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Friday, March 6, 2009

FT Week in Reviewington: Chinese Play Joke Edition

On Wednesday markets were pleased to find there was still in fact such a direction as "up", staging a broad rally. The optimism was driven by leaks from a senior Chinese official that prime minister Wen Jiabao was set to announce new stimulus measures at the Communist party's annual National People's Congress, where thousands of delegates gather to vote on who can stay awake the longest.

But then on Thursday, Mr. Wen went and peed in everyone's coke. Haha, it's funny, because its racist.

He offered no new stimulus measures and crucially failed to provide details for the already vague plans the party announced earlier, sending markets down horribly again. Capitalism is so punk'd.

Anyway, revel in the irony as the remnants of our financial system pathetically subject themselves to the whims of a communist dictatorship, widely suspected of making up economic figures.

Shares in GE fell over fears over the stability of its finance arm and worries that it may lose its AAA credit rating. If you're keeping score, GE, like everything else, is too big to fail.

The Mexican soap opera that is Ukrainian politics continues. Facing collapsing output, a souring deal with the IMF, and two leaders who hate each other slightly more than everyone hates them, literally the only positive development in the last month has been a resolution of the gas payment issues with Russia, so at least people aren't freezing to death anymore. (Or not.)

Well, security forces raided state-owned Naftogaz, in order to preemptively contradict anyone who'd have argued Ukraine had enough problems. Ukraine already has by far the highest credit default swap spreads in Europe indicating a universal lack of confidence. The raid itself is apparently an extension of the power struggle between president Viktor Yuschenko and prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko, which it was thought could not possibly get any more ridiculous. But then state security forces raid a state-owned company in the middle of an economic meltdown, literally days after the pair publicly agreed to stop feuding.

At least the SUB guys look cool.

Ford continues to entertain the fantasy that it wont end up asking for a government bailout with a debt-for-equity swap. Cash bonfire GM on the other hand is coming to terms with the inevitable, since everyone continues to not buy cars.

The firm in charge of the liquidation of Lehman Brothers is questioning a $3.3bn discrepancy in the accounts of Barclays, the UK bank which bought Lehman's North American operations. Alvarez & Marshal figure that Barclay's set aside far more than they actually paid out in compensation to former Lehman employees and may have booked the remainder as profit. Barclays responded with a calm, considered letter:
“Alvarez & Marsal’s position is completely without merit, baseless and a serious misunderstanding of the facts."
Methinks the lady doth protest too much.

Pantsuit of Freedom Hillary Clinton broke from Bush era protocol and invited her best friends in Iran to a regional discussion on "Afghanistan's future", which is perhaps the most optimistic statement in history. So long as we're guessing, this will include a slow, steady erosion of the Durand Line, as the Pashtun regions of Pakistan and Afghanistan unite as 'Clusterfuckistan', lots and lots of opium, a protracted death-spiral of medieval violence, and finally a reunion concert on VH1.

John Gapper seems to agree with my whole Hank-Greenberg-is-a-dildo thesis.

America's army of unemploids grows, with a third-straight month of 600,000+ jobless claims. Jesus fucking Christ.

Retarded petro-clown Hugo Chavez of Venezuela nationalized a Cargill rice mill, which violated strict laws ordering every business to sell everything at a loss, for the poors, who have been blessed with 30% inflation forever. Chavez has already nationalized broad sectors of the economy in pursuit of his 21st century socialism thing, and is mulling more takeovers.
Rice production has been the focus of government intervention so far this week. But Mr Chávez has said the government is looking at other sectors, including plants producing maize flour, cooking oil and toilet paper.
Oh please, please, please nationalize the toilet paper industry, so I can do a master's thesis on Caracas' black market for TP, for bungholes. I'm desperate to find out whether consumers prefer the ass-chafing solidarity of Simon Bolivar's revolutionary construction paper, or the imperialist comfort of scented Charmin ultra bunny soft.

A currency trader aboard the failboat Merrill Lynch is being investigated for possibly losing $400 million in undisclosed trades. Way to go, dickhead.

Superdouche Bernard Madoff, who took all the monies, is nearing a plea bargain with prosecutors.

And Mattel opened its ginormous Barbie store in Shanghai. Some early hits: soup-kitchen Barbie, unemployed financial analyst Barbie, and riot-police Ken.

1 comment:

Susan said...

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