Ian's Feed
Feb 24, 2012
via Breakingviews

Europe picks up as Commission predicts recession

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Ian Campbell

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

There is a time lag in forecasts, especially those of big institutions like the European Commission. By the time the Commission has compiled, computed, considered and finally downgraded its forecasts to recession – it happened on Thursday – the data has started to point the other way.

Feb 23, 2012

Iran seeks to boost nuclear work in bunker: diplomats

VIENNA (Reuters) – Iran is believed to be carrying out preparations to expand nuclear activity deep inside a mountain, diplomats say, in a further sign of defiance in the face of intensifying Western pressure to curb its sensitive uranium enrichment drive.

Increased capacity at the Fordow underground site would probably heighten Western suspicion of Iran’s intentions, after it last month started refining uranium there to a level that cuts the time it would need for any nuclear weapons bid.

Feb 23, 2012
via Breakingviews

Gold’s bull run is tired but maybe not over

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By Ian Campbell

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

Gold, it seems, can have it both ways. Its latest charge to a three-month high is ascribed both to relief at a Greek bailout and to fear it won’t work. The bubbling precious metal has become simultaneously a speculative, risk-on play and a safe haven. That duality should keep the gold bull alive for a little while yet.

Feb 23, 2012

BREAKINGVIEWS: Gold bull’s run is tired but maybe not over

By Ian Campbell

LONDON (Reuters Breakingviews) – Gold, it seems, can have it both ways. Its latest charge to a three-month high is ascribed both to relief at a Greek bailout and to fear it won’t work. The bubbling precious metal has become simultaneously a speculative, risk-on play and a safe haven. That duality should keep the gold bull alive for a little while yet.

The golden beast is showing signs of fatigue. A three-month high leaves it 8 percent down on its September peak. Demand for gold rose in 2011 — but by just 0.4 percent on 2010. Ultra-high prices are weighing down jewellery consumption. India, traditionally the largest consumer of gold for jewellery, imported 44 percent less gold in the fourth quarter of 2011 than a year earlier as the rupee plunged. China overtook India as the biggest gold importer, but its demand was up a meagre 3 percent year-on-year.

Feb 23, 2012

Iran talks failure sparks confrontation fears

VIENNA/TEHRAN (Reuters) – The U.N. nuclear watchdog’s latest mission to Iran failed to budge a defiant Tehran over its disputed nuclear program, sending oil prices to a nine-month high over fears of an increasing risk of confrontation with the West.

The United States criticized Iran on Wednesday over the collapse of the International Atomic Energy Agency’s talks in Tehran, saying it again showed the Islamic Republic’s refusal to abide by international obligations over its nuclear program.

Feb 22, 2012

Iran defiant as U.N. nuclear talks fail

VIENNA/TEHRAN (Reuters) – The U.N. nuclear watchdog ended its latest mission to Iran after talks on Tehran’s suspected secret atomic weapons research failed, a setback likely to increase the risk of confrontation with the West.

The United States criticized Iran on Wednesday over the failure of the International Atomic Energy Agency’s latest mission, saying it again showed Tehran’s refusal to abide by its international obligations over its nuclear programme.

Feb 22, 2012

U.N. watchdog says nuclear talks with Iran failed

VIENNA (Reuters) – The U.N. nuclear watchdog said on Wednesday it had failed to secure an agreement with Iran during two days of talks over disputed atomic activities and that the Islamic Republic had rejected a request to visit a key military site.

In the second such trip in less than a month, a senior team from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) had travelled to Tehran to press Iranian officials to start addressing mounting concerns that the Islamic Republic may be seeking to develop nuclear weapons.

Feb 19, 2012

U.N. inspectors to press Iran over nuclear concerns

VIENNA (Reuters) – U.N. nuclear inspectors headed to Iran on Sunday for talks aimed at getting Tehran to start addressing their mounting concerns that it may be seeking to develop atomic bombs.

“We hope to have a couple of good and constructive days in Tehran,” Herman Nackaerts, deputy director general of the U.N. International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), said at Vienna airport as the five-member team prepared to depart.

Feb 17, 2012
via Breakingviews

Two-speed euro zone risks permanent divide

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By Ian Campbell

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

The euro zone’s fourth-quarter numbers conjure images of an arduous pan-European cycling race. France and Germany are pulling away from the pack, while the countries of the periphery are bunched together, wobbling and falling further behind. Fiscal cuts are sapping the periphery’s speed. The question is whether their competitiveness is improving. Labour cost and trade figures don’t suggest it is – at least not yet.

Feb 17, 2012

U.N.’s Ban to defiant Iran: prove atom work peaceful

VIENNA (Reuters) – The United Nations chief urged Iran Friday to implement Security Council resolutions under which Tehran should curb sensitive nuclear activity, but the Islamic state once again signaled it has no intention of doing so.

Secretary General Ban Ki-moon also said Iran must cooperate fully with the U.N. atomic watchdog, which will send a senior team to Tehran next week to seek explanations for a trove of intelligence suggesting Iran has tried to design atomic bombs.