In These New Times

A new paradigm for a post-imperial world

Posts Tagged ‘bankrupt Britain’

UK’s financial services sector will retain its passporting rights despite Brexit, Boris Johnson says

Posted by seumasach on July 23, 2016

Johnson’s “everything will remain the same despite Brexit” argument reflects either that he is completely delusional or that he is strongly hinting that Brexit is not going to happen at all. Regarding passporting rights, that will be in the hands of the Europeans and it is no secret that Paris and Frankfurt are vying to succeed London as Europe’s financial sector. His assurances lack all credibility and reflect the bizarre post-Brexit limbo into which we have been cast. Meanwhile, as the incoming capital flows on which we are dependent dry up, the perspectives for the UK economy and living standards are dire in the extreme.

IBTimes

23rd July, 2016

London will remain a global financial centre, according to Boris Johnson, the UK’s newly appointed foreign secretary. Speaking at the United Nations in New York, Johnson dismissed fears over the country’s financial services sectors losing its passporting rights amid the Brexit vote.

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Brexit raises questions about pound’s elite status

Posted by seumasach on July 14, 2016

Reuters

13th July, 2016

Britain’s vote to leave the European Union is raising questions about sterling’s place among the small, elite group of hard currencies underpinning the financial system.

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Martin Jacques explains UK’s pivot to China

Posted by seumasach on February 29, 2016

Asia Times

24th February, 2016

Asia Times top writer George Koo recently interviewed Martin Jacques, the author of the global bestseller, “When China Rules the World.” The British journalist and scholar was a guest speaker at a Feb. 18 forum in Palo Alto, Calif. hosted by the Committee of 100 and the Commonwealth Club. The topic was “Why the UK sees China as a friend and the US doesn’t.” Koo moderated and afterwards spoke with Jacques in an exclusive interview for Asia Times.

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Cameron spins the City’s demise

Posted by seumasach on February 21, 2016

 

Cailean Bochanan

21st February, 2016

It is unusual for the British establishment to risk a consultation with the people unless major changes are underway- changes which are sufficient to provoke divisions in the establishment itself. It goes without saying that the negotiations with the EU are not essentially about child benefit for Polish families living in the UK. They are about “sovereignty” although in a very limited sense: the “sovereignty” of the City of London. The deal struck triumphantly by Cameron is revelatory. It shows that conflict within the establishment  concerns the least bad option for the City: whether to face exclusion from the EU market and displacement by Paris or Frankfurt as Europe’s leading financial centre or to remain inside Europe and to take up arms against a sea of Eurozone banking regulations and by opposing end them. That is the question!

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Posted in Battle for Europe, UK economy | Tagged: , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Pound plunges to five-year low as manufacturing performance is worse than expected

Posted by seumasach on January 12, 2016

The exposure of the chronic weakness of the UK economy is long overdue: a bombed-out high street, empty pubs, falling share prices, the collapse of the property bubble and local government insolvency are all on the horizon. But the negative current account is the icing on the cake. Presumably, this reflects lack of interest in UK government bonds and the continued need to monetise them i.e print money to buy them: hence the inevitability of a sterling crisis with an accompanying inflationary surge or rising interest rates which will trigger the collapse of the financial sector. We are indeed cursed by interesting times!

Telegraph

12th January, 2016

Sterling plunged to a five-and-a-half year low against the US dollar on Tuesday, as the UK’s manufacturing sector shrunk unexpectedly.

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UK house prices to crash as global asset prices unravel

Posted by seumasach on January 11, 2016

Telegraph

10th January, 2016

Asset prices around the world are collapsing as the global economy slows and UK housing will not escape

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The left on the horns of a Chinese dilemma

Posted by seumasach on October 4, 2015

Cailean Bochanan

4th October, 2015

I had the impression that Osborne’s recent and startling announcement of various deals with China, including the integration of our financial markets, no less, had been met by a stunned silence. But John McDonnell, the new Shadow Chancellor made this reference to them in his speech to the Labour Party Conference:

“I found the Conservatives’ rant against Jeremy’s proposal to bring rail back into public ownership ironic when George Osborne was touring China selling off to the Chinese state bank any British asset he could lay his hands on.”

“Ironic” is putting it mildly: The Chancellor has essentially admitted the failure of the Thatcher revolution and called in the state to rescue Britain. Only it’s not the British state, which no longer knows how to run anything unless it’s into the ground. You might have thought the left would be enjoying this “irony” a bit more than they appear to be. More, for example, than William Keegan writing in the Guardian who is dismayed that Osborne is “kowtowing to a communist Chinese government” and denounces his “cloying approach to a regime notorious for its abuse of human rights”. Keegan is something of a soft left neo-keynesian and , therefore, those criticisms could be largely expected. What about the hard left?
In an article in Socialist Worker Alex Callinicos gives us the line. He is, of course, scrupulously politically correct:

“The problem here isn’t that the companies are foreign-owned.”

Why shouldn’t foreign companies take the place over? Don’t they have rights too? The problem lies elsewhere. Callinicos points out that Chinese companies are “still subject to considerable state control” and that capital “is still not allowed to flow freely in and out of the country” However, Callinicos insinuates this is changing and China is embracing the free movement of capital.
So we have two major threads in this leftist discourse: on the one hand, dealing with China is wrong because China is communist and , on the other , it is wrong because China is no longer communist.
Callinicos goes on to denounce the fact that Chinese investment will be centered on the the City of London at the expense of the “national base of companies operating in Britain.” Callinicos’ thinking in all this is particularly fuzzy. Capital exported from China can still be and is controlled by the Chinese leadership for all their rhetoric about free markets. This is particularly true of the banks. As Dend Xaoping himself used to say:”Whatever you do keep control of the financial system!” In addition, I don’t believe the behavior of Chinese banks will merely replicate that of our own: riding high on bubbles and carry trades, manipulating rates and prices and laundering funds of dubious origin. If they did China certainly wouldn’t be in the position it is today. Anyway, as Osborne announced, there is already large scale Chinese investment in the real economy, largely in infrastructure and housing. There is every reason to believe that this would increase with funding available from Chinese banks operating in the City. The principles of Chinese finance contradict completely those the City of London. We are, therefore, looking at systemic change in the British financial system.
The British left desperately need to get to grips with this issue and quickly. This is because they have essentially abandoned their neo-Keynesian perspectives and accepted the need to balance budgets. But how can they reconcile this with their claim to be anti-austerity. Balanced budgets imply genocidal austerity unless there is some countervailing tendency. That tendency is incoming investment something which, seemingly unbeknown to the left, we have been beneficiaries of for decades. All that is happening,as Osborne’s policy shows, is that the form this investment takes is changing.
For a long time China was obliged to accept fiat pounds to cover its massive trade surplus with Britain and reinvest these pounds in UK government bonds. This was win/win for Britain and largely explains the surprising prosperity of post-Thatcherite Britain. The bankruptcy of the City and its subsequent bailout changed all that. China ceased to buy new UK government bonds (note that, in addition to its massive trade deficit, Britain no longer has a current account surplus not including trade) although they agreed not to divest from existing bonds, sinking sterling. Instead, they wanted to reinvest the surplus funds in the UK. So, on the one hand, we can no longer fund our deficit with Chinese bond purchases and on the other we have the prospect of hundreds of billions worth of inward investment. So balanced budgets and Osborne’s policy are two sides of the same coin. It would be truly reckless to embrace balanced budgets without wholeheartedly welcoming the incoming investment which will render the outcome far less austere. The left are caught in a dilemma which they must resolve if they don’t want to be outflanked by the Tories.

Posted in British economy | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

Britain’s fragile finances are a political no-go area

Posted by seumasach on May 3, 2015

Liam Halligan

Telegraph

2nd May, 2015

Aren’t financial assets “simply pumped up by printed money?” Don’t share prices “need to adjust downward by something like 50pc?” Is it “really the case that if Greece leaves monetary union, other countries won’t follow?” It must “surely be wrong to try solving a debt problem by taking on even more debt?”

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Crippling PFI deals leave Britain £222bn in debt

Posted by seumasach on April 12, 2015

Independent

12th April, 2015

Every man, woman and child in Britain is more than £3,400 in debt – without knowing it and without borrowing a single penny – thanks to the proliferation of controversial deals used to pay for infrastructure such as schools and hospitals.

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Prince William meets China’s president Xi Jinping

Posted by seumasach on March 2, 2015

as he invites Queen to visit Beijing

The meeting, by far the most heavyweight diplomatic mission the Duke has ever attempted, not only heralded a new beginning for relations between China and the Royal family, but also symbolised the extent to which Britain is desperate to court what will soon be the world’s biggest economy.

Telegraph

2nd March, 2015

His father the Prince of Wales famously referred to China’s leaders as “appalling old waxworks”, and has never been back to the country since.

But his son the Duke of Cambridge pulled off something of a diplomatic coup, and a major thawing of relations between Beijing and the Royal family, by gaining an unexpected audience with President Xi Jinping.

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RBS posts seventh straight annual loss

Posted by seumasach on February 26, 2015

“The performance was better than expected, comparing to a £9bn loss in 2013, in a boost to the Treasury’s hope of selling off part of its stake at some point.”

Telegraph

26th February, 2015

Royal Bank of Scotland lost £3.5bn last year, its seventh-consecutive year without a profit, meaning the bank has lost around £50bn in total since 2008, when it was bailed out.

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