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Secret bank loans kept RBS and HBOS alive...

Mervy King has revealed, for the first time, that last autumn the Bank of England provided up to £62 billion in short term loans to RBS and HBOS in almost complete secrecy. This just goes to show how dire the situation was, and certainly reinforces the argument for a radical shake-up of banking regulations. If things reach a point where banks require staggeringly huge loans from the taxpayer, but without the taxpayer’s knowledge, no sane person could claim that business should be allowed to continue as usual. As Edmund Conway points out in the Telegraph, it’s also astonishing that these loans managed to go completely unnoticed by the news media, which at the time was scrutinising the financial...

posted on: Nov 24, 2009 | author: Lance

Bailed-out banks to be broken up, retail banking competitors encouraged...

This BBC article does a good job of explaining what the government is planning to do with all the banks that it bought huge shares in with taxpayer money over the past year or so. The long and short of it seems to be that the existing big-name high street banks are to be broken up and a number new players in the retail banking space will be created. This will, hopefully, increase competition in the market for mainstream financial products such as current accounts, mortgages, savings and investments, which can only be good for British consumers. There is some talk of the banks part-owned by taxpayers being made to sell off their investment-banking arms in order to...

posted on: Nov 1, 2009 | author: Lance

It was all just a bad dream

So, that was it. The worst recession in living memory is, if you believe the latest government think tank reports, now over. The recession that Alistair Darling said would be the worst for 60 years (and he recently revised that estimate upwards to 100 years) has passed with nary a whimper in real terms. True, if you lost your job in the last year or so then you might not see it as being a particularly benign period of history, but really, as these things go, this has been ‘recession lite’, a recession for the generation that doesn’t dorecessions. Which, of course, makes me and Lance look a bit silly. Having correctly predicted that the recession would actually...

posted on: Jun 10, 2009 | author: Alex

Basic guide to Quantitative Easing

This is an article that I could have written a few months ago, when the Bank of England stated its intention to begin ‘queasing’. But it has become rather more relevant now that one of the pronouncements of the G20 summit is that the International Monetary Fund (IMF) will itself begin to ‘print’ additional SDRs (Special Drawing Rights, effectively the IMF’s own currency) which its contributor countries can draw down in the shape of dollars, euros, etc. Note my use of the word ‘print’ in the above paragraph. The days when first world countries used the printing press to increase the volume of money in circulation have long gone, assigned to eras such as Weimar Germany. Paper and...

posted on: Apr 4, 2009 | author: Alex

This week’s bailout – the motor industry...

Another week, another huge pile of your cash put on the line to support a failing industry – this week, £2.3 billion of taxpayer money will be used to guarantee loans to the British car industry. This raises a couple of questions: 1) Britain still has a car industry? Really? 2) Where is all this money coming from, I thought the country was broke? For a start, it turns out that quite a few companies are still manufacturing cars and parts in the UK, such as Nissan and Honda, and some of the more well known British names like Mini, Bentley and Aston Martin are still being built here despite being owned by foriegn companies. According to the...

posted on: Jan 28, 2009 | author: Lance

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