Each week QFINANCE will endeavor to bring you some of the biggest news stories from the past five days in finance and business, as well as some of the most fascinating websites and links that have crossed our path. We hope you'll enjoy reading, we hope you'll have a great weekend and we hope that you'll come back each Friday to brush up on your finance and business knowledge.
Monday June 13
Stanley Fischer, the Israeli central bank governor, defended his late and rather surprising entry into the race to become head of the International Monetary Fund, succeeding Dominique Strauss-Kahn. He claimed that his credentials are ideal for the position, and that it is very important to have “someone who understands the issues of emerging markets, particularly on the macro[economic] side”. He also drew attention to another factor that he believes can prove influential, adding: “Whether you have to come from a particular geographic background seems to me another issue”. One issue facing his candidacy is his age of 67, which means that the IMF would have to take a special vote to waive the below-65 age limit to be appointed to the job.
Read about Stanley Fischer's candidacy to become head of the IMF in more depth here.
Tuesday June 14
Ivan Glasenberg, chief executive of Glencore, warned of a slowdown in demand for commodities from China and the US. He claimed that this slowing of demand had been brought on by high prices and the Chinese government’s action to curb inflation, saying: “We see a pullback in China and it will continue… There are pullbacks in China from time to time when they see inflation is too high.” However, he does not believe that this will continue for long, “These are short-term ebbs which we see from time to time… We still believe in the underlying strong fundamentals, with demand continuing to grow in Asia, particularly in China and India”. This statement comes close to the first publication of Glencore’s results since its $10bn (or €6.9bn) flotation last month.
Read about Glencore and the slowing demand from China and the US in more depth here.
Wednesday June 15
In Greece, police fired teargas on a crowd outside parliament protesting against the proposed austerity measures that were being debated that day. The main public- and private-sector unions went on strike in reaction to Prime Minister George Papandreou’s plan to cut €28bn between 2012 and 2015, a proposal that includes €6.5bn in taxes and spending cuts this year. This move is required to secure a bail-out package from the EU and IMF, and comes after Standard & Poor cut Greece’s credit rating from B to CCC, making it the least credit-worthy nation out of 131 others. The demonstrators, who were around Syntagma Square in Athens, were calling themselves the “indignants”, thus linking their own action to that of Spanish anti-austerity protestors in Madrid and Barcelona.
Read about the Greek austerity protests in more depth here.
Thursday June 16
British banks woke up to uncertainty, after the four biggest names (Barclays, Lloyds TSB, HSBC and RBS) saw £3.5bn scratched from their value the day before. Barclays lost 2.7 per cent and RBS 1.9 per cent, as investors were shown to be visibly shaken by the prospect of chancellor George Osborne’s ringfencing of the banks’ retail arms. Despite the fact that the exact details of this ringfence plan aren’t known, this proposal, created by the Vickers Commission and backed by Osborne could push up costs and erode returns for the banks.
Read about George Osborne's ringfence proposals to reform UK banking in more depth here.
Friday June 17
The day of the St Petersburg Economic Forum 2011 will surely provide a fascinating insight into the future of business in Russia, as Dmitry Medvedev is expected to announce the creation of a $10bn state-backed private equity fund. Hundreds of business leaders will flock to hear not only Medvedev’s economic plans, but also his political ones, as the international financial community clamors to hear if the president will look to stay on for a second term. The uncertainty on this front has caused capital to fly from the country and has stunted investment (over $60bn has been withdrawn since September), as a political storm builds around the forthcoming presidential elections in 2012. At the time of writing, few developments had emerged.
Read about Dmitry Medvedev and the St Petersburg Economic Forum in more depth here.
More from the week:
The Language of FinanceA leading online English dictionary recently used QFinance blog data to make a humorous financial comparison between 2010 and 2011. Take a look at the post here on their global English and language change blog. They also have a resource page for business English.
Tags: bail out , Barcelona , Barclays , BBC , China , Dmitry Medvedev , Dominique Strauss-Kahn , Financial Times , flotation , FT , George Osborne , George Papandreou , Glencore , Greece , HSBC , Ian Fraser , IMF , India , indignants , International Monetary Fund , Ivan Glasenberg , Lloyds , Macmillan Dictionary , Madrid , RBS , ringfence , St Petersburg Economic Forum 2011 , Standard & Poor's , Stanley Fischer , strike , Syntagma Square , The Language of Finance , TSB , US , Vickers Commission