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 31.01.2013

WEEKLY COMMENT 31-01-2013

 By Chris Penniston

In the absence of anything of great interest concerning the matters normally discussed in the weekly comment. We thought that it might be useful to remind clients and visitors to the web-site what the Txtreme business is all about.

The SMS (Short Message Service) concept was developed in the Franco-German GSM cooperation in 1984 by Friedhelm Hillebrand and Bernard Ghillebaert. The innovation in SMS is Short. The GSM (Global System for Mobile Communications) is optimized for telephony, since this was identified as its main application. The key idea for SMS was to use this telephone-optimized system, and to transport messages on the signaling paths needed to control the telephone traffic during time periods when no signaling traffic existed. In this way, unused resources in the system could be used to transport messages at minimal cost. However, it was necessary to limit the length of the messages to 128 bytes (later improved to 140 bytes, or 160 seven-bit characters) so that the messages could fit into the existing signaling formats. 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

WEEKLY COMMENT 17-01-2013

WEEKLY COMMENT 17-01-2013

By Barry Edwards

 

The news that HMV and Blockbuster have called in the administrators are the latest casualties in the UK high street that is a direct result of the gradual shift by many consumers buying product on line. Other companies selling electrical and photographic merchandise have met the same problems clearly demonstrating that this trend is gaining momentum.

Recent statistics for the Christmas period show that 20% of all purchases were made over the Internet which must surely be a trend that will only increase. In reality there has to be some kind of level where the equilibrium between the Internet and the high street will settle and in my view this is likely to be around 40-50% of all purchases. read more

WEEKLY COMMENT 10-01-2013

WEEKLY COMMENT 10-01-2013

By Barry Edwards

 A Happy and Prosperous New Year to everyone from the Txtreme team.

As we moved into the New Year we stepped back from the fiscal cliff and started the year with unenthusiastic acceptance of the political agreement from the markets and financial commentators. The result, surprisingly, was a boost to stock markets around the world and a general air of confidence prevailed for a few days. This seems to be dissipating fairly quickly as the forecasts for 2013 are becoming gloomier. read more

WEEKLY COMMENT 20-12-2012

WEEKLY COMMENT 20-12-2012

By Barry Edwards

In the UK the year of 2012 has not turned out to be as bad as many of us thought it was going to be even though we have gone through another official recession of two quarters of shrinking gross domestic product (GDP).

The Olympics transformed everyone’s doom and gloom into outright enthusiasm especially in London and the south east. Things are clearly not that rosy in the north but in general there is an air of confidence beginning to flourish although it is still very tenuous. Any major economic disaster story could wreck that feeling but at the moment there does not appear to be anything on the horizon that could be that threatening. read more

WEEKLY COMMENT 13-12-2012

WEEKLY COMMENT 13-12-2012

By Barry Edwards

 

There has been a lot of discussion concerning the UK status within the EU in the last few weeks. It seems that The Conservative Party is splitting itself into three representing;

  1. Definitely remain in the EU.
  2. Come out of the EU.
  3. Repatriate some of the powers but remain a member mainly for trade purposes as originally decided in the last referendum.

It appears that The Prime Minister and Boris Johnson, who has become a lead spokesman on this matter, are both seeking to promote option 3 and then ask the nation in a referendum whether they agree with that or come out altogether.

The debate is attempting to finally resolve the EU question so that the politicians and business can be certain how to plan ahead with full support from the nation.  If the UK was a large company this would be a very reasonable approach and makes perfect sense. Unfortunately, we are a diverse nation of people who have very strong views not all of them based on the actual facts of the situation. read more

WEEKLY COMMENT 6-12-2012

WEEKLY COMMENT 6-12-2012

By Barry Edwards

There was a vast amount of information released connected with the Autumn Statement which has taken some time to skim through and check for relevance to business.

The Autumn Statement was not the grand economic growth plan that we were lead to believe was going to be unveiled by the Chancellor. In previous weekly comments; Lord Heseltine’s report and infrastructure were discussed which were referred to in the statement but not as a cohesive plan to really make a difference. read more

Weekly Comment 23-11-2012

 

 

WEEKLY COMMENT 23-11-2012

By Barry Edwards

It is surprising that financial markets have been virtually unaffected by the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. Although we now have a ceasefire, it is beyond most people’s belief that this will be the end of the troubles.

It is clear both sides are at fault and the failure to recognise their own shortcomings seems to be the real problem behind the unending antagonism.  It does not help that outside influence plays a big role in the actions of the Palestinians but ultimately the cause of the reaction by the people is simple poverty and the lack of opportunity to make a better life for themselves without unwelcome interference. read more

WEEKLY COMMENT 16-11-2012 By Barry Edwards

The American presidential elections produced the expected result and have created the predicted further uncertainty in financial markets mainly because of the stalemate in congress which is still controlled by the Republican Party.
In effect, this means the Democrats and Republicans have to agree on the budget for America for the next year, referred to as the ‘fiscal cliff’, which is causing reservations amongst investors who have little faith in compromise being achieved before the final hour.
The USA government cannot increase the amount of government bonds that can be issued without the consent of Congress. Therefore, before permission can be given to the USA Treasury to instruct the Federal Reserve (the central bank) to issue bonds to cover the fiscal deficit, agreement must be reached. The fiscal deficit is the difference between the amount of tax raised and the forecast expenditure by government for the next fiscal year which for 2013 is estimated to be about $1000 billion.
You might say ‘well what has that got to do with us here in the UK?’ The reason is that the USA economy is still the largest in the world and does have an effect around the world purely by the impact of the purchasing power of government and business that affects all other countries worldwide.
Although the emerging market economies are expanding, they are still partly dependent on American imports to maintain that growth. Any doubt about this is reflected in financial markets and depresses confidence.
In Europe, the USA election has not changed anything dramatically; however public reaction to the austerity being imposed in the Mediterranean countries is beginning to dominate the news causing concern for the politicians. We will have to see whether this resistance to the severe government cutbacks becomes more intense to make a judgement on the effect it will have on decision making and the survival of the Euro itself.
That is a brief summary of the markets and the general economic situation in the last week. read more