Wednesday, October 19, 2011
"If things get out of hand in the euro area, no bank in the financial integrated world will stand," he told a parliamentary committee.
Mr Buiter, a former member of the Bank of England's Monetary Policy Committee, said the recapitalisation of banks and other systemically important institutions should be a priority in the region.
"If they don't, we are setting ourselves up for a financial crisis following the sovereign crisis," he said, giving evidence at a session of the House of Lords EU Economic and Financial Affairs Sub-Committee on the eurozone crisis.
Mr Buiter said he was not hopeful that "a grand plan, a grand design, [or] even a big bazooka for that matter" would emerge from the European leaders summit in Brussels on Sunday, or at the G20 summit in Cannes on November 3 and 4.
"There will be some progress, but very limited," he said. "It's going to take months, probably well in 2012, before we have clarity about how Spain and Italy will be ring-fenced, guaranteed funding, how the banks will be recapitalised and how much of them will end up being majority state owned - I expect a significant number of them."
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev is interested in the so-called Strategic Earth Defense concept proposed by Russian NATO envoy Dmitry Rogozin, a Kremlin source said on Tuesday.
“The president is familiar with this conception, it seemed interesting for him,” the source said.
Earlier on Tuesday Russian Kommersant daily reported that Russia was preparing to offer the United States and NATO a draft project for the joint defense system that would protect the Earth from asteroids and other threats from space.
Rogozin proposed the draft concept, Kommersant said.
However, Russian scientists are skeptical that missiles can protect Earth from asteroids.
“It is unlikely that existing missiles would be able to destroy an asteroid. We can currently reach only a few near-Earth asteroids…it is necessary to develop other ways of countering asteroid-comet threats,” Sergey Naroenkov of the Institute of Astronomy of the Russian Academy of Sciences said.
The scientist also said that the destruction of the asteroids with the help of missiles is “the most extreme option, when no other is available” since the missile may not totally destroy the space object, but break it into fragments that are even more harmful than the intact asteroid.
He said that the Earth's atmosphere is able to protect the planet from the space objects with a diameter under 30 meters. Larger asteroids can reach the surface and cause damage, Naroenkov said.
Some hedge funds already use Twitter and other social networks to 'predict' fluctuations in the stock market.
Now a U.S. government agency is to use the social network to attempt to predict revolutions.
Iarpa - the Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity - hopes to be able to predict 'unexpected' events such as revolutions using a wide range of data.
Iarpa is to spend three years analysing data taken from 'open' sources such as Wikipedia edits, Twitter posts and even publicly available data from traffic systems and webcams.
The data will be taken from 21 countries in mainland Latin America, chosen because they offer a wide variety of data, and a wide variety of reported events.
The goal is to allow Iarpa to 'predict' news before it happens.
Teams will compete to make the best predictions.
A statement from the proejct, called OSI - the Open Source Initiative - said, 'Teams choose sensors, data, and methods. Teams are rewarded for early and accurate warnings of as many newsworthy events as possible.'
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2050510/US-intelligence-agency-foresee-news-happens-using-Twitter.html#ixzz1bEh7ENo8
Moody's cut Spain's rating by two notches from A1 from Aa2, with a negative outlook, just days after a similar move from Standard & Poor's.
Describing a now familiar malaise of slow growth and crushing private and public debt, Moody's in effect issued a vote of no confidence in Spain and the European Union's handling of the crisis so far.
"Since placing the ratings under review in late July 2011, no credible resolution of the current sovereign debt crisis has emerged and it will in any event take time for confidence in the area's political cohesion and growth prospects to be fully restored."
"Spain's large sovereign borrowing needs as well as the high external indebtedness of the Spanish banking and corporate sectors render it vulnerable to further funding stress."
Moody's warned that stress would be further exacerbated by slow growth, which would make budget cuts even more painful for whichever government emerges from general elections on November 20.
A 100 percent 'haircut' - or writedown of Greek debt - would be needed to reduce Greece's debts to a manageable level, a senior analyst told CNBC Tuesday.
"Haircuts would not work because you have around one third of the debt being owned by officials like the IMF and European loans so you cannot haircut that and also Greek banks would need to be recapitalized," Stephane Deo, head of European economic research at UBS told CNBC.
He added that a 50 percent haircut would translate only to a reduction in actual debt of 20 percent or so. So to acheive an actual debt reduction of 50 percent you would need to implement a haircut of 100 percent - to repudiate its debts totally.
Deo said the only real solution to the problem is to have much bigger private sector involvement.
"A bigger PSI (private sector involvement) involvement is needed where you reduce the interest rate and you extend the duration of the debt.
You don't do a haircut but you restructure the debt much more voluntarily than what has already been proposed," Deo added.
An EU summit planned for this weekend had been seen as the one which would deliver a decisive plan of action to resolving the debt crisis plaguing the euro zone.
However, tempering any overly optimistic reactions by markets for a quick fix, Germany's finance minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said on Monday that while a detailed plan would be adopted it was wrong to expect a miraculous solution to the problem.
He warned that the issue of contagion remained a prominent threat to the region.
U.S. producer prices rose more than expected in September to record their largest increase in five months as gasoline prices surged, a government report showed on Tuesday.
The Labor Department said its seasonally adjusted index for prices received by farms, factories and refineries, increased 0.8 percent after being flat in August. Economists polled by Reuters had expected prices to increase 0.2 percent.
Excluding volatile food and energy, wholesale prices rose 0.2 percent last month after inching up 0.1 percent in August. That was above economists expectations for a 0.1 percent gain.
But the strong rise in wholesale prices last month is unlikely to spark a broad increase in inflation pressures given the weak economic environment.
It will probably have little impact on the Federal Reserve , which focuses on core inflation, as it weighs options to help the anemic recovery and pull down an unemployment rate stuck above 9 percent.
Pressure on the U.S. central bank has lessened in recent weeks as data such as retail sales and the trade balance suggested economic growth accelerated in the third quarter after the second quarters tepid 1.3 percent annual rate.
Economists estimate gross domestic product grew at an annual pace of anywhere between 2.3 percent and 2.7 percent in the third quarter.
Last month, wholesale prices were pushed by a 4.2 percent jump in gasoline price, the largest increase since March, after dropping 1.0 percent in August. Food prices rose 0.6 percent, slowing from a 1.1 percent rise in August.
In the 12 months to September, producer prices increased 6.9 percent, accelerating from Augusts 6.5 percent advance.
Wholesale prices outside of food and fuel were bumped up by a 0.6 percent rise in light motor trucks — accounting for a third of the rise in the core PPI measure. Light trucks had risen 0.1 percent in August.
In the 12 months to September, core producer prices rose 2.5 percent after increasing by a similar margin the prior month. The rise was above economists expectations for a 2.4 percent advance.
(Reuters) - Embattled Prime Minister George Papandreou made a final appeal for support from wavering deputies on Tuesday ahead of a vote on unpopular new austerity measures that will be held against a backdrop of one of the biggest strikes inGreece for years.
Unions representing around half of Greece's 4 million-strong workforce have called a 48 hour general strike for Wednesday and Thursday to protest against a sweeping package of austerity measures due to be passed in parliament this week.
"I'm asking for your support. I'm asking for all parties' support but we will be the ones who will once again bear the burden of this decision," Papandreou told lawmakers from his ruling PASOK party.
He rejected any suggestion that Greece would be forced out of the euro as a result of the crisis that has left Athens dependent on foreign support to stave off bankruptcy and appealed to European partners for support.
"The parliament vote must give us the power to negotiate at the summit," Papandreou said. "This negotiation must end uncertainty and insecurity."
"It's time for Europe to take serious and effective decisions to end the crisis in the euro zone."
A wave of smaller strikes over recent days by groups ranging from rubbish collectors to tax officials, journalists and seamen has given a foretaste of this week's protest which will culminate in mass demonstrations in front of parliament, the scene of violent clashes in June.
The protest, dubbed "the mother of all strikes" by the daily Ta Nea newspaper, is expected to be the biggest since the financial crisis began two years ago, shutting state offices, shops and even providers of everyday staples like bakers.
Papandreou's struggling Socialist government, trailing badly in opinion polls, has 154 deputies in the 300-seat parliament and is expected to pass the bill, which includes tax hikes, wage cuts, public sector layoffs and changes to collective bargaining rules, in two votes on Wednesday and Thursday.
Trapped in deep recession for the past three years, Greece is choking on a public debt that amounts to around 162 percent of gross domestic product and there are growing doubts that it will be able to emerge from the crisis without defaulting.
An EU and IMF inspection team left Athens last week, recommending approval of a vital 8 billion euro loan tranche but said Greece was falling behind on its budget targets and should move more quickly to cut spending and pass reforms.
Some euro zone countries have been pressing for a European Commission taskforce to be given direct powers to intervene in areas such as overseeing the sale of state assets.
The Greek government declined to comment on Tuesday but any outside taskforce would need to be ready to counter resistance from a society deeply disillusioned with its own political leaders but also increasingly hostile to outside intervention.
"They've made people want to throw stones at them with these measures. If they were willing to give up their salaries and bonuses, we would probably feel differently about them," said teacher Stamatina Lazopoulou, 36, a mother of two, who will take part in the strike
The latest austerity bill follows a series of painful measures that have so far failed to halt a steady rise in Greece's mountainous public debt and have been attacked by the opposition for stifling any prospect of growth in the stricken economy.
Papandreou met conservative opposition New Democracy leader Antonis Samaras in a bid to present a united front in Brussels. A government official said the premier asked for support on the austerity bill.
The conservatives have ruled out cooperation with the government, saying austerity policies were stifling the economy and the bailout plan must be renegotiated.
Underlining the problems facing an economy that is already forecast to contract 5.5 percent in 2011, data on Tuesday showed headline unemployment rising to 16.5 percent in July, a month when summer tourism normally boosts job numbers. Youth unemployment was running as high as 42 percent.