Bush convenes Plunge Protection Team
By Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, International Business Editor
08/01/08 “The Telegraph” — – Bears beware. The New Deal of 2008 is in the works. The US Treasury is about to shower households with rebate cheques to head off a full-blown slump, and save the Bush presidency. On Friday, Mr Bush convened the so-called Plunge Protection Team for its first known meeting in the Oval Office. The black arts unit – officially the President’s Working Group on Financial Markets – was created after the 1987 crash.
It appears to have powers to support the markets in a crisis with a host of instruments, mostly by through buying futures contracts on the stock indexes (DOW, S&P 500, NASDAQ and Russell) and key credit levers. And it has the means to fry “short” traders in the hottest of oils.
. . . We face a version of Keynes’s “extreme liquidity preference” in the 1930s – banks are hoarding money, and the main credit arteries of the financial system remain blocked after five months.
. . . The White House certainly has grounds for alarm. The global picture is darkening by the day. The Baltic Dry Index has been falling hard for seven weeks, signalling a downturn in bulk shipments. Singapore’s economy contracted 3.2pc in the final quarter of last year, led by a slump in electronics and semiconductors.
The Tokyo bourse kicked off with the worst New Year slide in more than half a century as the Seven Samurai exporters buckled. The Topix is down 24pc from its peak. If Japan and Singapore are stalling, it is a fair bet that China’s efforts to tighten credit are starting to bite. Asia is not going to rescue us. On the contrary.
The International Business Editor of the Telegraph-UK has more of interest to say about the state of the world economy than anything to be found ‘from sea to shining sea.’
American media–corporate owned, corporate directed and on the tightest of leashes, isn’t going to give us a fair gallop for the safety of our personal money before we’re shot out of the saddle. For god’s sake, don’t tell Americans they’ve been defrauded by their banks and government–it might slow the spending at Wal-Mart.
We are historically the last to be told. Now, that (supposed) bastion of independent financial news, The Wall Street Journal (with all its quirks and prejudices) has fallen to the family rivalry and temptation that ultimately takes down every private financial enterprise–greed. No one with a brain ever mistook Rupert Murdoch for a white horse.
So do yourself and your bank account a favor and check in from time to time with
Not to put down the American papers, but then–on the other hand–what the hell, why not?