Daily Archives: November 23, 2009

Iran’s central bank governor says the country gained about $5 billion by shifting its foreign currency reserve basket from the US dollar to the euro, reports AFP. Mahmoud Bahmani was quoted by Iran’s state television as saying that ‘so far, we have seen a $5 billion benefit from shifting the (currency) basket to the euros from the dollar.’ He did not elaborate. Earlier this year, Iran said it was switching to the euro for its crude oil sales, which account for about 80 percent of its foreign income.

Forgive me for cynicism, but both party leaders must have read the same focus group research. They have just given the same speech to the CBI annual conference, writes Chris Giles of the Financial Times. There is no point reading both leaders’ speeches. They are the same. Read more

What connects computer screens, green cars and military power? Rare earth elements, required for the manufacture of many advanced technologies, from hybrid cars to guided missiles. China enjoys 98 per cent of REE production, cornering the market after a single US mine was closed in the mid 1980s. Chinese companies have bought stakes in Australian and Canadian rare earths prospects and have tried unsuccessfully to buy the still idle US facility.

The debt load of Eastern Europe is apparently putting off investors. But there is worse news for rich countries: investors are betting that rich countries will default on their bonds Read more

Ralph Atkins

Is the economy doing better in Germany than in France? Or is it the other way around? Third quarter eurozone gross domestic product data indicated it was the former. German GDP rose by 0.7 per cent, compared with a measly 0.3 per cent in France.

But purchasing managers’ indices today still show France doing much better than its larger neighbour. The French composite index – covering manufacturing and services – stood at 59.8 in November. The equivalent reading for Germany was just 53.5. With the exception of a short burst in 2006, French private sector activity is growing at the fastest rate for about nine years Read more