November 4th, 2011
12:42 AM GMT
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(CNN) - Have you ever been to an event where you felt out of place?

You toy with the option of going home. Cocoa and slippers suddenly regain their appeal.

Then again, you might get some benefit from staying: you might meet someone interesting – your knight in shining armor.

When you do finally head for the door it turns out to be locked and your only alternative is creeping out of the window (hopefully unnoticed).

That is the situation Greece is facing today. FULL POST



November 1st, 2011
01:01 AM GMT
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Cannes, France (CNN) - As the sun sets over the French Riviera, its capital of glitz and glamour feels more like a port in the storm than a tranquil retreat for the rich and carefree.

Cannes is a town more used to welcoming talking heads than heads of state; a place where panels pick their favorite motion picture, not monetary policy.

This week though Cannes will welcome a different kind of debate.

I've known France's Tinseltown since I was a toddler and the place has always appeared impervious to economic upheaval. Through boom and bust, Cannes has carried on regardless, doing what it does best: Catering to old money and oligarchs alike.
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October 27th, 2011
06:08 PM GMT
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Brussels (CNN) – Travelling to Brussels this weekend on the Eurostar, one couldn't help feeling as though the train was moving into the abyss: The endless money pit that was soon to become the "no eurozone."

Upon my return journey, all things euro appeared somewhat to have regained their star quality, after European Union leaders finally reached a deal on how to solve the eurozone's sovereign debt crisis.

At around 4:15am local time Thursday, and after hours of fraught negotiations, a pale and exhausted French president, Nicolas Sarkozy, mounted the podium in room 20.45 of the European Council. He was there to brief his compatriots, European neighbors and the world. Finally – it seemed - disaster had been averted.

After two summits in four days, the heads of the European Union's 27 members –including 17 of those that use the euro - agreed to what they called a “lasting” and “credible” solution.
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October 24th, 2011
01:13 PM GMT
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Brussels (CNN) – Here in Brussels Europe's heads of government talked their way through lunches, dinners and various press conferences at the weekend as they moved closer to finalizing a 'grand plan' to end the eurozone's sovereign debt crisis.

Despite hours of hard talk, the outcome was decidedly soft, with politicians promising that progress had been made and details remaining sketchy at best.

Leaders of the union's 27 countries are trying to hammer out a plan to restore fiscal order among the 17 of its member states that share the euro as their common currency-collectively known as the eurozone.
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October 12th, 2011
04:59 PM GMT
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London (CNN) – You know things are bad when an email like this lands in your inbox:

Subject: is it time for a quick catch up?

Before the world expires…

The message takes on a new meaning when you realise it’s from the former head of one of the UK’s larger financial services companies.

As the eurozone crisis rages seemingly without end and big banks are being bailed out again, many are bracing themselves for a return of the pronounced recession that characterized the end of the last decade.

But is there evidence to support such a claim?

Economists at Deutsche Bank have done much of the number crunching for us. In a comprehensive presentation sent to clients this week, the lender’s research team put forward some sobering predictions.

FULL POST



October 4th, 2011
05:07 PM GMT
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London (CNN) – At the height of the credit crunch the Franco-Belgian bank Dexia became one of the first eurozone banks to be bailed out. Three years on, it may need another helping hand.

This is largely thanks to some $21 billion worth of sovereign bonds Dexia holds on its books: debt issued by Greece, Italy and other peripheral eurozone countries, whose obligations are becoming riskier by the day as the region’s financial crisis intensifies.

Dexia posted its biggest loss ever in the second quarter, coming in at a whopping $5.5 billion after the bank wrote down the value of its Greek holdings. The result: the company’s stock has plunged 50% in the past six months. Newspapers including the Financial Times say Dexia’s management is considering setting up a ‘bad bank’ to unburden itself of the risk.
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September 26th, 2011
04:40 PM GMT
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London (CNN) – So, the word is eurozone leaders may be ready to quadruple the region’s bailout fund and write down 50% of Greece’s debt. This, as a final fix for a crisis that continues to overshadow the single currency a decade after its introduction.

Investors reacted with cautious optimism thanks to the sheer size of the financial commitment and finally an acknowledgement that Greece doesn’t have a hope of paying off all of its existing obligations.

As ministers move to hammer out a concrete plan, investors point to a few questions that still remain unanswered:

1) Will it be enough?

2) How soon will the measures pass?

3) Is it too late?
FULL POST



September 20th, 2011
05:58 PM GMT
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Burberry is a quintessentially British brand. No label has reinvented the trench coat more times and with such success.

As chief creative officer Christopher Bailey presented his women’s wear collection for Spring/Summer 2012, famous faces were out in force, braving London’s fall weather.

"I think Christopher really captures the British sense of style. I love the trenchcoats; I have many of them in different colours and they all look great on me," says model and actress Rosie Huntington-Whiteley the face of Burberry Body, the firm’s latest fragrance.

"To work for a brand that is British and makes great clothes is just the cherry on the cake for me," she adds.

FULL POST



September 15th, 2011
08:12 PM GMT
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(CNN) - UBS stands for the Union Bank of Switzerland. Yet this week's discovery of a $2 billion loss by an alleged rogue trader gave this most conservative of financial institutions the dubious honor of being dubbed the ‘Unauthorized’ Bank of Switzerland across many a dealing room in London.

The trader allegedly responsible has been identified. Police have made an arrest and the bank’s head of risk management will likely be engaged in some serious conversations. All the while, banking sector analysts are furiously adjusting their next earnings forecasts for the company.

In a memo to staff, UBS Chief Executive Oswald Grueber reportedly told staff that management would get to the bottom of the matter as soon as possible.

However, people familiar with the matter tell me Thursday's event may lead to some profound changes for the 157-year-old finance house.
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Filed under: BankingBusinessCrime


September 14th, 2011
08:32 PM GMT
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London (CNN) – Endless political rhetoric and billions in bailouts have left Greece no closer to solving the dangerous dilemma it is facing today.

Should the country give up trying to pay its bills and incur the wrath of its creditors? Or leave a monetary union that has brought a decade of comparative prosperity and stability?

So, how much is at stake?

Greece has $370 billion of outstanding debt - equal to around 3% percent of the eurozone’s total obligations. Compare that with 23% percent for Italy, whose debt pile stands at a whopping $1.9 trillion - and you can see that a Greek default would be less extreme than for other, larger eurozone partners.

But Greece is grabbing the headlines because its predicament exposes potentially fatal errors in the common currency project.
FULL POST



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