There’s bad and good news on the British economy, it seems. The OECD now says the reduction this year, at 3.7%, will be greater than previously forecast. On the other hand, the USA (4%), Italy (4.3%), Germany (5.3%) and Japan (6.6%) will fare even worse. One wonders what all this will mean for the pound. Meanwhile, click here for informed commentary.
The Spanish papers were full yesterday of details of the shenanigans at the savings bank (caja) which the Bank of Spain has taken control of. Withdrawals of 18m euros a day in March; a Chairman who hid developments from his Board; Bad debts doubling from 5 to 10% in a couple of months; Declarations of profits despite huge losses; Technical insolvency; Investments in a local airport which will never see the light of day . . . You name it. I guess it’s this sort of news which makes some of us wonder just how stable Spanish financial institutions really are. Especially those controlled by regional politicians - a group of folk not generally known for their probity. As of this week, the bank’s management has been sacked but I doubt there’ll be any prosecutions for, say, the criminal offence of trading while insolvent. Not to mention false accounting, etc., etc.
Meanwhile, the Finance Minister has warned us to expect more BoE ‘interventions’, which isn’t a huge surprise, of course. Is it a sign of desperation on the part of one of them that I today received a text message offering me additional benefits on an account I don’t even hold with them?
Someone has issued a list of the hundred ‘most attractive’ companies in Spain. This is headed by Inditex (Zara, etc.), followed by Telefónica, El Corte Inglés and Banco Santander. One wonders who is doing the assessing. Presumably investors rather than customers. Though it’s quite possible Inditex has the unique distinction of pulling off the difficult trick of pleasing both constituencies simultaneously. Quite an accolade in Spain.