Kathleen's Feed
Aug 23, 2011
via The Great Debate UK

Could Europe be on the cusp of a Lehman moment?

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By Kathleen Brooks. The opinions expressed are her own.

The euro zone debt crisis has now spread from the sovereigns – after the ECB came in and purchased Italian and Spanish debt – to the banking sector. Although the EU authorities put in place a short-selling ban, which has another week to run, the banking sector is back at the pre-ban levels or in some cases even lower.

Europe’s banks are by and large less capitalised than their U.S. peers. They are also exposed to Europe’s sovereign debt and European loan books. Even if a member state manages to avoid a default, growth is now slowing and we could be in line for another recession that would most likely increase bad debts and further erode banks’ profits.

Aug 5, 2011
via The Great Debate UK

Is there such a thing as a real safe haven?

By Kathleen Brooks. The opinions expressed are her own.

There are traditional relationships that the financial markets respect. For example, when the markets are tanking the world wants to own safe havens like the yen, the Swiss franc, U.S. debt and gold. If volatility spikes investors go into auto-mode and are almost pre-programmed to purchase these asset classes.

But just how safe are the safe havens? Both the Japanese and Swiss authorities intervened to limit the appreciation of their currencies in recent days. The Swiss National Bank (SNB) did so first by slashing interest rates and announcing a new QE program to flood the economy with money to try and put downward pressure on the franc. The Bank of Japan (BOJ) embarked on something similar, but they directly intervened and sold yen in the markets.

Jul 22, 2011
via The Great Debate UK

Could the Murdochs be the saviours of journalism?

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By Kathleen Brooks. The opinions expressed are her own.

When newspaper moguls are grabbing the headlines something has gone spectacularly wrong, but are we forgetting what the Murdochs have done to preserve print journalism?

Anyone who has followed the unfolding story over the News of the World phone hacking saga will be rightly outraged that a newspaper – a journalist – could think it was perfectly acceptable to get a story from hacking into someone’s voice mail.

Jul 18, 2011
via The Great Debate UK

Ben Bernanke could teach the EU a thing or two

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By Kathleen Brooks. The opinions expressed are her own.

Markets thrive on certainty. Anything that smacks of uncertainty, fence-sitting or indecision will lead to market turbulence, as investors punish those who don’t tell them how it is.

This is exactly what we are seeing in Europe right now. The markets are losing patience with the EU’s inability to come up with a credible plan to fight the sovereign debt crisis and that is why it is escalating at an alarming rate.

Jul 11, 2011
via The Great Debate UK

Women’s fortunes in the job market take a turn for the worse

By Kathleen Brooks. The opinions expressed are her own.

Back in early 2009 I was sitting in the library trying to find a new spin on the U.S. financial crisis for a college paper. I trawled through book after book and they all said the same thing. But finally, late into the night, I stumbled upon something fresh in the latest unemployment report.

Jobs had been slashed in the U.S. and unemployment was rising, but interestingly, women were faring better than men. So there was my story. After June’s jobs report I decided to review this phenomenon and find out whether this was really just a male crisis.

Jul 4, 2011
via The Great Debate UK

Europe’s bigger crisis waiting to happen

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By Kathleen Brooks. The opinions expressed are her own.

So it looks like Greece has staved off default for another few months at least. Investors are breathing a sigh of relief and buying up risky assets like the world is a rosy place again.

The markets always suffer from a chronic case of short-termism, but once a sovereign debt crisis takes hold it is very difficult to reverse. Investors may be concentrating on Greek, Irish and Portuguese funding needs for the next 24- 36 months now, but it won’t be long before investors start to scrutinise longer-term liabilities that are currently being clocked up for the next 10,20 even 30 years.

Jun 23, 2011
via The Great Debate UK

Could Italy go the way of Greece?

Italy has hogged the headlines in recent weeks mostly for political reasons rather than financial ones. But in a few months we may be concentrating on its fiscal woes and unsustainable debt burden.

Last week credit rating agency Moody’s announced it was putting Italy on review for a possible downgrade to its Aa2 credit rating. These reviews typically last three months or so, and although a downgrade would still leave Italy at the higher end of investment grade, it is not good news to be sliding down the scale, especially when a sovereign debt crisis is raging further along the Mediterranean coast.

Jun 17, 2011
via The Great Debate UK

Why China’s support for Europe comes with a caveat…

Investors are breathing a sigh of relief that it looks like Germany, France and the ECB are singing from the same hymn sheet about a long-term solution to the Greek debt crisis. But while most people think that the key to Athens’ fate is held by Europe’s powerbrokers in the core, there is another fulcrum of support that is vital for the survival of the euro.

That is China. The Asian powerhouse has been steadfast in its support for the Eurozone since the onset of the crisis. It purchased a significant amount of EUR440bn EFSF rescue facility that started auctioning bonds earlier this year. Although it is difficult to clarify how large its European debt holdings actually are since this data isn’t published by China’s Sovereign Wealth Fund, it is thought to include Greek, Portuguese and Spanish bonds.

Jun 3, 2011
via The Great Debate UK

Trichet’s United States of Europe?

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By Kathleen Brooks. The opinions expressed are her own.

Another week another round of EU officials proposing solutions to the Greek insolvency problem.

First there was the President of the European Council Jean Claude Juncker who suggested that bond holders could be tempted into rolling over their maturing debt and buying more Greek bonds as long as a few sweeteners like higher coupon or interest rates were thrown in.

Jun 1, 2011
via The Great Debate UK

Is Ireland the same as Greece?

By Kathleen Brooks. The opinions expressed are her own.

When Nouriel Roubini makes a prediction people stand up and listen. He was right about the financial crisis, now he has predicted a sovereign debt crisis (aka default) for Ireland in the next two to three years.

This prediction comes at a delicate time for Europe’s periphery. Greece is staring into the abyss of default, fiscal despair and a possible exit from the euro zone if it doesn’t receive its fifth tranche of funds from the IMF next month.