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ECONOMICS – FINANCE – WORLD NEWS – GREEK DEBT

Europe is the new Japan – ECB cuts rates

Yesterday…The Fed’s FOMC meeting notes showed that we’re moving away from the “let’s close the money tap” idea and back to “whatever it takes” – meaning easing or no easing. The statement said that policy action will be taken with an eye on how the economy will progress. read Alphaville (interestingly, Matthew Yglesias of Slate has interpreted this as a call for stimulus)

Apple‘s mega bond of $17m helps the company to avoid $9bn in taxes. If Apple would have had to bring in money from abroad to pay dividends to shareholders, that’s what it would have cost them. Of course, the average Apple customer, like me, doesn’t care about tax avoidance (it’s not even illegal), but the American state is upset, as it’s trying to crack down on offshore tax avoidance like never before this year. read FT

Otherwise, an infographic to yesterday’s ADP employment report. view graphic

This morning…
all eyes are on the ECB, which just announced a benchmark interest rate cut by a quarter point to 0.50%. A press conference during which Mario Draghi will wear a suit made of money is set to follow at 1.30 BST. Let the excitement begin. Money for everyone.

UBS is holding an investor meeting today, during which the bank may be urged to split its investment banking and wealth management units [again]. read Reuters

So long.

Death Star Economics
ECONOMICS – FINANCE – WORLD NEWS – GREEK DEBT

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All according to plan – US set to grow 3%; China’s slowdown on purpose

Over the weekend…
the UK lost its Fitch-assigned AAA rating on the back of the weak economy and poor outlook. Moody’s downgraded the country in February, but also assigned a negative outlook, while Fitch is optimistic that the UK will return to credit-worthy prosperity around 2014/2015. read article

In Italy, Giorgio Napolitano was re-elected President for the coming seven years on Saturday. The independent is expected to propose a bipartisan cabinet, considering that he was elected by both sides of the political spectrum to avoid another round of elections. Everybody except for Beppe Grillo seems happy; he had called Napolitano’s re-election a coup d’etat. read article

The G20 meeting ended with everyone promising to not engage in competitive devaluation of currencies, defending Japan’s monetary policy as appropriate and targeting domestic demand. read article

This morning…
word got out that the US will see 3% growth in July, due to a reform of the methodology behind government statistics. 21st century GDP also takes film royalties and R&D spending into account:

Billions of dollars of intangible assets will enter the gross domestic product of the world’s largest economy in a revision aimed at capturing the changing nature of US output.” read article

Meanwhile in China, central bank Governor Zhou Xiaochuan justified the country’s below-expectations growth rate of 7.7% in the first quarter of 2013, saying slow growth was necessary as structural reforms are being put into place. read article

Otherwise the counter-austerity voices are getting louder again, this time it’s Pimco’s Bill Gross (not that surprising) and Jose Manuel Barroso of all people, the President of the European Commission. Could this be the beginning of the end of Angela Austerity Merkel’s dominance in European policy? Probably not.

So long.

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IMF joins Cyprus creditors; Fannie Mae records first profits in 6 years

There won’t be an update tomorrow, Thursday April 4th.

Yesterday…In the US, people are getting more nervous about the Fed’s spending spree. Eyeing over to Japan, that might be fair. Once again, it’s Jeffrey Lacker, President of the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, who doesn’t beat around the bush when it comes to disliking monetary policy. read article

Fannie Mae, which received a total of $116.1bn in bailout finance from the US Treasury since the financial crisis, officially returned back to black. For the financial year 2012, the mortgage business recorded $17.2bn in profit. Finally. Although things are looking up, $84.7bn of its bailout package remain outstanding. read article

Speaking of earnings, the SEC has given companies the okay to announce earnings and other news via Facebook and Twitter, throwing off all those institutions (read banks) that blocked social networking sites for their employees. read article

Cyprus’ Minister of Finance resigned, saying he had done his deed in negotiating the bailout deal. In related news, the IMF stated today that it will pay €1bn of the total €10bn bailout package for Cyrpus, spread out over three years.

This morning…
there’s little to talk about. By 9.45am the most striking news were that Apple may release two new phones this year, and even that was a story from yesterday. read article

Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy is looking towards Brussels to get the growth in Europe going (good luck with that) and stop the austerity vise (even more luck for that), asking for countries in the position to do so to spend more to stimulate the economy. read article

So long.

Death Star Economics
ECONOMICS – FINANCE – WORLD NEWS – GREEK DEBT

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Japan opens floodgates [further]; Euribor to be reformed

Japan will spend JPY 10.3tn ($116bn) on an economic stimulus package that is set out to boost GDP by 2%create 600,000 jobs and worsen the country’s public debt situation. At this point, Japan’s debt amounts to 220% of GDP. About a third of the stimulus will be spent on disaster prevention and reconstruction; natural disasters, that is, not financial ones. read article

A handful of conservative European leaders are meeting in Cyprus to talk budget today, which is awkward because Angela Merkel has publicly opposed a bailout of the country. read article

In the background, Silvio Berlusconi proclaims that he “will not admit any responsibility for Italy’s crisis:

Berlusconi blamed his legal troubles, which include a tax fraud conviction and a pending trial on charges of engaging a minor in prostitution, on politically motivated judges and prosecutors.

After the recently re-arisen Libor scandal (some more dissecting of what Deutsch Bank did, here), the European Banking Authority and the European Securities and Markets Authority have recommended to reform the Euribor benchmark interest rate as well. read article

London is getting cold again these days and so is China. In the worst winter, like, ever, consumer prices accounted for 2/3 of the 2.5% inflation hike [from 2011] in December. The cold weather is pushing the price of vegetables up, and higher inflation could endanger future government stimuli, although that’s still a bit far-fetched at this point. read article

This week, both Morgan Stanley and American Express jumped on the bandwagon and announced significant staff cuts. While MS plans to fire around 1,600 people6% of its global workforce, AmEx will reduce its employee base by 8.5%, which will cost about $400m in severance payments.

Weekend reading

– a song for Paul Krugmanwatch video

– women in defense (the industry, stupid!), read article

– the case for the $1tn coinread article read another article

– Obama’s new posse – controversial(?) choices at the White House, read article

Have a good one.

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More stimulus for Japan, more consolidation for Europe (ex-Turkey)

Japan isn’t messing around. Today, the government announced a new stimulus package of almost double the size of the last one in October. With JPY880.3bn ($10.74bn), Japan is now living off all its savings to avoid having to sell more government bonds. The government expects the new stimulus to push GDP by 0.2%. JPY161.2bn will be put towards reconstruction of areas hit hardest by 2011 earthquake. read article

In Europe, the day starts with decisive words from the IMF and the ECB, demanding for Europe’s nations to consolidate their budgets and create a European banking union, also to oversee all banks within the union. The IMF also claimed that France needed to revisit its stubborn views on reform, as Italy and Spain could surpass the country by taking the necessary steps. read article

The German parliament has approved the latest Greek bailout shenanigans. Next up are the parliaments of France and the Netherlands. In the latter, prime minister Mark Rutte said he wants tighter European control over financial issues, while reconsidering powers that currently lie with Brussels but could be handed back to nationsread article

Otherwise, data for German and Greek retail sales (read German retail sales), Italian unemployment, Italian, Spanish and eurozone-wide CPI and Swiss industry, retail and wholesale all missed estimates. Happy days. Eurozone unemployment seems to be the only thing that came in as expected – at a record high of 11.7%.

Meanwhile, Turkey is still holding a grudge against Brussels for not having been able to join the EU yet. Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan, who recently said the EU had to make a decision on Turkey’s accession by 2023, before the country will turn east, has now commissioned a “giant mosque that will be visible from all across Istanbul.” According to the plan, it would hold 30,000 people. According to Reuters

It is symbolic of Turkey’s tilt to the east under Erdogan, who has chipped away the founding secularism of the modern republic and presided over its emergence as a power in the Middle East.

In other news, the UN assembly has granted Palestine nonmember observer state” status, same as the Vatican. read article

Dominique Strauss-Kahn and Nafissatou Diallo, formerly housekeeper at the Sofitel hotel in New York, have reached a settlement deal, after she had pressed sexual assault charges against the former head of the IMF in 2011. Ka-ching.

Weekend reading

– The Leveson inquiry and modern journalism, read article

– The FT and your flash player explain the UK’s Autumn Statementread article

– More interaction with PBS explaining the web of betrayal behind David Coleman Headleyread article

– Vladimir Putin‘s battle against corruptionread article

– More on corruption, India prepares for cash handout programread article

– Why plan C for Greece isn’t better than any before, read article

Have a good one.

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