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Business Comment

Jeremy Warner: Desperation Fed enters zero interest rate territory

Outlook So that's it, then. With one great blast, the US Federal Reserve has fired off all that remains in the monetary cannon, reducing the Fed Funds rate to an unprecedented 0 to 0.25 per cent. In fact, this is only acknowledgement of what has been happening in the marketplace anyway. The Fed Fund rate has in practice been at around 0.3 per cent for some weeks now, not withstanding the official target rate of 1 per cent. Even so, there is no doubting the significance of yesterday's policy action. Zero per cent interest rates sont arrivés. Britain and perhaps even Europe may not be far behind.

Inside Business Comment

Jeremy Warner: Way forward for the Royal Mail

Wednesday, 17 December 2008

Outlook If nationalisation is meant to be good for the banks, why is privatisation thought good for Royal Mail? This is not my line, but comes from the postal union, which for a change makes a not half bad point in challenging Lord Mandelson's plans for part-privatisation of Royal Mail. Everything else seems with frightening speed to be slipping into the hands of state control, yet the Gov-ernment now proposes to distance itself from the one business it has up until now felt unable to privatise.

Jeremy Warner: Excessive pay is not yet dead

Wednesday, 17 December 2008

Outlook It's reassuring to see that even in these straitened times, there are still some able to whoop it up as if in the latter stages of the boom. One such is "lucky" John Tiner, a former chief executive of the Financial Services Authority, no less – lucky because he managed to get out of the FSA just before the proverbial hit the fan over Northern Rock and everything else.

Jeremy Warner: Investors should have looked at Madoff's golf scores

Tuesday, 16 December 2008

Outlook: Ms Horlick and her co-investors were victims, but only of their own stupidity, greed and carelessness

Jeremy Warner: The Lehman's collapse: not such a disaster really

Tuesday, 16 December 2008

Outlook: Better the catharsis of a major bust than an ugly situation left to fester

Stephen King: First the Chinese accumulated dollars, now everyone is joining the stampede

Monday, 15 December 2008

What caused the crisis? For some, the story is simple. It’s all about global imbalances.

Hamish McRae: If the US car industry can't get off the road to hell, we'll be driving there too

Sunday, 14 December 2008

Something will be patched up to rescue the three giant US automobile companies – or perhaps one should say two and a half because poor Chrysler is a shadow of its past glory. You cannot rule out the US version of bankruptcy, Chapter 11, which is less onerous than our own. But even without that devastating step, the industry will not be the same again. What we are seeing is one more inevitable step along an unavoidable path. The industry will be smaller, maybe much smaller, even when this particular downturn ends and the long, slow slog upwards can begin.

Margareta Pagano: Old King Coal deserves a new coronation

Sunday, 14 December 2008

Should we be doffing our caps with apologies to Arthur Scargill? The miners' union warhorse has been warning for decades that Britain needs a joined-up energy policy and that we are heading for an almighty energy crisis, one which threatens to be as damaging as those in the 1970s.

Jeremy Warner: After the car-makers, what next for state rescue? Disneyland?

Saturday, 13 December 2008

Outlook: It seems almost impertinent for a British columnist to be arguing the rights and wrongs of bailing out the US car industry. This is an American matter and it is for Americans to decide what to do. Yet whatever its motives, the Senate was right to have turned down the proposed $14bn rescue package, and the White House is wrong to be dipping its hand into the Troubled Asset Relief Programme (Tarp) to provide alternative funding.

Jeremy Warner: Horlick damaged as Madoff makes off with the loot

Saturday, 13 December 2008

Outlook: There's an old investment adage that goes "If something looks too good to be true, then it generally is". Hedge funds as a class might reasonably be thought to conform to this category, but the ones run by Bernard Madoff, a New York socialite with a top-drawer client list of the rich and famous, fit the bill to perfection.

Jeremy Warner: More write-offs at beleaguered HBOS

Saturday, 13 December 2008

Outlook: No wonder Halifax Bank of Scotland has decided not to pass on all of last week's 100 basis-point cut in interest rates. Both margins and balance sheet are continuing to deteriorate at a rate of knots, evidently to the complete surprise of the management, who less than two months ago gave the impression that the worst is now known.

More business comment:

Columnist Comments


Hamish McRae: It's now back to Victorian values

The 19th century constructed not just a regulatory financial code but a moral one


Mark Steel: To George Bush, his critics are just lone difficult schoolboys

It's impossible for the President to acknowledge his failure in Iraq


The Sketch: Davies the demonic, red-faced alien

Imagine being shown round the Great Hall of Quentin Court, or wherever it is that the Procurement Minister lives

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