Archive for December 16th, 2011

A sign of the times

Cast your mind back to the autumn of 2008 when the world’s financial system appeared to be on the brink. Financial stocks tumbled. The Goldman Sachs share price for example went from $235 in October 2007 to $53 by November 2008.

Markets have moved on and this week JP Morgan tapped up investors for $1.25 billion by issuing bonds. The bank managed to issue this corporate debt at an interest rate of 5.4% over 30 years making it the lowest coupon achieved by a US bank since Dealogic started monitoring the market in 1995.  

Compare the JP Morgan rate to government debt and you’ll see how the financial crisis has evolved. Investors might still be worried about the financial system and many of the businesses within it, but they are more worried about states.

It is a sign of the times that Italy is currently paying over 6% to borrow, highlighting the shift from companies to state, a theme which 2011 will no doubt be remembered for.

FPS’ Friday Fiver – prediction edition

As Christmas party season reaches its messy peak, no doubt many of you are rubbing bleary eyes today and wondering why you had that last glass of Prosecco.  We’ll keep the Friday Fiver soothing this week and I can guarantee that there are no flashing images below.  

In a slight detour from our usual news review we’ll dust down our crystal balls and gaze at the year ahead. We have handpicked a series of largely unrelated predictions for your reading pleasure.


Anemic, uncertain and indebted are the buzz words for the economic outlook, particularly in the Western world. It’s not a pretty picture as Nouriel Roubini outlines in the Guardian.  

Upcoming policy decisions both in Europe and the US are likely to have a significant bearing on the year ahead. In his 2012 outlook, Morgan Stanley economist Joachim Fels states:

Policy make or break: We expect upcoming policy decisions in the US and Europe to hold the key to the global growth outlook. With a recession in Europe, anaemic growth in the US and a further dimming of emerging market economies’ growth prospects as our base case, we see global growth falling below its long-term average. 

[More detailed article here]



[Work to do on the production lines]


The biggest foreseeable political event of next year is likely to be the US election but given the social upheaval we have seen both at home and abroad in 2011, who knows what is in store.

In the States, Obama will be defending his position against an as yet undecided Republican candidate. Mitt Romney, Ron Paul and Newt Gingrich are all still in contention.

[Newt Gingrich – A face of 2012?]

A quick scan of the betting odds, suggests that Obama is still the favourite but much could happen between now and polling day.


It’s hard to talk about 2012 without mentioning the London Olympics. Looking back at the 2008 medal table, China came out on top with Great Britain in fourth spot. Will we beat 47 medals in 2012?

Clive Woodward is of the view that hosting the Games should act as an additional incentive to our athletes and our medal count is likely to increase next year. Michael Johnson, a man who knows a thing or two about Olympic competition, is of the view that athletes may relax too much whilst at home. It didn’t seem to do him any harm in Atlanta however…  


Depending on your interpretation of the Mayan calendar our days may also be numbered. According to the calendar we have just over a year as the world may end on December 21st 2012. We had better get busy in that case…

 On that cheery note, I ask you to consider the importance of your New Year’s resolutions and bid you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.