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ASIAN MARKETS GAIN AFTER US HOUSE PASSES STIMULUS BILL; EUROPE OPENS DOWN

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on January 29, 2009

January 29, 2009 – 3:45 AM

by Stephen Wright – Associated Press

PUBLISHED BY ‘THE STAR TRIBUNE’ (USA)

BANGKOK, Thailand – Asian markets advanced Thursday, with Hong Kong jumping 4.6 percent in a catch-up rally, as the U.S. House of Representatives approved a $819 billion stimulus bill that investors hope will help lift the American economy out of its worst crisis in decades. European markets opened lower.

Japan’s Nikkei 225 stock average rose 144.95 points, or 1.8 percent, to 8,251.24 even as new data showed that retail sales in the world’s second-largest economy sank the most in nearly four years in December.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng leaped 575.83 points, or 4.6 percent, to 13,154.43 after being closed for three days for the Lunar New Year. Mainland China’s markets are closed all week. South Korea’s Kospi gained 0.7 percent and Australia’s main index rose 0.9 percent.

Sentiment in Asia got a boost as President Barack Obama’s massive stimulus package moved closer to becoming a reality.

The Democratic-controlled House of Representatives approved the bill Wednesday night, sending it to the Senate where debate could begin as early as Monday. Democratic leaders have pledged to have legislation ready for Obama’s signature by mid-February.

“The U.S. stimulus package has a positive psychological impact on markets globally,” said Castor Pang, an analyst at Sun Hung Kai Financial in Hong Kong.

“But there is still going to be bad news in the form of profit warnings and unemployment,” he said. “The unemployment rate is going to continue to climb, making U.S. consumers even more hesitant about spending.”

As trading got underway in Europe, major bourses fell with France’s CAC-40 off 1.1 percent, Germany’s DAX down 1 percent and Britain’s FTSE 100 slipping 1.1 percent.

U.S. stock index futures were down, suggesting Wall Street would open lower Thursday. Dow futures were down 87 points, or 1.1 percent, at 8,235 and S&P500 futures were off 8.6 points, or 1 perc(AP) — ent, at 862.90.

Financial stocks led Asia’s advance Thursday, buoyed in part by hopes of new U.S. efforts to trim bad debt and spur lending.

In Hong Kong, banking giant HSBC jumped 8.4 percent and China’s top lender, Industrial & Commercial Bank of China Ltd., or ICBC, added 5 percent.

In Tokyo, megabank Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group soared 13 percent, Mitsubishi UFJ jumped 4.8 percent and Mizuho added 5.2 percent.

Japanese exporters such as Sony and Toshiba reported weak quarterly results after the market closed.

Sony Corp.’s net profit tumbled 95 percent in the October-December quarter, as the global slump hurt sales of its core electronics products, while Toshiba Corp. sank into the red in the third quarter and expects a loss for the full year.

Elsewhere, New Zealand’s benchmark index was up 0.8 percent after the central bank slashed its key interest rate by 1.5 percentage points to 3.5 percent to prevent the country’s recession from deepening.

Oil prices slipped below $42 a barrel as rising U.S. crude inventories offset expectations the U.S. stimulus package will revive growth and consumer demand. Light, sweet crude for March delivery was down 34 cents to $41.82 a barrel by midday in Singapore in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

In currency trading, the dollar fell to 90.02 yen from 90.41 late Wednesday in New York, while the euro declined to $1.3044 from $1.3139.

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PUBLISHED BY ‘THE STAR TRIBUNE’ (USA)

Posted in AGRICULTURE, ASIA, BANKING SYSTEMS, BARACK HUSSEIN OBAMA -(DEC. 2008/JAN. 2009), CHINA, COMMERCE, COMMODITIES MARKET, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, ECONOMY - USA, EUROPE, FINANCIAL CRISIS - USA - 2008/2009, FINANCIAL CRISIS 2008/2009, FINANCIAL MARKETS, GERMANY, HONG KONG, INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION, INDUSTRIES, INTERNATIONAL, JAPAN, RECESSION, RESTRUCTURING OF PRIVATE COMPANIES, RESTRUCTURING OF THE PUBLIC SECTOR, STOCK MARKETS, THE EUROPEAN UNION, THE FLOW OF INVESTMENTS, THE PRESIDENCY - USA, THE WORK MARKET, UNEMPLOYMENT, UNITED KINGDOM, USA | Leave a Comment »

E.U. REINSTATES DAIRY SUBSIDIES TO BOLSTER PRODUCERS

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on January 20, 2009

Tuesday, 20/01/2009

ABC – Rural

PUBLISHED BY ‘THE AUSTRALIAN BROADCASTING CORPORATION’

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PUBLISHED BY ‘THE AUSTRALIAN BROADCASTING CORPORATION’

Posted in BANKING SYSTEMS, COMMERCE, COMMODITIES MARKET, DAIRY PRODUCTS, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, FARMING SUBSIDIES, FINANCIAL CRISIS 2008/2009, FINANCIAL MARKETS, FOOD PRODUCTION (human), INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION, INDUSTRIES, INTERNATIONAL, RECESSION, THE EUROPEAN UNION, THE FLOW OF INVESTMENTS, WORLD TRADE ORGANIZATION | Leave a Comment »

EUROPE MAY TAKE GREATER DIRECT CONTROL OVER BANKS

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on January 20, 2009

January 19, 2009

by David Jolly

PUBLISHED BY ‘THE INTERNATIONAL HERALD TRIBUNE’ (USA)

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PUBLISHED BY ‘THE INTERNATIONAL HERALD TRIBUNE’ (USA)

Posted in BANKING SYSTEMS, CENTRAL BANKS, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, EUROPE, EUROPEAN CENTRAL BANK, FINANCIAL CRISIS 2008/2009, FINANCIAL MARKETS, FINANCIAL SERVICES INDUSTRIES, INTERNATIONAL, RECESSION, REGULATIONS AND BUSINESS TRANSPARENCY, RESTRUCTURING OF PRIVATE COMPANIES, THE EUROPEAN UNION, THE FLOW OF INVESTMENTS | Leave a Comment »

ANALYSIS: IN RUSSIA-UKRAINE GAS WAR, PUTIN GROWS STRONGER AND KIEV FACES STARKLY HIGHER PRICES

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on January 20, 2009

12:54 PM EST, January 19, 2009

by Douglas Birch – Associated Press Writer

PUBLISHED BY ‘NEWSDAY’ (USA)

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PUBLISHED BY ‘NEWSDAY’ (USA)

Posted in COMMERCE, COMMODITIES MARKET, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, ENERGY INDUSTRIES, FINANCIAL CRISIS 2008/2009, FINANCIAL MARKETS, INTERNATIONAL, NATURAL GAS, PUBLIC SECTOR AND STATE OWNED ENTERPRISES, REGULATIONS AND BUSINESS TRANSPARENCY, RUSSIA, STAGFLATION, THE EUROPEAN UNION, THE FLOW OF INVESTMENTS, UKRAINE | Leave a Comment »

E.U. POISED TO LOSE 3.5 MILLION JOBS

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on January 20, 2009

20/01/2009

The Finance Standard

PUBLISHED BY ‘THE STANDARD’ (China – Hong Kong)

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PUBLISHED BY ‘THE STANDARD’ (China – Hong Kong)

Posted in ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, FINANCIAL CRISIS 2008/2009, INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION, INDUSTRIES, INTERNATIONAL, RECESSION, RESTRUCTURING OF PRIVATE COMPANIES, THE EUROPEAN UNION, THE FLOW OF INVESTMENTS, THE WORK MARKET, UNEMPLOYMENT | Leave a Comment »

SAINSBURY’S BANS BATTERY EGGS (UK)

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on January 19, 2009

January 17, 2009

by Lisa Zanardo

PUBLISHED BY ‘THE TIMES’ (UK)

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PUBLISHED BY ‘THE TIMES’ (UK)

Posted in COMMERCE, COMMODITIES MARKET, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, EGGS, ENVIRONMENT, FAIR TREATMENT OF LIVESTOCK, FINANCIAL CRISIS 2008/2009, FOOD PRODUCTION (human), INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION, INDUSTRIES, INTERNATIONAL, RECESSION, REGULATIONS AND BUSINESS TRANSPARENCY, THE EUROPEAN UNION, THE FLOW OF INVESTMENTS, UNITED KINGDOM | Leave a Comment »

MICROSOFT ACCUSED BY E.U. OF HARMING WEB BROWSER COMPETITION, AGAIN

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on January 19, 2009

Jan 19th 2009 at 3:49AM

by Thomas Ricker

PUBLISHED BY ‘ENGADGET’ (USA)

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PUBLISHED BY ‘ENGADGET’ (USA)

Posted in COMMERCE, COMMODITIES MARKET, CRIMINAL ACTIVITIES, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, ECONOMY - USA, FINANCIAL CRISIS - USA - 2008/2009, FINANCIAL CRISIS 2008/2009, INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION - USA, INDUSTRIES - USA, INTERNATIONAL, JUDICIARY SYSTEMS, RECESSION, REGULATIONS AND BUSINESS TRANSPARENCY, SOFTWARE INDUSTRIES, THE EUROPEAN UNION, USA | 1 Comment »

SOUTH KOREA, E.U. LAUNCH HIGH-LEVEL TRADE TALKS

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on January 19, 2009

1130 PST, Monday, January 19, 2009

The International News

PUBLISHED BY ‘THE INTERNATIONAL NEWS’ (Pakistan)

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PUBLISHED BY ‘THE INTERNATIONAL NEWS’ (Pakistan)

Posted in BANKING SYSTEMS, COMMERCE, COMMODITIES MARKET, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, FINANCIAL CRISIS 2008/2009, FINANCIAL MARKETS, FOREIGN POLICIES, INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION, INDUSTRIES, INTERNATIONAL, INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS, MACROECONOMY, RECESSION, REGULATIONS AND BUSINESS TRANSPARENCY, SOUTH KOREA, THE EUROPEAN UNION, THE FLOW OF INVESTMENTS | Leave a Comment »

EU WARNING AS JAPAN CARMAKERS CUT OUTPUT

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on January 18, 2009

Vol XXXI – N°303 – Saturday – 17th January 2009

Gulf Daily News

PUBLISHED BY ‘GULF DAILY NEWS’ (Bahrain)

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PUBLISHED BY ‘GULF DAILY NEWS’ (Bahrain)

Posted in AUTOMOTIVE INDUSTRY, COMMERCE, COMMODITIES MARKET, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, FINANCIAL CRISIS 2008/2009, FOREIGN POLICIES, INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION, INDUSTRIES, INTERNATIONAL, INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS, JAPAN, NATIONAL WORK FORCES, RECESSION, RESTRUCTURING OF PRIVATE COMPANIES, THE EUROPEAN UNION, THE FLOW OF INVESTMENTS, THE WORKERS, UNEMPLOYMENT | Leave a Comment »

DOLLAR EXTENDS LOSSES VERSUS EURO AFTER CPI DATA (USA)

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on January 17, 2009

Friday, January 16, 2009

Reporting by Wanfeng Zhou and Nick Olivari – Editing by Theodore d’Afflisio – Reuters

PUBLISHED BY ‘THE GUARDIAN’ (UK)

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PUBLISHED BY ‘THE GUARDIAN’ (UK)

Posted in BANKING SYSTEM - USA, BANKING SYSTEMS, BANKRUPTCIES - USA, CENTRAL BANKS, CURRENCIES, DOLLAR (USA), ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, ECONOMY - USA, EURO, FINANCIAL CRISIS - USA - 2008/2009, FINANCIAL CRISIS 2008/2009, INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION - USA, INDUSTRIES - USA, INTERNATIONAL, RECESSION, THE EUROPEAN UNION, THE FLOW OF INVESTMENTS, THE LAST DAYS OF GEORGE WALKER BUSH - 2008/Jan. 2009, USA | Leave a Comment »

UKRAINE ‘AGREES GAS-TRACKING DEAL’

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on January 12, 2009

Monday, 12 January 2009

Associated Press

PUBLISHED BY ‘THE INDEPENDENT’ (UK)

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PUBLISHED BY ‘THE INDEPENDENT’ (UK

Posted in COMMERCE, COMMODITIES MARKET, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, ENERGY, ENERGY INDUSTRIES, FINANCIAL CRISIS 2008/2009, FOREIGN POLICIES, INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION, INDUSTRIES, INTERNATIONAL, INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS, NATURAL GAS, PUBLIC SECTOR AND STATE OWNED ENTERPRISES, RECESSION, RUSSIA, THE EUROPEAN UNION, THE FLOW OF INVESTMENTS, UKRAINE | Leave a Comment »

RUSSIA, EU SIGN DEAL ON GAS TRANSIT VIA UKRAINE – NOVO-OGARYOVO, RUSSIA: RUSSIAN AND EUROPEAN UNION OFFICIALS CLEARED THE WAY FOR RESTARTING RUSSIAN NATURAL GAS SUPPLIES TO A FREEZING EUROPE WITH A DEAL SATURDAY ON THE DEPLOYMENT OF EU OBSERVERS TO MONITOR THE FLOW ACROSS UKRAINE

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on January 11, 2009

Sunday, 11 Jan, 2009 – 02:43 AM PST

Agence France-Presse

PUBLISHED BY ‘DAWN’ (Pakistan)

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PUBLISHED BY ‘DAWN’ (Pakistan)

Posted in COMMERCE, COMMODITIES MARKET, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, ENERGY, ENERGY INDUSTRIES, EUROPE, FINANCIAL CRISIS 2008/2009, FINANCIAL MARKETS, FOREIGN POLICIES, INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION, INDUSTRIES, INFLATION, INTERNATIONAL, INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS, NATURAL GAS, PUBLIC SECTOR AND STATE OWNED ENTERPRISES, REGULATIONS AND BUSINESS TRANSPARENCY, RUSSIA, THE EUROPEAN UNION, THE FLOW OF INVESTMENTS, UKRAINE | Leave a Comment »

ECB’S TRICHET SAYS BANK CONSIDERING BIGGER REGULATORY ROLE (E.U.)

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on January 10, 2009

January 9, 2009 – 12:11 PM

by Greg Keller and Nathalie Gentaz – Associated Press

PUBLISHED BY ‘THE STAR TRIBUNE’ (USA)

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PUBLISHED BY ‘THE STAR TRIBUNE’ (USA)

Posted in BANKING SYSTEMS, CENTRAL BANKS, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, EUROPE, EUROPEAN CENTRAL BANK, FINANCIAL CRISIS 2008/2009, FINANCIAL MARKETS, FINANCIAL SERVICES INDUSTRIES, FOREIGN POLICIES, INTERNATIONAL, INTERNATIONAL ECONOMIC ORGANIZATIONS AND FORUMS, INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS, JUDICIARY SYSTEMS, MACROECONOMY, RECESSION, REGULATIONS AND BUSINESS TRANSPARENCY, RESTRUCTURING OF PRIVATE COMPANIES, THE EUROPEAN UNION, THE FLOW OF INVESTMENTS | Leave a Comment »

E.U. ANNOUNCES BREAKTHROUGH IN GAS DISPUTE

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on January 9, 2009

Friday, 09 Jan, 2009 – 05:43 AM PST

Agence France-Presse

PUBLISHED BY ‘DAWN’ (Pakistan)

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PUBLISHED BY ‘DAWN’ (Pakistan)

Posted in COMMERCE, COMMODITIES MARKET, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, ENERGY, ENERGY INDUSTRIES, EUROPE, FINANCIAL CRISIS 2008/2009, FOREIGN POLICIES, INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION, INDUSTRIES, INTERNATIONAL, INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS, NATURAL GAS, PUBLIC SECTOR AND STATE OWNED ENTERPRISES, RECESSION, REGULATIONS AND BUSINESS TRANSPARENCY, RUSSIA, THE EUROPEAN UNION, UKRAINE | Leave a Comment »

EU’S NEW REGULATION MAY CAUSE PROBLEM – NO TEXTILE, FOOTWEAR ITEM CAN ENTER EU WITHOUT ‘REACH’ CERTIFICATION AFTER JULY 2009

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on January 3, 2009

December 29, 2008

by Ismat Sabir

PUBLISHED BY ‘THE DAILY JANG’ (Pakistan)

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PUBLISHED BY ‘THE DAILY JANG’ (Pakistan)

Posted in COMMERCE, COMMERCIAL PROTECTIONISM, COMMODITIES MARKET, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, FINANCIAL CRISIS 2008/2009, FOREIGN POLICIES, GARMENT INDUSTRIES, INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION, INDUSTRIES, INTERNATIONAL, INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS, PAKISTAN, RECESSION, TEXTILE INDUSTRIES, THE EUROPEAN UNION | Leave a Comment »

RUSSIA SHUTS OFF GAS SUPPLY TO UKRAINE – ASSURES NO DISRUPTIONS TO EUROPEAN STATES

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on January 2, 2009

Friday, January 2, 2009

Reuters

PUBLISHED BY ‘THE MANILA BULLETIN’ (Philippines)

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PUBLISHED BY ‘THE MANILA BULLETIN’ (Philippines)

Posted in COMMERCE, COMMODITIES MARKET, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, ENERGY INDUSTRIES, EUROPE, FINANCIAL CRISIS 2008/2009, FOREIGN DEBTS, FOREIGN POLICIES, INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION, INDUSTRIES, INTERNATIONAL, INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS, NATURAL GAS, PUBLIC SECTOR AND STATE OWNED ENTERPRISES, RECESSION, REGULATIONS AND BUSINESS TRANSPARENCY, RUSSIA, THE EUROPEAN UNION, THE FLOW OF INVESTMENTS, UKRAINE | Leave a Comment »

THE MARKET HAS SPOKEN: LONG LIVE THE EURO – DETRACTORS OF THE NEW CURRENCY HAVE BEEN PROVED WRONG – WE WOULD BE MUCH BETTER OFF IF WE WERE PART OF THE EUROZONE

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on January 2, 2009

January 1, 2009

by Oliver Kamm – The Times

PUBLISHED BY ‘THE TIMES’ (UK)

CLICK HERE FOR THE ORIGINAL ARTICLE

PUBLISHED BY ‘THE TIMES’ (UK)

Posted in BANKING SYSTEMS, COMMERCE, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, EURO, EUROPEAN CENTRAL BANK, FINANCIAL CRISIS 2008/2009, FINANCIAL MARKETS, FOREIGN POLICIES, INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION, INDUSTRIES, INTERNATIONAL, INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS, MACROECONOMY, RECESSION, REGULATIONS AND BUSINESS TRANSPARENCY, THE EUROPEAN UNION, THE FLOW OF INVESTMENTS, THE WORK MARKET | Leave a Comment »

SLOVAKIA 16TH COUNTRY TO ADOPT EURO

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on January 2, 2009

Thursday January 1, 2009

Associated Press-Wire

PUBLISHED BY ‘THE STAR’ (Malaysia)

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PUBLISHED BY ‘THE STAR’ (Malaysia)

Posted in BANKING SYSTEMS, COMMERCE, CURRENCIES, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, EURO, FINANCIAL CRISIS 2008/2009, FINANCIAL MARKETS, FOREIGN POLICIES, INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION, INDUSTRIES, INTERNATIONAL, INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS, MACROECONOMY, RECESSION, REGULATIONS AND BUSINESS TRANSPARENCY, SLOVAKIA, THE EUROPEAN UNION, THE FLOW OF INVESTMENTS, THE WORK MARKET | Leave a Comment »

EUROPE HAS A CHANCE TO UNITE ON BROADBAND

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on December 29, 2008

December 28, 2008

by Kevin J. O’Brien

PUBLISHED BY ‘THE INTERNATIONAL HERALD TRIBUNE’ (USA)

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PUBLISHED BY ‘THE INTERNATIONAL HERALD TRIBUNE’ (USA)

Posted in COMMUNICATION INDUSTRIES, DIGITAL INDUSTRIES, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, ELECTRIC / ELECTRONIC INDUSTRIES, ENTERTAINMENT INDUSTRIES, EUROPE, FINANCIAL CRISIS 2008/2009, FINANCIAL MARKETS, FINANCIAL SERVICES INDUSTRIES, INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION, INDUSTRIES, INTERNATIONAL, MACROECONOMY, RECESSION, REGULATIONS AND BUSINESS TRANSPARENCY, THE EUROPEAN UNION, THE FLOW OF INVESTMENTS | Leave a Comment »

EURO CURRENCY TURNS 10; SEEN FULFILLING PROMISE – TEN YEARS AGO, EUROPE LAUNCHED ITS GRAND EXPERIMENT WITH A SHARED CURRENCY – AND WATCHED IT PLUNGE IN VALUE BEFORE RECOVERING

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on December 28, 2008

Sunday, December 28, 2008 at 11:35 AM

by Matt Moore and George Frey – Associated Press Business Writers

PUBLISHED BY ‘THE SEATTLE TIMES’ (USA)

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PUBLISHED BY ‘THE SEATTLE TIMES’ (USA)

Posted in AUSTRIA, BANKING SYSTEMS, BELGIUM, CENTRAL BANKS, COMMERCE, CURRENCIES, CYPRUS, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, EURO, EUROPEAN CENTRAL BANK, FINANCIAL CRISIS 2008/2009, FOREIGN POLICIES, FRANCE, GERMANY, GREECE, INTERNATIONAL, INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS, LUXEMBOURG, NETHERLANDS, PORTUGAL, RECESSION, SLOVAKIA, THE EUROPEAN UNION | Leave a Comment »

US DOLLAR LOWER VS EURO IN THIN TRADES

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on December 27, 2008

11:44:00 12/27/2008

Agence France-Presse

PUBLISHED BY ‘THE PHILIPPINE DAILY INQUIRER’ (Philippines)

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PUBLISHED BY ‘THE PHILIPPINE DAILY INQUIRER’ (Philippines)

Posted in BANKING SYSTEM - USA, BANKRUPTCIES - USA, CURRENCIES, DOLLAR (USA), ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, ECONOMY - USA, EURO, FINANCIAL CRISIS - USA - 2008/2009, FINANCIAL CRISIS 2008/2009, HOUSING CRISIS - USA, INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION - USA, INDUSTRIES - USA, INTERNATIONAL, NATIONAL DEBT - USA, POUND (Britain), RECESSION, THE EUROPEAN UNION, THE LAST DAYS OF GEORGE WALKER BUSH - 2008/Jan. 2009, TRADE DEFICIT - USA, UNITED KINGDOM, USA | Leave a Comment »

IRANIAN PRESIDENT TAKES A SHOT AT THE WEST IN A CHRISTMAS MESSAGE – MAHMOUD AHMADINEJAD, IN A VIDEO FOR CHANNEL 4’S ‘ALTERNATIVE CHRISTMAS MESSAGE,’ OFFERS WARM GREETINGS BUT SAYS THE WEST’S BULLYING LEADERS AND THEIR POLICIES WOULD BE SHUNNED BY JESUS

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on December 25, 2008

December 25, 2008

by Borzou Daragahi

PUBLISHED BY ‘THE L.A. TIMES’ (USA)

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PUBLISHED BY ‘THE L.A. TIMES’ (USA)

Posted in AUSTRALIA, BELGIUM, COMMERCE, COMMODITIES MARKET, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, ENERGY INDUSTRIES, ENGLAND, FINANCIAL CRISIS 2008/2009, FOREIGN POLICIES, FOREIGN POLICIES - USA, FRANCE, GERMANY, INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION, INDUSTRIES, INTERNATIONAL, INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS, IRAN, ISRAEL, ITALY, NORWAY, PETROL, RECESSION, SAUDI ARABIA, SPAIN, THE EUROPEAN UNION, THE MEDIA (US AND FOREIGN), USA | Leave a Comment »

GRIM OUTLOOK FOR RICH NATIONS

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on December 25, 2008

Tuesday, November 25, 2008 – 23:44 Mecca time, 20:44 GMT

AlJazeera

PUBLISHED BY ‘ALJAZEERA’ (Qatar)

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PUBLISHED BY ‘ALJAZEERA’ (Qatar)

Posted in AUSTRALIA, BANKING SYSTEMS, BELGIUM, CENTRAL BANKS, COMMERCE, COMMODITIES MARKET, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, ECONOMY - USA, EUROPE, FINANCIAL CRISIS - USA - 2008/2009, FINANCIAL CRISIS 2008/2009, FINANCIAL MARKETS, FRANCE, GERMANY, HOUSING CRISIS - USA, INTERNATIONAL, ITALY, MACROECONOMY, RECESSION, REGULATIONS AND BUSINESS TRANSPARENCY, SAUDI ARABIA, SPAIN, STOCK MARKETS, THE EUROPEAN UNION, THE FLOW OF INVESTMENTS, THE LAST DAYS OF GEORGE WALKER BUSH - 2008/Jan. 2009, UNITED KINGDOM, USA | Leave a Comment »

BANCO CENTRAL EUROPEU NÃO SEGUIRÁ JURO ZERO DOS EUA

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on December 23, 2008

22/12/2008

Jornal Cruzeiro do Sul

PUBLISHED BY ‘JORNAL CRUZEIRO DO SUL’ (Brazil)

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PUBLISHED BY ‘JORNAL CRUZEIRO DO SUL’ (Brazil)

Posted in BANKING SYSTEM - USA, CENTRAL BANKS, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, ECONOMY - USA, EURO, EUROPE, EUROPEAN CENTRAL BANK, FINANCIAL CRISIS - USA - 2008/2009, FINANCIAL CRISIS 2008/2009, INTERNATIONAL, RECESSION, THE EUROPEAN UNION, THE LAST DAYS OF GEORGE WALKER BUSH - 2008/Jan. 2009, USA | Leave a Comment »

EU NATIONS AGREE ON CUTS IN FISHING QUOTAS

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on December 20, 2008

December 19, 2008

Associated Press

PUBLISHED BY ‘THE INTERNATIONAL HERALD TRIBUNE’

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PUBLISHED BY ‘THE INTERNATIONAL HERALD TRIBUNE’

Posted in ECONOMY, ENVIRONMENT, FISHERIES, FOREIGN POLICIES, INTERNATIONAL, INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS, THE EUROPEAN UNION | Leave a Comment »

EURO ZONE Q3 EMPLOYMENT FALLS, FIRST TIME ON RECORD

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on December 17, 2008

December 16, 2008

Reuters

PUBLISHED BY ‘THE FINANCIAL MIRROR’ (Cyprus)

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PUBLISHED BY ‘THE FINANCIAL MIRROR’ (Cyprus)

Posted in ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, FINANCIAL CRISIS 2008/2009, FRANCE, GERMANY, INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION, INDUSTRIES, INTERNATIONAL, NATIONAL WORK FORCES, PORTUGAL, RECESSION, RUSSIA, SPAIN, THE EUROPEAN UNION, THE FLOW OF INVESTMENTS, THE WORK MARKET, THE WORKERS, UNITED KINGDOM | Leave a Comment »

POUND SLUMPS TO RECORD LOW OF £1.11 AGAINST THE EURO AS CURRENCIES EDGE TOWARDS PARITY

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on December 16, 2008

4:55 PM on 15th December 2008

by Daily Mail Reporter

PUBLISHED BY ‘THE DAILY MAIL’ (UK)

The pound slumped to fresh lows against the euro today as the two currencies edged closer to parity.

At its low, one pound bought just 1.1102 euros – its latest in a series of record plunges against the single European currency in recent days.

Some holidaymakers travelling to Europe are reportedly already receiving less than one euro for their pound at bureaux de change, where commission is charged.

Sterling has dropped around 13 per cent against the euro in the past two months as the Bank of England has slashed interest rates in its attempt to stave off a deep and prolonged recession.

UK rates have dropped to 2 per cent, below those in the eurozone after a 1.5 per cent cut in November and a 1 per cent cut earlier this month, which has compounded the pound’s woes.

The weaker currency could provide a boost to UK exporters but the economic woes of major export markets such as the U.S. and Europe is hitting demand.

It is thought short-selling – where investors sell assets such as shares or currencies in the hope of buying them back later at a lower price and pocketing the difference – is also behind the pound’s slide.

The pound has also suffered big recent falls against the dollar but was holding steady at just under 1.50 U.S. dollars today.

CLICK HERE FOR THE ORIGINAL ARTICLE

PUBLISHED BY ‘THE DAILY MAIL’ (UK)

Posted in CURRENCIES, DOLLAR (USA), ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, ECONOMY - USA, EURO, EUROPE, EUROPEAN CENTRAL BANK, FINANCIAL CRISIS - USA - 2008/2009, FINANCIAL CRISIS 2008/2009, INTERNATIONAL, POUND (Britain), RECESSION, THE EUROPEAN UNION, THE LAST DAYS OF GEORGE WALKER BUSH - 2008/Jan. 2009, UNITED KINGDOM, USA | Leave a Comment »

COLD WAR TAKES GLOSS OFF NICOLAS SARKOZY’S PRESIDENCY

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on December 13, 2008

December 12, 2008

Charles Bremner in Paris – The Times

PUBLISHED BY ‘THE TIMES’ (UK)

The Germans see him as an excitable clown and he raises hackles in the East, but Nicolas Sarkozy wants to extend SARKOZY, ACCORDING TO MERKELhis reign as Europe’s de facto leader after his last summit in the EU chair, which opened yesterday.

The hyperactive French President is convinced that he has galvanised Europe with deft handling of the credit crunch and other crises during his six-month EU presidency.

The satisfaction in Paris is barely dimmed by the most glaring failure of France’s presidency: Mr Sarkozy’s cold war with Angela Merkel, the German Chancellor.

The subdued Ms Merkel, who loathes Mr Sarkozy’s bravura, has been watching videos of the late Louis de Funès, a manic comic actor and Gallic institution, for clues to understanding the ever-agitated President.

Der Spiegel says that the Chancellor sees Mr Sarkozy as an “unfeasibly vain jack-in-the-box”: “She has nothing to counter him apart from her eternal impassiveness. Her fist may be clenched but she keeps it in her pocket.”

“Super Sarko”, who does not claim modesty among his qualities, is telling colleagues that he has triumphed by steering Europe through the financial crunch – with Gordon Brown’s help – and creating a new political purpose in the moribund Union.

Jean-David Levitte, the veteran diplomat who manages foreign policy from the Élysée Palace, said that Mr Sarkozy had swung the balance of power in Europe by winning over second-rank members such as Greece.

As the Czech Republic prepares to take over the presidency next month, Mr Sarkozy’s team has been setting out his plans for maintaining French direction. Last month Ms Merkel scuppered Mr Sarkozy’s attempt to appoint himself chairman of the eurozone for next year during the EU presidencies of two non-euro states. But France has another 18 months as co-chair of an EU-Mediterranean Union that Mr Sarkozy launched last July.

His next plan, not yet announced, is a new “economic and security space” with Russia, Mr Levitte disclosed. Given anger in the West towards Russia’s occupation of northern Georgia, European leaders will be surprised to learn that Mr Sarkozy aims to offer a new security pact to Russia and hopes to bring in Ukraine and Turkey.

Another item to emerge from Mr Sarkozy’s team this week has been the President’s belief that Mr Brown will swap the pound for the single currency, thereby boosting the power of the eurozone. “Do you think that they enjoy seeing sterling in such a state?” asked a senior Sarkozy adviser.

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PUBLISHED BY ‘THE TIMES’ (UK)

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AIR FRANCE SEEKS PROBE INTO AUSTRIAN AIRLINES SALE

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on December 12, 2008

Thursday, 12.11.08

Associated Press

PUBLISHED BY ‘THE MIAMI HERALD'(USA)

PARIS – Air France-KLM Group said Thursday it has lodged a complaint with the European Commission, accusing German rival Lufthansa of benefiting unfairly from state aid in its deal to acquire Austrian Airlines.

The French-Dutch carrier dropped out of the running for the Austrian carrier, while Lufthansa agreed last week to buy the Austrian government’s stake in the ailing national airline and offered to buy any outstanding shares.

Air France-KLM said in a statement it “strongly believes that the sale of Austrian Airlines to Lufthansa is not being conducted in the best interest of Austrian Airlines stakeholders and at a fair market price.”

The sale “entails state aid elements that need to be thoroughly investigated by the European Commission,” it said.

Under the agreement, the Austrian government will assume up to euro500 million of the carrier’s debt, which amounted to euro900 million as of last month. Air France-KLM said the deal doesn’t follow the instructions imposed on it during the bidding process.

Lufthansa said it was “convinced that the transaction agreed to last week on the acquisition of Austrian Airlines is in compliance with corresponding statutary requirements.”

Lufthansa also said that the Austrian state holding company had obtained legal opinion showing that the deal conformed to law.

The agreement signed by Lufthansa and officials of the Austrian government’s privatization agency gives the German carrier the state’s 41.56 percent share in Austrian Airlines.

That deal carries a price tag of euro366,000 ($465,000) but foresees additional payments of up to euro162 million depending on whether, and to what degree, Austrian turns profitable again.

Lufthansa has also offered to buy the rest of Austrian Airlines for euro4.44 per publicly held share.

Austria’s government decided in August to sell its share in the country’s flagship carrier. Air France-KLM and S7 of Russia had previously expressed an interest but then dropped out of the bidding.

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PUBLISHED BY ‘THE MIAMI HERALD'(USA)

Posted in AIR TRANSPORT INDUSTRY, AUSTRIA, BANKING SYSTEMS, CENTRAL BANKS, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, FINANCIAL CRISIS 2008/2009, FINANCIAL MARKETS, FOREIGN POLICIES, FRANCE, GERMANY, INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION, INDUSTRIES, INTERNATIONAL, INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS, RECESSION, REGULATIONS AND BUSINESS TRANSPARENCY, RUSSIA, STOCK MARKETS, THE EUROPEAN UNION, THE FLOW OF INVESTMENTS, TRANSPORT INDUSTRIES | Leave a Comment »

IRISH READY TO HOLD NEW EU VOTE

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on December 12, 2008

Thursday, 11 December 2008

PUBLISHED BY ‘BBC NEWS'(UK)

The Irish Republic is willing to hold a second referendum on the EU’s reform treaty if given certain guarantees by the EU, a spokesman has told the BBC.

Those legally binding guarantees are to be discussed by EU leaders at a summit in Brussels.

The Lisbon Treaty has been on ice since being rejected by Irish voters in June.

The summit is also due to take crucial decisions on EU measures to tackle climate change, and to consider an EU-wide economic stimulus plan.

Opening the meeting on Thursday French President Nicolas Sarkozy, chairing the summit, said he hoped his fellow leaders would be able to unite on a climate package.

“Europe must not provide the spectacle of its own division,” he said.

‘Anti-democratic’

The mechanism for a second referendum is included in draft conclusions which are being presented by the current holders of the EU presidency, France, and which have been seen by the BBC.

According to the draft, the Irish government says “it is committed to seeking ratification” of the Lisbon Treaty by the end of October 2009.

Ireland was “seeking legally binding instruments to address the concerns of the Irish people”, a government spokesman told the BBC.

Once it got those assurances, it would present “a roadmap for ratification”, that would include another referendum, the spokesman added.

Hans-Gert Poettering, president of the European Parliament, said a wide-ranging consultation with the Irish people was needed. He said dialogue with Irish citizens before the first vote in June “was not serious enough”.

“We hope for a solution by the end of next year,” he said. “Realistically it won’t be the case before the European elections in June.”

The EU is set to offer guarantees that the treaty will not affect three main areas of concern to Irish “No” voters – abortion, Irish neutrality and taxation, says the BBC’s Europe editor Mark Mardell.

Ireland is also likely to be able to keep its EU commissioner.

But Declan Ganley, the chairman of the Libertas group that led the No campaign in the first Irish referendum, said this was an example of the Irish being dictated to.

“Do we think that democracy is important in Europe or do we want to exist in some post-democratic environment where European affairs are concerned?” he said.

He also announced that his Libertas group would be standing on an anti-treaty platform across the EU during next year’s parliamentary elections.

Credibility at stake

EU leaders will pore over and work on the summit conclusions before they are published on Friday.

They also face a major test of their willingness to tackle climate change, with a key agreement on cutting the EU’s carbon pollution at stake.

Mr Poettering said the parliament needed to find a compromise.

“It wouldn’t help anyone if industry simply relocates to China or somewhere,” he said. “The important thing is that Europe remains in front on this.”

Amid the economic downturn, Germany, Italy and Poland, among others, are fighting any deal that could cost jobs.

Poland’s Europe Minister Mikolaj Dowgielewicz said there would be long negotiations over the package, including Poland’s proposal for a central “solidarity” fund to help poorer nations cope with CO2 measures.

“It’s going to be a three or four-shirt summit. We’ve booked tickets for Sunday morning…” he told the BBC.

“There’s a number of issues which are still open, everything from the financing of CCS [carbon storage] to the solidarity fund – this is still on the table… we don’t really know what the compromise will be.”

The “20-20-20” package, which also requires approval by the European Parliament to become law, commits the EU to cutting carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by 20% by 2020, compared to 1990 levels, and to raising renewable sources to 20% of total energy use.

President Sarkozy is pushing hard to clinch a deal before he hands over the rotating presidency of the EU to the Czech Republic at the end of the year.

European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso said: “It would be a real mistake for Europe to give the signal that we are watering down our position, after all these years leading the efforts for a global solution.”

Also up for discussion is the EU’s 200bn-euro (£175bn) economic stimulus plan.

With recession looming, there will be broad agreement on the EU-wide package to boost the economy, although Germany opposes calls from Britain and France to cut taxes, says the BBC’s Oana Lungescu in Brussels.

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PUBLISHED BY ‘BBC NEWS'(UK)

Posted in BANKING SYSTEMS, CENTRAL BANKS, COMMERCE, COMMODITIES MARKET, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, EUROPEAN CENTRAL BANK, FINANCIAL CRISIS 2008/2009, FINANCIAL MARKETS, FOREIGN POLICIES, INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION, INDUSTRIES, INTERNATIONAL, INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS, IRELAND, MACROECONOMY, RECESSION, REGULATIONS AND BUSINESS TRANSPARENCY, STATE TARIFFS, THE EUROPEAN UNION | Leave a Comment »

EU AGREES $260BN ECONOMY PLAN

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on December 12, 2008

Friday, December 12, 2008 15:17 Mecca time, 12:17 GMT

PUBLISHED BY ‘AL JAZEERA’ (Qatar)

European Union leaders have agreed a $260bn stimulus package designed to dig the continent’s troubled economies out of recession.

The deal, which see each EU French President Nicolas Sarkozy, right, shares a word with German Chancellor Angela Merkel during a round table meeting at an EU summit in Brussels, Friday Dec. 12, 2008. European Union leaders continue their two days of talks aimed at sealing a final accord on their climate change package to cut emissions by 20 percent by 2020member invest on average the equivalent of 1.5 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP) into their economies in order to temper the impact of a global recession, was reached on Friday at a two-day summit in the Belgian capital Brussels.

“What Europe has proved unanimously today is that it is ready to act in a united way to deal with the global downturn,” Gordon Brown, Britain’s prime minister, said.

“We will continue to reject the do-nothing approach and we will not stand by and let the recession take its course.”

Ahead of the summit, Germany had expressed reservations about ploughing so much public money into the economy and resisted pressure to contribute more than what it judged necessary to revive the German economy again.

Officials revised earlier versions of the conclusions to say the package should be worth “about” 1.5 per cent of GDP rather than “at least” 1.5 per cent as seen in an earlier draft.

Climate change

After securing an agreement in the morning for Ireland to submit a stalled EU reform treaty to a second referendum next year, the 27 leaders were also hoping to reach more common ground on climate change as the day progressed.

Copies of a draft agreement indicated the leaders should commit themselves to warding off the threat of a “recessionary spiral” with the stimulus package and an ambitious climate package.

“In these exceptional circumstances, Europe will act in a united, strong, rapid and decisive manner to avoid a recessionary spiral and sustain economic activity and employment,” the draft conclusion said.

“It will mobilise all the instruments available to it and act in a concerted manner to maximise the effect of the measures taken by the [European] Union and by each member state.”

The EU’s climate-energy package, the “20-20-20” deal, seeks to decrease greenhouse gas emissions by 20 per cent by 2020, make 20 per cent energy savings and bring renewable energy sources up to 20 per cent of total energy use.

Angela Merkel, the German chancellor, said: “The member states still have essential negotiations but I am cautiously optimistic that good conclusions can be reached here and send an important signal” to an international climate conference in Copehagen next December.

Under Ireland’s referendum deal, a new referendum will be held by November 2009 on the controversial treaty in exchange for guarantees on key issues including an assurance that it does not lose its EU commissioner.

Irish voters rejected the treaty, designed to streamline EU decision-making and institutions, at a first referendum in June.

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PUBLISHED BY ‘AL JAZEERA’ (Qatar)

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SWISS BANK SECRECY IN TOUGHEST TEST SINCE NAZI GOLD

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on December 12, 2008

December 11, 2008

by John O’Donnell – Reuters

PUBLISHED BY ‘THE FINANCIAL MIRROR’ (Cyprus)

More than a decade after holocaust survivors won compensation from Swiss banks for emptying Jewish accounts that had lain dormant since the war, the pressure is on again to dismantle Swiss banking secrecy.

This time, the tax collector is leading the charge.

With Washington joining Germany to press for an end to a code they believe helps tax dodgers, many see it as only a matter of time before the Swiss lift the cloak guarding the secrets of the world’s wealthy.

“The challenge to bank secrecy is a thunderstorm which has been brewing since the holocaust money,” said Sebastian Dovey of consultancy Scorpio Partnership. “It is a hot potato and I don’t think the heat is going to be turned down.”

Nearly one-third of wealth kept abroad globally is in Swiss banks: the Swiss Bankers Association and consultants estimate this at $2.2 trillion, making the Alpine state the globe’s biggest offshore centre ahead of Britain and Luxembourg.

But its code of secrecy — which local myth inaccurately claims was introduced to protect fleeing Jews — is as controversial as it is protective.

Laid down in a 1934 law, it has spawned plots for bestselling thrillers, but also real-life intrigues such as that of Gizella Weisshaus.

Shortly before her father was murdered by the Nazis during the war, he told his children about gold coins and jewellery he had stowed away as Germany’s army marched towards their home in Romania.

“I found the money and his gold watch hidden in the roof of my house,” she told Reuters by telephone from New York. “And there were some pieces of paper. It didn’t mean anything to me.”

Decades later, the Auschwitz survivor was still trying to unravel the riddle of those long-discarded papers which likely contained the numbers of Swiss bank accounts.

But like many others who travelled to Zurich to trace her father’s money, she was turned away repeatedly.

She later became central to a series of legal actions taken against the banks and in the mid-1990s under pressure from Washington and Jewish community group the World Jewish Congress, they finally paid $1.2 billion for accounts they had sucked dry.

Now Switzerland faces its toughest assault since. In an escalation of a U.S. investigation into its biggest bank, Raoul Weil, head of UBS’s wealth management business, was recently charged with helping Americans hide billions.

“With the UBS case, Switzerland is under huge international pressure and pretty much back in the situation it was then,” said Swiss Social Democrat party official and historian Peter Hug.

“Holding onto bank secrecy is not going to work in the long term. Switzerland is small and it cannot afford to help tax evasion in its neighbouring countries.”

POLITICAL PRIORITY

Germany, which at the start of the year paid an informant for the names of tax dodgers who parked money at LGT bank in smaller hideout Liechtenstein, is also pushing for change.

“In the end, Switzerland will have no way around declaring who its foreign bank account holders are,” said Hans Eichel, who as German Finance Minister between 1999 and 2005 tried to tackle offshore havens.

“This is a business based on a criminal activity — dodging tax in a neighbouring country.”

The Swiss have already made some concessions: introducing, for example, a tax on income earned by European Union citizens in Swiss accounts.

Stuart Eizenstat, U.S. Deputy Secretary of the Treasury under Bill Clinton, said the dormant accounts case he helped negotiate prompted the Swiss to cooperate on other fronts.

“I do think it had a catalytic effect of making the banks more open,” he said. “They became strong supporters, for example, of the anti-terrorist financing measures. It did spur them to become more open on money-laundering.”

But with demands from Germany that Switzerland be blacklisted by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, pressure is rising for more.

“The Americans said that if you do not cooperate, then we will make sure you cannot do business here,” said Eichel. “European neighbours of Switzerland such as Germany have to consider similar measures.”

Many believe an agreement between Liechtenstein and the United States this week to drop bank secrecy in cases of tax evasion could force Switzerland into similar concessions.

Prince Nikolaus, the brother of Liechtenstein’s ruling monarch and the country’s ambassador to Brussels, said UBS’s problems and Germany’s probe of his family’s bank, LGT, sent a clear message to offshore havens.

“It was these two banks — the biggest in their respective countries — which were turned into a big case,” he told Reuters by telephone from Brussels. “It has symbolic value. It shows the political priority.”

AIR THINNING FOR ELITE

The pressure from Washington is unlikely to let up. As a senator, U.S. president-elect Barack Obama introduced legislation early last year to make it easier to probe and prosecute tax dodging in offshore locations.

As president, he will need to fund an economic stimulus plan that analysts estimate could cost at least $500 billion.

Hug believes Liechtenstein’s move shows the air is also getting thinner for the Swiss elite. And he sees the first cracks appearing in the country’s usually unshakeable facade.

“There is a conflict of interest between Swiss industry and the banks,” he said. “Industry wants compromise on bank secrecy so that the country’s image is not spoilt.”

Switzerland’s banks — the liabilities of its two largest are more than seven times the country’s Gross Domestic Product — have been talking up the services they offer beyond hiding customer identity.

“This is not all we have,” said Urs Roth, Chief Executive of the Swiss Bankers Association. “We do have a number of traditional advantages, like the economic, monetary and social stability.”

Ultimately, however, it may not be the industry but Swiss pride that is the biggest hurdle to dropping bank secrecy. A nationwide vote would likely be needed to change the rules.

Few speak out publicly on the subject. No major Swiss bank wanted to discuss it with Reuters.

“The Swiss are so brainwashed, that the bank there is untouchable,” said Maram Stern, who as Deputy Secretary General of the World Jewish Congress oversaw negotiations with the Swiss banks about dormant accounts.

“This was what the normal person on the street was not capable of understanding. There were people asking me: how can you question the bank?”

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PUBLISHED BY ‘THE FINANCIAL MIRROR’ (Cyprus)

Posted in BANKING SYSTEMS, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, EUROPE, FINANCIAL CRISIS 2008/2009, FINANCIAL MARKETS, FOREIGN POLICIES, HISTORY, HUMAN RIGHTS, INTERNATIONAL, INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS, JUDAISM, JUDICIARY SYSTEMS, RECESSION, SWITZERLAND, TAX EVADING, THE EUROPEAN UNION, USA | Leave a Comment »

EU EDGES CLOSER TO CLIMATE, STIMULUS DEALS – ITALY, POLAND SEE EU CLIMATE DEAL IN OFFING

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on December 12, 2008

December 12, 2008

by Jan Strupczewski and Pete Harrison – Reuters

PUBLISHED BY ‘THE FINANCIAL MIRROR’

European leaders moved towards agreement on Friday on a multi-billion dollar plan to tackle the global recession and a climate change plan amended to limit impact on struggling industries.

Green groups warned that the European Union could forfeit its credibility as a force in tackling climate change if it accepted too many changes to a plan to cut carbon dioxide emissions by 20 percent by 2020.

One British group said compromises in climate policy, which will be key to world talks next year to produce a successor to the Kyoto pact on climate change, could amount to a ‘meltdown’.

The climate discussions took on a special significance, taking place some six weeks before Barack Obama takes over the U.S. presidency holding out the prospect of closer co-operation in matters of global warming.

Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, who had threatened to veto a deal without concessions to protect key industries, emerged from the first day of a two-day summit, declaring: “We are heading towards a compromise…We are getting what we want.”

Poland, which had demanded concessions on its heavily polluting coal-based power industry, was also cautiously optimistic.

“The prime minister (Donald Tusk) achieved everything he wanted in negotiations on the climate package,” an official told Reuters. “The deal is flexible, allowing for the modernisation of the Polish power sector.”

HISTORIC?

The economic crisis sweeping Europe has further complicated climate talks that had already raised tensions in a 27-member bloc embracing former Soviet bloc states besides western Europe.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who opposes the heavy spending advocated by Britain and France for fear it could lead to escalating budget deficits, said at the start of the summit she was nonetheless keen to seal a 200 billion euro ($260 billion) stimulus package, amounting to some 1.5 percent of GDP.

Luxembourg Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker said on Thursday evening he thought EU leaders would agree on the main lines of the economic package and the climate deal on Friday.

“The economic crisis will pass, the climate crisis will stay. We have to do something,” he told reporters.

Finnish Foreign Minister Alexander Stubb said Friday would bring a ‘historic decision’ on energy and climate change.

‘Europe is going to show the way,’ he said.

Several leaders stressed the need to maintain the EU’s ambitious targets; but Merkel, seeking to limit damage to industry, appeared to have secured compromises.

Steel, cement, chemicals, paper and other industries will be sheltered from the added cost of buying permits to emit carbon dioxide from the EU’s flagship emissions trading scheme (ETS), according to a draft text that formed the basis for talks.

“This covers about 90 percent of industry, and I don’t see any reason why Germany would not accept this proposal,” German conservative Peter Liese told Reuters. “I see it as a victory.”

British Green group member Caroline Lucas said the proposals represented ‘the lowest possible common denominator’.

‘The eyes of the world are on the EU. The EU’s credibility as a leading actor on climate change is in freefall. It’s not too late for heads of state and government to intervene and save face.’

EASE THE SHOCK

In their first session of the summit, leaders agreed in principle on a set of concessions to Ireland enabling Dublin to hold a second referendum by next November on the Lisbon treaty, intended to streamline EU decision making. The treaty was rejected at a first poll and needs approval from all states.

“There was no opposition, there was no objection, there was no veto,” one European official said. Another stressed that the agreement was only provisional and there would be talks on the details of the arrangements on Friday.

The Lisbon Treaty — successor to the defunct EU constitution — aims to give the bloc more weight in the world by creating a long-term president and its own foreign policy supremo.

EU leaders aim to agree how to reach targets of slashing carbon emissions by 20 percent by 2020 and winning 20 percent of the bloc’s energy from renewable sources such as wind and solar power by that date, ahead of global talks next year on a successor to the Kyoto agreement from 2012.

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Posted in ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, ENERGY, ENERGY INDUSTRIES, ENVIRONMENT, EUROPE, FINANCIAL CRISIS 2008/2009, FINANCIAL MARKETS, GERMANY, INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION, INDUSTRIES, INTERNATIONAL, INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS, ITALY, MACROECONOMY, PAPER INDUSTRIES, POLAND, RECESSION, REGULATIONS AND BUSINESS TRANSPARENCY, THE EUROPEAN UNION, THE FLOW OF INVESTMENTS | 1 Comment »

RUSSIA WARNS WEST NOT TO MEDDLE IN EX-SOVIET UNION

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on December 11, 2008

December 11, 2008

Associated Press

PUBLISHED BY ‘TEHRAN TIMES’ (Iran)

MOSCOW (AP) – Russia’s foreign minister warned the West on Wednesday against meddling in its backyard, saying the U.S. and Sergey LavrovEuropean countries must not advance their interests in the former Soviet Union at Russia’s expense.

Sergey Lavrov told a group of foreign business leaders that Russia has no monopoly on relations with neighboring former Soviet republics, and said Moscow understands that the United States and European Union have legitimate interests in the region.

But, he said, the U.S. and EU must forge relations with former Soviet republics “through legal, understandable and transparent methods,” Lavrov said. “Behind-the-scenes meddling only creates a crisis situation. One must respect the people of these nations and give them the right to choose their own fate.”

Already long-deteriorating ties between Moscow and the West were badly damaged by Russia’s August war with Georgia, a small ex-Soviet republic that has enjoyed strong U.S. backing and is seeking NATO membership.

Lavrov gave no examples of alleged meddling. But the U.S. and Europe have been courting ex-Soviet republics as they vie with Russia for access to Central Asian and Caspian Sea energy resources and seek ties with nations close to sources of concern such as Iran and Afghanistan.

Also, Russian leaders have suggested the U.S. encouraged Georgia to launch an offensive that sparked the five-day war, and say Washington has pressed to bring Ukraine closer to NATO despite significant opposition among its people.

Lavrov stressed Russia’s opposition to U.S. missile defense plans and NATO expansion but indicated that Russia is eager for improved ties with the U.S. He suggested that it would be up to the administration of President-elect Barack Obama to make the first move.

“We are counting on the future administration of Barack Obama to confirm what he is now saying about the need to cooperate with Russia in fighting common threats — international terrorism and weapons proliferation,” Lavrov said.

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PUBLISHED BY ‘TEHRAN TIMES’ (Iran)

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BULGARIA GOVT BOOSTS DEVELOPMENT BANK CAPITAL AS ANTI-CRISIS MEASURE

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on December 11, 2008

10 December 2008, Wednesday

PUBLISHED BY ‘BULGARIAN BUSINESS – NOVINITE.COM’

Bulgaria’s cabinet voted Wednesday to increase the capital of the Bulgarian Development Bank by BGN 330 M as Bulgaria's cabinet voted Wednesday to increase the capital of the Bulgarian Development Bank by BGN 330 M as an anti-crisis measure -  Photo by Yuliana Nikolova - Sofia Photo Agencya measure to counter the effects of the global financial crisis on the real sector.

The government takes such a step for the second time in less than two month after it increased the capital of the Bulgarian Development Bank by BGN 100 M on November 4, 2008.

The Bulgarian Development Bank (BDB) is a top priority financial instrument of the government as it is creating various schemes to support entrepreneurship especially with respect to the export potential and competitiveness of the Bulgarian economy.

Wednesday’s financial injection of the BDB will enable it to grant credits to commercial banks, which in turn would be able to provide loans to small and medium-sized enterprises with more favorable conditions.

The BDB finances its activity by emitting bonds, through EU funds, and though credits from local, and international financial institutions. It was set up in April 2008 as a successor to the former “Encouraging Bank” in order to help for Bulgaria’s economic development.

The increases of the capital of the BDB are not limited by its statutes. The decision to increase its capital are made by the general assembly of its shareholders but the Bulgarian state always holds no fewer than 51% of its shares, which are non-transferable.

The BDB statutes stipulate that its shares could be obtained by the European Investment Bank, the Development Bank of the Council of Europe, the European Investment Fund, and development banks of other EU member states.

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PUBLISHED BY ‘BULGARIAN BUSINESS – NOVINITE.COM’ (Spain)

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ROMANIAN-ENGLISH FERTILIZER PRODUCERS SACKS 5 500 WORKERS

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on December 11, 2008

10 December 2008, Wednesday

PUBLISHED BY ‘BULGARIAN BUSINESS – NOVINITE.COM’

The Romanian-English fertilizer company InterAgro is going to lay off about 5 500 workers, or about 90% of its employees, the Romanian newspaper Adevarul reported.

The company is going to close down all of its six chemical plants, which produce fertilizers. The only way to save the factories would be if the Romanian state supported the company, the InterAgro President Ioan Niculae is quoted as saying.

Such a step, however, would be a breach of EU competition rules, and is therefore unlikely.

Niculae also said the closure of the company factories would incur losses of USD 100 M. InterAgro exports its fertilizer production, and the declining demand on the international market due to the global financial crisis has affected the company.

Bulgaria’s fertilizer producer Agropolychim has also been troubled by the effects of the global financial crisis, and has had to shut down temporarily its production lines.

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PUBLISHED BY ‘BULGARIAN BUSINESS – NOVINITE.COM’ (Spain)

Posted in AGRICULTURE, BULGARIA, CHEMICALS (processed components), COMMERCE, COMMODITIES MARKET, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, ENGLAND, FERTILIZERS, FINANCIAL CRISIS 2008/2009, FINANCIAL MARKETS, FOREIGN POLICIES, INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION, INDUSTRIES, INTERNATIONAL, INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS, JUDICIARY SYSTEMS, NATIONAL WORK FORCES, RECESSION, ROMANIA, STOCK MARKETS, THE EUROPEAN UNION, THE FLOW OF INVESTMENTS, THE WORK MARKET, THE WORKERS, UNITED KINGDOM | Leave a Comment »

MARKETS CAN’T RULE THEMSELVES – A ‘made in the U.S.A.’financial crisis highlights the need for more global—and more robust—oversight

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on December 11, 2008

December 2008 – february 2009

by Joseph Stiglitz – (*)

PUBLISHED BY ‘NEWSWEEK – Special Edition – ISSUES 2009’ (USA)

For years, there has been an ongoing discussion among world leaders and thinkers about deficiencies in the international financial architecture and about economic imbalances, GROUND ZERO - Wall Street exported troubles to the world; it needs world help to fix themincluding the widening U.S. trade deficit. Many worried about a disorderly unwinding of these imbalances. Nothing was done. We are now paying the price for our failure to act. Ten years ago, the fear was that financial turmoil in the developing world might spill over to the advanced industrialized countries. Today, we are in the middle of a “made in the U.S.A.” crisis that is threatening the entire world.

If we are going to address this worldwide crisis and prevent a recurrence, we must reform and reconfigure the global financial system. There are simply too many inter-dependencies to allow each country to go its own way. For example, the United States benefited from its export of toxic mortgages; had it not sent some of them to Europe via complex securitization, its downturn would have been far worse. But the resulting weaknesses in Europe’s banks are now ricocheting back to the United States.

Better regulation would have helped prevent such a situation. But the reform of the global financial system must go much further. For example, there must be better monetary-policy coordination around the world. Europe’s current slowdown is due in part to the fact that while the European Central Bank spent the past year focusing on inflation, the United States was (rightly) focusing on the impending recession. The resulting difference in interest rates led to a strong euro and weak exports. That hurt Europe. But a weak Europe eventually hurts the United States, as Europe is forced to reduce its imports of American goods. With better coordination, perhaps America would have been able to convince Europe of the risks of recession, and that would have led to moderation of Europe’s interest rates.

There is also a need for internationally coordinated stimulus programs to help jump-start growth. It is good news that China, the United States and Japan have now all instigated major programs of fiscal expansion. But they are of vastly different sizes, and so far, Europe’s is lagging behind. Its growth and stability pact imposes constraints that may have global consequences. Beyond this, confidence in financial markets will not be fully restored unless governments take a stronger role in regulating financial institutions, financial products and movements of capital. Banks have shown that they can’t manage their own risk, and the consequences for others have been disastrous. Even former Fed chairman Alan Greenspan, the high priest of deregulation, admits he went too far.

What we need now is a global financial regulatory body to help monitor and gauge systemic risk. If financial rules are allowed to vary too widely from nation to nation, there is a risk of a race to the bottom — some nations will move toward more lax regulation to capture financial business at the expense of their competitors. The financial system will be weakened, with consequences that are now all too apparent.

What should this” new set of global financial rules encompass? For starters, it should ensure that managerial incentive schemes are transparent and do not provide perverse encouragement for bad accounting, myopic behavior and excessive risk taking. Compensation should be based on returns not from a single year but over a longer time period. At the very least, we should require greater transparency in stock options, including making sure that they receive appropriate accounting treatment. And we need to restrict the scope for conflicts of interest — whether among rating agencies being paid by those they are rating, or mortgage companies owning the companies that appraise the properties on which they issue mortgages. We need to restrict excessive leverage, and other very risky behavior. Standardization of financial products would enhance transparency. And financial-product safety and stability commissions could help decide which products were safe for institutions to use, and for what purposes. We have seen what happens if we rely on bankers to regulate banking.

Beyond better global coordination of macroeconomic policy and regulation, there are at least two other actions governments should take. First, we need a reform of the global reserve system. More than 75 years ago, John Maynard Keynes, the greatest economist of his generation, wrote that a global reserve system was necessary for financial stability and prosperity; since then the need has become much more dire. Keynes’s hope was that the International Monetary Fund would create a new global reserve currency that countries would hold instead of sterling (the reserve of the time). Today, such a currency could be used to replace the dollar as the de facto reserve currency. Because it would not depend on the fortunes of any one country, it would be more stable. Supply could be increased on a regular basis, ensuring that reserves kept up with countries’ needs. Issuance could be done on the basis of simple rules—including punishment for countries that caused global weaknesses by having persistent surpluses. This is an idea whose time may have finally come.

The other major reform should be a new system of handling cross-border bankruptcies (including debt defaults by sovereign states). Today, when a bank or firm in one country defaults, it can have global ramifications. With various national legal systems involved, the tangle may take years to unwind. For example, the problems arising from Argentina’s 2001 default are still not resolved, and bankruptcy complications plagued South Korea and Indonesia during their crises a decade ago, slowing down the process of recovery. The world may soon be littered with defaults, and we need a better way of handling them than we have had in the past.

This crisis has highlighted not only the extent of our inter-dependencies but the deficiencies in existing institutions. The IMF, for instance, has done little but talk about global imbalances. And as the world has focused on problems of governance as an impediment to development, deficiencies in the IMF’s own governance meant its lectures had little credibility. Its advice, especially that encouraging deregulation, seems particularly hollow today. Many critics in Asia and the Middle East, where pools of liquid capital dwarf die IMF’s own, are wondering why they should turn over their money to an institution in which the United States, the source of the problem, still has veto power, and in which diey have so little voting power.

This is a Bretton Woods moment — a time for dramatic reforms of existing institutions” or, as was done at the end of World War II, the creation of new ones. Until now, Washington has consistently blocked efforts to create a multilateral global financial system that is stable and fair. It exported the deregulatory philosophy that has proved so costly, both to itself and to the world. President Obama has an opportunity to change all this. Much depends — now and for decades to come — on his response.

(*) – Joseph Stiglitz is a Nobel laureate in economics and a professor at Columbia University.

Posted in BANKING SYSTEM - USA, BANKING SYSTEMS, BANKRUPTCIES - USA, CENTRAL BANKS, CHINA, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, ECONOMY - USA, EUROPE, FINANCIAL CRISIS - USA - 2008/2009, FINANCIAL CRISIS 2008/2009, FINANCIAL MARKETS, FINANCIAL SCAMS, FOREIGN POLICIES, FOREIGN POLICIES - USA, FRAUD, HISTORY, HOUSING CRISIS - USA, INTERNATIONAL, INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS, JAPAN, MACROECONOMY, RECESSION, REGULATIONS AND BUSINESS TRANSPARENCY, THE EUROPEAN UNION, THE FLOW OF INVESTMENTS, THE LAST DAYS OF GEORGE WALKER BUSH - 2008/Jan. 2009, USA | Leave a Comment »

EURO-ZONE’S TOP CENTRAL BANKER SAYS ECONOMY WOULD HAVE SLOWED WITHOUT FINANCIAL CRISIS

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on December 9, 2008

Last update: December 8, 2008 – 10:58 AM

by Aoife White – Associated Press

PUBLISHED BY ‘THE STAR TRIBUNE’ (USA)

BRUSSELS, Belgium – Don’t blame the financial crisis for the current economic downturn, says the euro-zone’s top central banker.

European Central Bank President Jean-Claude Trichet said Monday the slowdown was inevitable after high growth in recent years and a spike in oil prices that sent inflation soaring and braked business activity and household spending.

“Even without the financial crisis we would have had a slowing down in the economy after long years of very active growth at the global level and after the oil shocks that we had to cope with,” Trichet told the European Parliament’s economy committee in Brussels.

“That had a very powerful depressive effect on every economy in the world,” he said.

Oil prices hit a new record of $147 a barrel in July as demand for energy grew rapidly in emerging economies such as China and Brazil while suppliers remained tight. Prices have since sunk by two-thirds to hit a four-year low of $40.50 on Friday on worries of a world downturn.

The United States entered a recession last December, joined by the 15 nations that use the euro in the second quarter. Job losses are mounting and will likely rise further in coming months.

Trichet acknowledged that “exceptional tensions in the financial sphere” that froze bank lending had worsened the downturn.

He said the euro-zone central bank expects the global economy and “very sluggish” household demand to remain weak in the next few quarters — warning that a fragile recovery could be damaged by worse financial turmoil, protectionism and sudden changes to global account deficits.

He called on European governments to move fast to restore confidence in the banking sector by pushing forward with banking rescue plans that should ease lending. France said Monday it would start a recapitalization program within days after it won EU approval to give out large subsidies to banks.

Trichet did not give any hint of a future interest rate cut that would bring euro borrowing costs below the current 2.5 percent. The ECB reduced rates from 3.25 percent last week as falling inflation gave it more room to stoke growth in a slowing economy.

Economists speculate that the ECB may cut rates again in January to 2 percent. That would match current rates charged by the Bank of England and Sweden’s Riksbank.

CLICK HERE FOR THE ORIGINAL ARTICLE

PUBLISHED BY ‘THE STAR TRIBUNE’ (USA)

Posted in BANKING SYSTEM - USA, BANKING SYSTEMS, BRASIL, CENTRAL BANKS, CHINA, COMMERCIAL PROTECTIONISM, DEPRESSION, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, ECONOMY - USA, EUROPE, FARMING SUBSIDIES, FINANCIAL CRISIS - USA - 2008/2009, FINANCIAL CRISIS 2008/2009, FINANCIAL MARKETS, INTERNATIONAL, MACROECONOMY, RECESSION, STOCK MARKETS, THE EUROPEAN UNION, THE FLOW OF INVESTMENTS, THE LAST DAYS OF GEORGE WALKER BUSH - 2008/Jan. 2009, USA | Leave a Comment »

NO ROOM FOR WISHFUL THINKING – THE SLUMP IS HERE WITH A VENGEANCE (USA)

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on December 9, 2008

Saturday December 6 2008

by Larry Elliott, Economics Editor – The Guardian

PUBLISHED BY ‘THE GUARDIAN’ (UK)

The shocking jobs data from the US yesterday should remove the last doubt about the potential of the current crisis to turn into the most serious economic shock to the global economy since the 1930s.

The fact that the world’s biggest economy shed 533,000 jobs last month smacks of a slump. While it is unlikely to prove as long and as deep as the Great Depression, more jobs were lost last month than at any time since 1974, when the decision by Opec to turn off the oil taps brought the postwar boom to a shuddering halt.

To make matters worse, the jobless figures for September and October were revised sharply higher so that payrolls were down by 1.25 million over the latest quarter.

Some analysts saw hope in the fact that the unemployment rate rose only modestly from 6.5% to 6.7%. But that was because more than 400,000 people left the labour force altogether last month, presumably on the grounds that there was no prospect of finding work.

Nor was this a temporary shakeout precipitated by the collapse of Lehman Brothers. Revisions to the back data show payrolls were down by more than 400,000 in September, before the escalation in the financial crisis had any effect.

Apart from any impact on shares, bonds and the dollar, yesterday’s woeful jobs data will have three consequences. If 1.25 million people suddenly stop earning a wage, there will be an impact on consumer spending. And if consumers are not spending, companies are not going to invest – even assuming that they can get the finance. We are likely to see output contract at an annual rate of about 4% in the fourth quarter – and it could be even worse. And what happens to America matters to everybody else, especially the big exporting nations: China, Germany, South Korea, Japan.

The second effect will be social. America does not have the generous welfare nets enjoyed in Europe, so unless those made jobless can quickly find work, there will be hardship, poverty and the threat of disorder.

The need to put people back to work leads to the third consequence. There will be further interest rate cuts by the Federal Reserve and other “unconventional” measures to drive down long-term rates. There will be suggestions that America can’t wait for the $500bn fiscal stimulus the president-elect is planning. And there will be help for the motor industry. One of the few Americans likely to have found hope in yesterday’s report will be Rick Wagoner, the boss of General Motors.

CLICK HERE FOR THE ORIGINAL ARTICLE

PUBLISHED BY ‘THE GUARDIAN’ (UK)

Posted in AUTOMOTIVE INDUSTRY, BANKING SYSTEM - USA, BANKRUPTCIES - USA, CENTRAL BANKS, CHINA, COMMERCE, CONSUMERS AND PSYCHOLOGICAL FACTORS, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, ECONOMY - USA, EUROPE, FINANCIAL CRISIS - USA - 2008/2009, FINANCIAL CRISIS 2008/2009, FINANCIAL MARKETS, FOREIGN POLICIES, GERMANY, INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION - USA, INDUSTRIES - USA, INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS, JAPAN, MACROECONOMY, NATIONAL WORK FORCES, RECESSION, REGULATIONS AND BUSINESS TRANSPARENCY, SOUTH KOREA, STOCK MARKETS, THE EUROPEAN UNION, THE LAST DAYS OF GEORGE WALKER BUSH - 2008/Jan. 2009, THE WORK MARKET, THE WORKERS, USA | Leave a Comment »

SHARING THE RESPONSABILITY

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on December 7, 2008

DECEMBER 3-8, 2008

by Michael Levitin

PUBLISHED BY ‘NEWSWEEK’ – Print Edition – (USA)

He was Chief of Staff to Chancellor Gerhard Schröder, the leading voice behind 'A BIGGER BREAK' - Frank-Walter Steinmeier says the crisis forced the U.S. to leave behind its traditions - Photo by Hans-Christian Plambeck (Laif-Redux)Germany’s refusal to fight in Iraq. Now German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier is the Social Democratic Party candidate for chancellor in next year’s elections, running against the popular Christian Democrat incumbent, Angela Merkel. In his first major interview with the U.S. press, Steinmeier sat down with NEWSWEEK’s Michael Levitin to discuss German troop engagements in Afghanistan, Russia’s recent aggression, the global financial crisis and how Germany might work alongside the United States. Excerpts:

LEVITIN: The day after Barack Obama won the U.S. presidency, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev threatened to install missiles in Kaliningrad if Washington did not “rethink” its deployment of a NATO missile shield in Eastern Europe. Did Moscow’s latest show of aggression shift the dynamic between Russia and Europe? How should you respond- and what should Europe’s response be?

STEINMEIER: Medvedevs announcement the day after the elections was clearly the wrong signal at the wrong time. We have no illusions about Russia. In the last few years it has often proved itself a difficult partner. The question remains how to deal with this huge country in Europe’s immediate neighborhood; having to choose between containment versus engagement, I advocate the latter. We must try to develop relations with Russia that go beyond economic interests and contribute to increased stability and security. After all, it is in our own interest to make sure that a Russia that is looking for its own identity is politically and culturally anchored in die West.

LEVITIN: Do you see Germany as a middleman, acting as a buffer between Russia and the rest of Europe-perhaps at the moment even Russia’s closest EU ally?

STEINMEIER: Russia is aware of our uniquely close relationship with the United States. We are firmly embedded in NATO and the EU and thus we don’t aspire to play the role of a middleman. Together with our European partners we showed a strong and outspoken response to Russia’s role in the conflict in Georgia. I think Europe’s united voice no doubt contributed to the military conflict ending. Now the stabilization of the region as a whole has to continue, and for genuine stability we need Russian cooperation. As for energy links between the EU and Russia, the answer depends on which European country you talk to. But in general, Russia depends as much on Europe and America buying its goods as we rely on Russia supplying us with natural gas and oil. As far as Germany is concerned, it is little known in the United States that we have worked successfully for decades to diversify our suppliers of various forms of energy and fuels, with Russia but also Norway and Africa being important suppliers.

LEVITIN: You mentioned the conflict In Georgia. Should that country and Ukraine be Invited to Join NATO?

STEINMEIER: This is not a simple yes-or-no decision. With national elections looming, the domestic situation in Ukraine has changed, as has the situation in the Caucasus since the conflict broke out this summer. Yes, we remain committed to supporting and assisting these countries on the road ahead. But concerning the Membership Action Plan, Germany and other European governments continue to stand by their position.

LEVITIN: The most urgent U.S. foreign-policy question involving Germany, which Obama raised many times during his campaign, is Afghanistan and whether Germany will contribute more troops there to stabilize the south. How much is your country willing to sacrifice for this partnership, putting its soldiers into harm’s way?

STEINMEIER: I have spoken to Barack Obama twice, and from these exchanges I know that he sees Afghanistan in a very nuanced way. I feel we see eye to eye in our assessment that we’re facing a very difficult security situation, but that military means alone cannot bring about the necessary changes. Our approach has to be a comprehensive one, and contrary to what some people may say, Germany has played its part.

LEVITIN: In the north, certainly. But It’s in the south where the greatest violence has taken place, and where Obama’s asking for greater German participation.

STEINMEIER: We have shouldered our share of the military responsibility and we have also enlarged our engagement. We are about to increase our troops by 30 percent, to 4,500. We are participating in aerial surveillance across the whole of Afghanistan, including the south, and German radio engineers are also stationed in Kandahar. The German Air Force runs flights for all NATO countries throughout Afghanistan, again including the south. We took over the lead of the Quick Reaction Force in the north. And let us not forget that circumstances there have also changed; the north, too, has seen its share of armed opposition activities increasing in the last month. But our engagement in Afghanistan is about much more than military action. We have always said that we will only be successful if we succeed in helping rebuild the country and its economy. Civil reconstruction is the second important pillar of our engagement on the ground, and we’ll continue to increase our contribution in this area next year.

LEVITIN: Given the turmoil in Pakistan, what do you think the next steps forward ought to be?

STEINMEIER: The security of the whole region strongly depends on Pakistan. If we want to combat terrorism in Afghanistan, we have to succeed in stabilizing Pakistan politically and economically. This calls for a strengthened Pakistani commitment to combat terrorism, but it also calls for international assistance for this country. It needs a substantial loan from the IMF. We also need to be ready to help stabilize the country in a lasting way.

LEVITIN: On Iran, what realistic hopes do you see of bringing Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to the table and persuading him to give up Tehran’s nuclear ambitions? And how far will you be willing to push?

STEINMEIER: No doubt there is hope in the international community that after 29 years of standstill, a new approach may be possible. We all remember the reasons for the break-off of relations between the U.S. and Iran. Since then, U.S.-Iranian relations have also been a story of missed opportunities: when Washington signaled openness, Tehran wasn’t willing or able to respond in kind, and vice versa. I think it would be worthwhile trying to have direct talks, but the Iranians have to know it is up to them to prove they do not aspire to nuclear weapons-and that they’re willing to play a constructive role in the region. I have to admit I am skeptical, and can only express my hope that the leaders in Iran seize this opportunity.

LEVITIN: Turning to the financial crisis, the banks got a bailout. Now the automobile manufacturers are seeking the same thing. How do you see EU countries regaining their competition policy-and their legitimacy-after this?

STEINMEIER: I believe the politicians would have lost their legitimacy if they hadn’t acted. What we’re facing here is the very visible failure of the market. We had to make sure that the crisis in the financial markets does not lead to a total breakdown of the financial system as a whole. On both sides of the Atlantic, unconventional means were applied to manage the crisis. Honestly speaking, many of the measures taken in the U.S. seemed a bigger break with American tradition than can be said about European measures.

LEVITIN: How important is it that developing countries play a greater decision-making role In the future? For example, we saw hints of the G8 expanding into a G20 several weeks ago in Washington.

STEINMEIER: What is the most fundamental challenge the world is facing today? To my mind, it consists of integrating the emerging powers of the 21st century into a system of shared global responsibility. I am talk ing about countries like China and India, but also Muslim states such as Saudi Arabia. Can any of the global challenges we face be tackled without them? I don’t think so. That is why we have to make them stakeholders, and in that respect the recent financial summit in Washington was historic. To me it is obvious we cannot stop there.

PUBLISHED BY ‘NEWSWEEK’ (USA)

Posted in 'DOHA TALKS', AFGHANISTAN, AFRICA, BARACK HUSSEIN OBAMA -(DEC. 2008/JAN. 2009), CHINA, COMMERCE, COMMODITIES MARKET, DEFENCE TREATIES, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, ECONOMY - USA, ENERGY, ENERGY INDUSTRIES, EUROPE, FINANCIAL CRISIS - USA - 2008/2009, FINANCIAL CRISIS 2008/2009, FOREIGN POLICIES, FOREIGN POLICIES - USA, G20, G8, GEORGIA, GERMANY, INDIA, INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION, INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION - USA, INDUSTRIES, INDUSTRIES - USA, INTERNATIONAL, INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS, IRAN, ISLAM, MILITARY CONTRACTS, NATO, NATURAL GAS, NORWAY, PAKISTAN, PETROL, RECESSION, RUSSIA, SAUDI ARABIA, THE ARMS INDUSTRY, THE EUROPEAN UNION, THE FLOW OF INVESTMENTS, THE LAST DAYS OF GEORGE WALKER BUSH - 2008/Jan. 2009, THE OCCUPATION WAR IN IRAQ, THE UNITED NATIONS, USA, WAR IN AFGHANISTAN, WARS AND ARMED CONFLICTS | 1 Comment »

PROTECTIONISM REARS ITS HEAD AS WTO TRIES TO WRAP UP DOHA – CONGRESSMEN TELL BUSH TO REJECT TABLED TRADE DEAL – SUMMIT TO END SEVEN YEARS OF TALKS PUT IN DOUBT

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on December 5, 2008

Thursday December 4 2008

by Larry Elliott, Economics Editor – The Guardian

PUBLISHED BY ‘THE GUARDIAN’ (UK)

A sign that the current crisis is fanning a desire for protectionism emerged yesterday when members of Congress warned George Bush against trying to fast-track a trade deal for the end of the year.

Pascal Lamy, director general of the World Trade Organisation, is considering calling trade ministers to Geneva to conclude the Doha liberalisation talks.

“Unfortunately, the negotiating texts currently on the table would provide little if any new market access for US goods, and important advanced developing countries are demanding even further concessions from the US,” said a bipartisan letter from Charles Rangel, Max Baucus, Jim McCrery and Charles Grassley. Democrats Rangel and Baucus chair the Ways and Means and the Finance committees respectively, while McCrery and Grassley are the ranking Republican members.

“We see no tangible progress, and in fact believe that some of our trading partners have become even further entrenched in their unacceptable positions.”

Lamy wants to bring more than seven years of acrimonious talks to an end with a meeting next weekend, after last month’s summit of G20 leaders in Washington instructed trade ministers to settle differences over agriculture and manufactured goods. Some officials believe it would become more difficult to conclude any deal once Barack Obama is sworn in next month.

WTO sources last night talked of a meeting on December 13, although Lamy was more cautious. In a fax to the WTO’s 153 members, he said he had yet to decide whether there had been enough progress since talks broke down in July: “As we all know, we still have a number of outstanding issues. But the reality is the relevance of what we are doing to the financial crisis,” he said. “If we fail we have a problem; but although there remains the risk of failure, the risks involved in not trying are higher.”

He is concerned that economic distress in the US, Europe and Asia is already prompting countries to use protectionist weapons yet to be outlawed by the WTO – raising tariffs to the maximum permitted, and introducing anti-dumping regulations.

US agriculture secretary Ed Schafer said he was confident a deal could be done, and confirmed that Washington was ready to make a big cut in its agreed ceiling for agriculture subsidies if other countries opened their markets further to US farm produce. “We in the US remain confident we can see a successful completion to the Doha round this year,” he told reporters in Beijing.

However, the Congressmen warned Bush against being rushed into a deal that would be rejected on Capitol Hill. “We strongly urge you not to allow the calendar to drive the negotiations through efforts to hastily schedule a ministerial meeting, without adequate groundwork having been laid.

“Developed and advanced developing countries must commit to provide meaningful new market access opportunities if Congress is to support a deal.’

“Achieving the necessary flexibility from our trading partners could require new thinking … and our negotiators should be given time to explore such options. Otherwise, the likely result will be a deal that Congress cannot support – an outcome that would be detrimental to US farmers, workers and firms, the global economy, and the WTO itself.”

Amy Barry, trade spokeswoman for Oxfam, said: “This round of talks was meant to be primarily about development, not about market access for US farmers and companies. Yet Oxfam is hearing that the US, with tacit support from the European Union, Australia and others, has now put extra demands on the table, mostly about further prising open the markets of major emerging economies.

“These come as China has seen a major fall in its exports, leading to many enterprises closing and huge numbers laid off to go back onto the land … India has lost 20% of its exports in a year, with 1.2m job losses in textiles and clothing alone … It is difficult to understand why anyone would seriously expect China and India to agree to yet more trade concessions.”

CLICK HERE FOR THE ORIGINAL ARTICLE

PUBLISHED BY ‘THE GUARDIAN’ (UK)

Posted in 'DOHA TALKS', AGRICULTURE, CHINA, COMMERCE, COMMERCIAL PROTECTIONISM, COMMODITIES MARKET, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, ECONOMY - USA, EUROPE, FARMING SUBSIDIES, FINANCIAL CRISIS 2008/2009, FOREIGN POLICIES, G20, G8, INDIA, INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION, INDUSTRIES, INTERNATIONAL, INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS, RECESSION, REGULATIONS AND BUSINESS TRANSPARENCY, THE EUROPEAN UNION, THE LAST DAYS OF GEORGE WALKER BUSH - 2008/Jan. 2009, USA, WORLD TRADE ORGANIZATION | 1 Comment »

PUXEU CREE QUE SOBRE LOS PREACUERDOS DE JULIO DE LA OMC PODRÍAN CERRARSE ESTE MES – El secretario de Estado de Medio Rural y Agua, Josep Puxeu, ha señalado hoy que tras el mandato del G-20 de reabrir las negociaciones de la Ronda de Doha de la Organización Mundial del Comercio, si se parte de los preacuerdos de julio podría cerrarse un acuerdo antes de que acabe el mes (Spain)

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on December 3, 2008


03/12/2008

PUBLISHED BY ‘AGROINFORMACION’ (Spain)

EFE- Durante la inauguración de las Jornadas Internacionales sobre gestión de riesgos en la agricultura europea, que celebra hoy y mañana la organización agraria UPA en Madrid, Puxeu ha destacado que la Unión Europea está en condiciones de afrontar nuevamente la Ronda de Doha, que se reúne a partir del 15 de diciembre en Ginebra.

Ha añadido que ahora que está cerrado el chequeo médico de la Política Agraria Común que define y legitima los apoyos al sector agroalimentario comunitario y se ha obtenido la apuesta clara de la Comisión Europea, respaldada por 24 Estados miembros, de mantener una PAC fuerte más allá del horizonte presupuestario de 2013, la UE afronta con fortaleza las negociaciones de la OMC.

Ha indicado que ya en julio la UE estuvo cerca de cerrar el acuerdo adaptando los apoyos a la agricultura con la liberalización comercial que permitiera el desarrollo de los países emergentes y que siempre que se parta de los preacuerdos alcanzados en julio la predisposición de la UE se mantendrá, en caso contrario se reafirmará en sus premisas.

Puxeu considera que toda vez que la OMC respete los apoyos a la calidad diferenciada, a la seguridad alimentaria, la condicionalidad y el desarrollo rural queda legitimada la PAC y con ello un marco estable de apoyos al sector.

Además ha destacado el importante papel del sistema español de seguros agrarios como apoyo y garantía de las rentas de los agricultores y ganaderos y ha anunciado que se estudiará la petición del sector de incluir líneas que garanticen unos ingresos que cubran los costes de producción o unas rentas mínimas.

En este sentido el secretario general de UPA, Lorenzo Ramos, ha valorado el reconocimiento que de los seguros agrarios subvencionados ha hecho la UE en la reforma de la PAC.

Ha destacado la necesidad de que los agricultores y ganaderos se conciencien de que este mecanismo es una forma de garantizar sus rentas, de momento sólo ante eventualidades climáticas o sanitarias.

Ha demandado a la Administración que estudie la posibilidad de introducir además líneas que cubran a los productores de riesgos derivados de los vaivenes del mercado, como los vividos el pasado año en sectores como el lácteo o el de las materias primas, para poder garantizar unas rentas.

Ha insistido en que ya en su momento se estudió la posibilidad de adoptar un seguro que garantizase unos ingresos que cubrieran los costes de producción y no fue posible, por lo que ha reiterado esfuerzos a la Administración para posibilitar su implantación.

CLICK HERE FOR THE ORIGINAL ARTICLE

PUBLISHED BY ‘AGROINFORMACION’ (Spain)

Posted in 'DOHA TALKS', AGRICULTURE, COMMERCE, COMMODITIES MARKET, ECONOMY, FARMING SUBSIDIES, FOREIGN POLICIES, G20, INTERNATIONAL, INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS, REGULATIONS AND BUSINESS TRANSPARENCY, SPAIN, THE EUROPEAN UNION, WORLD TRADE ORGANIZATION | Leave a Comment »

BANANA FIGHT THREATENS DOHA DEAL – Deals in the Doha global trade talks next month are at risk if the European Union fails to settle a long-running banana dispute

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on November 27, 2008

November 27, 2008

by Alonso Soto in Quito, Ecuador

Article from: Reuters

Ecuador, the world’s top banana exporter, said it would not agree to agricultural accords in the Doha talks after the World Trade Organisation upheld a ruling against the EU in the lung-running “banana wars” pitting Brussels against the United States and Latin American producers.

“Unfortunately, our country will not agree to the consensus to settle the agriculture terms of the (Doha) round … if this problem is not properly resolved by then,” the Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

A top government official told Reuters later that Latin American banana producers were demanding that the EU lower import tariffs on the fruit, beginning with a series of cuts starting next year.

The official, who asked not to be identified, said the EU should eventually cut its current duty of €176 ($349) per tonne of bananas to €114 ($226) in eight years.

Latin American states came close to securing a deal with the EU during a WTO ministerial meeting in July, but Brussels walked away from the deal when the broad Doha negotiations fell apart.

CLICK HERE FOR THE ORIGINAL ARTICLE

PUBLISHED BY ‘THE AUSTRALIAN’ (USA)

Posted in 'DOHA TALKS', AGRICULTURE, BELGIUM, COMMERCE, COMMODITIES MARKET, ECONOMY, ECUADOR, FRUITS AND FRESH VEGETABLES, INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS, LATIN AMERICA, THE EUROPEAN UNION, USA, WORLD TRADE ORGANIZATION | Leave a Comment »

PIANO ANTI-CRISI: TAGLI ALLE RATE DEI MUINTERVENTI SU TARIFFE, ENERGIA E CARBURANTITUI,

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on November 22, 2008

di Luca Cifoni

ROMA (22 novembre) – Bonus per le famiglie a basso reddito, ma anche interventi su carburanti, bollette energetiche, tariffe autostradali. E mutui, la cui riduzione potrebbe rientrare negli impegni presi dalle banche in cambio dei nuovi finanziamenti offerti dallo Stato. È ad ampio raggio il pacchetto famiglie che il governo sta mettendo a punto e che verrà approvato venerdì 28. Lo slittamento di due giorni, rispetto alla data prevista di mercoledì, è dovuto all’esigenza di coordinare i provvedimenti italiani con quelli che saranno proposti dalla Commissione europea proprio mercoledì; in particolare per quanto riguarda il rilancio degli investimenti in infrastrutture, che è al centro anche del piano di Bruxelles. Ieri il ministro dell’Economia ha illustrato al presidente Napolitano le grande linee del decreto.

L’obiettivo di tutti gli interventi destinati alle famiglie è naturalmente risollevare i consumi in particolare nel periodo natalizio. Dunque si punta a dare un po’ di soldi da spendere ai nuclei a reddito più basso, e allo stesso tempo a ridurre l’importo di alcune spese fisse sostenute da tutti. A partire da quelle energetiche. In questo, a dire la verità, la difficile fase economica paradossalmente aiuta. A causa delle prospettive di recessione il prezzo del barile è ormai arrivato intorno ai 50 dollari, e quello della benzina alla pompa si è adeguato scendendo a 1,17 euro al litro, il livello più basso dal novembre 2005. A partire dall’8 dicembre e fino al 6 gennaio, il governo potrebbe mettere di suo una riduzione temporanea delle accise, ottenendo quindi un prezzo ancora più basso. E di riduzione delle accise, piuttosto che di blocco delle tariffe, si parla anche relativamente alle bollette di elettricità e gas. In questo caso, dato il meccanismo “ritardato” di formazione dei prezzi, il calo del greggio avrebbe iniziato a farsi sentire nei prossimi mesi. L’ipotesi è che il governo lo anticipi con il proprio intervento fiscale, a partire dal mese di gennaio, per poi lasciare che il prezzo si stabilizzi ad aprile quando le accise sarebbero riportate al loro livello attuale.

Quanto alle tariffe autostradali, l’idea è invece un intervento diretto per congelare possibili aumenti futuri. Questa possibilità ha provocato ieri a Piazza Affari un tonfo di Atlantia, che controlla autostrade per l’Italia. Il blocco però non riguarderebbe l’incremento che la società ha in programma per il prossimo gennaio (pari a circa il 2,5 per cento). Nel mirino ci sono piuttosto aumenti più sensibili che sarebbero stati richiesti dal gruppo Gavio. La linea dell’esecutivo, enunciata dallo stesso ministro Tremonti, è legare qualsiasi incremento della tariffe agli investimenti effettivamente realizzati dal concessionario.

C’è poi la partita dei mutui. Anche in questo caso le famiglie italiane dovrebbero beneficiare a partire dai prossimi mesi della riduzione dei tassi Euribor in corso dalla metà di ottobre. In campo c’è anche la convenzione con l’Abi, che prevede la possibilità di ridurre le rate in cambio di un sostanziale allungamento della durata del prestito. Finora però questa formula non ha avuto troppo successo tra i risparmiatori. Siccome i tassi praticati dalle banche non si possono ridurre per legge, si è fatta strada l’ipotesi di inserire questo tema nelle nuove norme per il sostegno alle banche. Com’è noto, le banche le cui obbligazioni perpetue saranno sottoscritte dal Tesoro dovranno aderire ad un codice etico. Il quale dovrebbe prevedere, oltre alla garanzia di non far mancare in credito alle imprese, anche un impegno a ridurre gli spread a vantaggio delle famiglie, eventualmente anche adottando come base il tasso di riferimento della Bce invece che l’Euribor. Dalle banche per ora non arriva una conferma a questo scnario, mentre gli istituti avrebbero offerto al governo proprio una proroga della attuale convenzione.

Confermate le misure a favore delle imprese, anche se il taglio degli acconti dovrebbe riguardare Ires e Irap ma non l’Irpef.

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PUBLISHED BY ‘IL MESSAGGERO’ (Italy)

Posted in BANKING SYSTEMS, CENTRAL BANKS, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, ENERGY, EUROPE, EUROPEAN CENTRAL BANK, FINANCIAL CRISIS 2008/2009, FINANCIAL MARKETS, INTERNATIONAL, PETROL, RECESSION, REGULATIONS AND BUSINESS TRANSPARENCY, THE EUROPEAN UNION, THE FLOW OF INVESTMENTS | Leave a Comment »

EL DÓLAR PIERDE SU ATRACTIVO – La debilidad del billete verde convierte al euro en la moneda favorita de modelos, deportistas y altos ejecutivos a nivel internacional, que ya quieren cobrar sus honorarios en divisa europea.

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on November 21, 2008

Domingo, 11 de Noviembre de 2007, número 394

por María Canales

El dólar está de capa caída. Desde hace un tiempo, los fajos de billetes verdes están dejando de acumularse en las cajas fuertes. Su valor ya no es el que era. Incluso los grandes bancos centrales del mundo, como el de China, han empezado a cambiar parte de sus reservas de dólares por euros. La divisa, considerada por muchos años una de las más fuertes en los mercados internacionales y un valor refugio, ha visto cómo el euro le ha superado por mucho en los últimos años. Mientras que en julio de 2002, las cotizaciones de la moneda europea y la estadounidense estaban igualadas, el viernes, un euro se pagaba al récord histórico de 1,46 dólares.

Poco a poco, y según los expertos, el euro se está convirtiendo en la moneda favorita no sólo de los inversores, sino también de los ejecutivos, de los deportistas de élite, de los actores y de las modelos a nivel internacional, que ven que es más rentable cobrar en moneda europea.

Así lo manifestaron la semana pasada fuentes cercanas a la modelo brasileña Gisel Bündchen, la mejor pagada del mundo, con unas ganancias de 30 millones de euros (20,5 millones de euros) hasta julio de 2007. Según el semanario brasileño Veja, Bündchen habría pedido a la estadounidense Procter&Gamble cobrar sus honorarios en euros por ser la imagen de su filial de productos para el cabello Pantene. Y lo mismo habría exigido a los italianos Dolce&Gabana por promocionar su perfume.

La supermodelo no es la única que vela por hacer caja en euros. Según el departamento de prensa de la PGA (Asociación Profesional de Golf), en los últimos dos años ha aumentado en un 30% el número de golfistas estadounidenses, australianos y latinoamericanos que participan en el circuito europeo. Jugadores famosos como el estadounidense Scott Verplank -estuvo entre los 20 primeros del mundo- han pasado de jugar de manera permanente uno o dos torneos en Europa en una temporada, a siete. Se gana más dinero.

La Asociación de Tenistas Profesionales (ATP) trata desde hace años de proteger tanto a los jugadores como a los torneos ante las fluctuaciones de las divisas poniendo premios de similar valor, según Jorge Salked, agente del jugador español Tommy Robredo. «Hay que recordar que hace unos años la cosa estaba al revés, el dólar valía mucho más». Los grandes torneos asiáticos pagan en dólares, y algunos como el de Dubai -el que más reparte en premios, 1,4 millones de dólares, después de los cuatro Grand Slam y los nueve Masters Series-, se quedan cortos al convertir los cheques a los ganadores en euros. Al cambio, Dubai reparte 976.000 euros, sólo 300.000 más que el Conde de Godó en Barcelona.

Al futbolista David Beckham no le importa cobrar billetes verdes, aunque cuando firmó el contrato para jugar en el equipo de Los Angeles Galaxi el verano pasado exigió que se le pagara en dólares la misma cantidad que cobraba en el Real Madrid en euros (cerca de ocho millones netos).

Por puro «sentido común», la subida del euro tendrá también su efecto en el sueldo de los altos ejecutivos, según los expertos. «No cabe duda de que si esto se mantiene será algo que se demande por parte de los directivos, sobre todo de nueva contratación. Los expatriados, los embajadores, etcétera serán los primeros en pedir sus sueldos en moneda europea cuando sus puestos estén fuera de la zona euro», asegura Begoña Benito, socia directora general de la consultora Watson Wyatt. Según Benito, será un tema en el que ganen las dos partes, por convertirse en un incentivo de compensación.

La caída del dólar está afectando también a los resultados de empresas. El viernes, Repsol YPF anunció que su beneficio neto de 2.448 millones de euros en los nueve primeros meses del año había caído un 7,7% respecto al mismo periodo de 2006, debido en parte a la depreciación del dólar frente al euro. Por su parte, el consorcio aeronáutico EADS apuntó que su facturación registrará una leve reducción al cierre del ejercicio en comparación con 2006.

¿Cotizará el barril de brent algún día en euros?

En los últimos días, la cotización del euro frente al dólar y la del crudo han batido nuevos récords. Mientras que la divisa europea alcanzó los 1,47 dólares, el barril de Brent rebasaba los 95 dólares y se acerca peligrosamente a la cifra psicológica de los 100 dólares. Sin embargo, el propio Banco Central Europeo reconocía esta semana que un euro tan fuerte suavizaba la subida del crudo.

En los últimos cinco años, el dólar se ha devaluado más de un 30% con respecto al euro. Y el precio del petróleo ha pasado de los 22,6 dólares de noviembre de 2002 a los 95 actuales. Devaluando este precio un 30% resultaría el equivalente a 66,5 dólares de principios de 2006, por lo que la gran parte de esta subida, según los expertos, sería debida a la pérdida de valor del dólar contra el euro y no a problemas de suministro.

La posibilidad de que el petróleo cotice en euros en lugar de en la moneda estadounidense es algo que viene de largo y que muchos países de la OPEP llevan tiempo pidiendo. De hecho, Irán ya vende crudo en euros a China.

Sin embargo, esta iniciativa, de momento, es bastante inalcanzable, según los analistas. «Pese a la presión política para cambiar la referencia del crudo a otra moneda, el tema no es tan fácil. Además de que el coste sería enorme, se da la circustancia de que la profundidad del mercado en dólares es muy superior al mercado en euros», afirma José Luis Martínez, estratega de Citigroup. «Una cosa es que la moneda se aprecie y otra distinta es que la moneda siga siendo fuerte. El dólar continúa siendo una moneda fuerte en términos de intercambio. La gente va todavía a Oriente Medio con dólares, no con euros. Tiene aún valor como moneda refugio, como moneda de reserva, de intercambio. Además, la oferta de dólares tiene entre otras cosas razón de ser en la fuerte demanda de activos internacionales de la economía americana. Es decir, consumen muchos productos asiáticos y crudo, por lo que hay una correspondencia entre la oferta y la demanda de dólares», asegura Martínez.

El experto cree que hoy no hay un mercado lo suficientemente profundo que sustituya al dólar.

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PUBLISHED BY ‘NUEVA ECONOMIA’ (Spain)

Posted in BANKING SYSTEM - USA, CENTRAL BANKS, COMMERCE, COMMODITIES MARKET, CURRENCIES, DOLLAR (USA), ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, ENERGY, EURO, EUROPE, EUROPEAN CENTRAL BANK, FINANCIAL CRISIS - USA - 2008/2009, FINANCIAL MARKETS, FOREIGN POLICIES, HOUSING CRISIS - USA, INDUSTRIES, INTERNATIONAL, INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS, PETROL, RECESSION, THE EUROPEAN UNION, THE FLOW OF INVESTMENTS, TRADE DEFICIT - USA, USA | Leave a Comment »

UE DESCARTA REDUÇÃO DE INVESTIMENTOS EM BIOCOMBUSTÍVEIS – Para o bloco, a meta de uso de um quinto de energia renovável até 2020 é essencial para a Europa

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on November 20, 2008

19 de Novembro de 2008

Eduardo Magossi/Agência Estado

O comissário da UE (União Européia) para Energia, Andris Piebalgs, disse nesta quarta-feira (19) em São Paulo que o bloco não deverá reduzir seus investimentos e suas metas de utilização de combustíveis renováveis em função da atual crise econômica. Segundo ele, a meta de uso de um quinto de energia renovável até 2020 é essencial para a Europa, não apenas política e economicamente, mas também como forma de garantir o suprimento energético necessário.

Piebalgs participou nesta quarta (19) de coletiva de imprensa na sede da Unica (União da Indústria da Cana-de-Açúcar) após reunir-se com representantes do setor sucroalcooleiro do Brasil. O comissário é responsável pela Diretiva Européia Sobre Fontes Renováveis de Energia, documento que reúne critérios que devem ser adotados para garantir a produção e suprimento de biocombustíveis na Europa. As metas da Diretiva se estendem até 2020.

O documento ainda será votado pelo Parlamento Europeu, o que deve acontecer em 8 de dezembro. Se aprovado, a principal meta é reduzir as emissões de gás carbônico em 20% até 2020. Nesta redução, 10% deverão vir do setor de transporte. Segundo o comissário, a maior parte da redução do setor de transporte deve acontecer pela utilização de biocombustíveis, embora não existam metas especificadas para etanol, biodiesel ou carros movidos a bioeletricidade. A segunda meta é de que 20% da energia utilizada pela Europa seja substituída por uma fonte renovável.

Piebalgs disse que os critérios adotados pela Diretiva não dão margem para questionamentos sobre barreiras não tarifárias. “Estive reunido com analistas brasileiros e nenhum deles levantou a possibilidade de que os critérios propostos pela UE possam gerar algum painel na Organização Mundial do Comércio”, disse. Ele também afirmou que a União Européia não terá condições de atender toda a demanda por biocombustível que será gerada com a aprovação da Diretiva. Ele acredita que 20% dessa demanda deverá ser importada e que o Brasil poderá ser uma fonte se atender a todos os critérios de sustentabilidade contidos na Diretiva. “O Brasil é um país responsável e sério e tem se mostrado capaz de garantir o desempenho sustentável do setor sucroalcooleiro.”

O comissário disse, contudo, que a Diretiva não tem nenhum poder sobre as tarifas existentes hoje sobre o biocombustível importado, mas essa discussão sobre tarifas pode ganhar maior relevância na rodada de Doha na OMC após a crise financeira mundial. Para ele, a energia renovável pode ser uma forma de alavancar a economia européia através de novos investimentos. Ele citou estudo recente da Organização Internacional de Energia que estima que o preço do barril do petróleo deverá ficar, em média, em US$ 100 no período de 2008 a 2015.

Unica

Antes da coletiva, o presidente da Unica, Marcos Jank, havia dito que a UE precisa definir com urgência uma política de matriz energética de longo prazo, englobando biocombustíveis, com a participação institucional do Brasil. Segundo ele, esta política deve ser baseada em critérios de sustentabilidade na produção e também no uso de biocombustíveis, que atendam às expectativas tanto dos produtores dos combustíveis alternativos como de exploradores de petróleo, refinadores e governos.

Jank afirmou que a visita do comissário é importante porque o parlamento europeu deve decidir até 8 de dezembro sobre a aprovação da Diretiva Européia sobre Fontes Renováveis de Energia, que propõe que os biocombustíveis utilizados na Europa emitam pelo menos um índice 35% inferior de gás causadores do efeito estufa em relação à gasolina e que sejam produzidos de forma sustentável.

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PUBLISHED BY ‘CAMPO NEWS’ (Brasil)

Posted in A ENERGIA ALTERNATIVA, A QUESTÃO ENERGÉTICA, AGRICULTURA, AGRONEGÓCIOS, BIOCOMBUSTÍVEIS, BIOFUELS, BRASIL, COMMODITIES MARKET, ECONOMIA - BRASIL, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ENERGY, ETANOL, EUROPE, EXPANSÃO AGRÍCOLA, FLUXO DE CAPITAIS, FUELS, INDUSTRIES, INTERNATIONAL, THE EUROPEAN UNION, THE FLOW OF INVESTMENTS | Leave a Comment »

EFECTOS DE LA CRISIS FINANCIERA – Japón entró ya en recesión económica

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on November 18, 2008

17/11/2008

TOKIO, 17 de noviembre.— Considerada como la segunda economía mundial más fuerte, Japón entró Japón entró ya en recesión económica - noviembre de 2008hoy oficialmente en recesión, una semana después de que los 15 países de la Eurozona entraran por igual camino, influenciados por la crisis financiera de Estados Unidos.

Un comunicado de prensa del Ministerio de Finanzas indica que la economía nacional se contrajo, por segunda ocasión, en un 0,1% en el tercer trimestre, señala PL.

“Esta no será una recesión corta o indolora”, advirtió Noriko Hama, economista y profesor de la universidad Doshisha.

Con las economías de Francia y Gran Bretaña también en rápida desaceleración, el presidente de la Comisión Europea, José Manuel Durao Barroso, llamó a adoptar un plan de estímulo fiscal a nivel europeo.

Los inversionistas de Asia y Europa no se mostraban muy impresionados con la nueva ola de promesas efectuada el sábado por los líderes del grupo de países más industrializados y los emergentes para unir fuerzas a fin de estimular el crecimiento y reformar la arquitectura financiera mundial.

Entretanto, Reuters reporta desde Londres que las acciones europeas cayeron hoy, entre otros factores, por los crecientes temores a una recesión, los planes del banco Citigroup de eliminar 50 000 empleos y un retroceso de los precios de los metales.

Al mismo tiempo se dio a conocer que la zona euro acumuló un déficit comercial, en septiembre, de 5 600 millones de euros, frente al superávit de 2 900 millones en igual periodo del 2007, difundió la Eurostat.

Sin embargo, acota PL, economistas encuestados esperaban un desbalance de 7 300 millones de dólares para el noveno mes del 2008, muy por encima de lo registrado.

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PUBLISHED BY ‘GRANMA’ (Cuba)

Posted in ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, FINANCIAL CRISIS 2008/2009, INTERNATIONAL, JAPAN, RECESSION, THE EUROPEAN UNION, YEN (Japan) | Leave a Comment »

LIBYA, EU LAUNCH LANDMARK NEGOTIATIONS – Elobeidi: Tripoli will Contribute to a Partnership as Much as EU can be Useful to Libya – Negotiations started in Brussels on Thursday on the EU-Libya Framework Agreement

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on November 15, 2008

15/11/2008 – 15:34:00

LIBYA, EU LAUNCH LANDMARK NEGOTIATIONS – Elobeidi: Tripoli will Contribute to a Partnership as Photo - EU Commissioner for External Relations Benito Ferrero-Waldner, right, addresses the media together with Libya's Secretary for European Affairs Abdulati Elobeidi at the EU Commission in Brussels, Thursday Nov. 13, 2008. Ferrero-Waldner launched negotiations for a Framework Agreement between the EU and Libya to strengthen the political, economic, commercial, social and cultural relations between both parties.(AP Photo)Much as EU can be Useful to Libya – Negotiations started in Brussels on Thursday on the EU-Libya Framework Agreement

European Commissioner for External Relations and European Neighbourhood Policy, Benita Ferrero-Waldner, joined by the EU Presidency, formally launch the negotiations in a meeting with the Libyan representatives led by Abdulati Elobeidi, Secretary for European Affairs, and Mohamed Tahar Siala, Deputy Secretary at the General People Committee for Foreign Liaison and International Cooperation of Libya.

The future agreement will establish the framework of the relations between the EU and Libya.

Mr. Elobeidi, said Libya would “contribute definitely to an efficient partnership with the EU, as much as the EU on its side can be useful for Libya.

“We are very pleased with this beginning and we are very much aspiring to the future,” he added.

The accord will cover political, social, economic, commercial and cultural relations, between the European bloc and Libya.

“This was a long awaited moment since the 2004 EU’s decision to lift the sanctions against Libya and to start a policy of engagement with this country. I am pleased that we can finally launch these negotiations,” Ms Ferrero-Waldner said.

The future agreement, if concluded in line with the level of ambition currently stated by the parties, will have a high potential for the development of deep cooperation, opening the way to a strong political partnership and to the increase in trade and investments between Libya and the EU.

“Libya is the last south-Mediterranean country with which the EU has no contractual relations and we are keen to establish a clear, long-lasting legal framework in order to strengthen dialogue and cooperation with Libya. The Commission has received from the Council a broad negotiation mandate that proves the EU’s aims at concluding with Libya an agreement as ambitious as Libya is prepared to consent, covering areas such as political dialogue, trade, energy, migrations and environment,” Ferrero-Waldner said.

The Commission’s negotiations mandate was adopted on July 24, 2008 by the Council. The objective is to conclude a broad agreement providing for political dialogue and cooperation on foreign policy and security issues, for a free trade area which is as deep and comprehensive as possible, for cooperation in key areas of common concern such as energy, transport, migration, visa, justice and home affairs, environment and other topics like maritime policy and fisheries, education and public health.

At present, Libya benefits from an EC medical and technical cooperation program in the area of HIV/AIDS for a total allocated amount of €8 million, as part of the EU Action Plan for Benghazi.

In the field of migration the EU and Libya are already cooperating since 2004. Two projects have already been financed under the thematic program “Migration and Asylum” one concerning the control of the borders with Niger and one on assistance to voluntary return of migrants, while a third project should start in early 2009.

The EU statement also said fundamental principles underpinning the agreement would be respect for human rights and democracy, the non proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and commitment to the rules of the market economy.

(agencies)

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PUBLISHED BY ‘THE TRIPOLI POST’ (Lybia)

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OPEC REDUX: RESPONDING TO THE RUSSIAN-IRANIAN GAS CARTEL

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on November 15, 2008

Published: November 14, 2008

Ariel Cohen (Middle East Times) by Ariel Cohen (Middle East Times) (*)

MOSCOW – Steadily and stealthily, a natural gas cartel has emerged over the last seven years. On Ariel Cohen, the usually obnoxious 'scarecrow' with a PhD ...Oct. 21 in Tehran, the Gas Exporting Countries’ Forum (GECF) agreed to form a troika which will direct the future cartel. Russia, Iran, and Qatar announced they will form a yet-unnamed group “to coordinate gas policy.” The troika will meet to coordinate and control close to two-thirds of the world’s gas reserves and a quarter of its gas production.

Russia prefers to coordinate energy policies with Tehran, recognizing that together they control roughly 20 percent of the world’s oil reserves and about half of global gas reserves, offering tremendous geo-economic power.

The United States should create an international coalition of energy consumers to oppose energy cartels. The U.S. Congress should also allow energy exploration in the Arctic, the Rocky Mountains, and along the continental shelves and expand cooperative gas ties with Canada.

Russia’s Global Gas Strategy

In the tight global energy market, Russia clearly appreciates the bargaining power that its energy resources provide, as it attempts to control energy exports from the New Independent States, such as Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan. Russia also has strengthened its ties to Iran, Venezuela, Libya, and other energy exporters. Recently, Moscow also launched a “charm offensive” on OPEC.

Russia is playing a sophisticated game to maximize its advantage as the leading gas producer with the largest reserves on the planet as well as the second largest oil exporter.

Russia’s approach was gradualist. Moscow had never openly shown enthusiasm about a gas cartel but waited for an opportunity to launch one. Yet, the cartel reportedly was a brainchild of the Russian prime minister and former president, Vladimir Putin.

Russia’s approach was also stealthy. Instead of announcing the cartel prematurely and spooking consumer countries, it quietly put the component parts into place. Until the Tehran declaration, Russia was able to appear reasonable.

At the Doha meeting in April, members of the GECF agreed to discuss dividing the consumer markets between them, particularly in Europe. Russia and Algeria are already major players there, and Iran may join them in the next decade. This will clearly challenge the European Union’s energy liberalization and gas deregulation policy, which took effect on July 1.

Geopolitical Clout

The troika and GECF members are planning to “reach strategic understandings” on export volumes, schedules of deliveries, and the construction of new pipelines. They plan to explore and develop gas fields and coordinate startups and production schedules. Despite protestations to the contrary, the GECF has all the trappings of a nascent cartel, and the troika includes its founding members. These founders will expand cooperation beyond their relationship through the GECF and drag other gas producers with them.

The new group will provide its three leaders with greater geopolitical advantage. If this new cartel expands, Russia and Iran will gain clout over Eurasian gas suppliers, such as Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, and Uzbekistan.

Major gas producers such as Iran, Russia, Qatar, Turkmenistan, Brunei, and Venezuela have one feature in common: a democracy deficit. All three members of the new cartel share this dubious quality. Just like OPEC, the gas cartel will be a force that can be used to challenge and possibly weaken market–based democracies through energy prices and wealth transfer. Such a cartel may cut deals with undemocratic large-scale consumers, such as China, while forcing the West to pay full price.

Coordinated Global Action Needed

The U.S. George W. Bush administration barely reacted to the Tehran and Doha meetings. Officials express concern, but only in private. The European Commission merely stated that it opposed price-fixing cartels in principle.

As the case of OPEC demonstrates, closing markets to competition, promoting national oil companies, and limiting production results in limited supply and higher oil prices. Gas will not be different.

What the U.S. Can Do

The United States should open its vast natural gas resources onshore and offshore to further exploration and production and encourage its neighbors in Canada, Mexico, and the Caribbean to do the same.

The next administration should work with the European Union, Japan, China, India, and other countries to prevent the cartelization of the gas sector. This can be accomplished through cooperation with the International Energy Agency, which China and India should be invited to join, and by applying anti-trust legislation worldwide against state-owned companies that are actively involved in cartel-like behavior in energy markets.

Finally, the United States should work closely with those within GECF who oppose Russian-Iranian domination, including Azerbaijan, Canada, the Netherlands, and Norway. The National Security Council and the National Economic Council should take the lead in developing this policy. Unless buyer solidarity is translated into action, energy consumers and economic growth will suffer worldwide.

(*) – Ariel Cohen, Ph.D., is senior research fellow in Russian and Eurasian Studies and International Energy Security in the Douglas and Sarah Allison Center for Foreign Policy Studies, a division of the Kathryn and Shelby Cullom Davis Institute for International Studies, at The Heritage Foundation.

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PUBLISHED BY ‘MIDDLE EAST TIMES’ (Egypt)

Posted in COMMERCE, COMMODITIES MARKET, COMMONWEALTH OF INDEPENDENT STATES, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, ENERGY, FINANCIAL CRISIS 2008/2009, FUELS, INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION, INDUSTRIES, INTERNATIONAL, INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS, IRAN, LYBIA, NATURAL GAS, OPEC, PETROL, QATAR, RUSSIA, THE ARABIAN PENINSULA, THE EUROPEAN UNION, THE FLOW OF INVESTMENTS, VENEZUELA | Leave a Comment »

CE APADRINHA ACORDOS DE MUNICÍPIOS CABO-VERDIANOS COM AUTARQUIAS PORTUGUESAS (Cape Verde)

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on November 15, 2008

15-11-08

A Comissão Europeia aproveita as Jornadas de Desenvolvimento, que se iniciam hoje em Estrasburgo (França) para dinamizar parcerias com os países do Sul. Nessa perspectiva, a CE vai apadrinhar acordos de geminação de seis municípios cabo-verdianos com autarquias portuguesas durante o encontro cujo tema é “O Poder Local e o Desenvolvimento”.

A ideia da Comissão Europeia é que se cada autarquia da zona euro decidir lançar-se numa geminação com uma cidade, um concelho, um distrito, uma província ou uma região do Sul, o mundo transformar-se-á e a pobreza diminuirá rapidamente.

No que diz respeito a Cabo Verde, essa proposta começa a concretizar-se com a ligação de seis autarquias a homólogos portugueses. Em concreto, a cidade da Praia vai ligar-se ao concelho de Covilhã, Santa Catarina irmana-se com Trofa, Ribeira Grande de Santiago com Guimarães, São Lourenço dos Órgãos com Anadia, Santa Catarina do Fogo com Miranda do Corvo e S. Filipe com Cinfães.

No caso de Cinfães, a autarquia portuguesa explica que o acordo com São Filipe faz todo o sentido por causa da “ligação de Serpa Pinto, explorador africanista e cinfanense, a Cabo Verde”. Aliás, neste arquipélago existem dois monumentos erigidos em honra a Alexandre Alberto da Rocha Serpa Pinto: um em S. Filipe e outro na cidade da Praia.

A Câmara Municipal de Cinfães sublinha que os programas de geminação baseiam-se na associação e no trabalho conjunto de questões comuns aos municípios e constituem um instrumento importante na procura de soluções e na formação de solidariedades estratégicas, cooperação e troca de informação relevante.

A edilidade portuguesa tem como objectivos contribuir para a redução da pobreza no país, fomentar a confiança mútua, a amizade e compreensão a um nível pessoal e cívico, além de celebrar e reforçar os fortes laços históricos e culturais que unem os dois povos. Os cinfanenses pretendem também promover iniciativas de intercâmbio e de animação entre jovens estudantes portugueses e de São Filipe.

Em termos gerais, a Comissão Europeia aproveita as Jornadas deste fim-de-semana, cujo tema é “O Poder Local e o Desenvolvimento”, para dinamizar parcerias da Europa com os países do Sul. A ideia é que se cada autarquia da zona euro decidir lançar-se numa geminação com uma cidade, um concelho, um distrito, uma província ou uma região do Sul, o mundo transformar-se-á e a pobreza diminuirá rapidamente.

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PUBLISHED BY ‘A SEMANA’ (Cape Verde)

Posted in CAPE VERDE, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, INTERNATIONAL, INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS, PORTUGAL, RELAÇÕES INTERNACIONAIS - BRASIL, THE EUROPEAN UNION | Leave a Comment »

SARKOZY SAYS U.S. MISSILE SHIELD WON’T HELP SECURITY

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on November 14, 2008

Published: November 14, 2008

The Associated Press

U.S. President George W. Bush, left, gestures during a joint news conference with French President Nicolas Sarkozy at Elysee Palace on Saturday, June 14, 2008Nicolas Sarkozy at Elysee Palace on Saturday, June 14, 2008

NICE, France: France’s U.S.-friendly president sent a clear message Friday to the next American administration: Plans for a U.S. missile shield in Eastern Europe are misguided, and won’t make the continent a safer place.

Nicolas Sarkozy also warned Russian President Dmitry Medvedev against upping tensions by deploying missiles on the borders of the European Union in response to the U.S. planned missile defense system.

Sarkozy’s comments, at a summit with Medvedev, were the strongest to date by an American ally against the missile-defense plans — and undercut the rationale behind U.S. President George W. Bush’s European security strategy.

The plans for using sites in Poland and the Czech Republic have infuriated Russia despite the Bush administration’s insistence that they are aimed at protecting Europe from Iran.

“Deployment of a missile defense system would bring nothing to security … it would complicate things, and would make them move backward,” Sarkozy said at a news conference with Medvedev. Medvedev smiled and pointed his finger at Sarkozy in approval.

The remarks came at the end of a week in which the United States and Russia rejected each other’s proposed solutions to the standoff over the missile plans, making it increasingly likely that it will not be resolved before U.S. President-elect Barack Obama takes office.

Obama has not been explicit about his intentions on European missile defense, saying it would be prudent to “explore the possibility” but expressing some skepticism about the technical capability of U.S. missile defenses.

Moscow sees the defense plans as a Cold War-style project that could eliminate Russia’s nuclear deterrent or spy on its military installations. Much of Western Europe is nervous about the idea of such major defensive weaponry stationed around the continent.

But Poland and the Czech Republic, where bad memories of Soviet domination run deep, hope Obama follows through on the plans.

Czech Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for European Affairs Alexandr Vondra said in a statement he “was surprised” about Sarkozy’s remarks, made at an EU-Russia summit.

“France never consulted with us such a standpoint,” he said. “As far as I know a stance on the missile defense was not part of the French presidency mandate for the EU-Russia summit.” France currently holds the rotating EU presidency.

Sarkozy said he was worried about Russia’s threat to deploy short-range Iskander missiles near Poland in response to the U.S. move.

“We could continue between Europe and Russia to threaten each other with shields, with missiles, with navies,” he said. “It would do Russia no good, Georgia no good and Europe no good.”

Sarkozy said he would discuss the missile issue with NATO counterparts at a summit early next year and proposed a pan-European security conference after that, to include Russia. Medvedev welcomed the idea.

Sarkozy has generally been hawkish on Iran and allied himself more closely with Bush than his predecessor Jacques Chirac. But Sarkozy is also clearly looking ahead to his relations with Bush’s successor.

Medvedev stuck to Russia’s stance. He suggested that the Russian threat to install missiles in the Baltic Sea region of Kaliningrad — announced just hours after Obama’s election — was “a response to the behavior of certain European states that agreed to deploy new (missile defenses) on their own territories without consulting anyone.”

Friday’s summit made a key step toward rapprochement between Russia and the European Union: The EU announced the resumption of partnership talks with Russia that had been put on hold because of the war in Georgia.

Critics, including the United States and Georgian governments and human rights groups, say it is too soon to forgive Russia, in effect, when Russian troops remain implanted and unchecked in the two breakaway Georgian provinces at the core of the war.

Sarkozy, temporarily in charge of the 27-nation EU, insisted that the resumption wasn’t “a sign of weakness.”

He and Medvedev remained divided, though, over the continuing presence of Russian troops.

The European Union is Russia’s No. 1 customer and No. 1 investor, and heavily dependent on Russian energy. With the world financial crisis shaking markets in Europe and beyond, officials of the 27-nation EU say reaching out to Moscow is crucial to ensuring stability and to keeping Russia from shutting off its economy to outsiders.

Medvedev pointed on Friday to the lucrative trade between the EU and Russia, worth hundreds of billions of euros annually.

“We should think of this when we make decisions on all cooperation,” he said.

The EU-Russia talks, launched in 2007, aim for an agreement that would increase economic integration, tighten relations on justice and security and boost cooperation in education and science. U.S. diplomats warned European officials that the resumed talks could undermine Western attempts to rein in the Kremlin’s aggressive foreign policy.

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PUBLISHED BY ‘INTERNATIONAL HERALD TRIBUNE’ (Brasil)

Posted in COMMONWEALTH OF INDEPENDENT STATES, EUROPE, FRANCE, INTERNATIONAL, INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS, RUSSIA, THE EUROPEAN UNION, USA | Leave a Comment »

EU UNVEILS PLAN TO WEAKEN RUSSIAN GRIP ON GAS SUPPLY – Southern corridor pipeline would bypass Gazprom – Strategy is part of £1.5tn energy security package

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on November 14, 2008

Friday November 14 2008

by Ian Traynor in Brussels – The Guardian – guardian.co.uk

Europe yesterday stepped up attempts to reduce its exposure to potential Russian blackmail over energy supplies, unveiling an ambitious strategy aimed at weakening Russian giant Gazprom’s domination of Europe’s gas imports.

On the eve of the Russia-EU summit today in France, the energy package released by the European commission highlighted Europe’s dependence on Russian exports and sought to devise strategies to wean Europe off the addiction.

Of six energy projects pinpointed for development, commission officials said the two “absolute” priorities were to connect the three post-Soviet Baltic states of Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia to European power grids and to forge ahead with the so-called “southern gas corridor”, which is supposed to transport gas from the Caspian basin to Europe while, for political reasons, bypassing the world’s two biggest gas producers, Russia and Iran. Both projects are aimed at loosening Russia’s grip.

By next year Brussels also aims to have set up a consortium of European companies to buy gas from the Caspian basin, to be shipped to Europe in a new pipeline from Azerbaijan, via Turkey and the Balkans, to Austria from 2013. Gazprom currently controls all the pipelines sending gas to Europe from the east.

“The EU wants different sources of supply,” said José Manuel Barroso, the commission president, who will negotiate on energy today with the Russian president, Dmitry Medvedev, at a summit in the south of France. “We must not sleepwalk into Europe’s energy dependence crisis.”

The Baltic states are isolated from the rest of the EU in their energy supplies and dependent on Russia, while another five EU countries in central Europe and Ireland also get all their gas from Russia. Germany is the EU’s biggest Gazprom client.

Europe currently gets 42% of its gas, a third of its oil and a quarter of its hard coal from Russia. The commission estimates that by 2030 Europe will be importing 84% of its gas needs, up from 61% at present.

In a direct reference to the perceived threat from Russia, a commission document warned: “Recent events in Georgia have shown that this is a critical time for energy security.”

The immediate focus on Russia was contained in a more grandiose long-term package calling for the integration of European power grids and energy markets; the incorporation of North Sea wind farms and Mediterranean solar energy hubs in a nascent European “supergrid”; the development of vast pan-European infrastructure projects; and an energy efficiency revolution. The entire scheme- aimed at making Europe’s energy consumption “secure, sustainable, and competitive” – would cost almost €2 trillion (£1.5tn) by 2030 and is also factored into the campaign on global warming, ostensibly making Europe the world leader in the low-carbon economy contest.

The commission proposals said current contingency planning on gas supplies “might not provide an effective and timely response in crisis situations” and called for common policy-making among the 27 member states to define “an effective EU emergency plan”, to cope with possible disruptions of supplies.

The EU has been struggling for two years to come up with coherent policies towards Russia, particularly on energy, while Russia and Gazprom have strengthened their grip by creating facts on the ground and cutting deals with individual countries.

Relations between Moscow and the west, already poor, plumbed new depths in August when Russia invaded Georgia. Despite the tensions, EU governments decided on Monday to resume negotiations with Moscow that were called off in protest at the Caucasus conflict. Britain performed a volte-face, going from being a fierce critic of Moscow to supporting the resumption of talks on a strategic pact between Russia and Europe.

“The British signalled well in advance that they were giving up [opposition to the negotiations],” said a senior European minister.

The dependence on Russian energy played a crucial role, he added. With gas prices currently low, Gazprom has in recent weeks been offering long-term supply contracts to individual EU countries such as Germany and the Netherlands, sowing divisions within the EU. The east European and British critics of Russia abandoned their opposition in the hope that a concerted policy would strengthen the EU in its dealings with Moscow.

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PUBLISHED BY ‘THE GUARDIAN’ (UK)

Posted in COMMODITIES MARKET, COMMONWEALTH OF INDEPENDENT STATES, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, ENERGY, EUROPE, FRANCE, INDUSTRIES, INTERNATIONAL, INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS, RUSSIA, THE EUROPEAN UNION, THE FLOW OF INVESTMENTS, UNITED KINGDOM | Leave a Comment »

‘GAS TROIKA’ PLANS LNG JOINT VENTURE, PAPER SAYS

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on November 14, 2008

November 13, 2008

by Eric Watkins – Oil Diplomacy Editor

LOS ANGELES, Nov. 13 – Russia’s state-owned OAO Gazprom, Qatar Liquefied Gas Co. Ltd., and PETRON - GASOLINE STATION - FUEL - PETROLEUM - OIL - KEROSENE - DIESELNational Iranian Oil Co. plan to establish a joint venture to produce gas from Iran’s South Pars field and liquefy it at Qatar’s Ras Laffan.

Each founder will get 30% in the project and the remaining 10% will go to the trader, probably to China’s CNPC or Korean Kogas, according to a report in Moscow’s Kommersant newspaper.

Participation by Qatar—a key US ally in the region — will level political risks triggered by the sales of Iranian gas, experts told the paper.

The plans are to set up the gas production infrastructure in South Pars, lay a pipeline across the Persian Gulf to Qatar, and construct an LNG facility at Ras Laffan.

The Kommersant report came as a Russian delegation led by Prime Minister Vladimir Putin arrived in Doha, Qatar, for talks with Qatari and Iranian officials on cooperation in natural gas exports.

Ahead of the meeting, Putin sought to allay the fears of gas consumers who viewed a meeting in Tehran last month as the start of a process that would eventually lead to the formation of an OPEC-like group of natural gas exporters.

At the time, Alexey Miller, chairman of OAO Gazprom’s management committee, said their discussions “may contribute greatly to developing the agenda for the Gas Exporting Countries Forum…,” which could be rapidly transformed “into a permanent organization promoting steady and reliable fuel supplies around the globe (OGJ Online, Oct. 24, 2008).”

Following the announcement, the European Union — Russia’s biggest gas customer — warned it could reconsider its energy policy if Russia, Iran, and Qatar formed a “gas OPEC.”

Putin said Nov. 11 that there were “absolutely no grounds for such fears,” adding, “We are not establishing a cartel; we are not striking any cartel deals.”

Putin said, “Energy producers, as well as consumers, have the right to— and in my view must —coordinate their decisions, exchange information, and do their best to ensure uninterrupted hydrocarbon supplies on global markets.”

Contact Eric Watkins at hippalus@yahoo.com.

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PUBLISHED BY ‘OIL & GAS JOURNAL’

Posted in CHINA, COMMERCE, COMMODITIES MARKET, COMMONWEALTH OF INDEPENDENT STATES, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, ENERGY, EUROPE, INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION, INDUSTRIES, INTERNATIONAL, INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS, IRAN, NATURAL GAS, QATAR, RUSSIA, SOUTH KOREA, THE ARABIAN PENINSULA, THE EUROPEAN UNION, THE FLOW OF INVESTMENTS | Leave a Comment »