois pas de céder aux revendications de l'extrême gauche grecque en faisant marche arrière sur toutes les réformes structurelles imposées à Athènes. Mais de les étaler de façon à réduire leur impact sur la situation politique et sociale grecque. Pour Berlin, ce «pragmatisme» est le prix à payer pour éviter une sortie du pays de la monnaie unique aux conséquences incalculables pour une zone euro en pleine tempête. » | De correspondants du Figaro à Berlin et Athènes, Patrick Saint-Paul, Alexia Kefalas | mercredi 13 juin 2012
Teures Griechenland: Der Ursprung des Übels

Selbst wenn Griechenland die Staatsschulden erlassen würden, wären seine Probleme nicht gelöst. Griechenland ist international nicht konkurrenzfähig – im Gegensatz zu Deutschland, das am meisten von allen EU-Ländern exportiert. Grund ist die Entwicklung der Lohnstückkosten. Eine «ECO»-Reportage zeigt, was die volkswirtschaftlichen Zusammenhänge für griechische Unternehmer bedeuten.

ECO vom 11.06.2012
WPP Shareholders Vote Against £6.8m Pay Packet for Sir Martin Sorrell

THE GUARDIAN: Nearly 60% of disgruntled investors vote against the WPP directors' remuneration report

Sir Martin Sorrell has suffered an embarrassing defeat at the hands ofWPP shareholders, with nearly 60% voting to reject his £6.8m annual pay packet at the company's annual general meeting in Dublin.

Sorrell, who received a 60% rise in total pay last year as well as a £5.6m windfall of shares under the company's leadership equity acquisitions plan, saw 59% of disgruntled investors fail to back the WPP directors' remuneration report at the AGM on Wednesday. A further 0.8% of votes were withheld, with the remainder in favour.

The WPP chief executive's showdown with investors is the latest in a series of clashes between UK publicly listed companies and shareholders over boardroom pay in what has been dubbed the "shareholder spring".

Sorrell's defeat is the sixth remuneration report to be rejected by shareholders this year, outstripping investor dissatisfaction in recession-racked 2009 when there were five. It is a record tally of defeats since the opportunity for shareholders to vote on the pay policies of UK public companies was introduced almost a decade ago.

The WPP chief executive, who founded the company in 1985, scoffed at the idea he might consider resigning in the wake of the defeat. » | Mark Sweney | Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Debt crisis: Bundesbank Scuppers All Talk of EU Banking Union

THE DAILY TELEGRAPH: Germany's central bank has shot down EU proposals for a European banking union, warning categorically that eurozone liabilities cannot be shared without a fundamental shift towards fiscal and political union.

Andreas Dombret, a key board member of the Bundesbank, said the grand plan by Brussels is premature and unworkable as constructed. "It has to follow a deeper fiscal union as it would imply significantly increased risk sharing amongst countries."

Mr Dombret said a pan-EMU deposit-guarantee scheme and a debt resolution fund would require "a genuine, democratically legitimated fiscal union" and a new treaty.

The Bundebank's vice-president Sabine Lautenschlaeger hammered home the point in what is a clearly co-ordinated push to check the plan. "The result would be a pooling of the governments' liabilities through the back door," she said.

"Whoever is footing the bill must also have a right of control, particularly when it comes to the large sums that are seen in banking crises," she added, alluding to rulings by German courts that unquantifiable EU liabilities breach Germany's constitution.

Chancellor Angela Merkel endorsed the tough line at a party conference yesterday, insisting that Germany will not accept variants of debt pooling or eurobonds until Europe has created a machinery of joint government. » | Ambrose Evans Pritchard, International business editor | Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Monday, 11 June 2012

Greek Anger as Spain Is Handed [€]100bn Bailout with No Need for Austerity Measures... and World Markets Bounce Back

MAIL ONLINE: Greek party Syriza: 'Deal shows Europe abandoning policy of austerity' / Agreement in stark contrast to deal agreed with Greeks two years ago / Spain only told to restructure its troubled banking sector / Will not be subjected to inspections by troika or strict supervision / FTSE-100 up 1.52%; CAC 40 up 2.17%; DAX up 2.18%

Angry Greeks are demanding better terms on their country's bailout after Spain was handed what they see as a 'no-strings attached' €100billion cash boost.

Far-left party Syriza, which could win the re-run of the Greek elections on Sunday, said the Spanish deal 'showed Europe was abandoning its policy of austerity'.

The agreement, they said, was in stark contrast to the deal hammered out with the Greeks two years ago.

That saw the nation hit with strict rules including tight supervision and submitting to regular inspections by the troika of the European Commission, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund.

Spain has only been told to restructure its trouble financial sector - currently lumbered with billions of euros worth of bad loans by the bursting of the Spanish property bubble.

Party leader Alexis Tsipras, Greece's possible next Prime Minister, told Avgi newspaper: 'Developments in Spain have confirmed the position we have supported from the start.

'Namely, that the crisis is a Europe-wide problem and that the way it has been dealt with so far is socially destructive and completely ineffective.

'Two years ago the crisis was related to the supposed laziness and unproductiveness of the Greeks.

'After two years of failure of the bailout memorandum, there is a dramatic increase in the voices calling for a policy change so as not to crash the whole European economy.'

Greek politicians have also said that the Spanish deal will give them room to renegotiate their deal to include less austerity measures. Read on and comment » | Daily Mail Reporter | Monday, June 11, 2012
Euro-Krise: Italiens Wirtschaft bricht massiv ein

SPIEGEL ONLINE: Gerade erst haben die EU-Partner Spanien Milliardenhilfe zugesagt, nun rückt auch Italien in den Fokus. Die Wirtschaft dort ist im ersten Quartal deutlich geschrumpft, das Land steckt mitten in der Rezession. "Ein Hilfsantrag Italiens könnte nur eine Frage der Zeit sein", sagt ein Ökonom.

Rom - Spanien bekommt für seine Banken bis zu 100 Milliarden Euro, doch die Euro-Krise ist damit noch längst nicht ausgestanden. Nun kommt die nächste schlechte Nachricht aus Italien: Die dortige Wirtschaft ist Anfang 2012 so stark geschrumpft wie seit drei Jahren nicht mehr. » | cte/Reuters | Montag, 11. Juni 2012

Sunday, 10 June 2012

Argentina Buys Up US Dollars

Argentina's government has placed a virtual ban on purchases of foreign currency and is trying to buy every US dollar available as it bids to increase central bank reserves and repay government debt. President Christina Kirchner wants Argentinians to start saving in the country's peso currency. Those measures have forced thousands to the streets to protest against what they call the government's authoritarian ways. The country has one of the highest inflation rates in the world and many Argentinians would gladly trade their pesos for the more stable US dollar. This has led to the creation of a black market where it is possible for thousands to buy and sell dollars, escaping the government's control. Al Jazeera's Teresa Bo reports from Buenos Aires.

Saturday, 9 June 2012

Debt Crisis: Spain On Verge of €100bn Bailout as Euro Finance Ministers Hold Emergency Talks

THE DAILY TELEGRAPH: Spain is poised to receive up to €100bn (£81bn) to rescue its debt-laden banking sector after eurozone finance ministers today held emergency talks on its financial crisis.

Economy Minister Luis de Guindos will hold a news conference at 6.30pm UK time to explain “actions on the recapitalisation of the Spanish banking system,” the ministry said in a statement.

He will speak after ministers from across the shared currency nations on Saturday afternoon embarked on a conference call to outline a rescue deal, as a formal request by the eurozone's fourth biggest economy appeared imminent.

Fellow euro nations are expected to demand that Spain carries out reforms in its financial sector in exchange for coming to the aid of its stricken lenders - but the deal is not expected to come with economic conditions.

"The amount on the table at the moment is as much as up to €100bn but this hasn't been decided yet," a senior EU official told AFP during the nearly three-hour call. The money will come with conditions attached entailing a "clean-up of the financial sector", the source said.

The Swedish prime minister signalled the package would be in that region. "There was a question of more than €80bn," Fredrik Reinfeldt said in a radio interview. "It is in fact a question of one of the biggest financial rescues in recent history." » | Bruno Waterfield, in Brussels, and Telegraph staff | Saturday, June 09, 2012
Europe Worried About Crisis Impact

eKATHIMERINI: Lagarde, Juncker express solidarity to Greek people

The serious possibility of the crisis expanding to Spain and of a possible Greek exit from the eurozone depending in the outcome of the June 17 election, that Moody’s warned would see a downgrade for the bloc’s countries with the top credit rating, have generated huge worries among European officials.

In this context the French head of the International Monetary Fund, Christine Lagarde, stressed in Saturday’s edition of German newspaper Suddeutsche Zeitung the lack of a long-term vision in Europe.

The IMF managing director also spoke in favor of a European banking watchdog, of common guarantees for bank deposits, and of a so-called “debt repayment accord” as proposed by German experts, while expressing her confidence that Greece will overcome the crisis.

Lagarde reiterated that what she said last month in an interview to The Guardian newspaper was misunderstood: “I said that I feel great respect for the sacrifices the Greek people are making to overcome the crisis. I also said that I am sorry that my observations [about Niger] were misunderstood and hurt some people’s feelings. That was not my intention.

“In the last few years we support Athens very warmly and we are aware of the difficulties Greece has been going through. We continue to believe that the country will get over the crisis and have a better future, when all parties involved take the appropriate measures as they are supposed to. I assure you that the IMF, just like myself, are fully supporting Greece.” » | ekathimerini.com | Saturday, June 09, 2012

Obama Urges Greeks to Stay in Euro

eKATHIMERINI: US President Barack Obama indicated on Friday that life outside the eurozone would be far worse for Greeks than the austerity measures demanded in exchange for financial aid from Europeans whom he pressed to take action to stabilize the bloc.

Addressing reporters in Washington, Obama said the Greek people must recognize, ahead of crucial general elections on June 17, “that their hardships will likely be worse” if they choose to leave the euro.

In a nod to German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande, Obama urged European leaders to pursue growth alongside austerity, noting that they have the support of the US, whose economy is inextricably linked to theirs. » | ekathimerini.com | Friday, June 08, 2012

Friday, 8 June 2012

Greeks Make Beeline for Sweeter Life - Reuters Investigates

As unemployment soars and wages drop, more and more Greeks are leaving the cities to find work on the land. Reuters' Axel Threlfall tracked down former Athens real-estate broker Olga Palavidou who started her own organic bee farm in the Peloponnese mountains. (June 8, 2012)

M&S Set to Launch Bank to Take On High Street Lenders

THE DAILY TELEGRAPH: Marks & Spencer is to open its first bank branch, making current accounts available alongside sandwiches, socks and cashmere sweaters.

The retailer has announced plans to open an in-branch banking service in its Marble Arch flagship store in London, with plans to expand the service to 50 larger outlets across the country in the next two years.

Mortgages will not be offered initially, however the retailer expects to extend the range of services it provides, which will start with current accounts, to include home loans.

M&S added that the branches "will be open twice as long as traditional high street banks; mirroring M&S store opening hours and enabling customers to bank while they shop, seven days a week".

Marc Bolland, chief executive, said: “M&S is one of the most trusted brands on the UK high street and we’ve achieved this by continually listening and responding to the needs of our 21m customers. This bank will be built on M&S values; putting the customer at the heart of the proposition and delivering the exceptional service that sets us apart from the competition.”

The launch of M&S Bank will create 500 UK jobs by the end of 2013. Read on and comment » | Harry Wilson, and Harry Wallop | Friday, June 08, 2012

Thursday, 7 June 2012

Spain's Unemployed See No End in Sight

With one in four people unemployed in Spain, a single unemployment office serving only one district in Madrid can see up to 700 people per day. The economy remains in recession and there have been severe cutbacks in public spending. Al Jazeera's Jonah Hull, reporting from Madrid, meets one father of two children, whose struggle to find work has become all too familiar to the Spanish public.

U.S. Rating Faces 2013 Cut If No Credible Plan: Fitch

REUTERS.COM: Fitch Ratings reiterated on Thursday it would cut its sovereign credit rating for the United States next year if Washington cannot come to grips with its deficits and create a "credible" fiscal consolidation plan.

It also said it would immediately cut the credit ratings on Cyprus, Ireland, Italy, Spain and Portugal if Greece were to exit the euro zone. Additionally, all euro zone nations would have their ratings put on its negative ratings watch list, setting a six-month time frame for a potential downgrade.

Europe's ongoing sovereign credit crisis undermines already below-trend growth seen in the United States, the world's biggest economy.

"The United States is the only country (of four major AAA-rated countries) which does not have a credible fiscal consolidation plan," and its debt-to-GDP ratio, or how much debt it has relative to the size of the economy, is expected to increase over the medium term, Ed Parker, sovereign ratings analyst, told a Fitch conference in New York.

Lower credit ratings typically lead to higher borrowing costs, putting more strain on government balance sheets already straining to cut spending without sending their economies into a tailspin. » | Jed Horowitz | NEW YORK | Thursday, June 07, 2012

REUTERS DEUTSCHLAND: Ratingagentur Fitch senkt Spaniens Bonitätsnote » | Donnerstag, 07. Juni 2012
Frankreich: Mit 60 in die Rente

Präsident François Hollande will sein Wahlversprechen halten: Die Franzosen sollen wieder mit 60 Jahren in die Rente gehen.

Tagesschau vom 06.06.2012
Der Euro am Abgrund (Vom 16.11.2011)

Aktualisierte Wiederholung vom 09.12.2010.Die Währungskrise wird immer bedrohlicher. Seit eineinhalb Jahren versucht die Politik, den Euro zu retten. Erfolglos – immer mehr EU-Länder geraten in den Strudel der Schuldenkrise. Der Dokumentarfilm, den Hansjürg Zumstein vor einem Jahr gedreht hat, zeigt, wie es zur Eurokrise kam.

DOK vom 16.11.2011

Zum Teil in Schweizerdeutsch (Schwyzertüütsch) übertragen.
Germany's Chancellor Merkel Urges EU Political Union

BBC: German Chancellor Angela Merkel says the EU needs a political union even if it means some countries integrating faster than others.

Speaking on German TV, she called for "more Europe", including a budgetary union, saying "we need a political union first and foremost".

"Step by step we must from now on give up more competences to Europe, and allow Europe more powers of control."

However, she has resisted calls for the joint issuing of eurozone debt.

She will hold talks on Thursday with UK Prime Minister David Cameron, who has urged the 17-nation eurozone to speed up measures to build a budgetary union to shore up the embattled monetary union.

Ms Merkel's insistence on economic austerity and budget discipline has alienated many Europeans who say the policy is strangling growth and piling more debts on the struggling "periphery" countries like Greece and Spain. » | Thursday, June 07, 2012

N-TV: "Wir brauchen eine politische Union" – Merkel will vorangehen: Bundeskanzlerin Merkel will mehr Macht an Brüssel abgeben - und zwar auch dann, wenn nicht alle EU-Staaten mitmachen. Wichtig ist ihr, dass die Euro-Staaten enger zusammenwachsen. Damit verschreibt sie sich einem Konzept, das lange als Tabu galt: Das Europa der zwei Geschwindigkeiten. Man dürfe nicht stehen bleiben, "weil der eine oder andere noch nicht mitgehen will." » | Quelle: n-tv.de, dpa/rts | Donnerstag, 07. Juni 2012

SUEDDEUTSCHE ZEITUNG: EU-Gipfel – Merkel will politische Union in Europa vorantreiben: "Mehr Europa": Angela Merkel will sich auf dem nächsten EU-Gipfel für eine Stärkung der politischen Union in Europa einsetzen. Gleichzeitig warnt die Kanzlerin aber vor allzu hohen Erwartungen - an einen "großen Wurf" glaubt sie selbst nicht. » | Donnerstag, 07. Juni 2012

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Spain Warns Euro 'Finished in Months' without Banking and Fiscal Union

THE GUARDIAN: If EU summit in Brussels fails to show markets euro will be defended at all costs, Spain says currency could be doomed

Spain is warning that Europe's single currency will unravel unless its leaders decide within weeks to centralise budget and tax policies in the eurozone and agree on a strategy to pool responsibility for failing banks.

As Spain's prime minister, Mariano Rajoy, came under mounting international pressure to accept the eurozone's fourth national bailout in two years, the government in Madrid angrily rejected the demands, insisting that it did not need rescuing.

With fears of a euro meltdown having rapidly shifted from Greece to Spain, Rajoy is pleading for a direct eurozone rescue of his country's banks, to avoid the humiliation attached to requesting a national bailout.

Sources close to the Spanish government said its negotiating position was that the fundamental quandary facing the eurozone was not Spain, but a European failure of leadership in persuading the financial markets that the euro would be defended at all costs.

A crucial Brussels summit at the end of the month would have to remedy that by agreeing to establish a eurozone banking and fiscal union, major federalising steps certain to be fought over intensely. Without that commitment, Spanish sources said starkly, the single currency would be finished within months. » | Ian Traynor in Brussels and Nicholas Watt | Wednesday, June 06, 2012
Hollande schickt Franzosen wieder mit 60 in Rente

WELT ONLINE: Frankreich sozialistische Regierung hat die unter Sarkozy beschlossene Rentenreform wieder rückgängig gemacht. Demnach wird die Rente mit 60 für bestimme Arbeitnehmer wieder eingeführt.

Nicht einmal vier Wochen nach ihrem Amtsantritt hat die neue sozialistische Regierung in Paris damit begonnen, die umstrittene Rentenreform der Konservativen teilweise zurückzudrehen.

Die Rente mit 60 wird für bestimmte Arbeitnehmer wieder eingeführt, wie Sozialministerin Marisol Touraine am Mittwoch nach einer Kabinettsitzung mitteilte. Im Jahr 2013 sollen etwa 110.000 Bürger davon profitieren.

Der Anfang Mai abgewählte konservative Präsident Nicolas Sarkozy hatte das Renteneintrittsalter trotz massiven Widerstands der Gewerkschaften im Jahr 2010 von 60 auf 62 Jahre angehoben. » | AFP/pku | Mittwoch, 06. Juni 2012
More Than Four Million Spaniards Out Of Work

More than half of Spain's youth under 25-years-old are unemployed and almost five million of the country's citizens are now on unemployment benefits. But, while private depositors and investors have withdrawn more $100bn from Spanish banks in the last two months, the government insists that it is not on the verge of insolvency and does not need an international bailout. Al Jazeera's Jonah Hull reports from Madrid.

Real Estate Debt Threatens Spain's Economy

Real estate developments stand as empty and unfinished 'ghost' projects across parts of the Spanish capital Madrid. Spain got rich on cheap credit when it joined the euro, which also fueled a property boom at the time. But that collapsed in 2007. Many property developers went bust and their building loans became bad debts for the banks. And these debts are so big that they may force Spain itself into insolvency. Al Jazeera's Jonah Hull reports from Sesena, Spain.

Christine Lagarde: Grand Vision Still Needed to Address Global Economic Problems

Confidence in the global economic recovery depends on greater political decisiveness and a bolder collective approach to policy, says International Monetary Fund Managing Director Christine Lagarde. Reuters Global Editor Chrystia Freeland caught up with Lagarde at a conference in Riga, Latvia for this edition of The Freeland File. (June 6, 2012)

George Soros: Germany Has Three Months to Save the Euro

Legendary hedge fund manager George Soros rocked economists and politicians by asserting at a conference in Italy that the European Union is "like a bubble" and that European leaders need to fix its crisis within three months, or the union and its currency will collapse. (June 4, 2012)

Moody's Cuts Ratings of Some German Banks

REUTERS.COM: Moody's Investors Service cut the credit ratings of several German banks on Wednesday, citing increased risk of further shocks emanating from the euro zone debt crisis and their limited loss-absorption capacity.

"As a result, the long-term debt and deposit ratings for six groups and one German subsidiary of a foreign group have declined by one notch, while the ratings for one group were confirmed," it said. » | Reporting by Ian Chua; Editing by Paul Tait and Edwina Gibbs | Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Monday, 4 June 2012

Europäische Finanzkrise: Europa steht in Flammen

SUEDDEUTSCHE ZEITUNG: Deutschland ist einsam und isoliert. Wider alle historische Erfahrung hält Kanzlerin Merkel dogmatisch an einer Sparpolitik fest, die Europa an den Abgrund geführt hat. Wenn der Euro und mit ihm der zweitgrößte Wirtschaftsraum der Welt zerfällt, dann wird das eine Krise auslösen, wie sie die heute lebenden Generationen noch nicht erlebt haben.

Die Zeiten sind ernst, sehr ernst sogar. Wer hätte jemals auch nur davon geträumt, dass David Cameron die Regierungen der Euro-Gruppe dazu auffordern würde, endlich all ihren Mut zusammenzunehmen und gemeinsam eine Fiskalunion (gemeinsames Budget, Steuerpolitik, gemeinsame Garantie für die Staatsschulden) und, da es anders nicht geht, auch eine politische Union zu schaffen? Nur so könne ein Zerfall des Euro aufgehalten werden.

Der konservative britische Premierminister! So geschehen kürzlich! Und noch schlimmer daran ist, dass Cameron völlig und uneingeschränkt recht hat! Das europäische Haus steht in Flammen, und London fordert ein vernünftiges und entschlossenes Verhalten der Feuerwehr.

Freilich hat er die Rechnung ohne die Feuerwehr (uns Deutsche) und unsere Feuerwehrhauptfrau Angela Merkel gemacht. Europa, angeführt von Deutschland, löscht lieber weiter mit Kerosin statt mit Wasser, und der Brand wird so mit der von Merkel erzwungenen Austeritätspolitik beschleunigt. Genau deshalb hat sich die Finanzkrise in der Euro-Zone innerhalb von drei Jahren zu einer wirklichen Existenzkrise ausgewachsen. » | Ein Gastbeitrag für die Sueddeutsche Zeitung von Joschka Fischer | Montag, 04. Juni 2012

Deutschland und Frankreich als Europa-Retter »

Verbunden »
Dax setzt Talfahrt fort - Weltkonjunktur und Euro-Krise im Blick

REUTERS DEUTSCHLAND: Frankfurt - Die Angst vor einer deutlichen Abkühlung der Weltkonjunktur hat den Dax am Montag abrutschen lassen.

Der Leitindex rutschte am Montag erstmals seit Anfang Januar wieder unter die 6000-Punkte-Marke. Er fiel um bis zu 1,6 Prozent auf 5953 Zähler. Laut Händlern wirkten vor allem die enttäuschenden US-Arbeitsmarktdaten vom Freitag noch nach. Auch chinesische Konjunkturdaten dämpften die Kauflaune. Das Wachstum im Dienstleistungssektor hat sich nach offiziellen Daten den zweiten Monat in Folge verlangsamt. » | Reuters | Montag, 04. Juni 2012
Europe Mulls Major Step Toward "Fiscal Union"

REUTERS.COM: When Jean-Claude Trichet called last June for the creation of a European finance ministry with power over national budgets, the idea seemed fanciful, a distant dream that would take years or even decades to realize, if it ever came to be.

One year later, with the euro zone's debt crisis threatening to tear the bloc apart, Germany is pushing its partners for precisely the kind of giant leap forward in fiscal integration that the now-departed European Central Bank president had in mind.

After falling short with her "fiscal compact" on budget discipline, German Chancellor Angela Merkel is pressing for much more ambitious measures, including a central authority to manage euro area finances, and major new powers for the European Commission, European Parliament and European Court of Justice.

She is also seeking a coordinated European approach to reforming labor markets, social security systems and tax policies, German officials say.

Until states agree to these steps and the unprecedented loss of sovereignty they involve, the officials say Berlin will refuse to consider other initiatives like joint euro zone bonds or a "banking union" with cross-border deposit guarantees - steps Berlin says could only come in a second wave. » | Noah Barkin and Daniel Flynn | BERLIN/PARIS | Monday, June 04, 2012

Sunday, 3 June 2012

Diamond Jubilee Marks 60 Years of British Economic Potential Squandered

THE GUARDIAN: Britain has got richer in the past six decades, but other countries have got richer faster and enjoy a more stable economy

Hard though it is now to credit it, when the Queen came to the throne 60 years ago, the UK was the third-biggest economy in the world after the US and the Soviet Union. With Germany recovering from the physical damage caused by the second world war, Britain was Europe's powerhouse.

Since then there have been booms and busts. Two long periods of growth have culminated in deep and painful recessions. Governments of both left and right have tried to modernise and reinvigorate the economy: the three-day week, the winter of discontent, Black Wednesday and the (unfinished) great recession of the past five years have shown how difficult this has been.

Throughout it all, Britain has got richer. While there are surveys questioning whether we are happier on the occasion of the Queen's diamond jubilee than we were when she came to the throne, living standards have more than tripled since 1952.

The consumer luxuries of the age when Harold Macmillan said we had never had it so good have become the necessities of today. Nor is it simply in material terms that Britain is better off. Today's babies can expect to live for about 10 years longer than the baby boomers of six decades ago. They will be fitter and healthier as well.

Yet, the real story of the past 60 years has been of potential squandered. Britain has grown richer, but other countries have grown richer faster. What's more, the economy has become more unbalanced and its foundations shakier. » | Larry Elliott | Sunday, June 03, 2012

Saturday, 2 June 2012

Irish Back EU Fiscal Pact

Irish voters have agreed to back the European Union's fiscal pact in a referendum, final results show. About 60 per cent of those who voted said "yes", with turnout at about 50 per cent. There are 17 countries in the eurozone, but only 12 of them are required to ratify the treaty in order for it to become law. The treaty makes deficit reduction a priority for the budgets of all signatories, but critics say that it makes it illegal for member states to follow pro-growth policies, by necessitating a pro-austerity approach. Al Jazeera's Andrew Simmons reports from Dublin, Ireland.

Barack Obama Blames Eurocrisis for Slowing Economy

The President says the latest US job figures reflect a still-struggling American economy also affected by Europe's financial crisis, adding that election-year government gridlock is not helping.


Read the article here | Friday, June 01, 2012
The End Is Nigh for the Greek Euro

Germany’s Bild says it’s time for Greece to leave the euro. We’re in the endgame, says Nikolaus Blome. It’s as if the vultures were circling over the proud country, he says. The Greeks are plundering their banks of banknotes. Imports into Greece can no longer be insured. And there are continual rumours that drachmas have already been printed. The country is in decay. It can’t go on like this much longer. It’s time for one of the bosses of the Eurozone to tell the Greeks the truth. As hard as it sounds, writes Nikolaus Blome, the country needs to be built up anew, from the ground up. The Greeks need a new start in economics, politics, and administration. Just as in a developing country. The first step is for Greece to leave the euro.

Friday, 1 June 2012

World Stock Markets Plunge as Global Crisis Deepens

THE GUARDIAN: Stock markets hit to their lowest level in 2012 as poor US jobless figures and weak manufacturing data from Europe sparked renewed fears of a global slowdown

World markets plunged to their lowest level this year as poor US jobless figures and weak manufacturing data from Europe sparked renewed fears of a global slowdown.

As traders sold off shares in favour of safer assets such as gold, the FTSE 100 in London fell 1.14% to close at 5260.19, its lowest level since 25 November last year. European markets also ended sharply lower, with Germany's Dax down nearly 3.5%, France's Cac down 2.2% and Spain's Ibex off by 0.4%. In the US, the Dow Jones industrial average had fallen more than 220 points - or 1.8% - by the time London closed. After overnight falls in Asia following signs of a slowdown in China, the MSCI world index hit its lowest level since December.

The day's economic data went from bad to worse, with the eurozone manufacturing sector suffering its worst month since June 2009 and its jobless rate hitting a record high of 11%. In the UK the manufacturing sector sufferered [sic] its second-biggest fall in 20 years, according to the latest purchasing managers' index. Read on and comment » | Nick Fletcher | Friday, June 01, 2012