Monday, June 11, 2012


If you're thinking about buying property in Spain - well, there's always someone - and wondering whether prices have now bottomed out, here's Mark Stucklin with his view of how the 100 billion euro transfer into the account of those who own most of the properties - the banks - will affect the market for them. You are now looking, he says, at a shorter delay before it bottoms out. Brave man.

Well, the Euros are under way and the British media has been up in arms at the racism observed at Polish and Ukrainian grounds. Sad to say, though, monkey chants directed at black football players are not exclusive to these two countries; they've been a feature of recent England-Spain matches too. And now come reports that Spanish supporters shamed their country by indulging in this infantile behaviour during last night's match with Italy. The reason is pretty simple; no one in Spain thinks this is sufficiently bad to do something about it. And we're usually given the pathetic lie that the chants have been 'misinterpreted'. Here's a previous post on this subject. And here's one about a comparable example in Portugal. Not Iberia at its best.

The begging charity letters - with their little gifts - continue to pour in through my daughter's letterbox - the result of her giving her name and address to one of the charitable organisations. The latest letter contained not just a free biro but also a pair of heart-tugging baby's bootees. These guys really play hardball. You'd have to have a heart of stone to ignore them. But I manage it.

Brinkmanship - A last minute deal - Euphoria - And a swift return to reality and fear. This has been the pattern with all of the numerous crisis resolutions of the eurozone over the last four years. And the Spanish bailout appears to be no different. Stocks which soared yesterday have plummeted today and people have wisely suspended judgement until the Devil tells us what's in the detail. Specifically, what strings are attached to the loan which the Spanish government would have us believe has none. Meanwhile, here's the (jaundiced) view of one expert in these things:- What happened over the weekend was simple: against the run of its own guidance and resolution framework, Eurozone officials put bondholders and EZ taxpayers squarely on the hook for the painful aftermath of the squalid, rampant and barely-concealed speculation of Spanish banks and regional authorities in infrastructure and real-estate development and in housing. Economy minister Luis de Guindos said over the weekend that because the bail-out is a credit-line to FROB it won’t be included in Spain’s deficit calculations. If that’s the case, it’s yet another gross EZ falsification. More here.

Finally . . . Since the weekend of sun and high temperatures three weeks ago, the weather in Britain has been dire. A great deal of rain and very little sun. And now the forecast is for 'A month of rain'. Which has reminded me of what I wrote six weeks ago: The official prediction is that May will be the coldest in 300 years, to be followed by a 'sizzling' summer. So, I guess we can assume there'll be two, or even three, days of sun this year. My own prediction is that the forecast will only be half right. The half about May being brass monkeys weather. Sad to say, my scepticism has been proved valid so far. So, I'm not too unhappy about quitting this septic isle next weekend.

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