All posts by Moderator

Bank of England hawks change their minds on interest rates

Minutes show MPC agrees unanimously to keep record low rate of 0.5% as low oil price forces Martin Weale and Ian McCafferty to fall in line

Savers wanting an early rise in interest rates had their hopes dashed on Wednesday, as it emerged that the two members of the Bank of England’s monetary policy committee who have repeatedly backed higher borrowing costs have changed their minds.

Mark Carney, the Bank governor, has warned the public that with economic growth relatively strong, interest rates will eventually have to rise from 0.5%.

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Greek elections – the Guardian briefing

After five years of economic rout, Greeks are poised this weekend to reject EU-imposed austerity and vote for Syriza – a party opposed to the fiscal crackdown

Young, gifted and Greek: the world’s biggest brain drain

Expats from London to New York and Melbourne hold breath

After joining the euro in 2001 – and after a profligate decade that included an $8bn Olympic Games and torrent of cheap money – Greece hit a fiscal cliff in 2010. Technically bankrupt, but without the ability to manipulate its own currency any more, it had no choice but to ask for international help. A series of bailouts agreed by the “troika” – the European commission, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund – worth a record $240bn in total, rescued the state’s balance sheet, but at a steep price. An austerity programme unprecedented in postwar European history stripped back social spending, sent unemployment soaring and ushered in a recession so deep that it ravaged the popularity of the traditional parties of power – the centre-right party New Democracy and the centre-left Pasok. New Democracy squeaked an election win in 2012, but the vote this weekend is expected to favour the anti-austerity leftists of Syriza.

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A damp mood in Davos | Larry Elliott

Analysis: not even the most optimistic at World Economic Forum believes global economy is on cusp of 80s-style boom

• Davos 2015 – all the day’s news as it happens

It’s all very familiar. Oil prices are plunging. The US is the locomotive for global growth. The dollar is strong. Close your eyes and you could imagine the clock had been turned back almost 30 years to the mid-1980s, when the Reagan-Thatcher double act was in its pomp.

Nariman Behravesh, chief economist at IHS, says there is definitely a sense of back to the future as the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum convenes in Davos, Switzerland. Then as now, the world was recovering from a deep slump. Then as now, the cost of crude was coming down from a level that had caused severe problems for oil-importing nations.

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Al Gore and Pharrell Williams on climate change – Davos 2015 live

Rolling coverage of the first day of the World Economic Forum, including appearances by former US vice-president Al Gore, Italian PM Matteo Renzi and Chinese premier Li Keqiang

Al Gore and Pharrell Williams on climate changeThe Agenda
Ukraine’s president cuts trip short

9.11am GMT

Gore is pointing to satellite pictures, and video clips of recent storms.

Warmer climates mean rising sea levels, which means more moisture entering the atmosphere, which means more serious rainfall and most violent storms, he says

9.08am GMT

The Pope Francis has joined the ranks of climate activists, Gore says, speaking powerfully about it recently.

9.07am GMT

Gore is running through more stats to show the recent climate change.

December 2014 was 358th month in a row of temperatures above the long term average, he says.

9.06am GMT

Al Gore’s up now – talking about the surge in greenhouse gas emissions through recent decades.

The principle source of the problem is the burning of fossil fuels, which has put enormous amounts of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.

9.00am GMT

The main conference hall is filling up for Gore and Williams. First, though, they’re getting a history lesson — a quick romp through the history of the universe. We’ve just reached the death of the dinosaurs….

8.55am GMT

Al Gore’s role as a climate change activist is well known. Pharrell Williams, perhaps not so much?

The highly successful musician is here as Creative Director and Brand Ambassador for Bionic Yarn, which takes recycled plastic and turns it into durable textiles.

8.53am GMT

Nearly time for the first major event of the day – the debate on “What’s Next? A Climate for Action”, with Al Gore, Pharrell Williams and Kevin Wall, founder of the Live Earth organisation

You can watch it live here:

8.48am GMT

Away from Davos briefly, the Bank of Japan has cut its inflation forecasts.

Plummeting oil prices forced the central bank to revise down its forecasts for core consumer inflation for the year beginning in April to 1% from a forecast of 1.7% three months ago.

Consumer inflation will slow for the time being due to oil price falls. On the assumption that oil prices will flatten out at current levels and rise moderately ahead, the effect of the oil price decline will ease.

8.23am GMT

Tidjane Thiam, the chief executive of insurance company Prudential is in Davos and has been speaking to Bloomberg Television.

As the world gets more interconnected, it gets more difficult to predict the impact events will have and that feeds into volatility.

As a long-term investor, we are lucky that we are able to sit back through some of the short-term events.

8.20am GMT

Union leaders have also made an early mark at Davos, declaring that workers need a new Magna Carta of rights to tackle inequality and unemployment.

Philip Jennings, general secretary of UNI Global Union, which has 20 million members, set the tone, declaring:

“Politicians and business leaders at Davos are sitting on a volcano of legitimate discontent fuelled by unemployment, inequality and austerity. Collectively we have a responsibility to face up to the need to change course.”

8.17am GMT

As the annual mountain powwow gets underway there are fresh accusations this morning that Davos amounts to, at best, handwringing about inequality and, at worst, a hotbed of “dangerous delusions”, my colleague Katie Allen reports.

The accusation comes from campaigners Global Justice Now, which has released a report suggesting that the number of people living in poverty in sub-Saharan Africa – that’s on less than $2 a day – has doubled to 562 million since 1981. Simultaneously, the global rich have become much richer, says the group, formerly known as the World Development Movement.

“The world’s elite, who are gathered at their annual strategy meeting in Davos, are encouraging us to believe powerful myths to convince us that their unequal system makes the world a better place. We want to undermine those ‘dangerous delusions’ to show that their policies are fuelling inequality, poverty and destruction and we need radical change.

Poverty is about power – the majority of people can’t improve their lives when all the world’s resources are monopolised by an ultra rich few.”

8.09am GMT

Here’s something to ponder: One in five top bosses are so confident of their ability that they never doubt their decisions.

That’s according to a report just released at Davos this morning. Jill Treanor was there, and reports:

One chief executive interviewed by Said Businesss School at the University of Oxford and headhunters Heidrick and Struggles said: “Every day we have a missile pointed toward us. We don’t know where it will fall. I can’t control everything but I can remind each us of where the risks are”.

The report, launched at the Davos meeting of the World Economic Forum, found that top bosses were concerned about the pace of change and also operating a world where their decisions could be analysed by searches on google.

8.05am GMT

PR company Edelman has released its latest Trust survey at Davos this morning. It found that tax avoidance is the biggest reason Brits are losing faith in companies (bad news for several of the multinationals attending WEF!)

No 1 cause of lack of trust in UK: companies not paying taxes. #edeltrust #wef15

Concern at #edeltrust that media have fallen below search engines as a trusted source. #wef15

Who do you trust most to create content in social media: 70% friends & family, 70% academics, 50% media, 20% celebs. #edelmantrust #wef15

7.58am GMT

President Poroshenko’s spokesperson has confirmed that the president will be leaving Davos earlier than planned.

Via Reuters:

“Due to the complication of the situation, the President decided to shorten his visit to Switzerland and … return to Ukraine on (Wednesday),” he said in a Facebook post.

7.50am GMT

The word at Davos this morning is that Ukraine’s president, Petro Poroshenko, is cutting his visit to WEF because of the escalating conflict in the country’s eastern regions.

7.33am GMT

As is traditional, Davos has descended into a security lock-down for this week with police officers at many of the main junctions. No sign of protests on the way in, but tiz still early…..

Davos in its usual tight-security mode, for #wef15

7.31am GMT

Good morning from Davos, Switzerland, where the 45th World Economic Forum is getting underway.

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