Statistical modelling. It goes everywhere.
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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. Read more
From our Lord and Saviour, via his earthly representative and the New York Times:
The Vatican called on Monday for an overhaul of the world’s financial systems, and once again proposed the establishment of a supranational authority to oversee the global economy, saying it was needed to bring more democratic and ethical principles to a marketplace run amok. Read more
Erm, OK, not God. Not even the Pope — although an editorial in L’Osservatore Romano by the Pope’s banker comes close:
During a prolonged crisis, inheritance taxes, new forms of taxation or similar alternatives reduce or wipe out resources for investments, discouraging the trust of investors, penalizing the cost of the public debt and the possibilities of its renewal at its expiration. In this context, imposing taxes on property and on income is equivalent to a suicidal anti-subsidiarity of the state to the citizen. Those who legally possess assets, on which they have paid the proper taxes, have contributed to creating wealth and, thanks precisely to these assets, continue to produce them with investments and consumption. Read more
Europe’s first Christian equity index was launched on Monday in response to increasing demand by investors for so-called ethical stocks in the wake of the financial crisis, the FT says. The Stoxx Europe Christian Index comprises 533 European companies that only derive revenues from sources approved “according to the values and principles of the Christian religion”. Read more
There’s nothing like hard times to bring out the bank-bashing craziness. And JP Morgan is no stranger to recession-induced weirdness. For instance, in 1933, in the midst of the Great Depression, John Pierpont Morgan had a midget sit on his lap during the Pecora Commission — a series of hearings delving into the causes of the Wall Street Crash. Now, though, it’s been subject to a ‘holy hex’, says FT Alphaville. Read more
A fresh PR disaster for Goldman Sachs.
The investment bank stands accused of abandoning kittens. Really. Read more
The quest for spiritual salvation seems very much on the mind of global banking executives of late.
Bloomberg reports Barclays CEO John Varley is the latest to try and convince god-fearing folk the world over that his industry’s moral code and primary raison d’etre are all good in the eyes of the Lord. Namely, that “profit is not satanic” and that it’s okay to be a banker (whatever Jesus might have done to the money lenders in the temple). Read more
Or, the ethics of quantitative easing.
George Bragues, business professor at the University of Guelph-Humber, is taking central banks to task for immoral monetary policy in an academic paper. Read more
After the “flight to safety” panic of last year which saw investors flocking to government bonds among a dwindling choice of “save haven” investments, the mood appears to be turning nearly 180 degrees against government debt – as seen in the FT’s latest survey of leading asset managers and strategists, reported Tuesday.
Along with the steady thaw in credit markets and some new resilience in equity markets, there are many signs of a financial system heading out of intensive care, as Gavekal, the Hong Kong-based research and asset management group, notes in a client newsletter on Tuesday. All of which reinforces Gavekal’s view that “government bonds today are in fact the most dangerous asset class out there”. Read more
Or perhaps more appropriately: Money lenders in the temple?
From PA: Read more
Of course someone had to bring God into this at some point. And how. Britain’s archbishops are condemning spivs and speculators for “worshipping the false god of money” and urging a further crackdown on financial markets, while the Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams has gone a step further to say Karl Marx was “right” to condemn capitalism.
Meanwhile Dr John Sentamu, Archbishop of York, told the Worshipful Company of International Bankers: “Those who made £190million deliberately underselling the shares of HBOS, in spite of its very strong capital base, and drove it into the bosom of Lloyds TSB, are clearly bank robbers and asset strippers. Read more
Forget HM Treasury. Northern Rock’s deposits could be guaranteed from the top. The very top.
Northern Rock has been approached with a bid offer from a group of Spanish banks, according to reports from Spanish daily newspaper El Mundo. The group of banks is headed by Spanish entrepreneur Jose Maria Ruiz-Mateos, who approached Northern Rock CEO Adam Applegarth on Friday: Read more