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Moody’s Investors Service warned on Monday the rapid escalation of the euro zonesovereign and banking crisis threatens the credit standing of all European government bond ratings, reports Reuters. ”While Moody’s central scenario remains that the euro area will be preserved without further widespread defaults,


Retail sales on Black Friday rose by their biggest margin since 2007 to hit a new record, the FT reports, while online sales grew even faster, according to initial estimates. Store sales on the frenetic shopping day that follows the US Thanksgiving holiday expanded by 6.6 per cent from the previous year to $11.4bn,


Brussels is threatening to sue Britain unless ministers significantly alter a landmark tax deal with Switzerland, in a dispute that will cast doubt over the £4bn to £7bn of expected proceeds for the Treasury,


France and Germany are urgently preparing contingency plans to jump-start tighter eurozone economic governance, the FT reports, amid a growing realisation in Berlin that a deal endorsed by all 27 member states may take too long.


The IMF is considering an “Italian programme” of €400bn to €600bn to help Italy, says Italy’s La Stampa. The newspaper, citing unnamed officials, says the IMF wants to give the country’s new prime minister,


The head of Elstat, Greece’s new independent statistics agency, faces an official criminal investigation for allegedly inflating the scale of the country’s fiscal crisis and acting against the Greek national interest. Andreas Georgiou told the FT he was “being prosecuted for not cooking the books”. The accusations against him are likely to shock EU officials,


Draft guidelines for the European Financial Stability Facility indicate the fund could insure bonds of troubled eurozone countries with guarantees of 20 to 30 per cent of each issue, says Bloomberg. The insurance would be in the form of tradable partial protection certificates,


China Investment Corporation, the country’s main sovereign wealth fund, plans to invest in the dilapidated infrastructure of developed countries, starting with the UK, according to Lou Jiwei, the fund’s chairman. The $410bn Chinese fund “is keen to team up with fund managers or participate through a public-private partnership in the UK infrastructure sector as an equity investor”, Mr Lou writes in an opinion article in Monday’s Financial Times. “We at CIC believe that such an investment, guided by commercial principles, offers the chance of a ‘win-win’ solution for all.”
Asian stock markets rallied on Monday, while the euro climbed, on news on Sunday that the International Monetary Fund could lend a helping hand to Italy financially. Japan’s Nikkei Stock Average was 1.8% higher, Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 rose 1.9%, South Korea’s Kospi Composite gained 1.8% and New Zealand’s NZX-50 advanced 0.5%.  Dow Jones Industrial Average futures were up 157 points in screen trade.  Investors cheered a report on Sunday from the Turin daily La Stampa, which cited IMF sources, saying that the IMF could provide between €400 to €600 billion ($529.6 billion-$794.3 billion) in financial assistance to Italy to allow Italian Premier Mario Monti about 12 to 18 months to introduce measures to bolster market confidence in the country’s ability to repay its debt.


Companies that provide the plumbing for the $4 trillion-a-day foreign-exchange market are testing systems that could handle trading of previously shelved European currencies. ICAP PLC, which operates the biggest system for enabling currency trades between banks, said Sunday that it is prepping electronic-trading systems for a possible exit by Greece from the euro z one and a return of the drachma, the country’s previous currency.  CLS Bank International, whose platform enables banks to settle their currency trades, is running “stress tests” to prepare for a dissolution of the euro, people familiar with the matter said.


“A shark has to constantly move forward or it dies. And I think what we got on our hands is a dead shark.” Woody Allen’s description of his failing relationship with Annie Hall is as apt when applied to the euro zone. Tensions within the zone are mounting as we enter a week in which Italy, Belgium, Spain and France plan to tap the markets for some €17 billion ($22 billion) in new loans and, says Goldman Sachs, the European economy slides into recession.


The U.K. government on Tuesday will set out a range of programs designed to revive growth in an already weak economy that now faces a number of headwinds from the euro zone. That will include £30 billion ($46.3 billion) of new public and private money to be invested in infrastructure and a plan to guarantee lending to small businesses.  However, the government’s room for maneuver remains tightly constrained, with bond investors likely to be spooked by any suggestion that it is easing back on an austerity program designed to halt the rise in its debt by the middle of this


Afghan and Western officials on Sunday said NATO and Afghan forces came under fire from across the Pakistan border on Saturday before they called in a deadly airstrike on two Pakistani military posts, in an incident that has left U.S.-Pakistan relations in tatters. Pakistan’s military denied firing on North Atlantic Treaty Organization forces, calling the “unprovoked” raid on the border posts an “irresponsible act.”  The sharp spike in tensions threw fresh doubt on U.S. efforts to coax greater cooperation from Pakistan in rooting out militants on its side of the Afghan border and in bringing the Taliban to the negotiating table to try to wind down the 10-year-old war.


Investors have soured on many Chinese companies on fears of a slowing economy and worries about accounting fraud and corporate governance. But for analysts at investment firms, the stocks remain a hot ticket. In bullishness reminiscent of the technology bubble of the 1990s, analysts who work for investment banks based around the world rate nearly every Chinese stock they cover as a “buy.” While these analysts generally are a bullish lot, they are far more positive on Chinese banks, tech companies, retailers and the like than they are on companies based elsewhere.


China will maintain its tightening measures in property sectors next year and continue its efforts to construct affordable housing, state-run media reported Sunday, citing Vice Premier Li Keqiang. There has been speculation among some economists that authorities may ease controls on the property market if a steep drop in prices
After 30 years living in eastern Germany, Mozambique-born Ibrahimo Alberto this summer decided he could endure no more daily racist abuse. He turned his back on his job, gave up on what had become his home and moved with his family to the west. The last straw for Alberto came when his son was playing in a soccer match and an opponent shouted: “Nigger swine. I’ll beat you to death.” This month’s chance discovery in eastern Germany of a group of at least three fanatical neo-Nazis called the ‘National Socialist Underground’ who investigators believe murdered eight Turks, a Greek and a German policewoman has been a wake up call.


Japan wants Europe to make efforts to stabilize markets unsettled by the continued euro zone debt crisis and Tokyo is prepared to offer help if needed, Japanese currency tsar Takehiko Nakao said on Monday. Nakao, the vice finance minister for international affairs also told a financial forum that a unilateral currency intervention could not be ruled out in a speculative market.


Brent crude rose above $107 a barrel on Monday, supported by renewed euro zone efforts to end the debt crisis and optimism that Italy may get financial help from the International Monetary Fund. U.S. oil was also higher, boosted by a strong start to consumer spending ahead of the key year-end holiday season. Brent January crude was up 96 cents at $107.36 a barrel by 0340 GMT, while U.S. crude was up $1.30 at $98.07. Traders said sentiment was bolstered by a report in Italian newspaper La Stampa suggesting the International Monetary Fund (IMF) was preparing a rescue plan worth up to 600 billion euros for Italy, more than the IMF can currently provide on its own.


Gold gained more than 1 percent to above $1,700 an ounce on Monday as the euro rose on hopes Europe will take a bolder step to resolve a crippling debt crisis, while a recovery in equities also prompted buying from investors. Spot gold added $25.60 an ounce to $1,704.75 an ounce by 0259 GMT — its biggest daily gain in more than 2 weeks. Gold was still below a lifetime high of around $1,920 touched in September.
New Zealand Prime Minister John Key’s re-election with his party’s biggest mandate in 60 years will strengthen a government push for free-market policies as he pursues welfare cuts and asset sales to balance the budget.  Key’s National Party won 48 percent of the vote on Nov. 26, up from 45 percent three years ago, allowing him to form the next government with support from political allies in parliament. Electricity companies Mighty River Power Ltd. and Genesis Power Ltd. may be among the first considered for share sales, the prime minister signaled today, as his administration focuses on divesting some state assets.


Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is taking further steps to open up India’s economy to support the rupee as HSBC Holdings Plc and CLSA Asia-Pacific Markets predict the currency may slide another 10 percent. Global funds may be allowed to buy company bonds without restrictions and foreign individual investors could purchase local shares, said Mumbai-based IndusInd Bank Ltd. (IIB) Regulators raised deposit rates for Indians abroad last week and allowed Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and Tesco Plc to take majority stakes in retailers. The rupee will drop to 58 per dollar from a record- low 52.73 on Nov. 22 on concern India’s current-account deficit will widen, according to HSBC.


Central banks across five continents are undertaking the broadest reduction in borrowing costs since 2009 to avert a global economic slump stemming from Europe’s sovereign-debt turmoil. The U.S., the U.K. and nine other nations, along with the European Central Bank, have bolstered monetary stimulus in the past three months. Six more countries, including Mexico and Sweden, probably will cut benchmark interest rates by the end of March, JPMorgan Chase & Co. forecasts.


The Federal Reserve and the big banks fought for more than two years to keep details of the largest bailout in U.S. history a secret. Now, the rest of the world can see what it was missing.  The Fed didn’t tell anyone which banks were in trouble so deep they required a combined $1.2 trillion on Dec. 5, 2008, their single neediest day. Bankers didn’t mention that they took tens of billions of dollars in emergencyloans at the same time they were assuring investors their firms were healthy. And no one calculated until now that banks reaped an estimated $13 billion of income by taking advantage of the Fed’s below-market rates, Bloomberg Markets magazine reports in its January issue.
To some people, the European Central Bank seems like a fire department that is letting the house burn down to teach the children not to play with matches.  The E.C.B. has a fire hose — its ability to print money. But the bank is refusing to train it on the euro zone’s debt crisis. The flames climbed higher Friday after the Italian Treasury had to pay an interest rate of 6.5 percent on a new issue of six-month bills— more than three percentage points higher than a similar debt auction on Oct. 26. It was the highest interest rate Italy has had to pay to sell such debt since August 1997, according to Bloomberg News.
Italy has the assets to overcome the debt crisis and new Prime Minister Mario Monti is moving in the right direction to tackle the country’s economic problems, Olli Rehn, European Union commissioner for economic and monetary affairs, told reporters in Rome on Friday. Rehn acknowledged that a sharp rise in bond yields in Italy and across other euro-zone countries was troubling. Italian bond yields jumped on Friday after the country saw borrowing costs rise sharply in auctions of short-term debt.
The biggest bond dealers in the U.S. say the Federal Reserve is poised to start a new round of stimulus, injecting more money into the economy by purchasing mortgage securities instead of Treasuries. Fed Chairman Ben S. Bernanke and his fellow policy makers, who bought $2.3 trillion of Treasury and mortgage-related bonds between 2008 and June, will start another program next quarter, 16 of the 21 primary dealers of U.S. government securities that trade with the central bank said in a Bloomberg News survey last week. The Fed may buy about $545 billion in home-loan debt, based on the median of the 10 firms that provided estimates.
Belgium has had its credit rating downgraded by ratings agency Standard & Poor’s. The country’s downgrade could make it more expensive for Belgium to borrow in future. Belgium’s rating was cut by one notch, to AA from AA+, with S&P expressing concerns about funding and market pressures. The move comes as the eurozone crisis threatens to keep growing, and with continued concerns over Italian debt.

The UK economy will take five-and-a-half years to recover to its pre-recession level, a Bank of England Monetary Policy Committee member says. Martin Weale called the recovery “unusually slow” and signalled more quantitative easing – creating money to buy government debt – may be coming. In a speech, he said the downturn is the longest by a year of six recessions since the 1920s. The Bank expects output in the UK to return to its 2008 level only by 2013.
UHY Hacker Young said the extra investigations and more aggressive stance by the HM Revenue and Customs risks making the UK a less attractive jurisdiction for businesses.  “The Government and HMRC now seem to believe that they found the secret of alchemy,” said Roy Maugham, tax partner at the firm.  “All they need to do is invest more money in tax investigations and compliance work and the extra tax income will keep flooding in.
An extra £5bn of capital investment, funded by spending cuts elsewhere, will form the centrepiece of an overall £30bn national infrastructure programme due to be announced by George Osborne on Tuesday as part of an attempt to prevent the country from sliding back into recession. The chancellor will unveil nearly 500 public sector projects, many of them to be funded by commercial pension fund investments. Some of the £5bn extra capital investment over the next three years will go to a £600m schools programme to fund an extra 40,000 places by 2014. In what is rapidly turning into a full scale “game-changer” budget to stave off the impact of collapsing European economies, Osborne will also announce plans to:
The European Central Bank’s refusal to engage in large-scale purchases of the region’s sovereign debt will eventually be rewarded as this will preserve price stability and protect the value of the euro over the long term, governing council member Christian Noyer says. It is up to European governments to provide a lasting backstop for liquidity, Mr Noyer said, as a two-year-old sovereign debt crisis now threatensGermany and France, Europe’s two largest economies


Even a few weeks ago, it would have been unthinkable for Austria, previously a byword for financial stability, to need to reassure markets that its triple-A credit rating was safe. But such is the crisis engulfing the euro zone that this is what Finance Minister Maria Fekter had to do last week, telling nervous investors that talks with ratings agency Moody’s had gone “very well.” The rate of return on Austrian government bonds have risen of late, with the difference or spread compared to equivalent German securities widening, indicating investors see Austria as riskier than its larger neighbour.
Profits of China’s building materials industry rose 57.5 percent year-on-year to 214.6 billion yuan (33.77 billion U.S. dollars) in the first nine months of the year, according to the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), the country’s top economic planner.  Of sub-categories, profits of the cement industry jumped 130 percent year-on-year to 74.7 billion yuan while the flat glass industry, a sector fraught with overcapacity and duplicated construction problems, fell 71.3 percent in profits to 1.57 billion yuan, the NDRC said on its website.  In the first ten months, cement output rose 18 percent year-on-year to 1.7 billion tonnes. Flat glass output reached 623.62 million weight boxes during the period, up 18 percent from a year earlier, the NDRC said.


Iranian Oil Minister Rostam Qasemi Sunday downplayed Europe’s threat to boycott Iran’s crude oil, saying significant buyers of its oil are from East Asia, rather than Europe. Iran sells oil to East Asian countries and has no extra oil for European consumers, Qasemi was quoted by the official IRNA news agency as saying. Asked about the European plan to boycott Iranian oil, Qasemi told reporters after a cabinet meeting on Sunday that Iran has sold its oil for the next four months in advance and that the European ban could not create problems for Iran. “Taking into account the quality of Iranian oil and Iran’s second top ranking in terms of oil production, the consumers cannot be provided oil with such a quality so there is no alternative for Iranian oil supply,” Qasemi added.


China’s economy is expected to grow 8.5 percent in 2012, a slower pace than this year, an official from a government think tank said on Friday. Lu Zhongyuan, deputy director of the Development Research Center (DRC) of the State Council, or China’s cabinet, said that he expects China’s investment to grow by 20 percent next year, adding that he expects exports to slow along with investment. Investment, consumption and exports are regarded as three major factors in stimulating economic growth.


China’s Central Economic Work Conference, which pitches the China’s economic strategy and policy for the coming year, would hold in the coming days. Analysts predicted that the Central Economic Work Conference would maintain the current stable monetary policy and prudent financial policy. The policymaker would fine-tune the market expectation with flexibility, pertinence and perspectiveness. The positive financial policy would focus the structural tax cutting.
Scandinavian home products giant IKEA that has stayed away from the Indian retail sector saying it will enter only on its own, is set to announce its plans for the market with the government allowing 100 per cent foreign direct investment in single-brand retail.  According to people familiar with the development, IKEA’s president and CEO Mikael Ohlsson is visiting India this week to “announce strategic initiative for Indian market”.  Details of IKEA’s plans, however, could not be ascertained.
Morgan Stanley says it sees India’s GDP growth decelerating to 6.9 per cent in 2012 from an earlier estimate of 7.4 per cent. A combination of high and persistent inflation, slow pace of policy reforms to boost investment, graft-related investigations, weak global capital markets and economy has begun to weigh on India’s growth trend, Morgan Stanley said in a note. “We expect further significant deceleration in domestic demand in the coming months,” it added.
South Korea’s top economic policymaker said Monday that the government plans to put its 2012 policy priority on reviving economic momentum and stabilizing the livelihoods of low- and middle-income families. Finance Minister Bahk Jae-wan said in a meeting with the heads of think tanks that the global economy is facing high volatility and may undergo low growth for a considerable period of time.
“In the second half, external economic conditions deteriorated, making economic growth slow,” he added.
In a show of unity amid sagging ratings and growing public dissatisfaction, United Russia on Sunday nominated its leader Vladimir Putin as its presidential candidate Soviet-style — with 614 of 614 ballots cast in his favor.The somewhat raucous party convention at the packed Luzhniki sports complex, which also kicked off the campaign for the March presidential election, was largely a Putin lovefest. But the ostentatious, sports stadium-like atmosphere left observers wondering whether it were staged to counter embarrassing reports last week that fans greeted Putin with boos and catcalls at a mixed martial arts fight at the city’s Olimpiisky stadium. The convention came as two leading pollsters announced that United Russia would lose its constitutional majority in the next State Duma. Perhaps in reaction to this, Putin reverted to old alarmist rhetoric, accusing Western powers of meddling in Russian elections.
Four development plans will come on stream by the end of the current Iranian calendar year (March 20, 2012), boosting the country’s gasoline production capacity to 70 million liters per day, the Mehr news agency reported. Gasoline production in Iran will be boosted by 16 million liters by the end of the year, the deputy oil minister Alireza Zeighami told the Shana news agency earlier this month.–irans-gasoline-output-to-hit-70-million-liters
History is supposed to teach us. Remember these words? By BBC some 10 years ago; The Greek Finance Minister, Ioannis Papandoniou, described it has an historic day that would place Greece firmly at the heart of Europe. But the president of the European Central Bank, Wim Duisenberg, warned that Greece still had a lot of work to do to improve its economy and bring inflation under control.

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PulauHantu29's picture

Oil to $250 and silver to $300 as Williams predicts...who knows? May happen.

Central banks across five continents are undertaking the broadest reduction in borrowing costs since 2009 to avert a global economic slump stemming from Europe’s sovereign-debt turmoil. The U.S., the U.K. and nine other nations, along with the European Central Bank, have bolstered monetary stimulus in the past three months. Six more countries, including Mexico and Sweden, probably will cut benchmark interest rates by the end of March, JPMorgan Chase & Co. forecasts.


As far as the Black Firday sales rise, I suspect debt rose commensurately.

Sabibaby's picture

Still trying to wrap my head around Black Friday sales rising so much...