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by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Thu Oct 14th, 2010 at 11:21:16 AM EST
German economy on course for strongest growth in decades | Germany | Deutsche Welle | 14.10.2010

Germany's national economy will continue its recovery despite a slowing global economy, leading economic forecasters said Thursday. Analysts predicted growth of 3.5 percent this year and two percent in 2011.

 

In their twice-yearly report, Germany's five leading economic think tanks also predicted that unemployment will get better. The number of people without a job is expected to fall below three million next year, the lowest level since 1992.

by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Thu Oct 14th, 2010 at 11:38:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
FT.com / World - German warning on `aggressive' Chinese rivals
German companies have complained about state-owned Chinese rivals landing an increasing number of contracts in eastern Europe and central Asia by means of "price-dumping, aggressive financing and generous risk-guarantees" from Beijing.

In a paper seen by the Financial Times, German industry's Committee on Eastern European Economic Relations warns that China seems driven by geopolitical rather than economic goals, with potentially dire consequences for the European Union.

The committee, which represents five industry associations and 140 top companies, called on Berlin to lobby Beijing and European countries to ensure China does not help its exporters more than other nations.

The call comes amid tensions between Beijing and the west over exchange rates and perceived impediments to trade and investment in China - and also reflects fears about Chinese companies' increasing technological know-how.

A number of leading German industrialists, among them the chief executives of BASF and Siemens, criticised China this summer for its procurement practices and for a forced transfer of know-how in return for market access.



"Ce qui vient au monde pour ne rien troubler ne mérite ni égards ni patience." René Char
by Melanchthon on Fri Oct 15th, 2010 at 03:16:08 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Rioters and police clash at Acropolis | Europe | Deutsche Welle | 14.10.2010

Riot police used tear gas and batons to disperse hundred of protestors barricading the Acropolis for a second straight day Thursday. The protestors, most of them workers at the Culture Ministry, are demanding back wages and permanent employment contracts.

The strike began on Wednesday, when some 200 employees  barricaded the Acropolis and refused to allow tourists to enter Greece's most famous tourist site unless their demands were met.

by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Thu Oct 14th, 2010 at 11:39:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
France24 - Riot police break up anti-austerity protests at the Akropolis
AFP - Riot police on Thursday stormed the Acropolis to break up a blockade of Greece's top monument by protesting culture ministry staff as the government faced fresh opposition to its austerity policies.
   
The police broke into the monument perimeter through a side entrance and used tear gas to disperse media covering the event as they tried to corner the protesters and evacuate the site, which was closed to the public for the second day.
   
The protesters grabbed on to fence railings to prevent their removal from the hilltop site overlooking central Athens as gathered tourists snapped pictures.
   
At least one protester was detained as the police emptied the site, an AFP photographer said.
by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Thu Oct 14th, 2010 at 11:45:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
French Senate postpones pension reform vote | Europe | Deutsche Welle | 14.10.2010

France's Senate has delayed a planned vote on a bill that would introduce pension reforms and raise the retirement age, a ruling party spokeswoman said on Wednesday.

The legislation, which would raise the early retirement age from 60 to 62 by 2018 and lift the age of eligibility for a full pension from 65 to 67, has set off nationwide strikes and protests, disrupting transport, schools and services.

The vote, which had been expected to be held on Friday or Saturday, has been pushed back until October 20, according to a lawmaker speaking to the Agence France-Presse news agency. The spokeswoman for the ruling conservative UMP party said parliament's upper house needed more time to debate around 820 proposed amendments filed by the Socialist opposition.

by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Thu Oct 14th, 2010 at 11:39:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The weapons and tactics of a currency war | Business | Deutsche Welle | 14.10.2010

Conflict is growing in the trade relationship between the United States and China, with the yuan being held at an artificially low value to secure a competitive advantage for Chinese exports.

Goods produced in a country such as China with an inexpensive currency effectively cost less when sold to consumers in a country with a higher value currency. Those goods then become desirable, helping to spur the economy in the producing country.

But China is by no means alone in engaging in this type of policy. Many countries seek to make their exports more attractive by keeping their currency weak. And there are plenty of strategies by which to do so.

by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Thu Oct 14th, 2010 at 11:40:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Hochtief prepares defense against Spanish takeover bid | Business | Deutsche Welle | 13.10.2010

Threatened by a possible hostile takeover, German construction giant Hochtief has enlisted help from the political establishment. The Spanish construction company ACS - which is already the company's largest single shareholder with a nearly 30 percent stake - announced its takeover plans last month.

SPD party leader Sigmar Gabriel will visit Hochtief's headquarters in Essen on Thursday to meet with its works council and gather information about the situation. ACS is set to submit its offer to Germany's financial regulator, BaFin, for review on the same day.

by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Thu Oct 14th, 2010 at 11:42:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]
This pending take-over has a certain mordant symmetry. A giant German construction company taken over by a Spanish construction company. Spain had the biggest construction bust and Germany financed the largest part of that bust, IIRCC. But how did ACS manage to get into position to even threaten such a feat?

As the Dutch said while fighting the Spanish: "It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Thu Oct 14th, 2010 at 11:44:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Simple, ACS is big. If they managed to survive the Spanish crisis they're in a position to take over anyone.

Also, because of the absence of a construction boom in Germany, German construction companies are relatively smaller.

None of this means that ACS' bid is sound. It might be, or not. Takeovers are not about the health of the business.

By laying out pros and cons we risk inducing people to join the debate, and losing control of a process that only we fully understand. - Alan Greenspan

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Oct 15th, 2010 at 01:48:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
off the top of my head w/ no research, i'd say that ACS must expand to other markets because of the slowdown in Spain.  Further, they see Hochtief with a huge coming position constructing in the offshore wind sector.  In fact, hochtief is in a 50% partnership with Beluga Shipping to not only construct, but build construction and transport vessels.

this could be one reason why the german gov is taking a stance to prevent the takeover.

all taking place on the new battlefield of market protectionism (see cf. german giants taking on China over IP, tech transfer steals, and low yuan; or france/Alsom taking on Eurotunnel/Siemens; dollar devaluation.)

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Anaïs Nin

by Crazy Horse on Fri Oct 15th, 2010 at 05:25:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Crazy Horse:
this could be one reason why the german gov is taking a stance to prevent the takeover.
Germany joined the EU to take over others' firms, not the other way around.

By laying out pros and cons we risk inducing people to join the debate, and losing control of a process that only we fully understand. - Alan Greenspan
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Oct 15th, 2010 at 05:44:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
???  SPD chief Gabriel has already called on Merkel to intervene, as well as calling for changes to law to make it harder for hostile takeovers.  bruederle has so far refused, but as in Opel, some action is quite likely.

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Anaïs Nin
by Crazy Horse on Fri Oct 15th, 2010 at 06:20:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
There is one set of rules for German firms and one for others, obviously.

By laying out pros and cons we risk inducing people to join the debate, and losing control of a process that only we fully understand. - Alan Greenspan
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Oct 15th, 2010 at 06:25:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Pardon? Uhhh...give me a second...I'm updating the Colonialism Disguised As Capitalism Handbook.

Never underestimate their intelligence, always underestimate their knowledge.

Frank Delaney ~ Ireland

by siegestate (siegestate or beyondwarispeace.com) on Fri Oct 15th, 2010 at 07:29:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Government to scrap state bodies to cut costs | Reuters

(Reuters) - The government is to abolish, merge or reform 481 semi-independent state agencies to cut spending and help reduce its deficit, under a plan that will cost thousands of jobs and change the way many services are delivered.

The overhaul of what the government calls "arm's length bodies" because they are not under direct ministerial control will affect agencies with a wide variety of responsibilities ranging from competition to child protection to renewable fuels.

"It will save money, but that is not the principal objective of it, actually. The principal objective is to increase accountability," Francis Maude, the minister in charge of the reforms, told BBC radio.

The coalition had pledged in its government agreement to reduce the number and cost of arm's length bodies as part of its deficit reduction strategy.

by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Thu Oct 14th, 2010 at 11:56:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Government to create single competition authority | Reuters

(Reuters) - Britain plans to streamline its antitrust regime by merging two existing bodies into a single competition and market authority, in a move broadly welcomed by business leaders.

An official list of public bodies facing reform said the government would consult next year on a merger of the Competition Commission with the competition functions of the Office of Fair Trading (OFT). The proposal would transfer the OFT's consumer and enforcement functions to another body.

The CBI welcomed the move on Thursday, which it said it had advocated. The heads of the two organisations also backed the proposal.

"The planned merger would improve the efficiency of the competition regime by cutting duplication," said Matthew Fell, CBI Director of Competitive Markets.

by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Thu Oct 14th, 2010 at 11:58:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Britain plans to streamline its antitrust regime by merging two existing bodies into a single competition and market authority

Won't that make it a monopoly?

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Fri Oct 15th, 2010 at 07:24:09 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Osborne : "Drat, I was hoping nobody would notice"

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Fri Oct 15th, 2010 at 07:50:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Government scraps 192 quangos | Politics | guardian.co.uk

The government today delivered its promised "bonfire of the quangos", abolishing 192 government agencies, merging another 118 and substantially reforming a further 171.

Thousands of jobs will go and as many will be transferred into new departments. It amounts to the biggest shakeup of government the coalition has made to date.

Health bodies are dealt a particularly heavy blow with the Health Protection Agency being scrapped and its functions brought into the Department of Health. The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority, the Human Genetics Commission and the Human Tissue Authority will all be scrapped.

The BBC World Service and the British Council have both won reprieves and the Equality and Human Rights Commission will be retained, though its regulatory functions will be substantially changed and its budget is expected to be dramatically reduced.

by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Thu Oct 14th, 2010 at 12:02:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
FT.com / Comment / Opinion - Britain's austerity apostles duck the debate
What macroeconomic theory do the budget hawks have to subscribe to, to believe that taking £100bn out of the economy in the next four years will produce recovery? And what do the budget doves need to believe to claim the cutters are wrong?

David Cameron, Mr Osborne, and Nick Clegg appear to believe in something called "crowding out". This is the view that for every extra pound the government spends, the private sector spends one pound less. Jobs created by stimulus spending are jobs lost by the decline of private spending. Any stimulus to revive the economy is doubly damned: not only does it fail to stimulate, but, because government spending is less efficient than private, it reduces the economy's longer term recovery potential.
...
A refinement of this argument is "psychological crowding out". In this version it is not a shortage of saving, but a shortage of confidence in the government's creditworthiness - due to a fear of default - which causes interest rates to rise. Either way the deficit "crowds out" private investment. Net stimulus: zero.
...
Keynesians do not deny the possibility of "psychological crowding out": markets are subject to all kinds of irrational hopes and fears. But what the cutters mean by "crowding out" can normally only happen at full employment. At full employment, extra public spending obviously subtracts from private spending. But this is not the position we are in today.



"Ce qui vient au monde pour ne rien troubler ne mérite ni égards ni patience." René Char
by Melanchthon on Thu Oct 14th, 2010 at 02:22:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The principal objective is to increase accountability...

Because anything that once was thought to benefit from being isolated from partisan politics is to become more accountable by either being dissolved or made part of the partisan process? Is Civil Service next?

As the Dutch said while fighting the Spanish: "It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Thu Oct 14th, 2010 at 11:51:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Government to raise £4 billion/year via pension tax change | Reuters

(Reuters) - The government said on Thursday it would cut the tax relief on pension savings for around 100,000 higher earners, in a move designed to raise 4 billion pounds a year and help reduce a record budget deficit.

The move follows the scrapping of child benefits for higher earners last week and may provide political cover for the coalition government to say its cuts are fair when Chancellor George Osborne presents his spending review on Oct 20.

The government also said on Thursday that it would abolish, merge or reform 481 semi-independent agencies, proposals likely to cost thousands of jobs.

This follows reports on tackling government waste and charging higher university fees this week, all of which help set the scene for the government to cut most departmental budgets by a quarter or more.

by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Thu Oct 14th, 2010 at 11:57:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Rising bills push 500,000 more into fuel poverty | Reuters

(Reuters) - Rising gas and electricity bills have pushed half a million more people into fuel poverty, leaving them struggling to heat their houses, the government said on Thursday.

A household is said to be living in fuel poverty when 10 percent or more of its income goes on heating costs.

The figures were published less than a week before pensioners learn whether the government will cut subsidies to help them pay their fuel bills over the winter.

The Department for Energy and Climate Change's latest figures showed the numbers rose to 4.5 million in 2008, from 4 million in 2007. That equates to 18 percent of all households.

About 3.75 million of those are deemed to be "vulnerable households" where at least one person is disabled, sick, elderly or a child.

by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Thu Oct 14th, 2010 at 11:58:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Clegg tries to limit student fee rebellion | Reuters

(Reuters) - Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg wrote to his Liberal Democrat legislators on Wednesday in a bid to head off a threatened rebellion over plans to double university charges for students.

The plans in a government-ordered review have caused tensions in Clegg's party and could lead to a parliamentary defeat if enough Liberal Democrat legislators rebel.

The divisions were not expected to bring down the coalition of Conservatives and Liberal Democrats, but add to uncertainty over whether it can hold together for a full five-year term.

The government on Tuesday backed the proposals to remove a cap of 3,290 pounds a year that universities are allowed to charge students for their tuition, and take Britain closer to a U.S.-style fees model.

by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Thu Oct 14th, 2010 at 11:59:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Bank's Tucker says recovery not on sure footing - report | Reuters

(Reuters) - The Bank of England's deputy governor Paul Tucker said the economy in Britain and globally was yet to find a "sure footing," a newspaper reported.

In an interview in the Daily Mail on Thursday, he also said that while activity has slowed "the labour market hasn't softened particularly."

"The macro-economy globally, regionally (the euro zone), even domestically isn't on a sure footing as yet," he was quoted as saying.

"The commercial property market in many parts of the world is still a source of risk."

Unemployment in Britain is running at 7.7 percent, and the number of Britons claiming jobless benefits rose for a second month in September.

The Bank of England is having to weigh up whether to pump more money into a sluggish economy or raise rates to counter inflation which remains stubbornly above target.

by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Thu Oct 14th, 2010 at 12:00:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Unemployment in Britain is running at 7.7 percent...

Is this the narrowest possible measure of unemployment, such as U1 in the USA? If so, what would be the broadest measure, corresponding to the US U6?

As the Dutch said while fighting the Spanish: "It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Thu Oct 14th, 2010 at 11:57:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I think it's closer to U3, but it has the added kink that a lot of people were classed as medically unfit for work so written out of the figures by an earlier tory government.

Current figures are that 29.16 million are in employment, so that gives a total for working age people of 31.95 million the current changes in sickness rules are going to dump an extra half million into the unemployed figures which will push it up to at least 9.86%

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.

by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Fri Oct 15th, 2010 at 09:21:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The policy was due to an earlier tory government, but a lot of the people were actually classified as unfit by a more recent non-tory one. Once the policy was put into effect, some of the people themselves  figured out what was going on, and took advantage of it, increasing the numbers (I know a doctor who served on one of the committees that deal with this, and he has lots of horror stories from there. Of course he blames it on Labour, not being aware of how it started).
by gk (g k quattro due due sette "at" gmail.com) on Fri Oct 15th, 2010 at 09:26:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
See this diary and this one.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Fri Oct 15th, 2010 at 11:21:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
One in three Britons could not survive a week on their savings | Money | guardian.co.uk
With less than £249 in savings, 15 million people would run out of money in less than a week if they lost their job.

Fifteen million Britons could not survive from one weekend until the next on savings, according to research by HSBC. The bank has found that 30% of adults have less than £249 set aside as a financial safety net: 11% have some savings but less than £249, while 19% have no savings at all.

Apparently £249 is the equivalent of five days' average take-home pay, though the recommended minimum safety net is three months' pay, which based on the average would be £4,683.
...
The numbers of those claiming jobseeker's allowance announced yesterday show the fastest increase since January, to 1.47 million, and many more are expected to be joining the queue after next week's announcement on public sector spending cuts. And Lloyds has announced that it intends to scrap 4,500 jobs across its group IT operation, leading to the loss of 1,600 permanent UK roles.



"Ce qui vient au monde pour ne rien troubler ne mérite ni égards ni patience." René Char
by Melanchthon on Thu Oct 14th, 2010 at 01:57:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
FT.com / Brussels - French-UK stand-off stalls hedge fund deal
A stand-off between France and the UK has dashed hopes that an agreement on European rules for hedge funds and private equity funds could be reached this week, forcing diplomats to suspend a final negotiating session.
...
The core issue remains how to treat fund managers from outside the EU bloc. The UK, along with the European Commission and a clutch of other countries, wants them to have pan-EU marketing rights, or a so-called "passport", provided they meet certain standards. The US has also weighed in, arguing that it would be discriminatory if fund managers within the bloc enjoyed a passport while those outside it did not.

France, having initially opposed a passport for non-EU managers, has conceded that it will now accept this in principle but insists passport rights must be tightly controlled by the European Securities and Markets Authority, the new pan-EU securities regulator. However, the UK and its supporters are wary about handing too much power to ESMA.
...
But EU officials are also concerned that attention needs to be paid to some of the outstanding issues which MEPs have with the proposed rules, including provisions dealing with "asset-stripping".



"Ce qui vient au monde pour ne rien troubler ne mérite ni égards ni patience." René Char
by Melanchthon on Thu Oct 14th, 2010 at 02:16:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Do I hear the <scritch crunch munch> of locusts?
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Oct 14th, 2010 at 02:22:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
If hedge and private equity funds face limits on asset stripping, how are they to make money? Most unfair!

As the Dutch said while fighting the Spanish: "It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Fri Oct 15th, 2010 at 12:02:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Robo-signing eviction scandal rattles Wall Street | Business | The Guardian
Fears US regulators will rule that thousands of Americans may have been unfairly evicted from their homes rattled Wall Street today as the scandal over the use of "robo-signers" escalated.

Employees at mortgage firms are alleged to have rubber-stamped documents to force out defaulting homeowners without following the correct procedures.

Shares in Bank of America, Citigroup, Wells Fargo and JP Morgan all fell sharply after it emerged that Xee Moua, an employee at Wells Fargo, the second-largest US mortgage servicer, had pushed through 500 foreclosures a day.

The growing scandal over the way homeowners have been evicted came as property data firm RealtyTrac reported that the number of houses seized by banks topped 100,000 for the first time in September. Lenders took possession of 102,134 properties in September. The state with the highest rate was Nevada.



"Ce qui vient au monde pour ne rien troubler ne mérite ni égards ni patience." René Char
by Melanchthon on Thu Oct 14th, 2010 at 02:26:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
U.S. Home Seizures Reach Record Amid Foreclosure Review - Bloomberg
More than 100,000 U.S. homes were seized by lenders in September, a record number that probably will decline in coming months as major banks halt repossessions and review their foreclosure practices.

Lenders took over 102,134 properties last month, RealtyTrac Inc. said in a report today. That was the highest monthly tally since the company began tracking the data in 2005, surpassing the August record of 95,364. Foreclosure filings, including default and auction notices, rose 3 percent from the prior month to 347,420. One out of every 371 households received a notice.

Sales of properties in the foreclosure process accounted for almost a third of all U.S. transactions in the month, a sign that a prolonged delay in repossessions may hurt the housing market, RealtyTrac said. Bank of America Corp., the largest U.S. lender, said Oct. 8 it would curtail foreclosures across the country, while JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Ally Financial Inc. stopped seizures in 23 states where court approval is required.



"Ce qui vient au monde pour ne rien troubler ne mérite ni égards ni patience." René Char
by Melanchthon on Thu Oct 14th, 2010 at 02:31:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The good news is that with banks stopping the foreclosure procedures, the statistics for foreclosures will go down for a while.

I say "Foreclusures down by record numbers - BUY STOCKS NOW"

Never underestimate their intelligence, always underestimate their knowledge.

Frank Delaney ~ Ireland

by siegestate (siegestate or beyondwarispeace.com) on Fri Oct 15th, 2010 at 03:55:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
CDS Rout In Financials Continues, As Equities Finally Smell The Foreclosed Coffee | zero hedge
Equities, being traded now exclusively by Fed-frontrunning retards and virus-infested robots, are a little slow." Prophetically, the equity slowness has finally caught up with reality, and BofA and Wells stocks are tumbling.


By laying out pros and cons we risk inducing people to join the debate, and losing control of a process that only we fully understand. - Alan Greenspan
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Oct 15th, 2010 at 03:59:09 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, but no:

Are the Bank Foreclosure "Moratoriums" More PR than Real? « naked capitalism

Or have they? Florida is a judicial foreclosure state, and local reports suggest the banks are still moving forward with foreclosures. Note the inconsistencies between the statements of the bank employees versus the action on the ground. From the Fort Myers News Press:.
JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Bank of America Corp., along with some smaller lenders, have announced that they were holding off on court-based foreclosures...

But in Lee County, court records show both of those banks have continued to get court judgments allowing the sale of mortgages on foreclosed houses at public auction.



"Ce qui vient au monde pour ne rien troubler ne mérite ni égards ni patience." René Char
by Melanchthon on Fri Oct 15th, 2010 at 04:15:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Florida become an anecdote, though an important one. In this case, perhaps that they are blatantly sticking out like a sore thumb will keep the issue alive. Otherwise it will be a mea culpa, a few weeks of study, a pronouncement that everything is perfectly in alignment again and the poaches will have the protection of everyone's apathy for 'old news'.

Never underestimate their intelligence, always underestimate their knowledge.

Frank Delaney ~ Ireland

by siegestate (siegestate or beyondwarispeace.com) on Fri Oct 15th, 2010 at 05:14:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
naked capitalism
First Topic of the day: Foreclosures

Robo-signers: Mortgage experience not necessary Yahoo! Finance (Mortgage servicers hired hair stylists, Walmart floor workers and installed them in "foreclosure expert" jobs. Here's a quote from one of these experts: "I don't know the ins and outs of the loan, I just sign documents." Gee, I wonder who will be the fall guy here. )

U.S. Home Seizures Climb to Record as Banks Review Foreclosure Practices Bloomberg

A Look at How Unregulated Servicers Are, and the Consequences for Leaving this Crisis Mike Konczal

Emptywheel on the Stress Tests, Servicing Fraud as a Counter-Cyclical Diversification Strategy Mike Konczal

Florida's 30-Second Foreclosure Dash Hits Wall of Fraud Claims Bloomberg

The enormous mortgage-bond scandal Felix Salmon

The Real Foreclosure Crisis: Who Owns the Mortgages? HuffPo (note that Yves has said the MERS issue is secondary. She says the issues created by the RMBS are not easily remedied.)



"Ce qui vient au monde pour ne rien troubler ne mérite ni égards ni patience." René Char
by Melanchthon on Thu Oct 14th, 2010 at 02:36:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
From Melanchton's Empty Wheel link, which discussed the promises made to Elizabeth Warren's Congressional Oversight Panel regarding the bank's loan servicing business:
For what it is worth, I'm sure those conducting the stress test knew that this conflict existed and knew that it was very profitable to the banks. Servicing is considered a "hedge", because as the origination business dries up foreclosures will increase and servicing income would go up, something Countrywide and others loved to talk about.

So a hedge turns into a thicket!

As the Dutch said while fighting the Spanish: "It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Fri Oct 15th, 2010 at 12:17:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Guest Post: Why Is the White House Against Freezing Foreclosures? A Look At The Fed's Suddenly Worthless Trillions In MBS Holdings | zero hedge

At first, there was a deafening silence from Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner and Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke on the foreclosure front. It was as if they: 1) didn't read the news; or 2) were afraid someone would notice afresh their incompetence in dealing with the ongoing housing crisis and deteriorating economy, while convincing everyone that the bank bailouts and subsidizations were good for us.

Last week, while Senator Harry Reid, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and others in Congress were dispensing irate pre-election sound-bites, attorneys general across the country were gearing up for investigations. Banks were reluctantly announcing foreclosure moratoriums because it's quarterly earnings season and uncertainty is bad for stock prices, and Geithner was defending TARP and mixing it up with China over the dollar. Meanwhile, the Fed was gearing up to buy more Treasuries, like some kind of rapacious alien that eats its progeny, because no one else wants our debt.

But that changed when Geithner came out of hiding yesterday with a stance. (Bernanke is still in hiding, but will support Geithner's view soon.) Unsurprisingly, Geithner chose to side with the likes of conservatives and CNBC. Thus, his response to Charlie Rose when asked whether he supported banks in declaring a foreclosure moratorium was: "No, I wouldn't say it that way."



By laying out pros and cons we risk inducing people to join the debate, and losing control of a process that only we fully understand. - Alan Greenspan
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Oct 15th, 2010 at 04:07:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Geithner: Foreclosure Freeze Would Be 'Very Damaging'

As doubts about the legality of foreclosure proceedings continue to grow, Treasury secretary Timothy Geithner said a nationwide foreclosure freeze would do more harm than good, Bloomberg reports.

Speaking to PBS's Charlie Rose, Geithner, who called the foreclosure crisis "a national tragedy," said a moratorium could further depress housing prices and said it would be "very damaging to exactly the kind of people we're trying to protect," according to the transcript of his remarks (hat tip to Politico). A nationwide freeze could prevent foreclosed properties from being sold, and, as Geithner noted, unoccupied houses tend to hurt the value of their neighbors.

President Obama's top adviserr David Axelrod has also said he was "not sure" about a national moratorium. Both Axelrod and Geithner warn that such a move could cause collateral damage to valid foreclosure processes. Geithner told Rose "we're not going to make the problem worse."



By laying out pros and cons we risk inducing people to join the debate, and losing control of a process that only we fully understand. - Alan Greenspan
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Oct 15th, 2010 at 04:37:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
From Politico´s transcript:
Geithner ... The reason why [recovery]'s slower, Charlie, than we'd like is -- fundamentally goes back to the causes of the crisis. You know, you had a crisis caused by the fact that as an economy we were living way beyond our means. People were borrowing more than they could afford. They were spending more than they earned, and you had this huge growth and leverage in the financial sector. And when you have a recession, a crisis caused by that, it takes more time to dig out of it. And the things that are causing growth to feel slower now, to seem slower, weaker now, are fundamental to the process of healing. We see weakness in it, people are concerned by weakness in it, but it's really about future strength, because as the American people repair their balance sheets, as save more of a share of their income, as they reduce their debt outstanding, that'll make us stronger in the future. In the short term, it means growth is slower than we'd like, but it's fundamentally healthy for us. And we are, in my judgment, Charlie, a substantial way through the process of healing, of fixing the things that were broken, you know, the financial sector much less leveraged, we've had a traumatic huge adjustment in house prices, real estate prices across the country, and private savings rates are already increased quite significantly. So those things are really important for future growth and they're encouraging, but they do mean that we're not growing as fast as we'd like, and I think Washington's got more work to do to try to provide some support for the economy.

Charlie Rose: You're encouraging banks to declare a moratorium on foreclosures?

Tim Geithner: No, I wouldn't say it that way. I think that you know what you're seeing in housing still now is a national tragedy, still very, very difficult. You know, again, this was a crisis caused by a lot of people were taken advantage of, a lot of people were too optimistic about what they could afford in terms of a house, lot of people were speculating in real estate, and a lot of innocent victims got caught up in the consequences of those basic mistakes. You saw, you know, the nation's largest banks that ran these servicing businesses, not invest anything like what they needed to, to run that business effectively in a downturn like that. And you're seeing the consequences of all those mistakes play out still across the American economy. Now, you've seen some banks suspend temporarily the foreclosure process so they can just make sure that they're not causing any injustice to the borrowers and that's very important for that to happen. And we're going to --

Charlie Rose: So you're pleased to see that happen.

Tim Geithner: I think where that's happening again the suspension is to make sure they're not causing any injustice is very important, but I think it's important to recognize, Charlie, that if you -- a national moratorium would be very damaging to exactly the kind of people we're trying to protect, because the consequence of that would be in neighborhoods that have been most affected by the foreclosure crisis, where you see lots of houses on the block empty, unoccupied, what it means is those communities will be living longer with houses unoccupied, with more pressure on their house price with the people still in their houses. That would be very damaging, and so again we want to make sure we're holding these services accountable, that they're not causing any injustice to people who can afford to stay in their home, and we're going to make sure we're careful in doing that. But we also want to make sure that we're not going to make the problem worse.



By laying out pros and cons we risk inducing people to join the debate, and losing control of a process that only we fully understand. - Alan Greenspan
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Oct 15th, 2010 at 04:45:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
A nationwide freeze could prevent foreclosed properties from being sold,

A nationwide freeze would stop the houses being unoccupied in the first place...

by gk (g k quattro due due sette "at" gmail.com) on Fri Oct 15th, 2010 at 05:03:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Precisely.

By laying out pros and cons we risk inducing people to join the debate, and losing control of a process that only we fully understand. - Alan Greenspan
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Oct 15th, 2010 at 05:06:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Heh. And why would Geithner care about that?

a national moratorium would be very damaging to exactly the kind of people we're trying to protect,

I don't think he means the about-to-be homeless.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Fri Oct 15th, 2010 at 07:31:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The stated reason is total bunk. But "we know" middle-class voters care about their net equity and the value of their home so let's argue that a foreclosure moratorium would negatively impact property values. And the mechanism by which we argue this happens doesn't matter because in narrative logic all that people will remember is halting foreclosures is bad for property values.

By laying out pros and cons we risk inducing people to join the debate, and losing control of a process that only we fully understand. - Alan Greenspan
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Oct 15th, 2010 at 09:33:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]
this is starting to creep out, a bit like the family that leaves the dead relative's room, 'just like he left it', as a shrine.
we wouldn't want house prices to fall harder would we?
so we go dust the old paradigm again.

memo to tim, this bubble's popped, trying to stop it deflating is an expensive exercise in futility.

and so it went, slow recovery, my ass. it's a corporate/banking system recovery, and a disaster for everyone else. high dow, people on food stamps.

there should be oscars for this, it reminds me of greenspan at his oiliest. pacino, de niro, brando got nothing on these guys...

"We can all be prosperous but we can't all be rich." Ian Welsh

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Fri Oct 15th, 2010 at 05:20:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
What does the Fed care if the US denominated assets it holds become worthless? It's the monetary authority!

By laying out pros and cons we risk inducing people to join the debate, and losing control of a process that only we fully understand. - Alan Greenspan
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Oct 15th, 2010 at 05:15:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Out of Maine, a National Foreclosure Freeze - NYTimes.com
All of this is largely because Mr. Cox realized almost immediately that Mrs. Bradbury's foreclosure file did not look right. The documents from the lender, GMAC Mortgage, were approved by an employee whose title was "limited signing officer," an indication to the lawyer that his knowledge of the case was effectively nonexistent.
...
"When Stephan says in an affidavit that he has personal knowledge of the facts stated in his affidavits, he doesn't. When he says that he has custody and control of the loan documents, he doesn't. When he says that he is attaching `a true and accurate' copy of a note or a mortgage, he has no idea if that is so, because he does not look at the exhibits. When he makes any other statement of fact, he has no idea if it is true. When the notary says that Stephan appeared before him or her, he didn't."
...
But Judge Powers went further than that, saying that GMAC had been admonished in a Florida court for using robo-signers four years ago but had persisted. "It is well past the time for such practices to end," he wrote, adding that GMAC had acted "in bad faith" by submitting Mr. Stephan's material:

"Filing such a document without significant regard for its accuracy, which the court in ordinary circumstances may never be able to investigate or otherwise verify, is a serious and troubling matter."



"Ce qui vient au monde pour ne rien troubler ne mérite ni égards ni patience." René Char
by Melanchthon on Fri Oct 15th, 2010 at 06:55:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Out of Maine, a National Foreclosure Freeze - NYTimes.com

Mr. Cox, 66, worked in the late 1980s and early 1990s for Maine National Bank, a subsidiary of the Bank of New England, which went under. His job was to call in small-business loans. The borrowers had often pledged their houses as collateral, which meant foreclosure.

"It was extraordinarily unpleasant, but it paid well," he said. "I had a family to support."

The work exacted its cost: his marriage ended and a serious depression began. He gave up law and found solace in building houses. By April 2008, he said, he was sufficiently recovered and started volunteering at Pine Tree Legal.



By laying out pros and cons we risk inducing people to join the debate, and losing control of a process that only we fully understand. - Alan Greenspan
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Oct 15th, 2010 at 07:06:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And so, we approach the essence.

Corporations are given stature, allowed to be a body do to speak, for some public good. People become corporations, and get certain benefits and protections and responsibilities by promising X to the community.

As it was pointed out a few days ago, fraud pierces the corporate veil. The people become people again.

If such things as 3 Strikes Laws had a purpose, it would certainly be so for corporations, and the people who let the policies slip to such an onerous degree as to let things like this happen get the same treatment as any other criminal who commit crimes.  The company disappears for a while, or forever. The people who invested in it take a loss for having backed someone who would do anything to make them money on their stationary money.

Never underestimate their intelligence, always underestimate their knowledge.

Frank Delaney ~ Ireland

by siegestate (siegestate or beyondwarispeace.com) on Fri Oct 15th, 2010 at 07:40:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Dollar sinks further against yen, euro and Australian dollar | Business | The Guardian
Speculation that the US Federal Reserve could be about to launch a second phase of quantitative easing (QE), creating billions of dollars to reignite the world's largest economy, pushed the US currency down to a 15-year low against the yen today.

Investors fear that a possible massive programme of bond purchases by the Fed will flood the financial system with dollars, eroding the dollar's value.

The dollar fell 0.8% against the euro, trading at $1.40, and 0.4% against the yen, changing hands at less than ¥81, the lowest level since 1995.

The Australian dollar, backed by the growing strength of the country's abundant commodities, such as iron ore and coal, edged ever closer to parity with the dollar, touching an all-time high of $0.994.



"Ce qui vient au monde pour ne rien troubler ne mérite ni égards ni patience." René Char
by Melanchthon on Thu Oct 14th, 2010 at 02:28:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
U.S. Trade Gap Grows, Jobless Claims Unexpectedly Rise - Bloomberg
The trade deficit widened 8.8 percent to $46.3 billion in August from $42.6 billion the prior month as a rise in imports swamped gains in exports, Commerce Department figures showed today in Washington. The number of Americans filing claims for jobless benefits unexpectedly climbed by 13,000 to 462,000 last week, according to the Labor Department.

Economists at Morgan Stanley cut their forecast for third- quarter growth based on the increase in imports from countries like China, while at the same time boosting estimates for business investment. The prospect that unemployment holds above 9 percent through next year and a lack of inflation are among reasons Federal Reserve policy makers may ease monetary policy.



"Ce qui vient au monde pour ne rien troubler ne mérite ni égards ni patience." René Char
by Melanchthon on Thu Oct 14th, 2010 at 02:33:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
But the stock market is at 11,100. What could be wrong?

Never underestimate their intelligence, always underestimate their knowledge.

Frank Delaney ~ Ireland

by siegestate (siegestate or beyondwarispeace.com) on Fri Oct 15th, 2010 at 03:53:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Jobless Claims Unexpectedly Rise

Unexpected ... by what idiot?  


The good news ... it's only a life sentence. You eventually leave this planet of idiots.

by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Fri Oct 15th, 2010 at 07:11:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
FT.com / Markets - Dollar fall sparks stability warnings
The dollar tumbled against most major currencies on Thursday, prompting warnings that the weakness of the world's reserve currency could destabilise the global economy and push other countries into retaliatory devaluations to underwrite their exports.

Increasing expectations the Federal Reserve will pump more money into the US economy next month under a policy known as quantitative easing sent the dollar to new lows against the Chinese renminbi, Swiss franc and Australian dollar. It dropped to a 15-year low against the yen and an eight-month low against the euro. The dollar index, which tracks a basket of currencies, reached its lowest level this year.

A senior European policy-maker, who asked not to be named, said a further aggressive round of monetary easing by the US Federal Reserve would be "irresponsible" as it made US exports more competitive at the expense of its rivals.

Simon Derrick, chief currency strategist for BNY Mellon, said: "In narrow terms, the US is winning the currency wars as a weaker dollar will help its economy, but it could damage the other big economic blocs of China, Japan and Europe."



"Ce qui vient au monde pour ne rien troubler ne mérite ni égards ni patience." René Char
by Melanchthon on Fri Oct 15th, 2010 at 03:13:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Is it falling or is it winning the currency wars?

Another analyst, another reason read into random price movements...

By laying out pros and cons we risk inducing people to join the debate, and losing control of a process that only we fully understand. - Alan Greenspan

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Oct 15th, 2010 at 03:20:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
FT.com / Capital Markets - Investors split over the deflation dilemma
Investors are torn between two extremes. Is the US heading for a decade of Japan-style stagnation characterised by years of falling prices - or will the hundreds of billions of dollars likely to be pumped into the economy by the Federal Reserve lead to the opposite: rising inflation?
...
"Investors are quite schizophrenic at the moment. They are worried about deflation in the short term but are concerned further out about inflation," says Keith Wade, chief economist at Schroders, the fund manager. "It means they will have to change horses over the next year or two."

FedsFew investors reckon that prices will fall persistently, especially with the Fed determined to head off that outcome. But, with economic growth still anaemic and core inflation at less than 1 per cent in the US, the immediate threat is clear enough.

"The deflation risks are probably higher than the inflation risks," says Richard Urwin, investment head in fiduciary mandates for BlackRock in London. "While we are in a low-growth environment, these deflation concerns aren't going to disappear easily."



"Ce qui vient au monde pour ne rien troubler ne mérite ni égards ni patience." René Char
by Melanchthon on Fri Oct 15th, 2010 at 03:19:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Guardian - John Ross -

Pelosi does not seem to appreciate, however, that the US cannot profitably produce the goods it imports from China. If tariffs were imposed, similar low-price products would be imported from India or Mexico. No American jobs would be created. Indeed, a trade war would lead to a net loss of American jobs. Any country hit by tariffs invariably reciprocates, and China would act against competitive US industries such as farm products and hi-tech.
[....]
A much more attractive future, he argues, "requires a national industrial-restructuring programme in which the government would invest in 21st-century technologies with the goal of establishing an unassailable American lead".

If the economics of this proposition are so simple, why doesn't it happen? As George Soros explains, it is because of American anti-statist ideology: "The imbalance between consumption and investment must be corrected ... The obvious solution is to distinguish between investments and current consumption, and increase the former while reducing the latter. But that seems politically untenable ... a quarter-century of calling the government bad has resulted in bad government."

The fact that some US politicians' economic arguments are confused is because they have created a situation whereby America has ample finance but no mechanism to turn it into investment - consequently it remains in economic stagnation. Instead of creating a scapegoat in China and proclaiming "currency wars", the way out is to address the US's real economic problems.



keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Fri Oct 15th, 2010 at 07:01:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]

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