One of the less-reported events this weekend was the not so secret central banker meeting that is taking place in Sidney Australia. Now that factual details are finally emerging it is appropriate to collect some information tidbits about this shindig which has some claiming is reminiscent of a modern day version of the Jekyll Island meeting. From the Sydney Morning Herald.
CENTRAL bankers are an unobtrusive breed by nature and necessity. So it might have escaped the attention of many that Sydney is playing host to a meeting of some of the world's top money men and women to celebrate the 50th birthday of the Reserve Bank of Australia.
However, a secretive gala dinner at the Art Gallery of NSW to mark the event last night attracted a who's who of Australia's political and business world.
Past treasurers included Peter Costello, John Dawkins, John Kerin and Ralph Willis. And, of course, the RBA was well represented, with governor Glenn Stevens and former governors Ian Macfarlane and Bernie Fraser in attendance.
Around 7.15pm, John Howard and his wife Janette arrived, almost at the exact time as Mr Costello, from the other side of the entrance. The pair met, shook hands, and offered a polite ''Good to see you'' before moving up the stairs.
The visit by central bankers includes the president of the European Central Bank, Jean-Claude Trichet, the presidents of the Federal Reserve Banks of San Francisco and New York, Janet Yellen and William Dudley, the governor of the People's Bank of China, Zhou Xiaochuan, the governor of the Bank of Israel, Stanley Fischer, and New Zealand's Reserve Bank governor, Alan Bollard. Last night, some of these bankers were spotted being bussed from their meeting venue at the Sheraton on the Park Hotel to the Art Gallery. The event was held in the Grand Court, which seats up to 350 people.
They drank champagne before looking at artworks and sitting down for dinner entertained by a jazz trio.
The visit by the central bankers comes as world markets fear a second wave of financial stress if the Greek government defaults on its debts. There is also talk the stresses could lead to a break up of the European Union's common currency, the euro.
The low profile of the meeting is also a matter of design. Security is tight and the location of events a closely guarded secret.
Today's meetings will kick off with a session to discuss a paper co-authored by Mr Stevens on the challenges facing central banks. Mr Macfarlane will chair a second session on the financial sector, and the day will conclude with a discussion led by Ross Garnaut on supply side issues.
Last night's dinner came after meetings at the Sheraton between Mr Stevens, Mr Trichet and Mr Bollard.
So, does the health of the world's bankers reflect the ailing global market? A NSW Ambulance waited outside the Art Gallery all night just in case.
It has also turned out that the meetings are organized not by the Australian government, but by the BIS.
Sydney - Central bankers are to meet in Australia's biggest city for two days of talks as plunging stock markets renew fears of a slow and patchy recovery from the global financial crisis, Sydney's Herald Sun reported Saturday. The paper said representatives from 24 central banks, including the US Federal Reserve and the European Central Bank, are to assemble Sunday and Monday in an undisclosed location.
The organizer of the meeting is the Bank for International Settlements rather than the Australian government, which would help explain why secrecy prevails.
The governors of the People's Bank of China, the Bank of Japan and the Reserve Bank of India are said to be on the guest list.
The gathering, arranged last year, takes place against a background of world share markets reeling from fears that governments, not just companies, may have difficulty with their balance sheets.
"It's been a long time since we have seen really serious sovereign risk in developed economies," Gerard Minack, the head of brokerage Morgan Stanley's Australian operations, told the public broadcaster ABC. "We don't have a lot of history to go by, at least in the modern era."
Minack said the concern was not just about Greece, Spain and other southern European countries - the so called Club Med - but about other economies.
"We are now seeing it spread around the ring of fire that surrounds core Europe," he said. "I mean, Eastern Europe looks terrible. We know already there are concerns about the Spanish, the Italians, possibly the Japanese."
It is surprising that two critical concurrent meetings as a G7 event in the Arctic circle would take place while half a world away, both in latitude and longitude, those very countries' central bankers were meeting at the same time. Of course, that events in Europe, the end of QE in England, the imminent end of QE in the US, and the sudden and much hated by central bankers resurgence of the dollar are happening at the same time is merely a coincidence.