Reuters blog archive
from Unstructured Finance:
The SkyBridge Alternatives Conference – the annual hedge fund blowout better known as SALT, is a month away. And the official agenda for the three-day bacchanal, which sees thousands of hedge fund investors, allocators and hedge fund hangers-on descend on Las Vegas in the second week of May, has been released.
Many regular SALT-goers will tell you, of course, that as the event has grown in popularity its official agenda has become but one part of the conference. A sideshow to goings-on inside the Bellagio are the unofficial meetings going on outside, in the hotel’s poolside cabanas.
But SALT gate-crashers – a growing group of people who don’t pay for tickets to the conference but rock up to the Bellagio to network poolside with SALT's paying guests - will be disappointed to know that the cabanas are a costly and official part of the event this year. The bungalows were all scooped up by SALT organizers, according two people familiar with the plans, and offered to guests for $20,000 for duration of the conference, as part of a sponsorship package that includes branding and passes to attend the event.
Anthony Scaramucci, who’s fund of hedge fund firm Skybridge puts on the conference, recruits some of the best known names in the $2 trillion hedge fund industry to speak at the event, as well as big-ticket political figures like George W. Bush. This year's list of international headliners includes former Prime Minister of Greece George Papandreou and former French president Nicolas Sarkozy. There's also a fireside chat between former Israeli leader Ehud Barak and Leon Panetta, ex-U.S Defense Secretary and ex-Director of the CIA.
from Photographers' Blog:
By Philippe Wojazer
April 31, 2012
The day before French President Nicolas Sarkozy's last big political meeting.
During a rally one month earlier I had the idea to place a go-pro camera on a television arm to capture general views of Paris's place de la Concorde. I went to the TV production team to ask if I could hang the small camera under their camera without disturbing their images. The problem is that if you put something on the end of their arm, you need to add some weight to the other end so it is balanced and can "fly" over the crowd. Balancing weight can be long work. The team were really helpful and at the end of the day, I had my go-pro camera fixed up-there.
We will return on Monday knowing whether the Greeks have elected a pro-bailout government and probably to find socialist Francois Hollande – the man leading the growth strategy charge – as the new French president.
An Hollande victory could cause some jitters given his rhetoric about the world of finance. But we’ve looked at this pretty forensically and there may not be much to scare the horses. Yes he is making growth a priority (but even the IMF is saying that’s a good idea) yet his only fiscal shift is to aim to balance the budget a year later than incumbent Nicolas Sarkozy would. Contrary to some reports, he is not intent on ripping up the EU's fiscal pact and of course the bond market will only allow so much leeway.
from The Great Debate:
His political allies wrote him off as a lightweight, "a pedal-boat captain in a storm" as one memorably put it. European leaders, including Germany’s Angela Merkel, have gone out of their way to avoid him, and the markets have been unimpressed by his declaration, to the City of London, that “I am not dangerous.”
Yet with opinion polls in France unanimously predicting that François Hollande will be elected president on Sunday, this is a good time to be asking just how bad his presidency really would be for France, for Europe and for the markets.
An action-packed weekend with both good and bad news for the euro zone, which may -- net -- leave its prospects little clearer.
Item 1: The IMF came up with $430 billion in new firepower to contain the euro zone-led world economic crisis, although some of the money will only be delivered by the BRICS once they have more sway at the Fund. Nonetheless, the figure at least matches expectations and could give markets pause for thought. The official line is that it is for non-euro countries caught up in the maelstrom but no one really believes that. If a Spain is teetering, IMF funds will be there. Together with the 500 billion euros rescue fund set up by the euro zone, there is still barely enough to ringfence both Italy and Spain if it came to it. But will it come to it?
So the debt crisis is back (did it ever really go away?) but it’s not yet anything like as acute as it was late last year.
Spain is coming under real market pressure, and dragging Italy with it to an extent, but there are good reasons to think it won’t fall over; banks well funded for now and the government’s savvy move to take advantage of benign early year conditions to shift almost half its 2012 debt issuance in three months.
from The Great Debate UK:
It’s time I came out of the closet and ‘fessed up. My friends, colleagues and family all know anyway, so ......OK, here goes.
All my adult life I have been and remain a Francophile. It is a perversion I can neither defend nor explain.
By Pierre Briançon
The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.
France is heading for a major political and financial crisis in the spring that could dwarf the big Italian euro scare of 2011. Next May’s quasi-simultaneous elections of a new president and parliament may well spark the conflagration.
from Lawrence Summers:
By Lawrence Summers
The opinions expressed are his own.
European leaders will meet today for yet another “historic” summit at which the fate of Europe is said to hang in the balance. Yet it is clear that this will not be the last convened to deal with the financial crisis.
If public previews from France and Germany are a guide, there will be commitments to assuring fiscal discipline in Europe and establishing common crisis resolution mechanisms. There will also be much celebration of commitments made by Italy, and a strong political reaffirmation of the permanence of the monetary union. All of this is necessary and desirable, but the world economy will remain on edge.
from James Saft:
James Saft is a Reuters columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.
Call it the Merkozy Plan - there shall be no more losses.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Nicolas Sarkozy unveiled on Monday yet another final plan to save the euro, this time calling for new treaty provisions to ensure members maintain fiscal discipline as well as an all-too-predictable move to hold monthly meetings of EU heads, seemingly an attempt to revive Europe by providing business for its caterers.
Perhaps most importantly, the two agreed to scrap a previous agreement to make private sector creditors share in the losses in all future bailouts. Bondholders still face a 50 percent write-down on their holdings of Greek debt, but that's it, from here on out it's all going to come out of the hide of taxpayers.