The Great Debate UK
from The Great Debate:
-- James Saft is a Reuters columnist. The opinions expressed are his own. --
Developments in cash-strapped Iceland and Greece nicely illustrate two themes for 2010: sovereign risk and financial balkanization.
Iceland is balking at crushing terms demanded as part of its making whole overseas depositors in its ruined banking system, while Greece is involved in a game of chicken with the euro zone authorities over how, when and with whose assistance it heals its fiscal difficulties.
Like so many of us paying bills in January we ran up last year, they face a depressing prospect and no easy way out.
First, Iceland, whose president vetoed an agreement with Britain and the Netherlands to pay about $5 billion towards the costs of reimbursing depositors in its failed Icesave bank, saying he would put the bill to a referendum. While British and Dutch officials have mustered up a good show of outrage, President Grimsson's move should not surprise; he was petitioned by a fifth of the population, each of whom can look forward to helping to pay back their individual $17,000 share of the costs.
The economic worst is past. But there are many issues left to worry about.
Start with the good news. GDP is now growing almost everywhere, while the unemployment rate is hardly rising anywhere. Businesses and consumers are less fearful. As much as half of the 20 percent decline in international trade has been erased.
Perhaps the best news is what has not happened. There have been no national defaults, countries dragged into political chaos, bitter divisions among the great powers or, with a few tiny exceptions, massive declines in consumption. The global political-economic-financial system is still in business.
from The Great Debate:
-James Saft is a Reuters columnist. The opinions expressed are his own-
As we say goodbye to a decade so abysmal it never even earned a nickname, it is time to take bets on how the coming 10 years will shape up in economics and financial markets.
Welcome, then, to the Teenies, a word that will describe the decade as well as the small returns in financial markets and the shrinking financial sector it will bring.
-David Kuo is director at the Motley Fool. The opinions expressed are his own.-
If you thought 2009 was as bad as things will get, then think again: 2010 could be worse. It is likely to be a year of enforced austerity with both the government and households making obligatory cuts to their budgets.
High on the government’s agenda will be reducing the Budget deficit, if the UK is to avoid the embarrassment of having its sovereign debt rating cut by rating agencies. This will have a knock-on effect on households, which could see their disposable incomes slashed by hikes in both direct and indirect taxes.
from UK News:
So how was it for you?
Chancellor Alistair Darling threw the dice in his pre-budget report in an attempt to bolster Labour's chances of winning the general election in 2010.
From hitting bankers with a one-off bonus tax to lowering bingo duty, Darling played to the Labour heartlands, while hoping to win back voters who have been telling pollsters that they are done with Gordon Brown.
Demography is the most powerful single structural explanation of changes in the economy in society around us, David Willetts, Conservative Shadow Minister for Universities and Skills told Reuters ahead of a talk about European policy options on Wednesday at the London School of Economics.
Population changes in Europe and Britain will contribute to the UK becoming Europe’s largest economy in the 2040s, he said.
Alistair Darling is facing the most difficult set of economic circumstances for any chancellor since the 1940s, with the projected substantial fiscal deficits for 2009 – 2010 and 2010 – 2011 likely to be revised upwards from 175 billion pounds to well in excess of 200 billion pounds. He must perform a delicate balancing act to secure the confidence of the global financial markets while protecting any fragile economic recovery and boosting public confidence.
- Anthony J. Evans is assistant professor at ESCP Europe business school. He will participate in a Reuters pre-budget live blog on Dec. 9, at 12 p.m. British time. The opinions expressed are his own. -
The main issue underpinning Britain’s next pre-budget report is the state of the public finances. Let’s be clear – they’re dire.
The title of this post is taken from two sources. One was a headline in British tabloid, The Sun, in January 1979, when then-prime minister James Callaghan denied that strike-torn Britain was in chaos. The second was the title of a 1975 album by prog rock band Supertramp that famously showed someone sunbathing amidst the grey awfulness of the declining industrial landscape.
Are we now getting blasé about the latest crisis? Not so long ago, perfectly respectable economists and financial analysts were talking about a new Great Depression. The world was on the brink, it was said. Now, though, consensus appears to be that it is all over bar the shouting. The world is safe.
Amid the turmoil of the 2008 financial crisis a myriad of events unfolded that the general public knew nothing about, writes New York Times reporter Andrew Ross Sorkin in a new book titled “Too Big to Fail.”
Wall Street fell from the dizzying heights of good fortune to calamity in a matter of months. To a large degree it’s still to early to tell whether financiers and politicians involved made the right choices.