Loans and Finance

Loans and Finance

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News and information about loans, money, debt, finance and business issues.

Monday, December 19, 2016

Greece Moves The Goalposts Again

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Unicredit Hits The Skids

IMF's Useless Greek Predictions

Thursday, December 08, 2016

Greece Caught Between Rock and a Hard Place



Greece should do itself a favour, and leave the Eurozone.

Wednesday, December 07, 2016

IMF's Greek Fantasy - Sunday Opening

According to daily To Ethnos, the IMF submitted a demand to the Greek government last Friday via an e-mail that all stores be open on 52 Sundays per year, and to legislate this measure within the month of December.

The Fund claimed that this measure was including in the first tool kit of the OECD that was not implemented.

All very well and jolly in a wealthy consumer driven economy. However, Greeks are living in penury.

How much extra will they buy if stores are open on Sunday?

Bugger all!

Tuesday, December 06, 2016

Greece Tells IMF To Fuck Off

Monday, December 05, 2016

Greek Crisis Hasn't Gone Away

Whilst the media have been distracted by Brexit and Trump, the Greek debt crisis hasn't gone away.

As per the Wall Street Journal Germany and the Netherlands have promised their parliaments that they won’t ask for more money for Greece unless the IMF also resumes lending to Greece.

However, the IMF won’t do this unless it is satisfied that Greece’s debt burden is sustainable. For the IMF, this is a question of institutional credibility. It has already put its name to two failed programs, and it is determined that it will only join a third program if it is convinced that Greece can return to the markets at the end of it, its financial sovereignty restored.

Fat chance of that!

Thursday, December 01, 2016

Coming Soon - Meat Free Fivers!

Friday, November 18, 2016

Three Mobile Hacked - Six Million Customers at Risk

Three Mobile admitted that hackers have successfully accessed its customer upgrade database after using an employee login.

Sources familiar with the incident told the Telegraph that the private information of two thirds of the company's nine million customers could be at risk.

The company confirmed the breach on Thursday evening but declined to say whether customers' data was stolen or how many have been affected.

Three said that the data accessed included names, phone numbers, addresses and dates of birth, but added that it did not include financial information.

As I have noted before, all IT systems are at risk of hacking. Therefore people need to be prepared for their personal data  to be stolen.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

IMF Brexit U Turn

The International Monetary Fund said today that it expects the UK to be the fastest growing G7 economy this year, backtracking on its post-Brexit recession warning.

Brexit Recession Fails To Materialise


Another nail in Project Fear's coffin!

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

When Stats Don't Convince, Change What You Measure



The ONS, an organisation that publishes statistics that are out of date and invariably wrong, has decided to change its measure of inflation.

For why?

In order to confuse people so much, that they can't tell if the measure is accurate, timely or relevant!

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Financial Armageddon Averted

Contrary to the American version of Project Fear, Trump's victory has not brought about financial Armageddon. Markets around the world are rallying, and the Dollar has stabilised.

The lesson here is that markets go down, and markets go up!

Wednesday, November 09, 2016

The Mother of All Fiscal Stimuli Coming!

Based on Trump's victory speech, it seems the mother of all fiscal stimuli and public works is on the cards for the USA.

Funded by an increase in public borrowing and cuts in defence expenditure I would wager.

Tuesday, November 08, 2016

#TobleroneGate Is Not Brexit Related


Despite the temptation to blame Brexit, this is not a Brexit issue as Switzerland is not in the EU!

Monday, November 07, 2016

20,000 Tesco Bank Customers Lose Money


Tesco Bank has halted online payments for current account customers after money was taken from 20,000 accounts.

The bank's chief executive Benny Higgins told the BBC he was "very hopeful" customers would be refunded within 24 hours.

About 40,000 accounts saw suspicious transactions over the weekend, of which half had money taken, he said.

Customers will still be able to use their cards for cash withdrawals, chip and pin payments, and bill payments.

They can also use online banking, but cannot make online transactions until the situation is back under control.

Earlier, the bank confirmed some accounts "have been subject to online criminal activity, in some cases resulting in money being withdrawn fraudulently".

Mr Higgins also apologised for the "worry and inconvenience" that customers have faced.

It is not clear as to the true scale or cause of this issue. However, it does rather call into the question the security of banking online and the desire by some in banking and politics to rush us towards a cashless society!

Thursday, November 03, 2016

The Brexit Bounce

Following today's High Court ruling stating the MPs must trigger Article 50, both Sterling and the FTSE have bounced.

All very well and jolly in the short term, maybe. However, this suckers' bounce ignores the fact that this ruling has muddied the waters and created more uncertainty over Brexit.

Markets hate uncertainty!

Wednesday, November 02, 2016

Co-op Bank’s Former CFO and CEO Fined

As per AccountingWeb, the former chief financial officer of the Co-op Bank has admitted misconduct in a settlement with the FRC the accounting regulator, and agreed to a fine and exclusion from his accountancy body.
Barry Tootell, Co-op bank’s former CFO and CEO, admitted the wrongdoing as part of a settlement with the Financial Reporting Council (FRC), and agreed to exclusion from membership of any accountancy body for six years and a £20,000 payment towards the FRC’s legal fees.

Tuesday, November 01, 2016

Carney To Stay Until 2019

Mark Carney will stay at his post as Governor of the Bank of England until 2019.

This is a face saving measure, doubtless thrashed out during yesterday's meeting with Theresa May, to avoid further uncertainty in the markets caused by speculation over his position. It also allows him time to get back to Canada in order to stand in the October elections there in 2019.

Monday, October 31, 2016

Mortgage Approvals Hit Three Month High

As per Bloomberg:
"Mortgage approvals rose in September to a three-month high, the Bank of England said.

Almost 63,000 loans for house purchase were granted, up from a revised 60,984 in August, it said in a report in London on Monday. Economists in a Bloomberg survey had forecast a figure of 61,500.
The report also showed that consumer credit rose 1.4 billion pounds in September after a 1.6 billion-pound increase the previous month.

The BOE figures suggest that household demand for credit is holding up since the Brexit vote in June. With the economy performing better than expected in recent months, the central bank is forecast to refrain from cutting interest rates this week."
Another couple of nails in the coffin of Project Fear!

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Nissan To Build New Car In UK- In Spite of Project Fear

Post Brexit Growth - In Spite of Project Fear!


Project Fear proven wrong again!

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Hammond Mulls Dropping Autumn Statement


An excellent idea, as it has proven to be a means to muddy already very muddy waters wrt tax and government finances.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Greece Gets Another 2.8BN Euros


The taxpayers of Europe are throwing their money away, or rather are having their money thrown away for them!

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Greek Economic Statistics Are Bollocks

Brexit Doesn't Dent Retail Sales


Project Fear Fail!

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

UK House Prices Rise - Project Fear Wrong Again



Despite dire warnings, pre Brexit, by Project Fear of a property apocalypse in the wake of Brexit, Project Fear has been proven wrong!

Friday, October 14, 2016

Greece Needs Fourth Bailout


Why oh why does Greece want to stay in the Eurozone?

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

The ECB Lives In Fantasy Land - Strengthening The Greek Financial System

Strengthening the Greek financial system

Introductory remarks by Benoît Cœuré, Member of the Executive Board of the ECB, at a public hearing at the European Parliament,
Brussels, 12 October 2016



Sheer fantasy, that will never occur!

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Samsung In Meltdown Over Exploding Phones


Samsung can't catch a break with the Galaxy Note 7.

Samsung recalled 2.5 million phones in September after complaints of exploding batteries, and later insisted that all replaced devices were safe.

However, there are now reports that even those phones were catching fire.

Samsung has urged owners of the Galaxy Note 7 to turn off the phone while it investigates new reports of the device catching fire.

The firm also said it would stop all sales of the phone.

The key issue here is not the fact that the phones seem to have a serious technical flaw, but that Samsung dragged its heels wrt denials actions taken when problems were first reported.

It's the lie that gets you!

Monday, October 10, 2016

Deutsche Bank Given Special Concession By ECB

The FT reports that Deutsche Bank was given special treatment in the summer EU stress tests that were meant to restore faith in Europe’s banks by assessing all of their finances in the same way.

Deutsche Bank, which has seen its share price fall as much as 22 per cent in recent weeks on fears that it could face a US fine of up to $14bn, has been using the results of the July stress tests as evidence of its healthy finances.

Deutsche’s result was boosted by a special concession agreed by its supervisor, the European Central Bank.

Deutsche’s results included the $4bn proceeds from selling its stake in Chinese lender Hua Xia even though the deal had not been done by the end of 2015, the official cut-off point for transactions to be included.

The ECB claims that it treats all banks equally, yet this is clear evidence that it doesn't.

The ECB knows that if Deutsche Bank goes under then so does Germany and the whole eurozone!

Friday, October 07, 2016

The Pound's Flash Crash - The Danger of Algorithms

The pound dropped as much as six per cent to $1.1841 today.

For why?

It seems that there was a case of fat fingers or idiotic trading in Asian markets that caused an algorithm to kick in and start dumping Sterling.

Algorithms are all very well, occasionally. However, to rely on them to "manage" trading is foolhardy in the extreme!

Turn the bloody things off and take responsibility for poor trading decisions!

Thursday, October 06, 2016

Deutsche Bank's $47 Trillion Derivative Exposure

Those of you who think that things have calmed down a tad for Deutsche Bank may care to remember that in its 2015 annual report, Deutsche Bank said its exposure to derivatives was €41.940 trillion ($46.994 trillion).

The Wall Street Journal provides more detail, noting that Deutsche Bank has more Level 3 assets compared with its common equity Tier 1 ratio, a measure of financial strength, than its peers. Its Level 3 assets are estimated as being valued at 72% of its Tier 1 assets. That compares with a 38% average for 12 global banks.

Wednesday, October 05, 2016

Jockeys Told To Avoid High Street Banks

The BBC reports that jockeys in the UK have been advised to move their money out of High Street banks, after a string of frauds dating back more than two years.

The Professional Jockeys Association issued the warning after saying an estimated £200,000 had been stolen from about 30 jockeys across the UK.

The money had been withdrawn over the counter from cashiers, possibly using fraudulent documents, the body added.

The PJA said banks were "unwilling and incapable" of preventing the frauds.

It said the crimes dated back to 2014, when about £50,000 was reportedly stolen from the bank accounts of several riders.

Whilst it may be the case that jockeys (as a percentage of the population) have had a higher rate of bank fraud perpetrated on their accounts, it is not just jockeys that have had money fraudulently removed from their bank accounts. The issue does not just affect jockeys.

Advising jockeys to avoid high street banks is all very well and good, but where are they meant to put their money?

Tuesday, October 04, 2016

Sterling Falls - So What?


I remember the days 31 years ago when the pound plunged new depths, yet here we all are 31 years on.

The world didn't stop spinning then, and it won't now!

Monday, October 03, 2016

Deutsche Bank's Lost Weekend



Hot on the heels of the unsurprising revelation that AFP's stock rallying report at the end of last week, that a deal had been done between the USA's Department of Justice and Deutsche Bank, was utter bollocks; it transpires that Deutsche Bank suffered a further blow to its image this weekend with a third IT outage in the space of a few months on Saturday "that prevented some customers getting access to their money for a short time."

Today is a bank holiday in Germany. However, that will provide no respite for Deutsche Bank. We can expect more bad news whilst the markets in Germany are closed.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Deutschland Uber Alles - Deutsche Bank On Cusp of Collapse


The implosion of Deutsche Bank will have far reaching consequences for both Merkel and the Euro experiment.

As much as Merkel and the German government denies a rescue plan is being put together, the reality is in fact completely the opposite and it will cost Euro are taxpayers big time.

Deutschland über alles!

Monday, September 26, 2016

Economists' Brexit Lies Exposed

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

UK Growth To Outstrip Eurozone Growth - There's Irony For You!

Brexit Armageddon - The Dog That Didn't Bark!

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Question For Wells Fargo



Question: When is asking your employees to commit fraud not asking them to commit fraud?

Answer: When it is simply a matter of encouraging them to meet their quotas and keep their jobs.

Friday, September 16, 2016

Fraudulent NatWest Twitter Account

Be warned that there is a fake NatWest twitter account that has been set up to con people into handing over their login details.

Full details in the Telegraph.

Deutsche Bank Refuses To Pay $14BN Fine


The relationship between the EU and USA is worsening.

Monday, September 12, 2016

The City of London Will Survive Brexit

There is much hoopla in the Remain leaning media about the potential demise of the City post Brexit. as ever, with the Remain camp, this scenario won't happen:

1 London is Anglo Saxon friendly both in terms of language and customs and practices; Paris, Berlin etc are not.

2 London has the infrastructure necessary for the 21st century financial services industry.

3 London has the cultural infrastructure (theatres, nightlife, restaurants etc) necessary to attract high calibre professionals.

4 London has the accommodation (offices and apartments) necessary to support the needs/size of financial services industry.

5 London lacks the red tape strangling enterprise on the Continent.

In short the City of London will survive!

Thursday, September 08, 2016

The Greek Guide On How Not To Negotiate

Wednesday, September 07, 2016

London Outranks The EU


The Swedish Rikshog

Tuesday, September 06, 2016

Greek Bailout Frozen - The Greek Farce Continues

The wheels have fallen off the Greek bailout wagon yet again.

After approving a first tranche of €10.3bn for Greece this spring, of which €7.5bn has so far been released, the 19 Euro finance ministers were due to disburse the rest this month but are to withhold payment for the rest of the year.

For why?

Greece has only implemented 2 of the 15 agreed reforms that were meant to be implemented in order for it to receive the bailout.

The farce continues!

Friday, September 02, 2016

Samsung's Self Immolating Galaxy Smartphones

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Enormous Data Breach at Oracle

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Property Armageddon Averted


Despite the shrill warnings from Project Fear, it would appear that there has not been Armageddon in the property market post Brexit!

Tuesday, August 09, 2016

Britain's and China's Relations at "Cross-Roads"


The delay in order to "review" Hinkley Point has spooked the Chinese.

Thursday, August 04, 2016

MPC Decision Day


As I noted sometime ago, the Remain camp's warnings about interest rates going up post Brexit were utter bollocks!

Tuesday, August 02, 2016

The FCA Kowtows To The Banks


Monday, August 01, 2016

Political Pensions Meddling On The Horizon

As per the Telegraph:
"Millions of workers could be denied flexible access to their final salary pension pots if a radical shake-up to let companies ditch pension promises made to staff is passed by the Government. 

The move would prompt a rush of people trying to cash in their pensions which would need to be "slowed", the chairman of the Work and Pension Select Committee has said, as he prepares to launch an inquiry in which MPs will explore ways to contain the problem.
Under the measures, understood to be favoured by MPs and pension funds, cash-strapped employers would be allowed to reduce workers' pensions by tens of thousands of pounds without first going through courts. 

This would be likely to leave staff at some firms scrambling to move their money out of schemes as quickly as possible to fully encash their fund before their employer imposed cuts."
As ever, once the politicians start meddling with pensions you can guarantee there will be utter chaos!

Friday, July 29, 2016

Brexit - The Excuse De Jour For Failure

How "amusing" that companies are using Brexit as the excuse de jour for their own failings, in much the same way as they used to blame the weather!

Thursday, July 28, 2016

No Post Brexit Property Apocalypse


Project Fear's warnings about a post Brexit property apocalypse were overblown!

Diamonds Are Forever - Anglo American Goes Back To Basics

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

#BHSGate - Chickens Come Home To Roost

The Telegraph reports that Dominic Chappell, the former owner of BHS, will attempt to repair his battered reputation today after MPs damned him as the “most egregious example of individual greed”.

The former bankrupt has confirmed that he received a legal letter from Sir Philip Green, who has threatened Mr Chappell and three of his other Retail Acquisition directors with legal action following their disastrous deal.

Mr Chappell is flying back into the UK after consulting with his lawyers about the report. He said he would not be drawn on his views on a select committee report into BHS's collapse ahead of making a full statement on Wednesday.

Mr Chappell has admitted that he has made £2.6m from BHS.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

NatWest and RBS Might Charge for Deposits

Natwest and Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) have warned businesses they may have to charge them to accept deposits due to low interest rates.

The banks are quoted by the BBC:
"We will consider any necessary action in the event of the Bank of England base rate falling below zero, but will do our utmost to protect our customers from any impacts."
Thus far personal customers are unaffected. However, that situation may change.

The move follows Dutch bank ABN Amro, which has warned its business customers that it will charge them for deposits.

As such, now is the time for people to consider lightening their cash balances held in banks and finding other means of holding wealth; eg under the mattress, or in precious metals.

#BHSGate - Green Demands Apology

As per economia libel lawyers acting for retail magnate Sir Philip Green have demanded an apology after MP Frank Field likened the retail tycoons conduct to that of former press baron Robert Maxwell.

In a letter seen by the Financial Times, law firm Schillings said that Field had wrongly alleged on the BBC's Today programme that Sir Philip had stolen money from the pension funds of companies he owned.

The law firm complained the comments were highly defamatory, completely false and likely to cause Sir Philip serious harm, and were not supported by anything in Fields parliamentary report into the collapse of BHS, published yesterday.

Monday, July 25, 2016

#BHSGate - Where's Sir Philip?


#BHSGate - Sir Philip Green's Moral Duty


How much is a Knighthood worth to Sir Philip?

#BHSGate

Friday, July 22, 2016

Trump's China Syndrome



All very well in theory, maybe. However, Trump should not forget that China holds approximately $1.1 Trillion of US Treasury bonds.

Beware a major Chinese dump!

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Not "Fucking Christmas" For HSBC

Once again HSBC finds itslef on the wrong side of the headlines, as a British HSBC executive has been released on $1m bail after being charged with fraud linked to a giant $3.5bn currency trade after he was arrested by FBI agents at JFK airport.

The Telegraph reports that Mark Johnson, HSBC’s head of FX and commodities for the Americas, was arrested by federal agents at the New York airport on Tuesday evening.

Johnson and Stuart Scott (ex HSBC) face charges of conspiring to defraud a client five years ago by “front-running” a currency deal.

The allegations relate to the conversion of $3.5bn into sterling for a client company in December 2011, a transaction that allegedly netted $8m for HSBC, including Johnson and Scott.

It is thought that HSBC was carrying out the currency exchange for London-listed oil company Cairn Energy, which had sold a stake in its Indian subsidiary to commodities giant Vedanta.

Johnson appeared in court in New York yesterday to be formally charged, while it is thought Scott has not been arrested and is reportedly in the UK.

According to Justice Department documents, Johnson, who at the time of the alleged fraud was HSBC’s head of global foreign exchange cash trading, and Scott allegedly bought sterling “in advance of the transaction, knowing that the transaction would cause the price of sterling to increase, thereby generating substantial trading profits for HSBC and the defendants”. This is a practice known as “front-running”.
They then executed the $3.5bn purchase “in a manner to cause the price of sterling to spike” – called “ramping” – which benefited the bank and the pair and was “at the expense of the victim company”, according to the documents.

When the full order for £2.25bn – the equivalent of $3.5bn – was authorised, Johnson was recorded on a telephone call as saying to Mr Scott “Ohhhh, fucking Christmas,” the documents allege.

When the spike in the price of sterling was picked up by the company and its adviser, an unnamed supervisor is alleged to have told the client that the market movement was caused by “a Russian” bank, which was false.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

UK Employment 74.4%



The unemployment rate fell to 4.9% in May, below 5% for first time since 2005.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Inflation 0.5%


Monday, July 18, 2016

SoftBank To Buy ARM for £24BN

ARM, Britain's largest listed technology company, has agreed to be acquired by the Japanese conglomerate SoftBank for £24.3bn.

The offer, according to the Telegraph, ranks as the biggest for a foreign takeover of a British technology firm and the largest ever Asian investment in the UK. The premium is 43% on ARM's share price on Friday.

ARM designs the microchips that power every smartphone and tablet on earth, including Apple's iPhone, and is at the forefront of developing low-power chips for the "internet of things" - connected everyday household products.

SoftBank promised to double jobs in the UK over the next five years, that ARM's headquarters would remain in Cambridge, and that its management team would stay on.

Philip Hammond, the Chancellor, said:
"Just three weeks after the referendum decision, it shows that Britain has lost none of its allure to international investors. Britain is open for business - and open to foreign investment." 
The sale requires 75% approval of ARM's shareholders.

Friday, July 15, 2016

Britain At The Front of The Queue In US Trade Talks

As per the FT, the Obama administration has begun preliminary discussions with senior UK officials about how they might pursue a trade agreement between the two countries following Britain’s exit from the EU, according to Washington’s top trade official.

The discussions, which Mike Froman, the US trade representative, revealed on Thursday, coincide with a growing push by Republican Brexit supporters in Congress for President Barack Obama to launch talks on a commercial pact quickly.

Whither the warnings about being at  the "back of the queue" now?

Thursday, July 14, 2016

MPC Decision Day


Will the idiots who, pre Brexit, were hysterically warning that rates would be raised please raise their hands.

Seriously, I would like to see you fess up!

Oh, and George, what was it you were saying about an emergency budget???

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Irish Fantasy 26% Growth


Irish GDP for 2015 has been revised upwards from 7.8% to a whopping 26.3%.

Has the Celtic tiger got a new bounce in its tail, or are these figures utter BS?

The FT clarifies the mystery, it's all to do with inversions (where tax avoiding foreign companies pretend that they are based in Ireland). More specifically it's to do with statistical reclassifications relating to the treatment of inversion deals involving US multinationals, purchases by aircraft leasing firms and companies relocating assets to Ireland.

So what was the real GDP growth for 2105?

Fuck knows!

There are lies, damned lies and statistics!

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Thursday, July 07, 2016

Kudos To Mark Carney


Kudos to Mark Carney (Governor of the Bank of England) for doing a bang up job, during very difficult times, given that our political masters have abrogated responsibility for everything!

Wednesday, July 06, 2016

Germany and The UK Like Status Quo


Tuesday, July 05, 2016

Monday, July 04, 2016

OBR Cancels Fiscal Sustainability Report

As per the Office for Budget Responsibility:
"Given the timing and result of the referendum, and the current uncertainty around our future relationship with the EU, producing projections based on our March forecast would not necessarily be very informative. To produce meaningful long -term project ions we would need to make a new medium -term forecast (which we will not be doing until the autumn) and new long - term assumptions in areas such as productivity growth and migration flows (which would be affected by the trade arrangements the government decides to pursue). 

Under these circumstances, we have decided to cancel July’s FSR ."

Friday, July 01, 2016

Britain Wins Currency War

Mark Carney  (Governor of the Bank of England) yesterday said that a deteriorating outlook meant action from the Bank was likely this summer. In other words rates will be cut, and quantitative easing (helicopter money) will be applied.

It is ironic that little over a week ago Project Fear was telling all and sundry that Brexit would lead to increased rates as Sterling would fall through the floor.

Sterling has fallen, but it has now levelled out at around $1.33 and markets are gradually rising.

As I have stated before, a fall in Sterling will make British assets look cheap to international investors. More to the point, central bankers around the world would sell their grandmothers to have been given an opportunity to stage a one off devaluation of their currencies that Carney was given courtesy of Brexit.

The currency wars are upon us, and Britain has managed to achieve victory without firing a single monetary shot.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

The Falling Pound

The falling Pound (post brexit) should not be feared, but instead should be used as an opportunity.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Brexit Will Not Be a Black Swan Event



The central banks and chancelleries of the world stand ready to steady the ship in the event of a Brexit.

There is nothing to fear, the hype and scaremongering is akin to Y2K which was a damp squib.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

The Calm Before The Storm

BDI Chief Calls For No Trade Barriers Post Brexit

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Housing Market Stagnates Because of Government Manipulation


Governments should learn that they cannot manipulate the housing market without causing blowback.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Sterling Continues To Surge


The markets have already called the result, it will be a vote to remain.

Pound Skyrockets


Traders will be pulling an all nighter on the 23rd, big bucks to be made on the volatility that will ensue as the votes are counted.

Friday, June 17, 2016

ESM Signs Off €7.5bn Greek Bailout

The European Stability Mechanism has given the green light for Greece's €7.5bn bailout.

However, it is not clear as to whether the IMF is onboard with this; as there has yet to be any debt relief offered to Greece.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Britain's Booming - Brexit Worries Shrugged Off

FCA Kowtows To Banks Over PPI


Tuesday, June 14, 2016

UK Inflation Steady at 0.3%

UK inflation, contrary to expectations, has held steady at 0.3%.

NIRP Doomwatch


Monday, June 13, 2016

Property Bonanza On Brexit Win

Despite dire warnings from Project Fear, about a collapse in property prices, it transpires that international property investors are poised to “pile into” the UK snapping up office blocks, land and luxury homes if Brexit comes to fruition.

For why?

Theoretically, according to experts, sterling will fall thus making property cheap for international investors.

Guy Grainger, head of Europe, the Middle East and Asia for JLL is quoted by the Telegraph:
This is the big irony of the leave campaign – which is anti any foreign influence. In the event of a Brexit we may see a price correction in property and a fall in sterling which opportunistic international investors will view as a chance to pile in.” 
A recent report from the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors also showed that 80% of their members believed that the fear of an unknown future has held back investment flows. This, combined with high property values in the UK, has created pent up demand ready to react to a price correction.

In other words it is the uncertainty that is currently negatively impacting the economy, not the possibility of Brexit.

Friday, June 10, 2016

West Bromwich Rate Rise Overturned

The Court of Appeal has ruled in favour of 350 landlords who sued West Bromwich building society for raising their tracker mortgage rates in 2013, despite there being no rise in base rates.

The result means that 6,000 borrowers will receive a refund. 

Despite the fact that tracker mortgages are supposed to rise and fall in line with a central interest rates, such as the Bank of England's Bank Rate, West Bromwich had argued that smallprint in its contracts entitled it to raise rates even when the Bank Rate was stable.

It rationalised that its savers had been hard hit by low rates, and wanted to redress the balance by raising rates by 2%.

West Bromwich Building Society issued a statement, quoted by the Telegraph:
"We are disappointed with the judgement handed down today.

This judgement relates to the decision taken in 2013 to vary the interest rate margin charged  in line with the terms and conditions of their buy-to-let mortgages.

Savers, who represent the vast majority of the Society’s members, have suffered a dramatic fall in income due to lower interest rates. The Board of the Society therefore acted in accordance with its overarching duties to treat customers fairly and to act in the best interests of members as a whole, savers as well as borrowers."
That's very noble, but did the building society pass on the full benefits of the 2% rise to its savers?

Thursday, June 09, 2016

The ECB's Art of Timing


Monday, June 06, 2016

Fivefold Increase In 95% Mortgages

The Help to Buy mortgage guarantee scheme has led to a fivefold increase in the number of 95% mortgage products on offer since its inception three years ago.

Unsurprisingly, given the rise in property prices (especially in the South East) people are being forced to take on the largest possible mortgages in order to be able to afford to buy a house.

The Telegraph reports that when the mortgage guarantee scheme was introduced in October 2013, there were 56 mortgages available for 95% of a property’s value. Research conducted by Moneyfacts shows that the number on offer now stands at 271.

Ironically these mortgages are often not accessible for those in the South and South East, where they are needed the most. First-time-buyers in London had an average mortgage size of 77%, compared to 82% in the North West and 84.5% in Yorkshire.

The mortgage guarantee scheme is due to end this year. However, the equity loan scheme, also known as Help to Buy One, which launched in April 2013, will continue until 2020.

Friday, June 03, 2016

BHS Goes Into Liquidation

Following on from the demise and liquidation of Austin Reed, another bastion of the high street hit the bricks.

BHS is to be liquidated after its administrators Duff & Phelps failed to find a buyer, with the closure of 163 stores and the loss of 11,000 jobs.

Administrators Duff & Phelps confirmed that although multiple offers for the business were received, attempts at a rescue deal collapsed because of the working capital required to secure the future of the company.

Wednesday, June 01, 2016

OECD Sounds Brexit Warning

The OECD has slashed its forecast for UK growth this year to 1.7%, down from an estimate of 2.1% three months ago.

The OECD also warned that a Brexit vote will have a negative impact on the global economy, likening it to a hard landing by China.

The alleged negative economic impact of a Brexit indicates that the OECD believes that Britain plays a major, and indeed vital, role in the global economy. Given Britain's economic stature, I am surprise that the OECD gives Britain such a downbeat assessment for making its own way in the world outwith the EU.


Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Wheels Fall Off Greek Bailout Wagon


Unsurprisingly the wheels have fallen off the Greek bailout wagon.

Not only have the IMF refused to give another penny until it sees a concrete plan from the Europeans to substantially cut the country’s debt burden, the Greeks are now reneging on their promises to make some "technical" adjustments to legislation already passed in order to comply with the fine print of the bailout "agreement".

All of this in less than a week!

Friday, May 27, 2016

Greek Bailout Deal NOT Agreed

It transpires that despite the media and Eurogroup hype that a Greek bailout deal has been agreed, as usual the reality is completely different.

Aside from the fact that the IMF has nixed it, it is reported by ekathimerini that Greek government officials and representatives of the country’s international creditors discussed on Thursday a series of “technical details” that Greece must legislate in order to secure a sub-tranche of 7.2 billion euros in loan funding, Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos and Alternate Finance Minister Giorgos Houliarakis said.

Houliarakis conceded that creditors want to see “a large amount of technical improvements” to legislation that Greece passed into law last week. In its provisions relating to nonperforming bank loans, which will henceforth be subject to sale, the government did not include loans guaranteed by the state. The omission was discussed by the ministers, creditor representatives and Bank of Greece officials during a teleconference.

Quel surprise!

What's the betting that the technical details never get passed by the Greek parliament?

Thursday, May 26, 2016

IMF Nixes Greek Bailout "Deal"

As per the BBC:
"The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has announced it is not yet ready to join the EU's new bailout for Greece, saying it needs further details. 

A senior IMF official told reporters in Washington that EU creditors had yet to specify what debt relief measures they planned to take."
Well then, that didn't take long to unravel!

The Pain In Spain

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Eurogroup Agrees Euro10BN Greek Bailout

The Eurogroup has agreed a Euro10BN bailout for Greece.

However, before people crack open the champagne there are a number of catches wrt the bailout:

1 The money will not go to the Greek people, but be used to pay interest on Greek debt (ie it goes back to the creditors).

2 In order to get the money Greece has had to pass further austerity measures.

3 There is no unconditional debt relief, as demanded by the IMF. Instead there is a vague promise to consider it later.

4 Greece will never implement the austerity measures, nor stick to the agreement.

5 The IMF caved in on its demand frop unconditional debt relief. Instead it has accepted the deal on the promise of a DSA and the possibility of debt relief being considered in the future.

In short absolutely nothing has changed, this is merely a means of ensuring that the creditors will continue to have their debts serviced.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

IMF Demands Unconditional Greek Debt Relief

The IMF has demanded that Greece be granted “unconditional” debt relief, if it is to stand any chance of getting its finances back under control and return to fiscal health.

An IMF debt sustainability analysis (DSA) described additional cuts faced by Athens as “daunting”, as it warned that “ambitious” targets agreed with the country’s creditors would be hard to achieve.

The IMF has called for a moratorium on debt payments until 2040.

All very well and nice, except that the other creditors don't agree. Today's Eurozone finance ministers meeting will be interesting to say the least.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Cameron and Co Talk Bollocks, Whilst Greece Asks for More of The Same


The ongoing tsunami of hysterical warnings about the consequences of the UK voting #Brexit (wherein house prices would fall, the cost of food would rise etc) continue unabated.

However, as calmer heads have pointed out, leaving a high tariff bloc in favour of free trade will most likely cause a reduction in the costs of foodstuffs etc and a fall in the value of sterling would benefit the UK economy.

Cameron and co are talking bollocks and have no idea what the future outside the EU will bring, any more than they can predict and control market forces whilst we remain within the EU.

Meanwhile Greece's ruling coalition, led by prime minister Alexis Tsipras’s Syriza party, has backed the last part of a €5.4bn austerity package that includes further tax hikes as well as automatic spending cuts if budget targets are missed.

For why?

Greece is desperate to remain in the Eurozone.

Yet the price of that desperation is the wholesale destruction of the Greek economy, and the consignment of Greece's youth to decades of unemployment.

Why is Greece so desperate to remain in an organisation that is sucking the very lifeblood out of the country?

UK voters should take note as to the true economic consequences of remaining in the EU club!

Friday, May 20, 2016

Ludicrous IMF Claims About Ludicrous Greek Debt


The IMF has been proven wrong so many times before, quite why anyone should take its 2060 prediction about Greek debt (which itself is an unknown and uncontrolled mess) seriously is beyond belief.

The IMF can no more predict what will happen to Greek debt in the coming months, than it can predict what will happen in 44 years time.

Utterly ludicrous and utterly futile!

Another €10BN Bailout For Greece?


The keyword is "could".

Thursday, May 19, 2016

The Great Pension Con

Andy Haldane, the chief economist of the Bank of England, has said that consumer confidence in the financial services industry had been damaged because even he cannot make "the remotest sense" of most pension deals.

He is quoted by the Telegraph:
"I consider myself moderately financially literate - yet I confess to not being able to make the remotest sense of pensions.

Conversations with countless experts and independent financial advisers have confirmed for me only one thing - that they have no clue either. 

That is a desperately poor basis for sound financial planning."
He is absolutely correct. However, I would also add that he has ignored the elephant in the room; namely that pensions are a con:

1 The enforced contribution to the state pension is a means the government uses to forcibly borrow from taxpayers.

2 Pension funds are sucked dry by management charges and piss poor investment decisions by said "managers".

For all the good they do, it would be better that the pension funds be paid out in full as cash on retirement to the hapless pensioners (instead of leaving it in a fund to be sucked dry by management fees and inept investment decisions) so that they can at least enjoy the money before they become too old.

The 2012 LinkedIn Hack Comes Back To Haunt It


Once hacked, a system is forever vulnerable!

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

UK Employment Rate Hits Record High

The proportion of people in work across the UK has hit a new record high.

The latest labour market report, released by the ONS, shows that the employment rate has hit 74.2%, the highest since comparable records began in 1971. The unemployment rate remains unchanged at 5.1% in Q1.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

IMF Greek Proposal Doomed To Failure

Monday, May 16, 2016

Nissan Drawn Into Emissions Scandal

Nissan has been drawn into the emissions scandal after South Korea claimed that is had fitted its vehicles with equipment to cheat pollution controls.

South Korea’s environment ministry said that Nissan had fitted diesel-powered Qashqai sports utility vehicles with “defeat devices” in order to enable it to pass emissions tests.

The Telegraph reports that Nissan has denied any wrongdoing, and said it had “never illegally manipulated any vehicles we have produced so far [or] used defeat devices in those cars".

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

New MPC Member Scaremongers Over #Brexit Rates

Michael Saunders, who was chief economist at Citibank, and who will join the MPC in August has warned that the Bank of England will need to raise its key interest rate or Bank Rate to 3.5% by the end of next year if Britain votes to leave the EU.

For why?

Allegedly the pound will collapse.

Whilst this is all very attention grabbing and headline generating, it is in fact utter bollocks:

1 The markets have already priced in a #Brexit vote

2 Any economic "shocks" to the British economy following #Brexit (were one to believe the warnings from those proselytising Project Fear) will most likely be deflationary not inflationary, as such any pressure on rates will be downwards most certainly not upwards.

Rate hike fears are simply another layer of fear being added by those who want the UK to remain in the EU.

Monday, May 09, 2016

Nationwide Increases Mortgage Age Limit To 85

Nationwide, Britain’s largest building society will raise its maximum age limit on mortgage lending to 85 as lenders battle to attract older customers.

As from July, all existing borrowers at Nationwide will be entitled to apply for a mortgage term that can run up to their 85th birthday, which will be the highest age limit of any high street lender.

The new age limit would apply to existing customers for all its standard mortgages, but the maximum loan size would be £150,000, and could be no greater than 60% of the property value.

Halifax has also increased its age limit for mortgages from 75 to 80.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Eurogroup Cancelled

The Quadriga and Greece have been unable to agree on the list of contingency measures worth 3.6 billion euro demanded by the IMF, as such Thursday's Eurogroup meeting has been cancelled.

Greece has not specified where the cuts would be made.

When will Greece realise that leaving the Eurozone is its best option?

Friday, April 22, 2016

No Greek Deal

Thursday, April 21, 2016

The Wheels Fall Off The Auto Industry - Volkswagen To Buy Back Cheating Cars

Volkswagen, the US government and private lawyers have reached a deal whereby VW will buy back some of the nearly 600,000 diesel cars that cheat on emissions tests and spend just over $1bn to compensate owners.

The Guardian reports that some owners would get a choice of having VW repair their cars or buy them back.
 
How the $1bn is to be allocated and distributed remains to be seen.
 
VW is of course not the only car maker to have cheated wrt emissions, doubtless the other cheaters will be looking at their books to see how much they can afford to pay out.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

The Eurozone is Killing Greece

China Is a Busted Flush

Kicking The Can Down The Road

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Failed In Spain Since 2009

Thursday, April 14, 2016

BP Shareholders Revolt Over CEO Pay Rise

Today's BP shareholders' meeting will be a stormy affair, as some investors are planning to vote against chief executive Bob Dudley's 20% pay rise taking his package to £14M.

Shareholders feel that the pay rise for the CEO and other executives are not appropriate given BP's job cuts and falling profits.

The BBC reports that those who have spoken out include Aberdeen Asset Management and Royal London Asset Management.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

The Price of Misconduct - £53BN and Rising!

New City Agenda has issued a report that states that lawsuits and misconduct fines have cost Britain's largest retail banks and customer-owned lenders almost £53BN over the past 15 years.

Reuters quotes John McFall, a director of New City Agenda and former Treasury Committee chairman:
"The profitability of UK retail banks has been imperilled by persistent misconduct.

This has made every citizen poorer through our pension funds and our ownership of the bailed out banks." 
I am more than certain that the costs will keep rising!

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Monday, April 11, 2016

Germany's Fair Deal For Britain After Brexit

Germany believes that Britain will vote for Brexit in June. As such, Merkel wants Britain to be given fair treatment after the vote.

The Commentator reports that Germany will make the following previsions:

1) Immediately toning down any reference to "punishing" Britain for leaving;

2) Forging a UK-EU cooperation agreement to deal with all strategic, economic and migration issues;

3) Including, as a top priority, the United States, to be an honest broker.

In other words, Germany wishes it to be business as normal wrt business and normal interstate interactions.

Thursday, April 07, 2016

Greece Wallows In Permanent Unemployment


Why on earth does Greece want to remain in the Eurozone?

Tuesday, April 05, 2016

Lagarde's "Good Faith"

International Monetary Fund Managing Director Christine Lagarde has said that her team was continuing to negotiate with Greece "in good faith" over its debt issues.

She told Bloomberg TV the aim was to restore Greek competitiveness within a framework of debt sustainability.

Quoted by Reuters, she said:
"The objectives have not changed.

Everything has to add up."
Lagarde is of course being somewhat disingenuous, for she has neglected to mention that Germany has said "nein" to any for of debt relief for Greece.

Without debt relief, the IMF will not remain part of the Quadriga. Which brings us back to the "credit event" that the IMF was plotting, in order to bring about a solution to the Greek/German impasse. This "event" has, of course, been hotly denied by Lagarde.

However, she would deny that wouldn't she?

Monday, April 04, 2016

Lagarde Ridicules Greek Leaks

International Monetary Fund chief Christine Lagarde has dismissed reports that the IMF is trying to push Greece towards default as "simply nonsense".

As per the IMF:
"The IMF conducts its negotiations in good faith, not by way of threats, and we do not communicate through leaks."
What she hasn't said though is that the leak is fake.

That means that the conversation did occur and that either there is a whistle blower in the IMF, who managed to transcribe the discussion about forcing an agreement on Greece, or that the room in which the discussion was held was bugged.

The question is, what are the IMF going to do about those tow possibilities?

Sunday, April 03, 2016

IMF and Greece Fall Out

Thursday, March 31, 2016

ONS Revised Q4 GDP To 0.6%

The ONS, as it always does, has yet again revised some stale dusty old figures.

Now, if the ONS is to be believed, the UK economy grew 0.6% in fourth quarter of 2015 a revision upwards from the previous revised figure of 0.5%.

Given that these figures are now three months old, what use is it to anyone to revise once again old out of date numbers?

Out of date, unreliable economic statistics are of no use to man nor beast!

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Bank of England Kiboshes Buy To Lets

The Bank of England is doing its best to put the kibosh on the buy to let market.

The FT reports that the Bank is tightening lending rules. New measures to restrain the market include subjecting loans to a stress-test scenario whereby mortgage rates rise to 5.5% and more stringent affordability tests which take into account the borrowers’ costs of letting out the property – including tax liabilities.

All very well and dandy, but realistically in the extremely unlikely event that rates rise to 5.5% in the next few years, any buy to let landlord who couldn't meet the payments would simply dump the property.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

CPI Unchanged at 0.3%

As per the ONS the Consumer Prices Index (CPI) rose by 0.3% in the year to February 2016, unchanged from January 2016.

The largest downward contribution came from the transport sector, from price changes for items such as road passenger transport, second-hand cars and bicycles.

Rising food prices, particularly for vegetables, offset this.

Whilst this appears to be all very well and good ans table, it is worth remembering tat house price inflation (excluded from the above measure of inflation) stands at 6.7%.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

"Rock Solid" Deutsche Bank Collapsing Again


Despite protestations from Deutsche Bank in February that it was rock solid, its announcement yesterday of a $7BN loss for 2015 and forecast loss for 2016 somewhat undermine that upbeat assessment.

Unsurprisingly there has been yet another collapse in its shares.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Follow The Budget Live - #Budget2016

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Greek Unpaid Taxes - A Whopping Euro86BN!


Whilst the Eurozone, IMF and ECB wrangle with Greece about future bailouts, it is worth noting that one means of Greece dragging itself up out of the financial gutter is for its citizens and businesses to actually pay their taxes.

Given the above statistics this is something that simply isn't going to happen anytime soon!