Thursday, 31 January 2013

US Economy Shrinks for First Time Since 2009

The US economy unexpectedly contracted in the fourth quarter of 2012, suffering its first decline since the 2007 to 2009 recession as businesses scaled back on restocking and government spending plunged. Gross domestic product fell at a 0.1 percent annual rate after growing at a 3.1 percent in the third quarter of 2012, the Commerce Department said on Wednesday. Al Jazeera's Alan Fisher reports from Washington, D.C.

Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Is California Encouraging Rich to Leave?

Art Laffer's plan to fix the Golden State

Saturday, 26 January 2013

The Odyssey - Greece

Rede von Angela Merkel in Davos am 24.1.2013

Rede von Bundeskanzlerin Angela Merkel (CDU) auf dem Weltwirtschaftsforum in Davos. Anschließend folgt ein Gespräch mit Klaus Schwab, dem Gründer des Weltwirtschaftsforums.

Thursday, 24 January 2013

Fünf-Euro-Schein wird schicker und sicherer

In Frankfurt wurde der neue, technisch verbesserte Fünf-Euro-Schein präsentiert: Zudem sollen die Scheine der neuen Serie für Menschen mit Sehbehinderung leichter zu unterscheiden sein. (11.01.2013)

Money Printing 'Amounts to Theft from Our Children'

THE DAILY TELEGRAPH: Money printing is theft from our children and may merely be storing up problems for an even bigger crisis, top economists and investors have warned.

Speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Davide Serra, founder of leading hedge fund Algebris, and Nouriel Roubini, the head of Roubini Economics known as Dr Doom for predicting the financial crisis, set out the case against those who think quantitative easing (QE) and low rates are benign policy tools.

“When governments borrow, they are taking money from our children. QE is the same – we are lowering returns for future generations. QE creates an inter-generational dilemma,” Mr Serra said.

Mr Roubini warned that central bankers need to think about turning off the cheap money tap or risk creating another, possibly even worse, bubble.

He argued that policymakers have encouraged markets and individuals to take on crippling levels of debt by leaving asset bubbles unchecked in a boom and coming to borrowers’ rescue in a crisis.

"Ten years ago we had the Greenspan put, now we have the Bernanke put. What are the long term economic consequences?" he asked.

He said loose monetary policy is creating a system biased to creating bubbles, "that's why we've been moving to more unconventional territories" in policy responses - from low rates to QE to credit easing. » | Philip Aldrick | Wednesday, January 23, 2013
Davos 2013: David Cameron Wants 'Fresh Consent' for EU Membership

The Prime Minister uses his keynote address in Davos to defend his call for a referendum on Britain's EU membership, saying it is "not about turning our backs on Europe".

Trillions of Dollars Worth of Oil Found in Australian Outback

THE DAILY TELEGRAPH: Up to 233 billion barrels of oil has been discovered in the Australian outback that could be worth trillions of dollars, in a find that could turn the region into a new Saudi Arabia.

The discovery in central Australia was reported by Linc Energy to the stock exchange and was based on two consultants reports, though it is not yet known how commercially viable it will be to access the oil.

The reports estimated the company's 16 million acres of land in the Arckaringa Basin in South Australia contain between 133 billion and 233 billion barrels of shale oil trapped in the region's rocks.

The find was likened to the Bakken and Eagle Ford shale oil projects in the US, which have resulted in massive outflows and have led to predictions that the US could overtake Saudi Arabia as the world's largest oil producer as soon as this year.

Peter Bond, Linc Energy's chief executive, said the find could transform the world's oil industry but noted that it would cost about £200 million to enable production in the area. Shale oil is more costly to extract than conventional crude oil and involves the controversial process of fracking, in which water and chemicals are used to break up the rocks.

"If you took the 233 billion, well, you're talking Saudi Arabia numbers," Mr Bond told ABC News. » | Jonathan Pearlman, Sydney | Thursday, January 24, 2013

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Merkel und Hollande wollen Union vertiefen

Ausbau der Zusammenarbeit: Deutschland und Frankreich wollen gemeinsame V

Monday, 21 January 2013

Contemplating a Euro Without Chancellor Merkel

THE WALL STREET JOURNAL: German Chancellor Angela Merkel's personal popularity remains high.

But the weekend defeat for her ruling coalition in the Lower Saxony state election suggests that a victory in September's national election is far from assured.

For the first time in seven years, financial markets have to contemplate a future for the euro without Mrs. Merkel.

This will be hard.

The German chancellor has been key to the success of negotiations to stop the single currency from falling apart during the recent euro-zone debt crisis.

Despite the political concerns that she might have raised at home, she has repeatedly ensured that bailout packages were made available to debtor countries to prevent sovereign default.

Her departure could well leave the euro zone as a whole without the strong leadership that might still be needed to preserve the single currency. » | Nicholas Hastings | Monday, January 21, 2013
Auslandschweizer kehren als Sozialhilfebezüger zurück

TAGES ANZEIGER: Die Krise in Europa trifft immer mehr Auslandschweizer. Vor allem aus Spanien hat die Rückwanderung von verarmten Schweizern stark zugenommen. Um 50 Prozent, wie das Bundesamt für Justiz bekannt gibt.

Spanien war viele Jahre ein beliebtes Auswanderungsland für Schweizer. Doch die Wirtschaftskrise hat das südeuropäische Land komplett verändert: Die Arbeitslosigkeit erreicht Rekordwerte, die Lebensperspektiven sind düster. Auch Schweizer in Spanien geraten zunehmend in wirtschaftliche Not, manche verarmen und brauchen staatliche Unterstützung. Gemäss einer aktuellen Statistik des Bundesamts für Justiz (BJ) sind im letzten Jahr 80 Schweizer als Sozialhilfebezüger in die Heimat zurückgekehrt, wie Schweizer Radio SRF heute Morgen berichtete. Dies entspricht einer Zunahme von 50 Prozent gegenüber 2011, wie Sandro Monti vom BJ sagt. » | vin | Montag, 21. Januar 2013

SCHWEIZER RADIO UND FERNSEHEN: Schuldenkrise lässt den Traum vom Auswandern platzen: Die Wirtschaftskrise in Europa trifft jetzt auch die Auslandschweizer. Sie kommen immer öfter zurück in die Heimat – als Sozialfall. Das zeigen die neusten Zahlen des Bundesamtes für Justiz. » | Pascal Krauthammer | Freitag, 18. Januar 2013

Saturday, 19 January 2013

Snakes and Ladders: Investment Banking on the Brink

SPIEGEL ONLINE INTERNATIONAL: For decades, investment bankers have held the key to untold riches -- but now they're being laid off by the tens of thousands. As the crisis forces the industry to search for a new identity, is it ready to mend its ways?

The suicide victims chose a location with symbolic significance. Last fall, only a few weeks apart, a businesswoman and a banker went to the Coq d'Argent, an upscale restaurant and hot spot in the world of London high finance, located on the top floor of a shopping complex, to end their lives.

The woman put down her purse and jumped from the restaurant's cozy rooftop terrace. The banker, an investment specialist, jumped into the building's atrium around lunchtime.

The "City," the casual term the financial center uses in reference to itself, was shocked. The suicides are the most glaring expression of an apocalyptic mood that seems to have gripped all of London. Hospitals are reporting a high incidence of patients with alcohol problems, while top restaurants are fighting for every customer.

The crisis has struck at the heart of the financial center. In 2012, banks began to downsize their investment banking activities. For years, the area had been seen as a playground for those seeking instant riches and guaranteed success, and it provided tens of thousands with sometimes exorbitant incomes.

October 30 would become a horrific day for the financial district after the Swiss bank UBS announced that it was slashing 10,000 jobs in the sector. On one morning alone, the bank's London office let hordes of bankers go. Some were intercepted at the entrance, still carrying their coffee in to-go cups, only to be shown the door a short time later with a piece of paper filled with instructions.

All he felt was hate, says a 51-year-old who was among those affected by the recent layoffs. For him and others like him, the chances of finding a new job are slim. The competition is also doing its utmost to downsize. Morgan Stanley plans to lay off 1,600 employees in the coming weeks, Lloyds is cutting as many as 15,000 jobs worldwide, and Deutsche Bank has just eliminated 1,500 jobs in its investment banking division.

An era seems to be coming to an end, the era of an industry that led us to believe that what it did was useful. In reality, though, it was lining its pockets by conducting more and more reckless transactions and involving itself in increasingly insane deals and products. Senior executives say the business is merely shrinking to a healthy level and characterize it as something like a catharsis.

As former investment bankers search for new identities, arrogance is being replaced with humility. It's important to "improve the way we operate as an organisation," Antony Jenkins, the new CEO of the major British bank Barclays, wrote in a memo to employees. Anshu Jain, co-CEO of Deutsche Bank and the former head of its investment banking division, has promised "cultural change." » | Martin Hesse, Thomas Schulz, Christoph Scheuermann and Anne Seith | Friday, January 18, 2013

Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Cadillac Wins 'Car of the Year' in Detroit

This year's Detroit auto show, one of the most important annual auto industry events, features a comeback from a rare source: Detroit. The North American car of the year is actually North American. Cadillac won the award for its ATS, the company's first win in the award's 20-year history. On it's 60th anniversary, Chevrolet also unveiled a new model of its classic Corvette, the Stingray. Al Jazeera's John Hendren reports from Detroit.

Spain City Faces Severe Poverty

The European Union has warned there's a growing poverty gap between north and south Europe. Severe reductions in welfare spending mean governments can't protect those who need help. So charities and the church are stepping in. The Red Cross in Spain is now trying to help people at home, as well as abroad. Jacky Rowland reports from Jerez in Spain.

Monday, 14 January 2013

Poverty Stalks 'Economic Powerhouse' Germany

While unemployment in Germany is under six percent, poverty affects 16 percent of the population. In other words, having a job does not prevent you from being poor. For those who fall within the category, it can mean skimping on visits to the doctor, not being able to pay for heat in the winter, and a lack of fresh food. Al Jazeera's Nick Spicer reports from Berlin.

Sunday, 13 January 2013

Tony Blair Widens His Web Via the Stock Markets

THE SUNDAY TELEGRAPH: Tony Blair has set up his own stock market trading desk at his Mayfair headquarters.

His investment unit, headed by a former senior banker at Barclays, reflects the former prime minister’s growing business empire, worth tens of millions of pounds.

Five members of his staff are registered with the Financial Services Authority and trading screens have been installed at Mr Blair’s offices, in Grosvenor Square in central London.

Mr Blair has established a complex web of companies, designed, according to accountants, to hide just how much money he makes and from where his money comes. He has denied being “super rich”, but having built up a property portfolio of several homes and two multimillion-pound businesses, it is expected that he will enter the rich-lists for the first time this year with a fortune of somewhere between £35 million and £60 million. » | Robert Mendick, and Edward Malnick | Sunday, January 13, 2013
Swiss Move Towards Barring Eurozone Refugees

THE SUNDAY TELEGRAPH: Thousands of jobless young people from southern European countries ravaged by the eurozone crisis have come to work in Switzerland. But the Swiss are starting to think there too many: a referendum may reimpose immigration quotas.

The Edelweiss Hotel in the heart of Geneva is as Swiss as a cuckoo clock, with chalet-style pine furniture, spotless rooms, and staff in smart uniforms modelled on Alpine folk costumes.

They look the part, but none of the 38 waiters, chambermaids and receptionists are actually Swiss: nearly all are economic refugees from the eurozone, like Vera Correia, 24.

A year ago she was a secretary with a small computer firm near Porto, earning 700 euros (£570) a month, but after years of economic gloom she decided she had no future at home in Portugal. Now she cleans rooms for a salary of 3,500 Swiss Francs (£2,356) a month.

“My boss said it was a pity to become a cleaner after I had done so much studying,” she said. “But my pay has gone up here and I will try to find a similar position to my old one when my French is better.”

So many young Portuguese, Greeks, Italians and Spaniards have streamed in to try their luck - 75,000 foreigners arrived last year - that calls are growing to re-introduce immigration quotas. » | Nick Meo, Geneva | Sunday, January 13, 2013

Saturday, 12 January 2013

Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Arbeitslosigkeit: Soziale Krise in Europa weitet sich aus

Tuesday, 8 January 2013

Abu Dhabi to Build £400 million Louvre

THE DAILY TELEGRAPH: Abu Dhabi has awarded a $653 million (£406 million) contract to build a branch of France's Louvre museum, signalling the oil-rich emirate is again moving ahead with flamboyant development projects.

Arabtec Holdings, a big construction firm headquartered in neighbouring Dubai, said on Tuesday it had been awarded the contract by the Abu Dhabi government. Construction is due to finish in 2015.

Abu Dhabi, the capital and second largest city of the UAE, plans to build three museums near its downtown area as part of a drive to develop itself as a top tourism destination and diversify its economy beyond oil. The other two museums are a branch of the Guggenheim of the United States, and the Zayed National Museum.

These projects and a number of others were postponed as Abu Dhabi reviewed its economic condition last year in the wake of the crisis. A property market crash in the emirate has slashed real estate prices by over 50 per cent in the past several years. » | Tuesday, Jabuary 08, 2013

Sunday, 6 January 2013

Ahmadinejad Blamed for Iran's Economic Woes

And Iran's presidential election in June is one of the big stories we're looking ahead to in 2013. President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad isn't able to stand for a third term. Many blame him for the country's economic crisis and that could be a key factor for voters. Al Jazeera's Mereana Hond reports.