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..There's a little Samuel Pepys in all of us..

Monday, September 17, 2007

It's an indicator.. this run on British Building Societies.. on an attutde that goes far deeper than the simple desire to feel the sum and total of one's cash assets in one's hand..
With the Chancellor's statement an hour or so ago.. to the effect the Bank of England and indeed, the Exchequer itself would guarantee all deposits with Northern Rock.. it is simply not a necessity to queue for hours, or to spend literally days trying to logon to the banks website.. or to move one's money from a bank that has such a guarantee, to one which, as yet, does not.
Last February, Northern Rock was trading at £12.. today it closed just above £3..
Might be a good time to start buying in..
But, there may soon be a choice of investment prospects available before this is all done and finished with.. another building society.. Alliance&Leister.. had lost 31% of it's value at the close..
There might be some merit in the thought that British housing is still a sellers market.. There are more looking for homes than can find them and there are significant numbers among them who are still good credit risks..
And that while interbank interest rates are on the increase, and the credit market is squeezed, the equity remains..
It is almost a certainty the Fed will lower rates.. and there's an equally good chance the Bank of England will follow suit..
And evertually those with money, who trusted Northern Rock, will realise their money will be making more, as the banks fight for savers.. could come back..
That guarantee from the Exchequer carries some weight..

For two and a half years.. the Serious Fraud Office had been collecting evidence to present to the government, that would implicate BAE Systems with shady dealings with the Saudi's, concerning the sale of some aircraft..
But, on the orders of the senior officer in charge, following 'advice' from the Home Office that continuing with the probe would compromise 'matters of National Security', the case has been dropped.
There were thoughts at the time, that Tony was more concerned with losing Saudi business, than seeing what, in the big picture, would amount to mere pecadillo's..
It would seem to have paid off..
Saudi Arabia has placed an order for 71 Eurofighters from, one might not be surprised to hear, BAE Systems.. A contract worth £20 billion, what with support and spares and downstreaming..
It does amaze me though, that while it's nice to see the money coming into the country, it's not often it's seen as our own money, merely coming home.
Not to mention we are providing one of the most volotile areas in the world, with 71 of the world's most sophisticated fighter aircraft..
While the Saudi's have an excellent relationship with the West, it would be well remembered they are the elite of the Islamic World..
It might also be well to keep in mind, that the price of sweet crude topped $80Am a barrel for the first time today..
Whatever they pay out for what they can use to consolidate their position.. we pay back for a product we burn.
Now that's sound economics.

So, the day has arrived, as announced by Ahmadenejad..
Iran has reached it's tagets, and now has three thousand working centrifuges.. producing enriched uranium..
And what's more, 'up the UN and it's sanctions..', the program will continue..
Now, mind you, there are some analysts who are of the mind that they're not quite there yet.. That the actual count of completed centrifuges is closer to 1996..
But.. Ahmadenejad's announcement was meant to serve two purposes..
One, to encourage his own people.. He has face to make up still, following the al Shatt Arab incident..
And two, to prompt pre-emptive action from the UN Security Council, and effectively force further sanctions.. which could later prove to have been inhumane and unnecissary..
It also adds fuel to the growing international fear, that Iran might force military action to be taken against it..
Certainly, the Americans are prepared for it.. and the French appear to be champing at the bit at the prospect..
Interesting.. this move towards the Americans by the new French President.. Nicholas is certainly trying to broaden France's involvement beyond that bound by the EU..
The hardening of France's position towards Tehran was first signalled by the new president in a speech to French ambassadors last month..
Then he called for tougher economic sanctions against Tehran and warned that if these failed to halt Iran's nuclear programme, there would be, as he put it.. "a catastrophic choice" between "an Iranian bomb or the bombardment of Iran".
Uncharacteristic, from a French politician.. to say the least..
The US itself is showing signs of impatience with reports from the IAEA, pointing out the similarities in Tehran's approach to inspection teams as was seen in Iraq, under Saddam..
One wonders if George really wants to go out, with a bang..

Meanwhile.. a note on the British economy here..
Not the electronic transfer of paper amounts, which have no real meaning to the man on the street.. but on a grass-roots level.
This latest outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease has brought the livestock trade to a complete halt, during a time of year all farmers depend on getting their stock to market..
The knock-on effect has been mentioned before in this missive, but while the powers that be will sort out the multi-billion banking issues with alacrity.. our agriculture community will not be dealt with so speedily..
It's a grave mistake by the government, this attitude it's taking with the farmers.. Compensation is a labourious process, and slow in coming. And solutions to current stock problems are taking a back seat to Threadneedle Street..
This we will regret, just as will the supermarkets when they raise the price of pork.. lamb.. and beef..
But it's a surety the consumer will regret it more..

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