The Great Debate UK

Tiptoeing toward economic recovery after Lehman

Photo

david-andrews

- David Andrews is director of David Andrews Media, a financial public relations consultancy with high profile fund management and financial services clients based in the UK, Ireland, Cayman Islands, Cape Verde, Beijing, Europe and the U.S. The opinions expressed are his own. -

David is a former financial journalist best known for his weekly Daily Express and Conde Nast ‘Money Matters’ columns.
Few will be lifting a glass to toast the first anniversary of the collapse of investment bank Lehman Brothers a year ago this week. With billions of dollars under management and thought to be invincible, the private bank was generally regarded as a potential gateway to the riches of Croessus for the ordained Masters of the Universe who prowled its Jackson Pollock-lined corridors.

But when the bank started to drown in the treacherous quagmire of its collateralized debt obligations (CDOs) – a type of structured asset-backed security whose value and payments are derived from a portfolio of fixed-income underlying assets – America’s Federal Reserve elected not to send in the cavalry.

The virtual overnight collapse of Lehman Brothers in September 2008 was the catalyst which brought the world economy to its knees with breathtaking rapidity. The bank was so huge, a massive juggernaut reversing and elbowing its way in so many different markets that when the U.S. government allowed it to go to the wall, it caused a convulsion among its many counter-parties, which in turn caused global credit markets to seize up. “Normal” banking activity virtually ground to a halt.

from Commentaries:

Barroso’s EU vision lacks levers for change

Could the European Union be among the big losers of the global financial crisis?

Despite signs that recession in Europe may be bottoming out, the 27-nation bloc risks emerging from the turmoil with its economic growth potential stunted, its public finances shackled by mountains of debt, and its international influence weakened.

That is the backdrop to Jose Manuel Barroso's campaign for a second term as president of the executive European Commission.  In a manifesto sent to EU lawmakers last week, he warns that unless Europeans shape up to the challenge together, "Europe will become irrelevant".

from Commentaries:

The mirage of U.S. healthcare

On healthcare, the White House is struggling with a political riptide that threatens to drag it into deep water.

Americans, as they contemplate change, have suffered a weakness of nerve. The main reason is that nearly two thirds of Americans are apparently happy with their healthcare coverage, for all its deficiencies. Repeated reassurances from President Obama that those who like the existing set-up will not be forced to change, have had little effect.

Britain’s economy should learn to speak a little Chinese

Photo

ross2- John Ross is visiting professor at Shanghai’s Jiao Tong University where he writes a blog on globalisation. The views expressed are his own. -

The success of China’s economic stimulus package has attracted increasing attention in Britain and internationally for two reasons. The first is simply its importance for the world economy. Second whether there are general lessons to be learned.

Memo to banks – it’s not all about the money

Photo

peter-dixon- Peter Dixon is a guest columnist, the views expressed are his own. He is global financial economist at Commerzbank -

In the course of this week, we have received a mixed bag of first half results from all the big UK banks. On balance, earnings were slightly ahead of expectations, even for those banks which still registered big losses.

Government must act on bold promises to UK manufacturers

Photo

radley1- Steve Radley is Director of Policy at EEF, Britain’s manufacturers’ organisation. The views expressed are his own.

This week the index of manufacturing activity in the UK moved into growth territory for the first time in more than a year. While that does not necessarily mean that the recession is over, it does suggest that we should be thinking a bit more about what sort of recovery we are likely to see and how well placed the UK is to meet it.

from Commentaries:

Tech results give few clues to economy: Eric Auchard

Windows 7 touchscreen demonstrationBy Eric Auchard

LONDON, July 24 (Reuters) - Investors have proved all too ready to interpret positive earnings trends from Intel, IBM and Apple as signs of economic recovery and to justify a continued rally in technology stocks.

Now they are taking the wrong lessons in reverse by reading disappointing results from Microsoft Corp as evidence that a nascent rebound in the economy has stalled.

Predicting the economic effects of swine flu

Photo

dm1- Marie Diron is senior economist at Oxford Economics. The opinions expressed are her own -

A swine flu pandemic would affect the economy via various channels involving supply and demand.

Bats and balls the key to economic bounce

Photo

simon_chadwick-Simon Chadwick is the Director of the Centre for the International Business of Sport at Coventry University, and runs the blog ‘Daily Sport Thought’ in which he addresses many of the important challenges currently facing sport. The opinions expressed are his own.-

I love sport, I have always loved sport, and I make my living researching, writing and talking about sport. As such, I do not need to be convinced about the social, cultural, psychological and health benefits associated with our engagement in sport. I also do not need any convincing about the economic benefits of sport, although some people will always and inevitably exclaim, “he would say that wouldn’t he!”

from The Great Debate:

China risks overcooking the economy

Wei Gu-- Wei Gu is a Reuters columnist. The opinions expressed are her own --

While China has been outspoken in expressing concern about the United States printing too much money, those worries might be better focused at home. No country beats China when it comes to effective monetary easing.

Beijing has scrapped lending quotas, adopted a loose monetary policy and kept interest rates at a four-year low to boost liquidity and promote growth. The policy has worked. China has lent out more money in the first four months of this year than the whole of 2008. Money growth in China is up more than 25 percent this year, versus about 10 percent in the United States.  Click here for a related graph.

  •