Wednesday, 15 October 2008

Newspapers : 15th October

Why the Swiss economy is still as safe as – er – a Swiss bank. Harry de Quetteville, The Telegraph (en)
" ... The Swiss don’t just think of them as institutions where they store their cash. Instead, they are considered pillars of society, as emblematic as mountains, watches and cheese, and responsible for just under 10 per cent of GDP to boot ...
... "The Swiss are horrified that UBS went swimming with the Wall Street sharks,” said SBA’s James Nason. “They are a risk-averse people, and UBS has dropped a big clanger. It’s an icon that got itself in a mess.” ...

Ireland braced for tough times ahead. David McKittrick, The Independent (en)
" ... Recent research predicts a 30 per cent fall in house prices will take place between the 2007 peak and 2009. Even before the credit crunch emerged the Irish economy had markedly slowed, with a recognition that the boom years were over. But now expectations have obviously been lowered to deeper levels.
The most recent estimate is for an exchequer deficit of almost 15 billion euros. Prime minister Brian Cowen has warned that "tough decisions" would be taken in the budget, declaring: "We've had many years of unprecedented and unparalleled and continuous growth" ..."

Jersey to vote on joining French time zone . The Times (en)
" ... More than 55,000 islanders are to vote in Jersey’s first referendum to decide whether to reset the clocks to Central European Time - an hour ahead of the United Kingdom.
The proposal, which looks unlikely to succeed, would put the island in the same time zone as France, 14 miles away, but out of step with the UK, with which it does most of its business ..."

A triumph? I'd hate to see a disaster. Daniel Finkelstein , The Times (en)
" ... The old boom and bust consisted of rapid fluctuations, with medium-sized boom followed by medium-sized bust. This time we have had a long period of growth, followed by a bust so bad that it has almost destroyed the financial system. And if we accept this idea, it means looking at the past decade anew.
For the past ten years the Government has been boasting of the stability it has brought to the economy, of the growth it has seen on its watch, of low interest rates and of the money it has been able to spend on public services ...
... Our view of the Brown decade is like the turkey's view of mankind, utterly destroyed by what has now happened. The stability was a trick of the light, the lengthy period of growth was fuelled by house prices and debt, the low interest rates (of which Brown is still, amazingly, boasting) were an error. The length of the good years is being paid for by the severity of the crisis we now face ...
... There is room for plenty of argument about whether the crisis could have been averted by better management. But this is almost beside the point. What matters is not whether the bust was avoidable. It is that the preceding boom was illusory ..."

European rescue raises debt fear. The FT (en)
" ... European governments have so far announced spending of nearly €200bn ($268bn, £157bn) on arms-length vehicles to inject funds into banks and a further €1,250bn in guarantees of bank funding, with more to come, raising fears that the financial crisis will land a huge blow to Europe’s public finances ...
... Christine Lagarde, French finance minister, could have been speaking for all ministers when she said on Monday that “there will be no cost and there will even be benefits for the state” ...
... Buying preference shares or common stock in a bank is considered a financial transaction, rather than the purchase of goods or services, even though governments will borrow hundreds of billions to fund the capital injections, and these will not raise public deficits ... "

Ireland to bust EU rules with 6.5% deficit . John Murray Brown, The FT (en)
" ... Announcing the budget for 2009, Brian Lenihan, finance minister, said the general government deficit would be “just above €12bn” next year, 6.5 per cent of gross domestic product. Under the stability and growth pact rules, countries have to keep borrowing to less than 3 per cent of GDP through the economic cycle ..."

EU rules on state aid put to test by bail-outs. Tony Barber , The FT (en)
" ... The EU regards the single European market and the competition rules that underpin it - as well as efforts to lead the world in fighting climate change - as vital facets of its identity and success ...
... "It is a fight for capital," said Milena Vicenova, the Czech Republic's ambassador to the EU. "Even under difficult situations, we must stick to the rules." Neelie Kroes, the EU competition commissioner, warned on Monday that chaos would result if its rules on state aid and fair competition were suspended or simply ignored ..."

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