Showing posts with label USA Today. Show all posts
Showing posts with label USA Today. Show all posts

Saturday, January 7, 2017

The US vice-president, Joe Biden, has said it is “absolutely mindless” for Donald Trump not to have confidence in the intelligence community, as the heads of the US agencies prepared to present their findings on Russian election interference to the president-elect.  The unprecedented dispute between Trump and the intelligence services he will soon control broke into the open at a congressional hearing on Thursday as the head of US intelligence publicly defended his analysts, who he said “stand more resolutely” than ever behind their conclusion of “Russian interference in our electoral process”.  Former Indiana lawmaker and member of the Senate intelligence committee has been banned from entering Russia: ‘I’m not a big fan of Putin’  Biden said it would be legitimate to question intelligence and ask for more detail or disagree but “dangerous” to publicly criticise the agencies and claim to know more than them.  “For a president not to have confidence in, not to be prepared to listen to, the myriad intelligence agencies, from defence intelligence to the CIA, is absolutely mindless,” he said in an interview with PBS.  “The idea that you may know more than the intelligence community knows – it’s like saying I know more about physics than my professor. I didn’t read the book, I just know I know more.”

Monday, December 21, 2015

Even in recent weeks, Fed policymakers remained split over whether the economy is finally ready for higher rates. On the one hand, the unemployment rate has fallen sharply from 10% in 2009 and monthly job growth has averaged well over 200,000 the past two years, developments that led Fed Chair Janet Yellen to state that a rate increase was likely before the end of 2015. Still, many Americans continue to work part-time even though they prefer full-time jobs or have given up looking for work, though the ranks of such Americans have fallen. Partly as a result of this surplus labor supply, wage growth has only recently shown signs of accelerating beyond the tepid 2% annual pace that has prevailed throughout the recovery.  Broader inflation has been stuck well below the Fed's annual 2% target, both because of meager pay gains as well as low oil prices and a strong dollar that has kept imports cheap for U.S. consumers. The Fed reiterated Wednesday that it expects energy prices and the dollar to stabilize. In September, global economic troubles, which has combined with the rallying greenback to clobber exports, and related market turbulence stayed the Fed's hand.  Citing those forces and feeble inflation, Fed board members Daniel Tarullo and Lael Brainard were among those who have argued for caution, saying the risks of moving too soon and derailing a still-vulnerable recovery outweighed the hazards of waiting and possibly having to raise rates more rapidly to catch up to inflation.  Since October, though, the mood has shifted. China's economic troubles eased somewhat and failed to spread to other emerging markets, stock markets rallied, and U.S. job growth rebounded strongly in October and November from a late-summer slump. As result, momentum for a rate hike began building, both among some Fed policymakers and in financial markets.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

The US Fed has delivered a nice blow "Christmas present" to Main Street businesses. The US Fed has NEVER cared about Main Street, it ONLY cares about Wall Street. The collapse of the US economy will accelerate, while the Fed pushes out fake statistics pretending things are OK...Yellen says policymakers have raised rates now "to keep the economy moving along the growth path its on ... we would like to avoid a situation where we have left so much accommodation in place for so long that we overshoot those objectives", meaning they are forced to "tighten abuptly" and risk undermining the recovery.  She says that while policymakers are "reasonably close" to achieving one part of their mandate: full employment, she recognises they are "significantly short" of achieving the second part: keeping inflation at 2pc. Policymakers will monitor the data closely in the coming months, though there is no formula on how policymakers would proceed with future rate hikes. Inflation stood at 0.2pc in October, well below the Fed's 2pc target. Yellen repeats that much of the recent downward pressure on inflation has come from "transitory factors" such as falling oil prices "that we expect to abate over time".  She says "diminishing labour slack" is expected to put "upward pressure" on inflation in the coming months. Yellen also reminds everyone that it takes time for monetary policy to filter through to the economy.  If policymakers delayed rate hikes for "too long" they may have to tighten "relatively abruptly to keep the economy from overheating and inflation from overshooting". This could push the economy back into recession, she says. She says "even after today's increase the stance remains accomodative", with the FOMC expecting "gradual increases in the Federal Funds Rate.

 

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Note that all the "disadvantages" of Brexit are expressed in terms of financial or trading loss. Remember also that the EU itself funds many of the "independent" think tanks and lobby groups that promote continued EU membership.  Never forget that all the financial figures are deliberately skewed to support the EU. Never forget either that, for people like Osborne and Cameron, any financial or trading benefit is irrelevant to the decision they want YOU to make: for them, and many of the others with the same Common Purpose, a United Europe is a political and philosophical dream that will not be deflected or defeated by anything approaching financial or political reality.  If economic advantage or disadvantage had had anything to do with it, Britain would NEVER have declared war on Germany, NEVER have attempted to defend the Falkland Islanders. At the end of the day, it's NOT about any short or medium-term financial benefit. It's about Britain's right to choose its own lawmakers – those who govern our lives and control our borders. It boils down to a parliament in London that we can kick out if we think they are getting it wrong – or a European consortium stretching from Turkey to Portugal, whose own interests, and whose views of our own relevance to them will result in laws that govern us. Permanently.  For me, it's clear: I'm not British but I want British people to decide who runs Britain, whether I personally like the result or not...Could? Might? May? They tried this when UK refused to join the Euro. Now America too, is threatening not to negotiate a single trade deal with the UK. The EU have not secured a trade deal with the USA in the forty years we have been an EU member. Now the EU are bending every rule in the book at the expense of  EU citizens, because it is being blackmailed to ignore existing food standards, by the USA in order to get a deal. We are the 5th largest economy in the world. According to the World bank Britain has jumped ahead of the USA, Germany, France and Italy to be the no.1 country of G7 members, which the world want to do business with. It's all a bluff, by vested interests. If it's so good in the EU why did Norway refuse to join twice, and they are 23rd (nominal) and 45th (PPP).

Saturday, September 19, 2015

The Federal Reserve declined to raise interest rates from their record low of near-zero on Thursday, citing concerns that the still fragile world economy may “restrain economic activity” and further drag down already low inflation.  While some economists had expected a rate rise – the first since 2006 – recent stock market turmoil in China and fears that a slowdown in the world’s second largest economy could dampen the global economy appear to have put off the decision for now.  Janet Yellen, the Fed chair, said the central bank had maintained the federal funds rate at 0-0.25% – where it has been since the 2008 financial crisis – because of “heightened concerns” about a sharp slowdown in China and lower-than-desired inflation.  She said the US recovery from “the great recession” meant that there was an argument to be made for increasing rates – and the bank’s poliycmakers had that argument today – but in the end they still needed more evidence that there was a sustained global recovery. The Federal Reserve was not expected to pull the trigger on an interest rate rise until next year in the wake of a global stock market sell-off triggered by economic turmoil in China.  The US central bank held fire on its first rates rise in more than nine years as it admitted on Thursday night that “uncertainties abroad” had made it more risky to tighten policy.  A slump in equities over the past month, sparked by fears over the strength of China’s economy, “may restrain economic activity”, it warned. The Fed’s policymakers said that this could put “downward pressure on inflation in the near term”.   “We’ve long expected some slowing in Chinese growth over time, as they rebalance their economy,” Fed chair Janet Yellen said. “The question is whether there might be the risk of a more abrupt slowdown than we expect.”   Yippeee! Free money forever. It always works, printing, borrowing, spending. Every time. Everywhere. No fear. Borrow away. Low or no interest. I'll have to check, but I believe I posted on the day that QE1 was launched that once you start down the road of 'Stimulating' the economy with ZIRP and QE it is impossible to stop. However - and this is the kicker - just like the Weimar experience, by the time the 'Serious people' come to accept that their clever, clever schemes are not working, it is too late.
Rudy von Havenstein wasn't stupid, he didn't look at the hyperinflation of the mark and do nothing because he was dumb. He did it because for a long time his policies produced no significant inflation and indeed appeared to be working. By the time his folly became clear he could not stop without triggering an immediate collapse.  Seems familiar, somehow.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

The Fed expects strong job growth to drive the unemployment rate – now 5.5% and close to the Fed's long-run goal—to 5% to 5.2% by year-end, below its previous forecast of 5.2% to 5.3%. The rate, it predicts, will fall to 4.9% to 5.1% by the end of 2016, vs. its previous estimate of 5% to 5.2%.
Fed policymakers are struggling to respond to the unusual crosscurrents of a surging labor market and anemic inflation. The economy added more than 3 million jobs in 2014 and 295,000 last month, pushing down the unemployment rate to a near-normal 5.5% from 10% in 2009.
Falling unemployment typically drives up wages and prices as employers compete for fewer workers. But low oil prices and a strong dollar that makes imports cheap for US consumers have held inflation well below the Fed's target, with its preferred measure at just 0.2% in January. That leaves the economy vulnerable to tremors that could nudge it into deflation, or falling wages and prices that can portend a recession.  Yellen has said she believes the meager inflation is "transitory," with oil and gasoline prices expected to rise this year and the dollar likely to appreciate more slowly in coming months. Still, Goldman Sachs expects "core" inflation, which excludes food and energy costs, to fall further by mid-year, delaying a rate increase until September.
And while many economists expect average wage growth to pick up this year from its sluggish 2% pace, it's unclear how quickly that will happen. Businesses can still draw from an ample supply of discouraged workers who have stopped looking for jobs and part-timers who prefer full-time positions, allowing them to raise pay cautiously.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

WASHINGTON — The Federal Reserve on Wednesday set the stage for its first interest rate hike since 2006, signaling its confidence in the U.S. economy.  Yet the Fed slightly downgraded its economic outlook, saying that growth "has moderated somewhat" because of weak export growth and a sluggish housing market, among other factors. It said it will raise its benchmark short-term rate, now near zero, only when the labor market improves further and inflation prospects pick up from the current meager pace.   Fed policymakers "have not decided on the timing of the initial increase" in the rate's target range, said the Fed's statement released at 2 p.m. ET following a two-day meeting. The move, however, is expected this year...The Fed's policymaking committee dropped a pledge to "be patient" as it considers raising the fed funds rate, opening the door to a rate hike as early as June. The Fed said it will increase the rate "when it has seen further improvement in the labor market and is reasonably confident that inflation will move back to its 2% objective over the medium term."  A rise in the funds rate would ripple across the economy, pushing up rates for everything from mortgages and car loans to corporate bonds and personal savings accounts.  Although job growth has been strong, the Fed is hesitant to raise rates with inflation and wage growth persistently weak but policymakers have said they expect price increases to drift toward the Fed's goal as oil prices rise.  "Just because we removed the word 'patient' from the statement, that doesn't mean that we're going to be impatient" as policymakers weigh an initial rate increase, Fed Chair Janet Yellen said at a news conference after the Fed statement was released. She said the wording change "doesn't necessarily mean (a rate hike) will occur in June...although we can't rule that out."

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Gold Rush ??? -A few years ago annual production was 13,000,0000 ozs,it is now 10,000,000 ozs worldwide,although figures for Russia and China are vague and possibly unreliable.We do know,however,that they do not export in any volume that which they do mine.  I have a friend ,a board member ,of a company ,that produces 1,000,000 ozs per annum.it s no secret that they have enough ore above ground for about two years production,they are ,at the moment,not mining.  Now,onto consumption,prefaced by the admission that I reside in Thailand,and I am speaking as I see the situation here and indeed the surrounding countries of S.E.Asia.  The general population buy gold to keep for weddings and the rainy day syndrome.They do not buy as an investment or for trading,the spread is too great.  The Chinese will,if the coming year is thought to be unfavourable.  India,the largest consumer, placed tax on imports a couple of years ago of  (I believe) 5%.  My question to my self at the time was answered by an Indian who was trying to come to an agreement with the company mentioned above,to no avail of course,when he reminded me of our conversation of sometime before,years in fact,when he predicted that middle class Hindu brides,say five or ten million every year,would swallow world production.  The presumption I now have confirmed to myself is that most markets are manipulated,you and I will be allowed to gamble in shares bonds and propery,because they are our decisions and will be our fault.The underpinning we used to enjoy fifteen years ago ,is no more.Good luck and God bless you all ... $1000 dollars of gold stuffed under the mattress a hundred years ago would be more valuable today than $1000 in cash stuffed under the same mattress, so people saying pieces of paper issued by a central bank are a better bet than gold are clearly talking nonsense, how are those Hapsburg thalers, Reich marks or Czarist rubles doing these days?  But, and it is a huge but, gold only retains its value in a civilized society, it is spectacularly useless when society breaks down a fact about which many gold buyers seem to be completely unaware. How the heck do you think gold coins will save your neck when the Morlocks are coming over the garden fence?  The mere fact of owning gold will mark you out for immediate attack. The first time you go to the market to buy your bag of rice with a gold sovereign is the moment your fate is sealed.  Historically Jews and other persecuted groups kept their wealth in gold as they figured it was their passport when the crisis came, all it meant was that the bad guys knew to strip them naked and steal their clothes and luggage after chasing them out while the peasants ransacked their homes looking for the secret stash.  Think of those caches of gold dug up by archeologists, which we are told were hidden to keep it safe from the Vikings and ask yourself how much use all that gold was to its original owner. 

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Searching for support and "handouts" (from the US) as usual ...

German Chancellor (Merkel) arrives in Washington late  this sunday for upcoming  meetings with President Obama that start Monday..."We think it's wise to have an (...) accord tied to achievements and bench marks,"  = this is a funny statement though.  Anyway,  here's what they will talk about ( this is the "public agenda" - background talks about further economic support from the FED not made public by neither of the participants - Germany needs help for sure):
 
UKRAINE
"One of the most pressing issues is the crisis in Ukraine," said Peter Wittig, Germany's ambassador to Washington. "All of us are concerned this is a spiraling military conflict. We want to explore the diplomatic options."  Merkel's visit comes as Obama considers providing modern weapons to Ukraine, which has been losing territory in the country's eastern regions to pro-Russian separatists armed with tanks and personnel carriers sporting Russia's most advanced armor.
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko on Saturday asked Western leaders at the Munich Security Conference to push for a quick cease-fire and defensive weapons capable of countering the separatists' armored assaults... Merkel, French President Francois Hollande and Russian President Vladimir Putin agreed Friday during a meeting in Moscow to draft a peace plan for Ukraine based on ideas proposed by Putin and Poroshenko, but previous agreements have fallen apart even as the conflict has resulted in more than 5,300 dead in Ukraine.  Merkel has opposed sending weapons to Ukraine. On Saturday, she said she "cannot imagine any situation in which improved equipment for the Ukrainian army leads to President Putin being so impressed that he believes he will lose militarily," according to the Associated Press.  Wittig, who briefed reporters in Washington in advance of Merkel's visit, said that if the West delivered weapons to Ukraine, "Moscow would probably reciprocate" by providing separatists with more weapons.  "How far are we willing to escalate that military spiral? I'm not sure that we are," Wittig said.
TRADE
Finally, the two leaders will discuss a thorny trade pact, the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), which would unite the economies of the USA and the 28-nations of the European Union. The deal would eliminate most trade barriers for many products and financial services.
Backers say it could produce free-market prosperity, but the negotiations have also been controversial because the pact would increase competition. Greece's new leftist ruling party, Syriza, has said it opposes the plan.
THE ISLAMIC "STATE"
Obama and Merkel will also discuss a training center Germany is setting up in Erbil, in Kurdish-controlled Iraq, to train and provide arms to Kurdish Peshmerga forces fighting against the Islamic State, which has seized territory in Iraq and Syria. Merkel will also discuss German interest in pursuing other tracks of destabilizing the militant group, including counter-financing and supporting messages that de-legitimize the group's claims that its actions, including the murder by fire last month of a captured Jordanian pilot, are backed by Muslim religious ideals.
Source - USA Today

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

When it comes to U.S. foreign policy, Americans must sometimes feel like Goldilocks in the three bears’ house. The porridge that was President George W. Bush’s “freedom agenda”—promising democracy for everyone from Karachi to Casablanca—was too hot. The mush that has been President Barack Obama ’s foreign policy—heavy on rhetoric about resets, pivots and engagement but weak in execution and deeply ambivalent about the uses of U.S. power—is too cold.
What we need instead, as the fairy tale has it, is a foreign policy that is just right—neither too ambitious nor too quiescent, forceful when necessary but mindful that we must not exhaust ourselves in utopian quests to heal crippled societies.  The U.S. finds itself today in a post-Cold War global order under immense strain, even in partial collapse. Four Arab states have unraveled since 2011. The European Union stumbles from recession to recession, with each downturn calling into question the future of the common currency and even the union itself. In Asia, China has proved to be, by turns, assertive, reckless and insecure. Russia seeks to dominate its neighbors through local proxies, dirty tricks and even outright conquest. North Korea’s nuclear arsenal and Iran’s effort to develop one tempt their neighbors to start nuclear programs of their own. And even as the core of al Qaeda fades in importance, its jihadist offshoots, including Islamic State, are metastasizing elsewhere.
As for the U.S., the sour experience of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan has generated a deep—and bipartisan—reluctance to interfere in foreign conflicts, on the view that our interventions will exact a high price in blood and treasure for uncertain strategic gains. One result is that aggressive regimes seem to think that they can pursue their territorial or strategic ambitions without much fear of a decisive U.S. response. Another is that many of our traditional allies, from Israel to Saudi Arabia to Japan, are quietly beginning to explore other options as the old guarantees of the postwar Pax Americana no longer seem as secure as they once were.  How should an American president navigate through this world of ambitious rogues and nervous freelancers? How can the U.S. enforce some basic global norms, deter enemies and reassure friends without losing sight of our global priorities and national interests? How do we conduct a foreign policy that keeps our nightmares at bay, even if we can’t always make our dreams come true?  When it comes to restoring order in places widely assumed to be beyond the reach of redemption, there is a proven model for us to consult. But it has nothing to do with foreign policy; it has to do with policing our toughest inner cities. And it has brought spectacular—and almost wholly unexpected—results.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Growing fears about the US economy sparked a global stock market sell-off, with shares in London, Europe and the US falling sharply following poor data from America.... As the dollar falls so the value of companies rise as they are valued in widgets, so as the dollars rises so the value of companies fall, also if you have a large deficit that can not be paid for with tax then you create perpetual bonds at zero percent interest to the value of the difference, now both the UK and US are doing this, they call it QE, but no where can I find this in this paper or its comments, is every commenter here a troll typing a from a script? I live in a world of either robots or crazy people...The QE addicted stock markets are suffering cold turkey. They expect their next fix soon. The Fed dealer will comply to keep his customers happy. Sadly they still don't realise the QE fix makes the addict sicker.  I'm looking forward to the November Gold Referendum in Switzerland when the people will vote for ensuring the Swiss franc is actually backed up by something more than a promise of more funny money.  A further nail in the coffin for this absurd charade... QE means that the Fed has lots of US bonds. This kept interest rates low. Why doesn't the Fed start selling these bonds as there is now a demand for a safe haven in US dollars? The will prevent interest rates on the bonds falling lower and get the Fed out of the real economy.
OK what is wrong with this idea?   High rates increase the debt repayments for all debtors, the largest of which is the USGovt. An entity which has, as it happens, dramatically increased the proportion of its debt that is short-term, a move designed to lower interest costs. This also exposes the US to huge rate-risk as they must roll this short-term debt frequently. They cannot risk higher rates, possibly ever.  What they would ideally like is high inflation combined with low rates, to inflate away the value of all those trillions in debt while keeping interest payments down...  My sense is that the belief that Central Bank policy can insulate investors from any and all risk is now wearing thin. Finally. After a very long wait for those of us who always knew it would. If true, this has profound implications that will quickly become apparent.  As long as traders believed that the CBs would always be willing and able to save the day in case of any market pullbacks, why not leverage up and go all-in? It's been nearly impossible to lose money in the stock/bond/property markets over the past 5 years. Many/most traders know that the CB's have been blowing a massive asset bubble over the past few years but they also believe that they're smarter than everyone else and will be able to sell before the crowd when the bubble starts to pop - so why not, as former Citigroup CEO Chuck Prince memorably put it, 'Dance as long as the music is playing'?

Sunday, June 29, 2014

The US economy has shrunken at its fastest rate since the depths of the recession five years ago as it emerged that the harsh winter took a far bigger toll on activity than previously estimated.
Official data released in Washington showed that output as measured by gross domestic product fell at an annual rate of 2.9% in the first three months of 2014. Originally, the Department of Commerce had said output rose by 0.1% at an annual rate in the quarter ending March before adjusting this to a 1% decline. The gap between the second and the third estimates was the largest on record. Wall Street was taken unawares by the size of the downward revision to growth in the world's biggest economy, with the consensus believing that growth would be down by 1.7% at an annual rate. But it expressed confidence that the US would quickly bounce back from a weather-affected start to 2014 by posting strong growth in the second quarter. Nancy Curtin, the chief investment officer of Close Brothers Asset Management said: "The US economy didn't just grind to a halt in the first quarter – it hit reverse as the polar vortex took its toll. But we can't judge current growth by looking in the rear-view mirror, and we are unlikely to see investors react strongly to what is now quite a long way behind us.
"More recent data have pointed to the economy picking up speed. Manufacturing is at a four year high, while the housing market is looking positive once more. It's clear that growth has gone up through the gears in Q2, and we'll see this reflected in the next GDP reading." Officials at the commerce department said the downward revision to growth had been the result of lower consumer spending on health care and a weaker than previously estimated contribution from exports.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Americans like myself who are worse off than our parents and sliding inexorably into poverty know this. Anyone with a bachelor's degree (which requires one course in beginning psychology) knows that once someone has money, they spend their days justifying their having more than others and put the full force of their efforts behind getting more money at the expense of others.
Unfortunately, the right has enough money and enough power to ensure that the remnants of the middle class in the US will believe that it is people of color who are ruining their lives, not the 1%.The powers of financial capitalism had another far-reaching aim, nothing less than to create a world system of financial control in private hands able to dominate the political system of each country and the economy of the world as a whole. This system was to be controlled is a feudalist fashion by the central banks of the world acting in concert, by secret agreements arrived at in frequent private meetings and conferences.
The bailouts are the greatest theft in the history of mankind!
Giving the banks the money that they never had!
This cheap money that they create never existed and now we have to pay the bill for it... When they backed those who caused the crash they were only encouraging those involved to continue as if nothing had happened.
That is exactly what has now happened with yet more people taking on more debt they are unlikely to ever repay.
Now we have far more people getting into debt but this time it includes a large number of people who were previously savers.
In other words they have created even more people in debt.
This is total lunacy as now more and more people are likely to end up in poverty and be looking to the state for benefits.
Giving funny money the name QE was the start of the great scam and now they are stuck in their own quagmire without a clue how to get themselves out of it.
Zombie households are now increasing as more and more people are now getting into difficulties through loss of income and rising prices.

Friday, January 10, 2014

The US President, has nominated former Bank of Israel Governor Stanley Fischer as vice chairman of the Federal Reserve.  He will take over from Janet Yellen, who becomes the first female chairman of the central bank when Ben Bernanke's term finishes at the end of the month.  The appointment comes as the central bank starts to withdraw its historic stimulus.  Mr Fischer is regarded as one of the world's most prominent monetary economists and has taught many top economist, including Mr Bernanke and European Central Bank President Mario Draghi.   "Stanley Fischer brings decades of leadership and expertise from various roles, including serving at the International Monetary Fund and the Bank of Israel," Mr Obama said in a statement.   "He is widely acknowledged as one of the world’s leading and most experienced economic policy minds and I’m grateful he has agreed to take on this new role and I am confident that he and Janet Yellen will make a great team."   As second-in-command at the International Monetary Fund from 1994-2001, Mr Fischer played a key role in battling the Asian financial crisis. Before that he was chief economist at the World Bank. Mr Fisher, who has both US and Israeli citizenship, was more recently was credited with helping Israel safely navigate the 2007-2009 financial crisis. He stepped down as governor of the Bank of Israel in June, three years into his second five-year term. Mark Carney, Bank of England Governor, said in a statement: "I am delighted by the prospect of Stan Fischer re-joining the global community of central bankers. I had the enormous privilege of working closely with him when Governor of the Bank of Canada and as chairman of the Financial Stability Board. I have found Stan to be an immense source of insight and wisdom on issues ranging from crisis management to the conduct of monetary policy and the reform of the global financial system."  Mr Obama also nominated Lael Brainard, who recently served as the Treasury Department's top official for international affairs, to serve on the Fed board and Fed Governor Jerome Powell to a new term on the board ending in 2028.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Ending the summit, Mr Putin said that world opinion was firmly against US-led intervention, and warned that Russia would take the Syrian side in the event of conflict.
“Will we help Syria? We will,” he said. “We are already helping, we send arms.”
He added: “We cooperate in the economics sphere, we hope to expand our cooperation in the humanitarian sphere, which includes sending humanitarian aid to support those people - the civilians - who have found themselves in a very dire situation in this country.”
Russia has been a long-time supplier of weapons to Syria, including a state-of-the-art air-defense system that would threaten even US warplanes attempting to attack. The Russian president said his country would stand with the Assad regime in Syria if the US launches airstrikes.
The apparent threat came as the G20 summit ended with a public split, 11 of its members issuing a statement hinting at the need for US action against the Assad regime of its alleged use of chemical weapons. Russia already supplies military aid to Syria, but the hint of more Russian backing in the event of a confrontation with the US sent jitters through financial markets worldwide.
Mr Putin also mocked Western leaders like US President Barack Obama considering intervening in Syria, suggesting that the majority of their electorates opposed any military action - including Prime Minister David Cameron for failing to persuade the Commons to back British involvement.
Mr Obama, meanwhile, compared the Syrian crisis to World War II, likening his country’s debate over intervention to the eventual American decision to support Britain against Nazi Germany.
 

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke stressed that central bank's timetable for pulling back on its $85 billion-a-month bond-buying program hasn't been determined and could be delayed if the economy continues to weaken. Mr.Bernanke kicked off two days of congressional testimony on the economy and monetary policy by noting risks to growth, inflation and financial markets that could alter the Fed's plan to start pulling back on the bond-buying program, known as quantitative easing, later this year and end it by the middle of 2014. "We need accommodative monetary policy for the foreseeable future," he said more than once during the testimony before the House Financial Services Committee, possibly his last appearance before Congress as Fed chief. His term expires at the end of January. "Because our asset purchases depend on economic and financial developments, they are by no means on a preset course."
U.S. markets strengthened modestly from the latest reassurances from Mr. Bernanke. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 0.1% at 15472 shortly after noon New York time, and the 10-year Treasury note gained in price, with the yield falling to 2.496%.
Fed officials were jarred four weeks ago by the sharp market reaction to the central bank's tentative timetable for winding down the program. Stocks initially fell, though they've recovered, and long-term interest rates shots up. Ever since, Fed officials have been trying to calm investors about the outlook for the program, which is designed to push down long-term rates and push up prices of stocks, homes and other assets.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

The US economy is still too weak for the Federal Reserve to pull back from its $85bn-a-month stimulus package, the central bank said on Wednesday. In a statement after a two-day meeting, the Fed said it would leave interest rates unchanged, and will keep up its massive open-ended commitment to buy bonds and mortgage-backed securities until the job market improves substantially. The news sent US stock markets to new highs. The Fed expects the unemployment rate to fall to 7.3% to 7.5% by the end of the year, an improvement on its December forecast. But the Fed slightly lowered its economic growth forecast, saying it expects the economy to grow 2.3% to 2.8% this year, down from its December projection of 2.3% to 3%.
"Labor market conditions have shown signs of improvement in recent months but the unemployment rate remains elevated. Household spending and business fixed investment advanced, and the housing sector has strengthened further, but fiscal policy has become somewhat more restrictive," the federal open market committee said in its statement. The committee appears unconcerned about inflation.
The decision to maintain its current course comes after a series of reports in the jobs, housing and manufacturing markets have suggested economic recovery is taking hold in the US. The recovery appears to have caused a split within the FOMC with some members expressing concern about the ongoing bond-buying programme, known as quantitative easing.
"Several members" of the FOMC were worried about the long-term impact of the bond-buying programme, according to minutes of the last FOMC meeting. However, according to the latest statement, only Esther George, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, voted against the Fed's current plan. She was "concerned that the continued high level of monetary accommodation increased the risks of future economic and financial imbalances and, over time, could cause an increase in long-term inflation expectations," according to the statement.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

GERMAN Chancellor Angela Merkel has been left red-faced after shaking hands with world leaders on a rug looted by Hitler's second-in-command Hermann Goering.

The rug is part of more than 2,000 items looted by the leading Nazi, who killed himself after being sentenced to the death penalty at the Nuremberg Trials in 1946.
An investigation by journalists working for news magazine Der Spiegel revealed the true history of the Persian rug, which has caused embarrassment for the German leader.  Mrs Merkel is preparing to make her third bid for power this Autumn, and is said to be furious with her aides over the revelations .  It is understood the rug will be removed from view by the end of the week.   The former state minister for culture Michael Naumann has now urged the government to force the return of Nazi looted items to their rightful owners or their heirs.
"The legislature must concretise their return," he said. "More money must also be used for research in German museums."    The timing of the revelation is even more embarrassing as it comes hours after Holocaust Memorial Day, held on Sunday January 27..... In a podcast on her website, Mrs Merket said: "Naturally, we have an everlasting responsibility for the crimes of national-socialism, for the victims of World War II, and above all, for the Holocaust.
We’re facing our history, we’re not hiding anything, we’re not repressing anything. We must confront this to make sure we are a good and trustworthy partner in the future, as we already are today, thankfully."It is unclear how another Goering carpet ended up in the chancellor's office in Berlin.  The West German government in 1966 declared the task of reuniting owners with their stolen property to be 'concluded.'
But tapestry from the same collection as the rug in Mrs Merkel's office adorns the walls of a government guest house on the outskirts of Bonn.


Friday, December 21, 2012

Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti resigned on Friday after a year of battling the debt crisis with austerity and reforms and selling his nation to the germans as lawmakers gave final approval to a budget bill that will pave the way for early elections. Monti said earlier he would step down once the vote was approved, kicking off a campaign that will likely see Italy go to the polls on February 24, with former premier Silvio Berlusconi and centre-left leader Pier Luigi Bersani already in the running. After Christmas mass in the prime minister's residence, Monti joked about the end-of-world Mayan prophecy saying: "A year ago this government was only just beginning. Now we will have to wrap up and it's not the fault of the Mayas." He then addressed Italy's ambassadors abroad saying his speech would be his "last act" before handing in his resignation. "Thank you for these difficult but fascinating 13 months," he said. Monti could also join the campaign and is under strong domestic and international pressure to do so. He is expected to reveal his future political ambitions at an end of year press conference scheduled for Sunday. Sources close to the technocrat premier insist he has not yet decided whether to enter the fray, despite appearing to launch a bid for a weighty role in the campaign with a rousing speech at a Fiat factory on Thursday. Some political observers have said Monti could campaign as unofficial leader of a centrist coalition that has been likened to the Christian-Democrats who dominated Italy for decades. Monti's name cannot officially be on the ballot as he is already a senator for life, but he can still be appointed to a post in government including prime minister or finance minister after elections. The centrist agenda will include "historic reforms" and "far deeper liberalization than we have witnessed so far", sources quoted by the Corriere della Sera daily. Monti, 69, defended on Thursday the "bitter medicine" of budget discipline he has implemented as well as his selling his people to the "Fourth Reich" and warned against any attempt to turn back the clock. Another words, he wants a German governor and a nation of enslaved Italians!!!