India is in a state of high anxiety right now ... about the price of onions. One year ago, a kilo of onions - a staple ingredient of even the most basic Indian cuisine - cost 25 rupees in a typical street market. Today that’s soared 50 rupees ($2). Earlier this month the price briefly breached the 100 rupees per kilo barrier, triggering a national furore and banner headlines on the front pages of Indian newspapers.
We all knew that there would be many a twist and turn in the Euro sovereign debt crisis before it finally plays itself out, in whatever manner that might be. However, one of the bigger surprises in recent weeks has been Japan’s announcement that it would not only follow China in buying European bonds, but that it was planning to take up to 20% of whatever might be on offer if the European Financial Stability Facility starts to raise new funding.
Those engaged with the “soft” or agriculture related commodities markets watch the big, global weather patterns more closely than most of us. We’re all, of course, aware of global warming issues and the need for business to green up, but the more immediate weather cycles only impinge on the rest of us when a spate of disasters, such as the January floods in Australia, Brazil and Sri Lanka, hit the headlines.
Stewart Hamilton , Professor Emeritus at the IMD business school in Lausanne, wrote a prescient article about the accountancy profession 22 years ago. Writing towards the end of a decade that saw "Big Bang" and other deregulatory measures reshape the financial and corporate landscape on both sides of the Atlantic, Hamilton warned that the accountancy profession had embarked on a dangerous course.
Big oil and gas companies are being pushed into a dangerous corner by a combination of “resource nationalism” - which is excluding them from the low hanging fruit in easily accessible fields - and flawed metrics that investors and analysts use to gauge their performance.
The weather has not been kind to global wheat crops through 2010 -so wheat prices have been outperforming all other commodities. And it is not just wheat that is on the rise. By mid-January 2011, rice too was at record high prices and the stock of rice available for export to countries around the world who are net importers of rice was dwindling rapidly.
There are lots of reasons why a bank would change its core system. Here’s my top five. Legacy constraints This is the most obvious one, but it does not create a reason for changing a core system in or of itself. After all, I know of plenty of banks that continue to operate processors and applications developed in the 1960s and 1970s because the view is: ‘if it ain’t broke, leave it’.
Bringing to you the top finance and business news stories of the week. This week, Spain's successful bond auction, more talk of currency war, and eastern promise in the eurozone.
The interrogation of Barclays' newly-installed chief executive Bob Diamond by the Treasury committee of the House of Commons last Tuesday was an unsatisfactory affair. The two and half hour session gave the politicians the opportunity to “grandstand” and channel popular anger about bankers’ bonuses, tax avoidance and reluctance to lend to SMEs.
A car accident, a plane crash, or Jane Fonda’s workout, perhaps, but ‘impact’ is not a word one might typically associate with investing. Especially in the context of alternatives, using ‘impact’ could be construed either meaning augmenting returns in a broader portfolio or potentially hitting the deck as the market is crashing.