Daily briefing for Friday, January 14, 2011; Davos; crude oil; super-rich; crisis levy; Illinois;

Daily briefing for Friday, January 14, 2011; Davos; crude oil; super-rich; crisis levy; Illinois;

Here is a quick snapshot of some key overnight news, views, and data.

2011's biggest risk
The risk that parlous government finances will trigger sovereign debt defaults remains one of the biggest threats facing the world in 2011, according to the World Economic Forum. These are the people who organise the annual conference at Darvos.

Making them pay
The German government is to increase the 'crisis levy' imposed on its banks - and they are not happy, especially as the new levy is far higher than the one originally proposed.

Springfield's answer
Illinois state needs to balance its books, so its Governor has pushed through a tax increase of 67%. Gov. Quinn is not a Republican, obviously. He raised the state tax from 3% to 5%, and was cheered by Bill Gross of Pimco. The mayor of its biggest city, Chicago, was less impressed.

But it will get you this ... 
"Money can't buy you happiness but it does bring you a more pleasant form of misery."
Spike Milligan

more below ...

     7 am       ---   52 week  --  
    Today   yesterday   high low  
     --------    --------   --------- ---------   
FX rates NZ$1=US$ 0.7698   0.7603   0.7964 0.6584  
  NZ$1=AU$ 0.7691   0.7649   0.8212 0.7408  
Gold in US$ 1,384   1,382   1,421 1,058  
  in NZ$ 1,798   1,818   1,877 1,507  
Copper in US$ 9,625   9,610   9,754 6,091  
  in NZ$ 12,503   12,640   12,811 8,951  
Crude oil in US$/bl 91.79   91.91   91.91 70.15  
  in NZ$ 119.24   120.89   121.36 101.30  
US Treasuries 30 yr bond 4.52%   4.49%   4.78% 3.61%  
Dow DJIA 30 11,734   11,770   11,770 9,614  

up, up, and away
It's not just oil traders who are fueling the price of crude - financial speculators are too. Their wagers are based on a view that oil prices will be fuelled by demand for oil as economies around the world return to growth.

A nation unto themselves, today's super-rich display a geeky enthusiasm for innovation and ideas. They’re changing the meaning of wealth.

We welcome your help to improve our coverage of this issue. Any examples or experiences to relate? Any links to other news, data or research to shed more light on this? Any insight or views on what might happen next or what should happen next? Any errors to correct?

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