Wednesday, November 26, 2008

+++ MFI & Woolies Bust +++

Bankruptcy was not entirely unexpected in the case of these two ailing retailers. Despite Mandelson pleading with Woolies’ bankers into the early hours of this morning they pulled the plug regardless. Tuppence off prices won’t make much difference for them.

Keen readers will notice the change to the portfolio on the right hand side for the first time in a month. Guido has just shorted FTSE futures and Dow futures. Combination of bad local news and a sense that there is a mood of bailout fatigue in the U.S. There is usually a “Santa Claus rally” in the markets at year end. Not sure Santa is going to come this year…

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Research: Kaiser was Less Expensive Enemy than Brown

The Taxpayers’ Alliance has done the research leg-work and confirms that Brown’s debt bubble is twice what it cost to defeat the Kaiser.*

Total Debt increase 1914 – 1919 (2007 value):

£255,106,544,018

Total Debt planned 2008/09 – 2013/14 (PBR):

£512,000,000,000

(For full methodology, see Sources & Methodology)

*They are trying to find reliable data for the cost of WWII at the moment.

People Will Bail Out of Bail Out States

Jack Thurston, a former special adviser to Gordon’s enforcer Nick Brown, and one of early New Labour’s more cerebral types, writes in this morning’s Wall Street Journal of the perils ofA Permanent Bailout. Even a perennial optimist like Guido wonders if we are finally seeing the the delayed end of the twentieth century era of Anglo-American global dominance as predicted by the CIA. The economies of the U.K. and the U.S.A. are being burdened with government debts of epic proportions, our children (and their children as well) will be indentured tax slaves.

Hyperbole? The government bond markets will enslave the citizens and subjects who pay the taxes that service their demands as surely as feudal barons demanded their lands were ploughed for their table by serfs. It is stunning that Brown’s policies have cost HM Treasury, in real terms, more than it took to defeat the Luftwaffe and the Wehrmacht. The debt obligations of the state will be £2 trillion within a few years, Gordon ignores the unfunded pensions of his bloated public sector bureaucracy and admits to “only” £1 trillion. The long term consequences of a debt burden as great as this are that Britain will have a permanently low growth economy. If, as is most likely, predominantly foreign investors hold government bonds, higher taxes will reduce the available capital which can be put to productive use in the domestic economy because the interest paid is exported. That is if they are not too worried about Britain going bust to invest at all. The chart above (click to enlarge) shows the cost of insuring in the credit default swap market against the U.K. government going bust is nearly triple the German rate. British Gilts are becoming the junk bonds of the G7.

Do people want to live in a country designed by Gordon Brown, as cheered on this morning by Polly Toynbee, Will Hutton and Roy Hattersley? Is there a prospect on the horizon of a radical government which can arrest the inevitable decline? Is there a Thatcher-like political leader who can turn around the super-taxer-tanker of state? Guido suspects a lot of internationally mobile people will be weighing up the prospects and possibly heading for the exits soon.

UPDATE : From The Times this morning; “In recent years, thousands of educated Australians have come to the UK. Immigration has been the start of a career, not a gap year, it adds. So there should be some alarm at the fact that they are heading back home in ever larger numbers: 2,700 a month compared to 1,750 a month in 2005. This is largely a vote of no confidence in the old country.”

Australia runs a budget surplus, has paid down the national debt in the good years and welcomes skilled migrants. Form an orderly queue.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Gordonomics : Higher Taxes, Nationalisations, Property Price Collapse, Printing Money, More Government Borrowing, Economic Bust

Guido is not a fanatical gold bug, but in times of crisis gold is the timeless refuge. This is the gold/£ price chart for this year, showing gold has proven to be a sound investment. As Gordon takes the Mugabe option this has only one way to go. Without the restraining hand of Tony Blair socialism is back from the dead cheered on by Labour’s zombies. Gordon’s latest plan to bleed high earners means that the best will be driven from British shores just as they were in the seventies.

Ireland, which is taking the austerity route out of the crisis, slashing government spending, is attracting an entirely private sector solution to recapitalising banks. Property prices are becoming reasonable, tax rates are lower and big British run businesses are relocating to Ireland.

Ireland will probably be out of recession long before an economy crippled by Brown starts to recover – whoever wins the next election.

UPDATE : Ireland’s new finance bill is changing the law to entice non-doms to move from London to Ireland.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Fear and Loathing in Leeds

Guido hears that the Cabinet will be meeting in Leeds on Friday – same drill as the last time in Brum – the public in the form of carefully chosen invitees, mostly from the public sector, will be the backdrop for a Potemkin Village show for the evening news.

Local large private businesses must be in fear that the cabinet will visit. Since the Birmingham Cabinet meeting when Gordon visited Jaguar the company’s sales have collapsed. Jaguar’s parent company JLR is now begging the government for a £1 billion loan. The accursed one-eyed son of the manse is considering it…

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Northern Rock Sinking Taxpayers II

As Guido reported Thursday and all the papers followed up yesterday – Northern Rock’s £35 billion Granite Trust is in trouble, buried in the financial jargon is one important note – the percentage of delinquent loans relative to the value of mortgages in the trust rose above pre-set levels. Three different arrears triggers have been breached – remember how Brown and Darling blatantly lied that the taxpayer’s money was secured by the mortgage assets of the bank? Guido repeatedly argued that the only assets of the bank were in its branches. Net-net, the loan book will turn out to be near enough worthless or even negative in value.

The £3 billion of capital injected by the government in August can be kissed goodbye, another £3 billion will be needed soon and that will almost certainly go up in smoke as well. Well done to Vince Cable for giving the government such fulsome support in wasting billions- 28 million taxpayers won’t thank you.

This is an amount enough to give every income-tax payer in the country a £1000 reduction for a year. A targeted fiscal stimulus. What exactly is the taxpayer gaining for subsidising the winding up of Northern Rock?

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Liquidity Issues – Wine Prices Going Down?

During the tech boom in the late nineties Guido was buying wine faster than he could drink it (for once). When the tech collapse halved Guido’s net worth he drank all the wine rather than see it, errm, depreciate. Seemed sensible at the time. This time Guido thinks he should just get short the Wine index (which is exchange traded) and drink the profits.

Unfunded Government Spending Up £1.4 billion in October

Public sector net debt (on the Treasury’s definition) rose to £640.9 billion, or 42.9% of GDP. This does not include other liabilities such as off-balance sheet public sector pension liabilities.

Unfunded government spending is getting worse as the economy nose-dives. it would have been much worse if wasn’t for the receipts from oil companies.

With oil back down to $50 a barrel that won’t be the case in the future…

Unfunded Spending and the End to Prosperity

Danny Finkelstein is fighting a proxy battle for his friend George Osborne, that is why advocates of tax cuts like of Fraser Nelson, Tim Montgomerie, Iain Dale, Dominic Lawson, Nick Clegg and Guido are so willing to battle with him on the blogs and rehearse the arguments.

What is so depressing about Danny’s arguments is that they are primarily about politics rather than economics. They are not even about politics with a capital “P”, but the low politics of electoral calculation.

He has even taken on Arthur Laffer. Danny doesn’t believe there is anything to gain from promising voters tax and spending cuts. Even though strong political leadership could make the case to the voters more credible. It is because of an unwillingness to tackle the issue head-on that the Tories have allowed the vocabulary of the argument to be determined by Brown. How come we never hear much of Gordon’s unfunded spending commitments – the budget deficit? In all of this the actual merits of the case for a low-tax, higher growth economy have been ignored.

Laffer’s new book The End of Prosperity: How Higher Taxes Will Doom the Economy–If We Let It Happen reminds us that there is more to the argument than just psephology. If we want to get out of this recession faster we need to lighten the tax burden on business and consumers…

The Granite Hits the Fan

The FTs Alphaville blog draws our attention to bad news on the wires this morning, as the Dow closes below 8,000 and the FTSE trades below 4,000, we get the news that Granite Master Issue PLC, the trust that is 28% of the UK mortgage securitisation market, is reporting a “non-asset trigger event”. It is telling lenders that Northern Rock‘s collaterallisation, and hence credit worthiness, has declined significantly.Granite is the single biggest funder of the UK mortgage market. If it goes tits up, £38 billion of Northern Rock mortgage assets could be liquidated…

Seen Elsewhere

NUT’s Loony Defence of Status Quo | Jago Pearson
A Dozen Reasons to Be Cheerful | John McTernan
Political Bloggers Are Equal Opportunities Attackers | ConHome
Michael Gove Should Resign | Conservative Women
Sarah Wollaston’s Naming and Shaming of Bloggers | LibDemVoice
Fraser Nelson: Put Your Money on Ed Miliband to Win | Guardian
Guido Fawkes is Too Aggressive | The Times
Ditch Tobacco Plain Packaging | Grassroots Conservatives
What Farage, Boris and Rob Ford Have in Common | William Walter
Labour Spell New Adviser’s Name Wrong | ITV
Dave Stung by Jellyfish | Sun


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Rod Liddle on the loony UN sexism special rapporteur:

“There is more sexism in Britain than in any other country in the world, according to a mad woman who has been sent here by the United Nations.

Rashida Manjoo is a part-time professor of law at Cape Town University in the totally non-sexist country of South Africa (otherwise known as Rape Capital Of The World).

Mrs Magoo has been wandering around with her notebook and is appalled by the sexist “boys’ club” culture here, apparently.

I don’t doubt we still have sexism in the UK. But is it worse than in, say, Saudi Arabia, d’you think, honey-lamb? Or about 175 other countries? Get a grip, you doolally old bat.”



orkneylad says:

What’s he been doing FFS, mining bitcoins?


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