Jan 08

The Bank of England has cut interest rates to the lowest level in its 315-year history as it desperately attempts to prevent the UK recession deepening into a slump.

The bank rate has been reduced by 0.5 percentage points to 1.5pc after recent economic data suggested that the UK is in store for a deep recession this year as the house price slide, unemployment rises and spending slows.

Related article:
Chancellor set to print more cash as interest rates hit record low (Times)
No plan to print money – Darling (BBC)
Bank Of England’s Historic Cut (Forbes)

Economists believe that because the UK is experiencing a significant downturn, with banks unwilling to lend and pass on interest rates cuts in full, the Bank will reduce rates close to zero to try and ease the impact.

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Dec 19

The Bank of Japan today cut interest rates to 0.1% in another attempt by central banks around the world to drag the global economy out of recession.

The bank’s eight board members voted 7-1 to lower the basic lending rate from 0.3% to 0.1%, following a cut from 0.5% to 0.3% at the end of October.

The decision comes days after the US Federal Reserve voted for record low interest rates of between zero and 0.25%. This month the Bank of England slashed interest rates to 2%, their lowest level in 57 years, and is reportedly considering another cut when its board meets next month.

The central bank governor, Masaaki Shirakawa, described the decline in the global economy as “the most rapid in our lifetime” and said he could not rule out further cuts.

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Dec 16

The Fed is creating a crisis that will be even worse than the Great Depression.

Related Interview with Peter Schiff (12/13/08).

When the dollar is starting to fail commodities will skyrocket.

Watch Gold, Silver etc. closely now.

The dollar is soon as good as toilet paper.

Ron Paul, Peter Schiff and Jim Rogers warned a million times about this.

And remember that for all the people who lose their money and their homes there is always someone who profits from that, because these assets do not just disappear into the void. So who profits?!

I am not saying like many others that Ben Bernanke and Hank Paulson do not know what they are doing. They know exactly what they are doing and they do what they are told to do by their elite masters. (Look who founded the Federal Reserve and why. You may watch Zeitgeist, The Movie, Final Edition Part III of the movie which starts at 1:14:30.)

Bush, Obama, Bernanke and Paulson are all puppets. Nothing they do is really for the people, absolutely NOTHING.

Even if they create a stimulus package and give you a check they know that that money has to be paid back with interest and that it will be the taxpayer who has to pay for it all.

All they do now is destroying the dollar, the economy and the middle class. I have studied economics and I can assure you that it can be easily proven that stimulus packages only have a short term effect and that they have very harmful effects in the long run.

If you want to look good in the short term like Mr. Obama than a stimulus package is just fine. I even seriously doubt that it will have much effect because the US are broke. The stimulus package has to be financed and there is not much confidence left that the US can pay all that debt back. So nobody will soon be willing to buy US bonds anymore and creating more money out of thin air will create another Zimbabwe.

The Federal Reserve Refuses to Disclose Recipients of $2 Trillion: Dec. 12 (Bloomberg) — The Federal Reserve refused a request by Bloomberg News to disclose the recipients of more than $2 trillion of emergency loans from U.S. taxpayers and the assets the central bank is accepting as collateral.

These people are the worst criminals on the face of the earth. The elite has planned this crisis so many years ago that you would probably not believe me. Here always comes the question: “But why would they do this?” For MONEY, POWER and CONTROL.

Source: Bloomberg

Jeffrey Vazquez looks at a television after the Federal Open Market Committee’s (FOMC) rate decision on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange in New York, on Dec. 16, 2008. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg News

Dec. 16 (Bloomberg) — The Federal Reserve cut the main U.S. interest rate to as low as zero for the first time and shifted its focus to the amount and type of debt it buys, seeking to revive credit and end the longest slump in a quarter- century.

The Fed “will employ all available tools to promote the resumption of sustainable economic growth and to preserve price stability,” the Federal Open Market Committee said today in a statement in Washington. “Weak economic conditions are likely to warrant exceptionally low levels of the federal funds rate for some time.”

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Dec 04

Dec. 4 (Bloomberg) — The European Central Bank cut interest rates the most in its 10-year history after the region’s economy suffered the first recession since the introduction of the euro.

ECB policy makers meeting in Brussels lowered the benchmark lending rate to 2.5 percent from 3.25 percent. Only 17 of 56 economists in a Bloomberg News survey correctly forecast the move, with 35 predicting a cut of 50 basis points and 4 calling for a full percentage-point reduction.

The ECB’s decision came after the Bank of England today cut its key rate by one percentage point to 2 percent, the lowest level since 1951, and Sweden’s Riksbank pared rates the most in 16 years. The Federal Reserve’s benchmark rate now matches a five- decade low as central banks rush to respond to the global recession.

“This is better than 50 basis points, but they are still late coming to the party,” said Laurent Bilke, an economist at Nomura International in London who used to work as a forecaster at the ECB. “The economy is in deep recession now, so rates should come down as quickly as possible.”

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Dec 03

China Property Slump Threatens Global Economy as Growth Slows

Dec. 2 (Bloomberg) — House prices in Shanghai, Shenzhen and Guangzhou are plunging, and the global economy may grind almost to a halt next year because of it.

Construction of homes, offices and factories fell at least 16.6 percent in October after rising 32.5 percent a year earlier, according to Macquarie Securities Ltd. That’s squeezing an economy already slowed by recessions in the U.S., Japan and Europe that have cut demand for exports. Building is the biggest driver of China’s expansion, contributing a quarter of fixed- asset investment and employing 77 million people.

The central bank cut its key interest rate by the most in 11 years last week and the government said “forceful” measures were needed to arrest a faster-than-expected economic decline. Without more rate cuts and government spending, China is unlikely to contribute the 60 percent of global growth Merrill Lynch & Co. forecasts for next year, further slowing the world economy.

“China is now at the heart of the global slowdown,” said Jim Walker, chief economist at Asianomics Ltd., an economic advisory firm in Hong Kong. “It means that global growth is probably going to be dragged down close to zero next year.”

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Dec 02

Australia’s interest rate was cut by a surprise 100 basis points today, taking the cash rate to the lowest it has been in seven years

The fourth cut in as many months, a full 25 basis points larger than economists predicted, is seen as further proof that Australia will struggle to avoid recession over the next 12 months.

“The economy is on a knife-edge,” said Macquarie economist Brian Redican.

The Reserve Bank cited the state of the global economy and a big downturn in domestic demand for the cut to 4.25%, with Glenn Stevens, the governor of the RBA, saying that ti was time to take monetary policy to an expansionist setting.

Analysts warned that the interest rate cut would not stop the economy from slowing further in line with the downturn in the US and China and predicted further rate cuts in 2009.

“This will help, but the headwinds coming off-shore are so large that the Australian economy will slow aggressivley next year,” Stephen Halmarck, a senior analyst for Citgroup told The Times. “Data out of the US and especially China has surprised everyone.

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Nov 26

The People’s Bank of China cut interest rates by more than 1pc point as the economy crumbles and millions of jobs are predicted to go ahead of Christmas.

Factory workers surround a damaged police car during a protest outside Kai Da toy factory in Dongguan, China. Photo:REUTERS

The move came just one day after the World Bank predicted that China would grow by 7.5pc next year. The level of growth may appear robust by Western standards, but it would represent the slowest economic expansion in China for the last two decades.

It is also perilously close to the 7pc minimum level of growth that Chinese economists believe is necessary in order to create enough jobs for the 6m university graduates who will enter the jobs market next year.

Factory workers smash an office during a protest at Kai Da toy factory in Dongguan, China. Photo: REUTERS

It is the fourth interest rate cut from the Chinese central bank in the last ten weeks as the government desperately battles an evident economic collapse. “China is out to save itself here,” said Patrick Bennett, an analyst with Societe Generale in Hong Kong.

The PBOC reduced its main borrowing rate by 1.08pc points to 5.58pc, the biggest one-off cut since the Asian Financial Crisis in 1997.

In recent weeks, a series of riots across central and southern China have flowered as disgruntled employees aired their grievances at the downturn.

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Nov 20

Fed sharply lowers economic forecasts for this year, 2009; signals another rate cut coming

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Federal Reserve on Wednesday sharply lowered its projections for economic activity this year and next, and signaled that additional interest rate reductions may be needed to help combat the worst financial crisis to jolt the country in more than a half-century.

With the economy forecast to lose traction, or even jolt into reverse, unemployment will move higher, the Fed predicted.

Facing the likelihood of “significant weakness” in the economy, some Fed officials suggested “additional policy easing could well be appropriate at future meetings,” according to documents from the Fed’s most recent closed-door deliberations on interest rate policy at the end of October.

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Nov 07

The perilous state of the UK economy was exposed as the Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee made an unprecedented 1.5 percentage point cut in interest rates.

Winston Churchill meets the Queen in 1955. Photo: PA

The shock vote brought interest rates down to 3pc for the first time since January 1955, when Winston Churchill was prime minister. Economists forecast that the cut could pave the way for further reductions – with some claiming that rates could hit a historic low of 1pc.

Thursday’s move was interpreted as a desperate attempt to protect the UK economy from a severe recession.

“There has been a very marked deterioration in the outlook for economic activity at home and abroad,” said the MPC in an explanatory statement, adding that the threat of inflation was now receding.

It warned that after the most serious crisis in the global banking sector for almost a century, households and businesses were likely to find it difficult to obtain credit “for some time.” The MPC counted falling share prices, a sharp reduction in UK output, and a squeeze on household budgets among a nasty cocktail of circumstances that have combined to hit both businesses and consumers hard.

The MPC’s decision came amid a raft of gloomy news and data emerged. Figures from Halifax, the UK’s biggest mortgage lender, showed that house prices have fallen by 15pc over the past 12 months.

It was the sharpest drop since the survey began in 1983 and brought the average house price down to £168,176 in October, compared with almost £200,000 in the same month last year.

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Nov 07

Alistair Darling summoned the chief executives of Britain’s biggest banks to Downing Street today to demand that they immediately pass on the Bank of England’s interest rate cut to their customers.

Treasury sources confirmed to The Times that the Chancellor told the heads of all Britain’s big high street lenders – including HSBC, Barclays, Lloyds TSB, HBOS Nationwide and Abbey – to implement rate cuts immediately.

Yesterday, the Bank of England slashed interest rates by 1.5 per cent to 3 per cent, the lowest level in 54 years, and today, the shock reduction helped to ease the strain in nervous money markets.

Libor, which is the rate at which banks lend to each other and is key for pricing mortgages, fell by more than one per cent from 5.561 per cent to 4.496 per cent.

However, the figure remains almost 1.5 per cent higher than the official interest rate.

The spread between the Bank of England’s borrowing cost and the rate that banks charge to borrow money over a three-month period – a key measure in the wholesale money market – is the widest since October 22. The day before, Mervyn King, the Governor of the Bank of England, publicly acknowledged for the first time that a recession in the UK is now likely.

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Oct 30

The Federal Open Market Committee’s half-point cut in its Federal Funds target does not address the leverage and credit issues in the banking system.

Indeed, by penalizing savers it worsens the economy’s supply/demand imbalance for funding. The cut doesn’t solve short-term problems and worsens long-term inflation worries.

The banking crisis was not caused by over-high interest rates. Its two main causes were large and unknown housing-related and other credit losses and an urgent need for banks to reduce their leverage.

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Oct 29

Oct. 29 (Bloomberg) — The Federal Reserve cut its benchmark interest rate by half a percentage point to 1 percent, matching a half-century low, in an effort to avert the worst U.S. economic downturn in the postwar era.

“Downside risks to growth remain,” the Federal Open Market Committee said today in a statement in Washington. “Recent policy actions, including today’s rate reduction, coordinated interest-rate cuts by central banks, extraordinary liquidity measures, and official steps to strengthen financial systems, should help over time to improve credit conditions and promote a return to moderate economic growth.”

Central bankers worldwide are trying to revive credit and stop a self-reinforcing downturn in consumer spending and bank lending from triggering a global recession. Today’s decision follows the half-point reduction the Fed coordinated with the European Central Bank and four other central banks on Oct. 8. Borrowing costs were pared today in Norway and China.

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Sep 01

Sept. 1 (Bloomberg) — The European Central Bank will probably keep interest rates at a seven-year high this week, and may even threaten to raise them, at the risk of prolonging the economic slump.

All but one of 47 economists surveyed by Bloomberg News predict the Frankfurt-based central bank will leave the benchmark rate at 4.25 percent on Sept. 4 and only five expect a cut this year, even after the region’s economy contracted in the second quarter.

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Jul 24

We are a year into the financial pain and virtually no systemic problem has been solved. Markets have entered into a new unsustainable cycle. The new dance is a two-step. Home prices slide, delinquencies rise, defaults rise. This puts additional pressure on housing going forward. Financial firms announce greater write-offs. Retailers slump and contagion goes global. Selling grips the markets, the good and the bad are sold off indiscriminately. Commodities rise, fear escalates and reaches a crescendo as at least one major institution nears or reaches insolvency. Forecasts of impossible return to the good old days are debated and rebound timetables are pushed back. In the depths of the swoon, the Fed opens the discount window to some new and previously barred set of institutions. Bail-outs are readied, Treasury checks are cut and we rebound off the lows. Bad news becomes good, commodities sell-off and financials soar.

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Jun 27

Vincent Quinones works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange Wednesday after the Federal Reserve issued a mixed assessment of the economy. Yesterday, the Dow Jones industrial average closed down 358 points. (By Andrew Harrer — Bloomberg News)

So much for that second-half rebound.

Truth be told, that was always more of a wish than a serious forecast, happy talk from the Fed and Wall Street desperate to get things back to normal.

It ain’t gonna happen. Not this summer. Not this fall. Not even next winter.

This thing’s going down, fast and hard. Corporate bankruptcies, bond defaults, bank failures, hedge fund meltdowns and 6 percent unemployment. We’re caught in one of those vicious, downward spirals that, once it gets going, is very hard to pull out of.

Only this will be a different kind of recession — a recession with an overlay of inflation. That combo puts the Federal Reserve in a Catch-22 — whatever it does to solve one problem only makes the other worse. Emerging from a two-day meeting this week, Fed officials signaled that further recession-fighting rate cuts are unlikely and that their next move will be to raise rates to contain inflationary expectations.

Since last June, we’ve seen a fairly consistent pattern to the economic mood swings. Every three months or so, there’s a round of bad news about housing, followed by warnings of more bank write-offs and then a string of disappointing corporate earnings reports. Eventually, things stabilize and there are hints that the worst may be behind us. Stocks regain some of their lost ground, bonds fall and then — bam — the whole cycle starts again.

It was only in November that the Dow had recovered from the panicked summer sell-off and hit a record, just above 14,000. By March, it had fallen below 12,000. By May, it climbed above 13,000. Now it’s heading for a new floor at 11,000. Officially, that’s bear market territory. We’ll be lucky if that’s the floor.

In explaining why that second-half rebound never occurred, the Fed and the Treasury and the Wall Street machers will say that nobody could have foreseen $140 a barrel oil. As excuses go, blaming it on an oil shock is a hardy perennial. That’s what Jimmy Carter and Fed Chairman Arthur Burns did in the late ’70s, and what George H.W. Bush and Alan Greenspan did in the early ’90s. Don’t believe it.

Truth is, there are always price or supply shocks of one sort or another. The real problem is that the underlying fundamentals had gotten badly out of whack, making the economy susceptible to a shock. The only way to make things better is to get those fundamentals back in balance. In this case, that means bringing what we consume in line with what we produce, letting the dollar fall to its natural level, wringing the excess capacity out of industries that overexpanded during the credit bubble and allowing real estate prices to fall in line with incomes.

The last hope for a second-half rebound began to fade earlier this month when Lehman Brothers reported that it wasn’t as immune to the credit-market downturn as it had led everyone to believe. Lehman scrambled to restore confidence by firing two top executives and raising billions in additional capital, but even that wasn’t enough to quiet speculation that it could be the next Bear Stearns.

Since then, there has been a steady drumbeat of worrisome news from nearly every sector of the economy.

American Express and Discover warn that customers are falling further behind on their debts. UPS and Federal Express report a noticeable slowdown in shipments, while fuel costs are soaring. According to the Case-Shiller index, home prices in the top 20 markets fell 15 percent in April from the year before, and Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac report that mortgage delinquency rates doubled over the same period — and that’s for conventional home loans, not subprime. United Airlines accelerates the race to cut costs and capacity by laying off 950 pilots — 15 percent of its total — as a number of airlines retire planes and hint that they may delay delivery or cancel orders of new jets from Boeing and Airbus. Goldman Sachs, which has already had to withdraw its rosy forecast for stocks, now admits it was also too optimistic about junk bond defaults, and analysts warn that Citigroup and Merrill Lynch will also be forced to take additional big write-downs on their mortgage portfolios.

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Apr 23
While most investors are focused on the latest stock market rally, hidden from view is a monumental change that few recognize and fewer understand: Unprecedented amounts of old debts are coming due in America, and many are not getting refinanced.

Even worse, borrowers are going into default, lenders are taking huge losses, and outstanding loans are turning to dust.

The numbers are large; the government’s response is equally massive. So before you look at one more stock quote or any other news item, I think it behooves you to understand what this means and what to do about it …

New Evidence of A Credit Crack-Up

Until recently, economists have had only anecdotal evidence of credit troubles.

They knew that individual banks were taking losses. They knew that many banks were tightening their lending standards. And they realized that there were hiccups in the credit markets.

So they called it the “credit crunch” — essentially a slowdown in the pace of new credit growth.

But we didn’t buy that. Earlier this year, we warned that America’s credit woes involved much more than just a slowdown. We wrote that it was actually a credit crack-up — an outright contraction of credit the likes of which had never been witnessed in our lifetime.

Wall Street scoffed. No one had seen anything like this happen before, and almost everyone assumed that it would not happen now.

They were wrong.

Indeed, three new official reports are now telling us, point blank, that the credit crack-up is already beginning! Continue reading »

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Apr 10

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Members of the Federal Reserve’s policy-setting committee worried at their most recent meeting that housing and financial market stress could trigger a nasty slide in the economy, even as inflation pushed higher, minutes of the meeting released on Tuesday show.

“Some believed that a prolonged and severe economic downturn could not be ruled out given the further restriction of credit availability and ongoing weakness in the housing market,” minutes of the March 18 meeting said.

Fed economists presented a somber picture of short-term prospects — central bank staff now fully expect negative growth over the first six months of the year — but held out the possibility of a modest rebound later.

“The staff projection showed a contraction of real GDP in the first half of 2008 followed by a slow rise in the second half,” the report said, referring to gross domestic product, a broad measure of a country’s output of goods and services.

At the same time, Fed officials found recent inflation reports “disappointing,” noting also with concern that some indicators of inflation expectations were edging higher. Continue reading »

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Mar 18

NEW YORK (CNN) — President Bush’s assurances that we’ll all be “just fine” if he and Congress can work out an economic stimulus package seem a little hollow this morning.Much like Federal Reserve Board Chairman Ben Bernanke’s assurances last May that the subprime mortgage meltdown would be contained and not affect the broader economy. And it seems Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson has spent most of the past year trying to influence Chinese economic policy rather than setting the direction of U.S. economic policy.

There is no question that Bush, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid will quickly come up with an economic stimulus package simply because they can no longer ignore our economic and financial crisis. That economic stimulus plan will amount to about 1 percent of our nation’s gross domestic product, an estimated $150 billion.

But all of us should recognize that the stimulus package will be inadequate to drive sustainable growth in our $13 trillion economy. An emergency Fed rate cut and an economic stimulus plan are short-term responses to our complex economic problems, nothing more than bandages for a hemorrhaging economy.

artloudccnn.jpg Continue reading »

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Mar 18

Robert Reich warns a recession, or worse, could be coming.

Think the last few days have been bad for Wall Street and the rest of the world’s markets? Hang on, things are probably going to get worse, says Robert Reich, President Clinton’s former secretary of Labor and author of the recent book “Supercapitalism: The Transformation of Business, Democracy and Everyday Life.” According to Reich, who currently teaches public policy at the University of California, Berkeley, the United States might even be headed toward a depression.


Reich: 'Now we have a mess on our hands. Bernanke has the only
       pooper-scooper in town, but it is too small for the job.'

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Mar 14

World central banks unite to ease credit strain

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Federal Reserve and four other central banks on Tuesday teamed up to get hundreds of billions of dollars in fresh funds to cash-starved credit markets, allowing financial firms to use securities backed by home mortgages as collateral for central bank loans.


Stocks surged, bonds fell and the long-suffering U.S. dollar soared in reaction to the moves, a sign financial markets saw the plan as a step in the right direction to ease a crisis that has threatened world economic growth. The Dow Jones industrials closed nearly 3.6 percent higher.

In the latest effort to ease a credit contraction that has disrupted global finance, the Fed, Bank of Canada, Bank of England, European Central Bank and Swiss National Bank announced a series of aggressive measures to boost liquidity. It was the second time in three months that central banks from around the globe had launched coordinated efforts.

Wall Street economists were quick to call the new lending facility a step in the right direction, but what’s most needed is time for the de-leveraging of billions of dollars in loans globally. Continue reading »

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