Top 10 at 10: ANZ 'mis sold low risk fund'; China doubles gold stash; An interest rate floor?
27th Apr 09, 10:14am
Here's my top 10 links from around the Internet at 10am. I welcome your suggestions in the comments below. I quite liked this Trace Hodgson cartoon in the Herald on Sunday. Trace was my hero during the late 1980s and early 1990s. His cartoons had a savagry that was rare in New Zealand public life. He's gone a bit off the boil in recent years, but has a few good ones now and then. 1. The US government has declared a Public Health Emergency over the Swine Flu outbreak, which means that stockpiles of medicine have been freed up, Bloomberg reports. 2. Barack Obama's chief economic advisor, Larry Summers, has told Fox News that the US economy will continue to contract for some time to come and employment will fall for "quite some time," Bloomberg reported. 3. Western budget deficits will remain close to 10% of GDP this year, the IMF has warned, the FT.com reports. 4. The Sunday Star Times has published fresh evidence that ANZ staff advised customers that the ING Diversified Yield Fund was 'low risk'. This backs claims by aggrieved investors that ANZ and ING mis sold the funds and should refund their money in full. 5. The US Federal Reserve has briefed the nation's 19 biggest banks on the results of stress tests. The Wall St Journal is reporting that three of the smaller regional banks need capital injections. The FT.com is reporting Federal Reserve officials as saying Citigroup will be asked to raise capital too. The results will be made public next Monday US time (Tuesday our time). 6. China has quietly almost doubled its gold reserves to 1,054 tonnes, making it the world's 5th biggest holder, the FT.com reports. 7. The European Central Bank is considering introducing a floor to its Official Cash Rate as another way to influence longer term rates without having to print money to buy bonds, Bloomberg reports. The Bank of Canada was the first to set a long term floor to its cash rate at 0.25% and said it would remain there until the second quarter of 2010. HT Mish
"That's one of the possibilities," Nout Wellink, who is also head of the Dutch central bank, told Bloomberg. "When you have reached a certain level then you can influence reactions of economic agents by saying we will keep it at that level for a certain period."8. The AIG bonus scandal has gone quiet, for now. The New York Times' Andrew Ross Sorkin in Dealbook reveals some shonky backroom dealings that left AIG off the hook. When will there be a revolt in America? Here's a taste.
Despite the many grounds contract scholars have put forth to claw back this money, there was no obligation to force A.I.G. to sue to recollect the bonuses and for the government to be able to direct that litigation. No prohibition on further contracts with the financial products subsidiary. No language about the future retention payments that are to be paid. Clearly, the government has passed on over this issue. I wonder when Mr. Obama will let the public know about this?9. Germany is in a right mess and there is growing talk of civil unrest, according to The Telegraph's Ambrose Pritchard-Evans. Here's a taste.
A clutch of political and labour leaders in Germany have raised the spectre of civil unrest after the country's leading institutes forecast a 6pc contraction of gross domestic product this year, a slump reminiscent of 1931 and bad enough to drive unemployment to 4.7m by 2010. Michael Sommer, leader of the DGB trade union federation, called the latest wave of sackings a "declaration of war" against Germany's workers. "Social unrest can no longer be ruled out," he said.10. More snippets here from The Epicurean Dealmaker on how bankers are trying to game the US Treasury and generally rip off the US taxpayer. It looks like they might get away with it because they have well paid lobbyists and Tim Geithner is hopeless and has no staff. Here's a taste. HT Felix Salmon
But in the final analysis, I worry that Tim Geithner and his three junior colleagues at Treasury persist in bringing rusty penknives to a gun fight. Career bureaucrats and third-year Analysts fired from Merrill Lynch just can't compete with investment bankers who compute option vegas in their heads and persuade Eastern European prostitutes to pay them for sex. You need some help, man. Hire some real bankers to negotiate for you.