Supervisors put off finalising reforms to bank-capital rules

SOME banks find existing capital requirements too taxing. To no one’s surprise, on December 23rd Monte dei Paschi di Siena, at present Italy’s fourth-biggest bank, asked the Italian state for help, having failed to raise from the private sector €5bn ($5.2bn) in capital demanded by the European Central Bank before the year’s end. Three days… Continue reading Supervisors put off finalising reforms to bank-capital rules

2016 may have been an economic as well as political turning-point

THANKS to Brexit and the election of Donald Trump, 2016 is widely viewed as a political turning-point. But it may also come to be seen as an economic turning-point, marking the third big change of direction since the second world war. The post-war period from 1945 to 1973 was the era of the Bretton Woods… Continue reading 2016 may have been an economic as well as political turning-point

Ford Motors courts Donald Trump by scrapping a planned plant in Mexico

IT WAS in the spring of 2016 that Donald Trump singled out Ford Motors, calling its plans to build a plant in Mexico an “absolute disgrace” and promising it would not happen on his watch. Back then, it seemed remarkable that the candidate thought he could boss around a firm of Ford’s stature. On January… Continue reading Ford Motors courts Donald Trump by scrapping a planned plant in Mexico

Toshiba admits to a ruinous overpayment for an American nuclear firm

Ritual contrition THE probe in 2015 into one of Japan’s largest-ever accounting scandals, at Toshiba, an electronics and nuclear-power conglomerate that has been the epitome of the country’s engineering prowess, concluded that number-fiddling at the firm was “systemic”. It was found to have padded profits by ¥152bn ($1.3bn) between 2008 and 2014. Its boss, and… Continue reading Toshiba admits to a ruinous overpayment for an American nuclear firm

The three Rs behind global banks’ recovery

IN THE Bible, seven years of feast were followed by seven years of famine. For banks there have been ten lean years. Subprime-loan defaults started to rise in February 2007, causing a near-collapse of the industry in America and Europe. Next came bail-outs from governments, then years of grovelling before regulators, mass firings of staff… Continue reading The three Rs behind global banks’ recovery

“Open outcry” is in retreat but futures and options trading-volumes surge

Nothing to outcry about AS A new trading year began this week in the art-deco tower that houses the Chicago Board of Trade, big men were clustered around pits dealing in futures and options tied to various commodities. Their approach dates back to the building’s opening in 1930, and was once familiar in cities throughout… Continue reading “Open outcry” is in retreat but futures and options trading-volumes surge

Anthony Atkinson, a British economist and expert on inequality, died on January 1st

“TIME is of the essence,” wrote Sir Anthony Atkinson, a British economist, in a report on measuring global poverty, published in July 2016. His sense of urgency may have been influenced by another constraint. In 2014 Sir Anthony had been diagnosed with incurable cancer. Some might have paused; he sped up. He chaired the World… Continue reading Anthony Atkinson, a British economist and expert on inequality, died on January 1st