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Sovereign deficit du jour (all figures in euros unless stated otherwise):
The consolidated financial statements of the Holy See for 2011 closed with a deficit of 14,890,034. The most significant items of expenditure were those relative to personnel (who as of 31 December 2011 numbered 2,832) and to the communications media considered as a whole. The result was affected by the negative trend of global financial markets, which made it impossible to achieve the goals laid down in the budget.
Capital Economics’ Roger Bootle has won the £250,000 Wolfson Economics prize for finding a practical way to break up the eurozone.
Though, as it turns out, Bootle doesn’t think it would be all that practical. Read more
(That’s Lisa, at Thursday’s European Central Bank press conference) Read more
And lo, did the market move. From the BoE:
The Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee today voted to maintain the official Bank Rate paid on commercial bank reserves at 0.5%. The Committee also voted to increase the size of its asset purchase programme, financed by the issuance of central bank reserves, by £50 billion to a total of £375 billion… Read more
Here are some charts we knocked up (in our usual MS paint, so excuse the pixelation) to try and explain why the banking system’s biggest problem may lie in ‘negative carry’ — a phenomenon that would make investment-focused lending unprofitable, pushing the onus instead on predatory-profits extracted from economically destructive practices.
We begin with the following (click to expand): Read more
Live markets commentary from FT.com
Key sentence is “senior resignations at the bank and the consequent uncertainty surrounding the firm’s direction are negative for bondholders”, although they add that recent events could be positive over the long term. Below is the full statement:
Moody’s changes outlook on Barclays’ standalone rating to negative Read more
Asian stocks were slightly lower today as investors await central bank decisions. The ECB is anticipated to cut rates to a record low, while the Bank of England is also expected a new bond buying programme. The Shanghai Composite was the biggest mover, down 1.19%. Crude oil and the Australian dollar also fell. US markets were closed on Wednesday. Gold was close to a two-week high on easing expectations. (Bloomberg, Reuters, Financial Times)