WEEKLY COMMENT 18-04-2013

WEEKLY COMMENT 18-04-2013

By Barry Edwards

The gold price has been moving about a lot in the last week, mostly downwards. Since the high on the 4th of October 2012 of $1794.8 a troy ounce it has fallen to $1323 on the 16th of April, last Monday. It is currently $1388 and seems to be settling around this price for the moment.

At today’s price that is a fall of 22.8%; gold is different from other commodities because it is also used as money by many people who have no faith in currencies as a means of wealth. The price also moves because of people’s perception of the global economy. Consequently, since the financial crisis the price has risen to its high in October last year falling to today’s level as the world is slowly recovering from the recession. read more

WEEKLY COMMENT 11-04-2013

WEEKLY COMMENT 11-04-2013

By Barry Edwards

The demise of Margaret Thatcher has dominated the media this week attracting a wide range of comment some of which is not justified. My own view is that she helped to heal a very sick country and allowed its entrepreneurial flair to flourish once again.

The remedies she carried through parliament were very necessary and have been copied worldwide. If she had not imposed the cure another government would have been forced to do what she achieved because the economy would have collapsed under the weight of trade union revolt and government ownership of major industries and utilities. read more

WEEKLY COMMENT 4-04-2013

WEEKLY COMMENT 4-04-2013

By Barry Edwards

There isn’t any specific event this week that has been the centre of attention and therefore I would like to comment on the aftermath of the Cyprus bail-out. Like all these financial disasters, it always appears to be far more serious than the actual outcome when the impact has had a chance to be reflected upon and absorbed.

The consequences that were predicted by some commentators a week ago have not materialised and the markets are recovering from the event without any dramatic sell off. Even the withdrawal of deposits elsewhere in The EU has not yet happened which was a big concern for the politicians. In fact, the upward trend of the major stock markets has hardly been affected and most participants are looking back on the Cyprus story as a blip which will be the seed of change for the better in Europe, even though many do not think it was handled very well by the Eurogroup. read more

WEEKLY COMMENT 28-03-2013

WEEKLY COMMENT 28-03-2013

By Barry Edwards

The continuing resolution to the Cyprus problem has dominated the headlines. The final proposal was accepted by the government on Monday which was an improvement on the original plan. The Eurogroup is the EU organisation doing the negotiating in conjunction with the IMF, if you haven’t seen the statement they issued you can read it by right clicking on the link below and clicking on ‘open hyperlink’. It is a page and a half long.

http://www.eurozone.europa.eu/newsroom/news/2013/03/eg-statement-cyprus-25-03-13/ read more

WEEKLY COMMENT 21-03-2013

WEEKLY COMMENT 21-03-2013

By Barry Edwards

There are two major events this week; the UK budget announcement and Cyprus.

The budget was very low key in new content since most of the policy changes have been announced previously. The main points that will help business in the official statement that I could find are:-

  • Help to Buy: mortgage guarantee – The Government will create the Help to Buy mortgage guarantee to increase the availability of mortgages for those with small deposits across the UK.
  • Help to Buy: equity loan – From 1 April 2013 Help to Buy: equity loan will be opened up to all those who aspire to own a new build home. The Government will: provide an equity loan worth up to 20 per cent of the value of a new build home, repayable once the home is sold; significantly widen the eligibility criteria for shared equity to ensure as many people as possible are able to benefit. The maximum home value will be £600,000 and there will be no income cap constraint; and ensure that the scheme is open not only to first time buyers but also to all those looking to move up the housing ladder.
  • Corporation tax: main rate – The Government will reduce the main rate of corporation tax to 21 per cent from April 2014, as announced at Autumn Statement 2012. (Finance Bill 2013) Budget 2013 announces an additional 1 percentage point reduction to 20 per cent from April 2015. (Finance Bill 2013) (a) (26).
  • National Insurance: £2,000 Employment Allowance – The Government will introduce an allowance of £2,000 per year for all businesses and charities to be offset against their employer NICs bill from April 2014. (25).
  • Business Bank – The Government will publish the Business Bank’s first business strategy on 22 March 2013. This will set out an accelerated timetable for how the Business Bank will deploy £1 billion of new capital to improve existing access to small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) support schemes and develop a lasting new institution by the end of 2014 that will expand and diversify UK finance markets so that they serve the needs of SMEs.

There are a lot of small changes to many already announced policies either increasing the amount of money available or changing the eligibility. You can see the official statement by right clicking on the link below and clicking on ‘open hyperlink’ or follow the instructions you see:- read more

WEEKLY COMMENT 14-03-2013

WEEKLY COMMENT 14-03-2013

By Barry Edwards

There have recently been two reports concerning manufacturing in the UK and the USA as well as another one about research in the UK which I thought worth commenting upon since it is a subject that is often discussed by business colleagues with whom I associate. Unfortunately, there does not seem to be much interest from the media outside the financial press which is why I am making it the feature of this week’s comment.

The three reports are:- read more

WEEKLY COMMENT 7-03-2013

WEEKLY COMMENT 7-03-2013

By Barry Edwards

You will probably have seen a lot of mention about the USA budget control referred to as ‘The Sequester’ in the last week. This actually came into effect on the 1st of March without much comment from the general media in the UK. Amazingly, the only reaction has been that the American Dow Jones index and the British FT 100 index reached new record highs on Tuesday.

Before I comment any further, it is best to explain what it is all about and the following was taken from ‘Wikipedia’ since it gives all the basic facts without going on too much. If you know what it is all about skip the next four paragraphs in italics. read more

WEEKLY COMMENT 28-02-2013

WEEKLY COMMENT 28-02-2013

By Barry Edwards

There has been a lot of talk about the loss of the AAA rating for UK government bonds from Moody’s in the last week. The politicians are trying to score points off each other over this without having much effect on the markets or convincing anyone else that it actually has any effect on the cost of borrowing. Does any of this make a difference to future economic growth? That’s our topic for this week.

Other countries that have lost their AAA ratings recently are the USA and France which had no effect on their government bond prices and yields remain unchanged. In fact, there are only a few countries that still retain their AAA rating. The markets have taken the view that a sovereign country able to print money is never going to default. Although France is a Euro zone member, the European Central Bank (ECB) has made it clear that it will do whatever it takes to prevent a market collapse in any members’ government bonds. read more

WEEKLY COMMENT 21-02-2013

WEEKLY COMMENT 21-02-2013

By Barry Edwards

Since David Cameron made his statement on the European Union (EU), the Swedish finance minister, Anders Borg, a highly respected commentator on all matters financial has given his views this week on where we are with the dilemma of the Euro zone and the other 10 members of the EU.

To highlight what he said, here are the main points:-

‘I would strongly argue that the euro countries should be more hesitant when they are talking about moving towards a fiscal union. They might create something that solves very little but undermines the whole fundamental structure of the European Union’ read more

WEEKLY COMMENT 14-02-2013

WEEKLY COMMENT 14-02-2013

By Barry Edwards

There are three subjects that I would like to make a comment on this week. They are the statement by Anthony Jenkins of Barclays Bank, Cyprus and Barrack Obama’s State of the Union address.

They seem to summarise how the official world is looking at the next few years of our economic development and the rhetoric of political opinion.

In the case of Barclays Bank, the most telling statement of the announcement was:-

‘The behaviours which made headlines during the year stemmed from a period of 20 years in banking in which the sector became too aggressive, too focused on the short term and too disconnected from the needs of customers and clients and the wider society’. read more

WEEKLY COMMENT 7-02-2013

WEEKLY COMMENT 7-02-2013

By Barry Edwards

The Chancellor’s speech about the legislation parliament is preparing to improve the regulations to control banks, which is due to be finalised in 2015, was centred around the intention to enforce the ‘ringfencing’ plan put forward by John Vickers in his report.

Many people and politicians feel that the banks must be made to separate their investment banking from the personal and smaller business activities to prevent another financial crisis occurring again. Creating two distinct businesses within the same bank is the proposal agreed upon by government and a reluctant banking industry which is referred to as ‘ringfencing’. This should make sure the investment banking side does not utilise funding from the retail business to carry out its ‘casino’ style functions, as it has become known. read more

WEEKLY COMMENT 24-01-2013

WEEKLY COMMENT 24-01-2013

By Barry Edwards

http://www.number10.gov.uk/news/eu-speech-at-bloomberg/

If you would like to read David Cameron’s entire speech, right click on the link above and click on ‘Open Hyperlink’. This should work for most browsers, otherwise copy the link and paste it into your email address box at the top of your screen and click enter. It takes about 20 minutes to read the paper.

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The European Union Debate

The speech by David Cameron has reawakened the debate about the EU and had an enormous impact worldwide as soon as the script was released. It has stimulated reaction from many politicians, businessmen, commentators and reporters. This is the first time that a major political figure has set out a framework for discussion about the concept of the EU since the financial crisis threatened the very existence of the Eurozone and the currency it has created. read more