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By Jude Webber, Argentina correspondent
Will the real president of Argentina’s central bank please step forward. Read more
In the ongoing battle between the central bank and the government, it appears the government has taken the advantage. Bank president Martin Redrado, 48, was prevented from entering the central bank last night and hasn’t appeared at the institution today. In his absence, vice president Miguel Pesce is in charge.
Congress will decide who gets the job, and also whether central bank reserves may be used to pay for debt. If another bank president is found but funds are not allowed to be transferred, the Fernandez camp will have gained little from the furore: Mr Redrado’s refusal to transfer the funds without Congressional approval is the reason his resignation was called for. Read more
Toxic assets will be sold with a AAA guarantee from the US government under one of the options put forward by the Federal Deposit Insurance Company.
The FDIC has more than $36bn in toxic assets on its books, ready to sell. And apparently the corporation is seeking a decent return. Scared?
There appear to be two main differences between this plan and the one that nearly brought down capitalism: first, it’s the US government issuing the guarantee and not some special legal entity that can conveniently go bankrupt. Phew. Oh no, hang on. The second difference is that we know most of these assets are toxic, or worth less than initially thought. At least the first time round, they were bought in good faith. Read more
Hungary’s central bank decided today to lower its base rate by 25 basis points to 6 per cent. The decision was in line with market expectations and weighed brightening inflation prospects against external risks such as Greek and Irish debt. The rate was also cut by 25bp in December. The new overnight central bank deposit rate is 5 per cent and overnight collateralised loan rate is 7 per cent. Read more
The Bank of England has published its latest quarterly report into the Asset Purchase Facility. This gives no hints on whether quantitative easing (what everyone else calls the APF) will be extended when the monetary Policy Committee meets next Thursday on 4 Feb. But it does give an indication on QE’s effectiveness.
You don’t need to read the document. It is not long, but it is also not informative. In summary: the QE programme has bought lots of government bonds – net government financing in 2009-10 is likely to be -£10bn (ie. the Bank has purchased £10bn more gilts than have been issued) :
Obviously we don’t know what would have happened had the scheme not been implemented, but there has been little obvious effect on government bond yields and that has worn off over time. Read more
Leadership contests at central banks might never have the excitement of a political race, although the renomination of Ben Bernanke as US Federal Reserve chairman is turning into something of a cliffhanger. But the contest to succeed Jean-Claude Trichet as president of the European Central Bank appears – so far at least – boringly conventional. There are just two possible candidates mentioned: Axel Weber, president of Germany’s Bundesbank, and Mario Draghi, his Italian counterpart. Or are there? Read more
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