The Great Debate UK

Better public finance data may be sterling Trojan horse

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Jane Foley
- Jane Foley is research director at Forex.com. The opinions expressed are her own.-

Finally UK monthly public finance data has brought better than expected news.  Not only was the net borrowing figure for February  better than expected but the January data was revised lower from 4.3 billion pounds to just 43 million pounds, taking the total for the fiscal year to date 131.9 billion pounds.

The better numbers mean that Chancellor Alistair Darling is on course for meeting, or perhaps even undershooting, his forecast of 178 billion pounds for the full fiscal year to April.

In essence this appears to be good news, but it requires qualification.  Firstly, these may be better than expected data but they are a far cry from good data.  At this stage last year the borrowing requirement was around half the size at 66.5 billion pounds; meaning that public finances are very much still in a shockingly poor position.

Is Hyde Park for sale?

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Laurence_Copeland- Laurence Copeland is a professor of finance at Cardiff University Business School and a co-author of “Verdict on the Crash” published by the Institute of Economic Affairs. The opinions expressed are his own. -

So Bundestag members have been suggesting Greece sell an island or two, or maybe even the Acropolis, in order to pay off its mountainous debts?

The Greek story is not over yet

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Jane Foley- Jane Foley is research director at Forex.com. The opinions expressed are her own.-

By rushing extra austerity measures through parliament last week and finding very good support for its bond sale Greece last week pulled its way clear of the edge of the abyss.  This is not the end of the story, however, but rather just another chapter in the fledging system which is European Monetary Union.

Cable: parity is still a long way off but $1.40 beckons

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Jane FoleySince 1982, cable has been contained by the 1985 low of GBP/USD1.0790 and the 2007 high of USD2.0798.  The bulk of this time cable has remained within a narrower 1.40 to 1.80 trading range.

These statistics illustrate how significant it would be if the pound were to slip to parity with the dollar this year.  They have not, however, stopped some commentators speculating about such an event.

from Breakingviews:

Currency buyers suffer from King Lear’s problem

Currency buyers are suffering from King Lear's dilemma. Shakespeare's monarch could not decide which of his two ungrateful daughters was less awful. What looked like a bad deal from one, permission to stay with 50 knights, suddenly seemed attractive when her sister's alternative was a mere 25.

Trading floors may not echo with Lear's desperate words -- "when others are more wicked, not being the worst stands in some rank of praise" -- but foreign-exchange dealers know the feeling.

Double dip or debt crisis for the UK? Sterling heads lower

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cr_mega_764_JaneFoley.JPG
-Jane Foley is research director at Forex.com. The opinions expressed are her own.-

The UK may have clawed its way out of technical recession, but over the course of last week data releases highlighted a sharp drop in retail sales and a surge in the claimant count, a spike higher in the inflation rate and record public sector borrowing.

An alternative view of the crisis in Greece

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Mark Bolsom1-150x150.jpg-Mark Bolsom is the Head of the UK Trading Desk at Travelex, the world’s largest non-bank FX payments specialist. The opinions expressed are his own.-

Greece has been dominating the headlines lately with many commentators heavily criticising its burgeoning deficits and perceived threat to eurozone stability. But is such heavy criticism really justified, or are the Greeks simply being made scapegoats for systematic failings? After all, Greece did not cause the current financial crisis, but is instead one of the major victims.

Is a queue forming at the EU’s fiscal soup kitchen?

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copelandl- Laurence Copeland is a professor of finance at Cardiff University Business School and a co-author of “Verdict on the Crash” published by the Institute of Economic Affairs. The opinions expressed are his own. -

Back in the prehistory of the euro zone, I wrote an article in the Times trying to work out how the game currently being played out in Europe would end.

Too soon to predict that EMU will wobble

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foley-Jane Foley is research director at Forex.com. The opinions expressed are her own.-

The budget crisis facing the Greek government has drawn an array of comments and responses from various parts of the European Central Bank, the European Commission, the International Monetary Fund and the financial markets.

Has the Bank of England helped stem economic decline?

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MarkBolsom.JPG-Mark Bolsom is the Head of the UK Trading Desk at Travelex, the world’s largest non-bank FX payments specialist. The opinions expressed are his own.-

The onset of 2009 saw the pound well and truly on the back foot against both the dollar and euro, at one stage hitting a six-year low against the greenback (falling to $1.3751) and an all-time low versus the single currency. In one week in January, the pound fell 4.5 percent against the euro, 5.7 percent against the yen and 6 percent against the dollar.

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