Category Archives: World
“Caterpillar, a global manufacturing powerhouse, is a reliable bellwether of economic conditions around the world.
This morning, the company announced better-than-expected 4Q financial sales and earnings.
The company also published its detailed outlook for the global economy, commenting on everything from interest rates, commodity prices, central bank policy, and emerging markets.
“Overall, we expect the world economy will begin the year with weak growth and improve as 2013 unfolds,” they write. “We anticipate overall world economic growth of at least 2.5 percent—a small improvement from our estimate of 2.3 percent for 2012.”
“An unprecedented $14trn (£8.8trn) greening of the global economy is the only way to ensure long-term sustainable growth, according to a stark warning delivered to political and business leaders as they descended on the World Economic Forum in Davos yesterday.
Only a sustained and dramatic shift to infrastructure and industrial practices using low-carbon technology can save the world and its economy from devastating global warming, according to a Davos-commissioned alliance led by the former Mexican President, Felipe Calderon, in the most dramatic call so far to fight climate change on business grounds.
This includes everything from power generation, transport, and buildings to industry, forestry, water and agriculture, according to the Green Growth Action Alliance, created at last year’s Davos meeting in Mexico.
The extra spending amounts to roughly $700bn a year until 2030 and would provide a much-needed economic stimulus as well as reduce the costs associated with global warming further down the line, said Mr Calderon, who leads the alliance….”
NATO to the rescue?
“(Reuters) – Islamist fighters have opened an international front in Mali’s civil war by taking dozens of Western hostages at a gas plant in the Algerian desert just as French troops launched an offensive against rebels in neighboring Mali.
Nearly 24 hours after gunmen stormed the natural gas pumping site and workers’ housing before dawn on Wednesday, little was certain beyond a claim by a group calling itself the “Battalion of Blood” that it was holding 41 foreign nationals, including Americans, Japanese and Europeans, at Tigantourine, deep in the Sahara.
Algerian media said a Briton and an Algerian were killed in the assault. Another local report said a Frenchman had died.
One thing is clear: as a headline-grabbing counterpunch to this week’s French buildup in Mali, it presents French President Francois Hollande with a daunting dilemma and spreads fallout from Mali’s war against loosely allied bands of al Qaeda-inspired rebels far beyond Africa, challenging Washington and Europe.
A French businessman with employees at the site said the foreigners were bound and under tight guard, while local staff, numbering 150 or more, was held apart and had more freedom.
Led by an Algerian veteran of guerrilla wars in Afghanistan, the group demanded France halt its week-old intervention in Mali, an operation endorsed by Western and African allies who fear that al Qaeda, flush with men and arms from the defeated forces of Libya’s Muammar Gaddafi, is building a haven in the desert.
Hollande, who won wide praise for ordering air strikes and sending troops to the former French colony, said little in response. In office for only eight months, he has warned of a long, hard struggle in Mali and now faces a risk of attacks on more French and other Western targets in Africa and beyond.
The Algerian government ruled out negotiating and the United States and other Western governments condemned what they called a terrorist attack on a facility, now shut down, that produces 10 percent of Algeria’s gas, much of which is pumped to Europe…”
“Spanish government securities declined, with the 10-year debt falling for the first time in three days, after a report showed euro-area industrial production unexpectedly shrank in November.
Italy’s bonds also dropped after a report showed factory output in the nation slid more than economists forecast. German bunds rose for the first time in three days, paring their worst start to a year since the introduction of the euro in 1999 as investors returned to the region’s safest assets. French two- year notes were little changed as the nation prepares to sell as much as 7.2 billion euros ($9.62 billion) of bills.
“There might be a little bit of a reversal” in Italian and Spanish bonds, said Elisabeth Afseth, a fixed-income analyst at Investec Bank Plc in London. “I doubt that there is any major change in trend. If we get continual setbacks and weak economic data then they might struggle.”
Spanish 10-year yields rose eight basis points, or 0.08 percentage point, to 4.97 percent at noon London time. The 5.85 percent bond due January 2022 fell 0.58, or 5.80 euros per 1,000-euro face amount, to 106.315. The yield touched 4.84 percent on Jan. 11, the lowest since March 1.
The yield on similar-maturity Italian bonds rose two basis points to 4.15 percent, after sliding to 4.09 percent on Jan. 11, the least since Nov. 10, 2010.
Industrial production in the 17-nation euro area dropped 0.3 percent from October, when it declined a revised 1 percent, the European Union’s statistics office in Luxembourg said today. Economists had forecast an increase of 0.2 percent, according to the median of 37 estimates in a Bloomberg News survey….”
“As part of an effort to restore trust in the scandal-hit Euribor interest rate, regulators said the number of maturities that make up the benchmark for trillions of euros of lending should be cut from 15 to seven.
Europe’s top banking and markets regulators told the European Banking Federation, which oversees Euribor, to strengthen governance procedures to ensure no banks try to manipulate the rate. Cutting the number of tenors would “have the benefit of simplifying” submissions….”
“Liam Fisher writes: “The global debt crisis is continuing, largely unabated. While significant measures are being put into place by governments around the world, there is little tangible effect being had on deficits that are continuing to pile up. Indeed, there is only limited agreement amongst economists on the severity of the debt crisis and its implications for the people of the world or the best ways to go about rectifying the problem. Some advocate drastic austerity measures and strict fiscal conservatism, while others take a more Keynesian approach that sees deficit spending as a way out of recession.
In this infographic from IronFX.com…”
“Banks and financial institutions are leading the pack of global borrowers that have rushed to the U.S. debt markets at the start of the year.
Global corporations began 2013 with a wave of issuance that pushed total bond sales in the U.S. over the $40 billion mark in less than a week. But no group of borrowers has been more aggressive than banks and financial institutions.
Citigroup, Allstate, and MetLife, among others, were joined by the U.K.’sStandard Chartered and Italy’s Intesa Sanpaolo, sending dollar-denominated sales of bank debt to $14.3 billion so far this year, according to Dealogic. In a single blockbuster sale, Bank of America offered $6 billion in three parts on Tuesday. That was the largest bond sale so far in 2013.
Banks are rushing to squeeze in as many sales as possible ahead of the so-called quiet period, which precedes the release of their quarterly earnings reports, analysts said. Wells Fargo kicks off the US bank results season on Friday, withJPMorgan Chase, Citigroup, Morgan Stanley, and Goldman Sachs coming next week.
“Banks tend to come to markets earlier in the year, but they are certainly being more aggressive,” said Jason Brady, portfolio manager at Thornburg Investment Management. “It’s a sign they are growing more comfortable with their balance sheets and in a position to take more debt.”
A recent rise in Treasury yields may also be contributing to the banks’ rush to lock in new funding sooner rather than later. The yield on the 10-year note moved close to 2 percent from 1.7 percent in a matter of days, before paring some of its advance….”
“Brazil’s swap rates dropped after a report showed inflation slowed more than forecast, fueling speculation that the central bank will keep borrowing costs at record lows to support the economy.
Swap rates due in January 2015 fell one basis point, or 0.01 percentage point, to 7.78 percent at 10:12 a.m. in Sao Paulo after rising nine basis points yesterday, the most this month. The real slid 0.1 percent to 2.0437 per dollar.
The IGP-M price index increased 0.41 percent in the 10 days through Dec. 31 from a month earlier after climbing 0.69 percent in the prior period, the Getulio Vargas Foundation reported today. The median forecast of 14 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg was for a 0.5 percent advance. The gauge is composed of 60 percent producer prices, 30 percent consumer prices and 10 percent construction costs.
“Local swap rates should be responding to the inflation indicators,” Octavio de Barros, an economist at Banco Bradesco SA, wrote in an e-mailed report today.”
“Thailand kept its policy interest rate unchanged for a second straight meeting on signs of an improving outlook for exports and strengthening domestic demand.
The Bank of Thailand held its one-day bond repurchase rate at 2.75 percent, it said in Bangkok today, as predicted by all 22 economists in a Bloomberg survey. The decision was unanimous, and forecasts for growth last year and this year will be revised upward after a better-than-expected expansion in the fourth quarter, the monetary policy committee said.
Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra’s government has extended subsidies, raised minimum wages and increased infrastructure investments to shield growth after the floods of 2011. While weakness in Europe and Japan persist, there is a broad-based recovery in Thai exports and the performance of Asian economies has turned positive, the central bank said today.
“The unanimous decision confirms our view that the easing cycle in Thailand has drawn to an end,” said Wee-Khoon Chong, a strategist at Societe Generale SA in Hong Kong. “There seems to be no change in their view on the strong domestic demand and benign inflation. The BOT’s focus in the near-term will be on the potential impact of volatile capital flows.”
The Thai baht rose 0.2 percent to 30.38 per dollar as of 3:01 p.m. in Bangkok today, approaching a 10-month high. The benchmark Stock Exchange of Thailand index gained 0.6 percent, having surged 36 percent in 2012…”
“Thursday’s meeting of the European Central Bank’s rate-setting committee could mark a key moment in the evolution of the euro zone debt crisis, as a growing number of economists predict that it will vote to cut interest rates again.
ECB President Mario Draghi has made several bold decisions in his first year in charge, notably the pledge to support struggling states through bond buying viaOutright Monetary Transactions(OMTs), and an interest rate cut could be the next.
A cut would make the ECB’s deposit rate, currently 0, negative – effectively charging companies to deposit money. While this could mean that banks put their money to work elsewhere, it could also mean that ordinary savers have less incentive to put money aside.
The headline refinancing rate is currently 0.75 percent, but at the moment this has less effect on short-term borrowing than the deposit rate because cheap ECB loans have already made borrowing money less expensive….”
“Political risk has entered our vocabulary,” writes Ian Bremmer pointing to the fiscal cliff, the eurozone crisis, and the turmoil in the Middle East.
Believe it or not, Bremmer actually thinks that the world may be a little too worried about what’s going on in geopolitics.
“Looking to 2013, political risk in the developed world is now overstated,” he writes. “Despite the chaos in Congress–which we’ll surely see much more of in the coming year–concerns about the fiscal cliff in the United States have been overplayed. So too the fragmentation of the eurozone. And the impact of continued zero growth in Japan.”
But this doesn’t mean we should be dismissive of the risks.
What follows are Bremmer’s top 10 risks for 2013, key excerpts from his report, and a list of the red herrings.
“LONDON (Reuters) – Fragile economies and extreme weather have combined to crank up the global risk dial in the past year, creating an increasingly dangerous mix, according to the World Economic Forum.
Despite Europe’s avoidance of a euro break-up in 2012 and the United States stepping back from its fiscal cliff, business leaders and academics fear politicians are failing to address fundamental problems.
That is the conclusion of the group’s Global Risks 2013 report, which surveyed more than 1,000 experts and industry bosses and found they were slightly more pessimistic about the outlook for the decade ahead than a year ago.
“It reflects a loss of confidence in leadership from governments,” said Lee Howell, the WEF managing director responsible for the report.
Severe wealth gaps and unsustainable government finances were seen as the biggest economic threats facing the world, as they were last January. There was also a marked increase in focus on the dangers posed by severe weather.
The 80-page analysis of 50 risks for the next 10 years comes ahead of the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) annual meeting in the Swiss ski resort of Davos from January 23 to 27, where the rich and powerful will ponder the planet’s future.
Bringing together business leaders, politicians and central bankers, Davos has come to symbolize the modern globalised world dominated by successful multinational corporations….”
“LISBON—A political rift was opened in Portugal on Wednesday after the country’s president sent the 2013 budget to its highest court for review, an unusual move that highlights deepening opposition to a two-year austerity drive.
President Anibal Cavaco Silva, who is the head of state and belongs to the same right-of-center political party as Prime Minister Pedro Passos Coelho, signed the budget bill into law on Monday, but expressed reservations the next day. In a late televised address to the nation, he expressed doubts about the budget’s “distribution of sacrifices,” while calling for an end to the “recession spiral” the country is undergoing.
Analysts say Mr. Cavaco’s decision marks a compromise following pressure from critics who question the budget’s fairness, such as the country’s National Association of Judges, and also allows the country to have a budget in place while the issue is being resolved….”
“LONDON (Reuters) – Global manufacturing activity expanded last month for the first time since May, supported by solid output gains in China, the United States and Britain, a business survey showed on Wednesday.
JPMorgan’s Global Manufacturing PMI, produced with research and supply management organizations, rose to 50.2 in December from November’s 49.6, nudging above the 50-mark that divides growth from contraction for the first time in seven months.
“PMI survey indices for output, new orders and employment continued to lift at the end of 2012, as the global manufacturing sector stabilizes following a softer patch in the middle of the year,” saidDavid Hensley, director of global economics coordination at JPMorgan.
As output rose for the second straight month, factories increased staffing levels for the first time since June, the survey found.
Earlier data showed U.S. manufacturing ended 2012 on a modest upswing, as increased demand at home and abroad helped the sector to grow in December at its fastest rate in seven months.
But euro zone factories sank deeper into recession with new orders tumbling – a sharp contrast to continuing signs of revival in China.
The index combines survey data from countries including the United States, Japan, Germany, France, Britain, China and Russia.
(Reporting by Jonathan Cable; editing by Stephen Nisbet) “
“German government bonds slumped, with 10-year yields rising the most in more than three months, after U.S. lawmakers passed a bill undoing income tax increases threatening growth in the world’s largest economy.
Finnish and Dutch securities also fell as investors shunned refuge assets even though Republicans vowed to fight President Barack Obama for spending cuts in exchange for raising the debt ceiling. Italian bonds rallied, with 10-year yields dropping to the lowest since December 2010, as the tax deal spurred demand for higher-yielding securities. Germany sold 4.15 billion euros ($5.5 billion) of two-year notes, with the sale resulting in a positive yield for the first time since October.
“The compromise on the U.S. fiscal cliff is dominating risk sentiment,” said Rainer Guntermann, a fixed-income strategist at Commerzbank AG in Frankfurt. “It’s a pro-risk environment and bund yields should correct a bit higher.”
Germany’s 10-year yield rose 11 basis points, or 0.11 percentage point, to 1.43 percent at 10:38 a.m. London time after climbing as much as 12 basis points, the biggest increase since Sept. 14. The 1.5 percent bond due September 2022 declined 1.005, or 10.05 euros per 1,000-euro face amount, to 100.655.
The U.S. House of Representatives voted in favor of the Senate’s budget legislation as Republican lawmakers abandoned efforts to add spending cuts to the bill, removing an impediment to growth. The 257-167 bipartisan vote breaks a yearlong impasse over how to head off $600 billion in tax increases and spending cuts set to start taking effect yesterday….”
I find it fascinating that everyone carries the meme that anything is possible.
I guess the human race has struggled to survive for so long that hope has been hard wired into us.
Another thing we all seem to agree on is that the only constant in man’s history is change.
When i mention this public service announcement in quick summation to people they become hostile while finding ways to negate anything being possible. The more i press the more they box themselves into a corner spitting out pre-programmed responses.
Peter Joseph has a cogent argument for why we may be forced into change. Change that is a natural outcome of our behavior.
It is up to everyone to endure the information contained herein and to free your mind, to open up to what is possible.
Remember if nothing changes then nothing changes….until your hand is forced.
May you and your tribe have a happy and healthy new year.
The world’s most active twitter city is….
“When the re-election of President Obama was official, I was very interested to see what would happen to the trajectory of foreign military interventions — especially the use of unmanned Predator drones. We didn’t have to wait long, however; within hours of being reelected, Obama celebrated with strikes in Yemen. As unaccountable, lawless, and dangerous as U.S. use of drone warfare has been under the Obama administration, new developments reveal that it may actually be getting worse.
NYU student Josh Begley has been tweetingevery U.S. drone strike since President Bush’s first bombing in Yemen back in 2002, and his Twitter feed highlights an incredibly disturbing tactic. The U.S. is employing a “double-tap” method in its use of drones, which means the bombing of a target multiple times in a very short period of time.
These “double-tap” attacks end up hitting “first responders” to the rubble and ashes that are left over after the initial strike, and Begley’s tweets reveal that the U.S. has been intentionally targeting funerals and civilian rescuers.
While these tactics, when discussed at all (Obama’s drone program is shrouded in an intense level of secrecy), are justified under the rubric of “national security,” even the Department of Homeland Security and the FBI have classified “double-taps” as staples of terrorists, not the repertoire of supposed constitutional republics.
So while the “double-tap” method may please the likes of Hamas and the abortion clinic bomberEric Rudolph, these attacks, even by the most broad definitions of international law, are blatant war crimes….”