Daily Archives: October 17, 2012

Just as we thought the era of frothy housing markets was over, whispers of a German property bubble are beginning to grow. The recent data are certainly startling – since early 2010 the rate of house price growth has really taken off.

House prices in 7 German cities

But before ploughing your life savings into a buy-to-let scheme in Schleswig-Holstein, wait a second. Because a longer-term perspective shows that most German property is only just returning to the price levels of nearly two decades ago:

 Read more

According to the Maradona theory of monetary policy, as outlined by Sir Mervyn King, governor of the Bank of England, a central bank can let expectations that it will act – rather than actual action – do the work for it.

The theory is being tested right now by Mario Draghi, president of the European Central Bank, as his controversial “outright monetary transactions” bond-buying programme is forced to sit on the benches until the prime candidate for help, Spain, applies to the EU’s bailout fund.

As a quick reminder, the Maradona theory refers to the 1986 World Cup quarter final between England and Argentina. Diego Maradona scored a celebrated goal with a run from near the halfway line in which he beat five England players by, er, running in a straight line.

 Read more

Mo Ibrahim at a 2011 press conference to announce the winner of that year's "Mo Ibrahim Prize" (Ben Stanstall/AFP/Getty Images)

Mo Ibrahim at a 2011 press conference to announce the winner of that year's prize (Ben Stanstall/AFP/Getty Images)

There has been something of a hullabaloo each time the Mo Ibrahim Foundation has failed to find a worthy laureate for its $5m annual prize for excellence in African leadership.

One year it even prompted speculation that the Sudanese-born philanthropist and pioneer of African telecoms had run out of money. He had not. Rather, the criteria for the award had to be stiff if it was to have any credibility on a continent with a long history of tyranny and mismanagement. The intent was not just to encourage personal integrity and conformity to democratic principles among African heads of state but to reward transformational leadership. So, it should be no surprise that there have been some fallow years like this one.

Moreover, when it comes to leadership there is a global deficit. If a similar prize had been on offer in Europe in the same period, it would been a struggle to find an irreproachable candidate. In three out of the six years since the Mo Ibrahim prize was launched there have been winners. For the most part, African leaders are more accountable now than they were. In some cases they have been instrumental in turning their countries around. Read more

Whoops. Last night both Michelle Obama and Ann Romney wore matching hot pink ensembles to watch their hubbies – in similarly matching dark suit-white-shirt-little flag-pin ensembles – verbally duke it out at Hofstra University. The reaction online was instantaneous, and gleeful, as sites from eonline to huffpo asked: “Who wore it better?”

I’m not going to enter that particular minefield, but you can just imagine the reaction at campaign headquarters on both sides. To sum it up: Oh no. Read more

Neither Mitt Romney nor Barack Obama pulled any punches in the debate. (Getty)

Welcome to the US election round up on the morning after a debate – described by one veteran observer as “immeasurably the best” in US history, where President Barack Obama was seen to have rediscovered his combative style, but Mitt Romney stood his ground against a flurry of rhetorical punches.

According to the Financial Times, the first post-debate polls showed Mr Obama as the perceived victor, just. A CBS poll reported that 37 per cent of respondents said Mr Obama won, while 30 per cent said Mr Romney did. A CNN survey said 46 per cent of those asked thought Mr Obama won, while 39 per cent said Mr Romney won the clash held in a town hall format at Hofstra University in New York state. Read more

With just 20 days until the November 6 presidential election, Tuesday night’s debate was a crucial moment for President Barack Obama, who needs to restore momentum to his campaign following a widely panned performance during the first debate in Colorado earlier this month. His Republican challenger, Mitt Romney, was deemed to have done surprisingly well in the first debate and enjoyed a jump in the polls as a result. They are now nearly on level pegging, according to the most recent polls.

Anna Fifield, the FT’s US political correspondent, is covering the debate live with Arash Massoudi in New York, with additional comments from FT colleagues. All times are EST.

23.54 It’s a wrap. Be sure to follow all our coverage of the US election coverage on FT.com.

23.45 One important electorate issue to follow as pundits analyse tonight’s debate will be women. Mr Romney’s reference to a “binder full of women” attracted a lot of attention on social media. It will be interesting to see if this saps some of Mr Romney’s recent momentum with female voters.

23.37 CNN has posted its instant poll, with 46 per cent of the respondents saying Mr Obama won the debate and 39 per cent saying Mr Romney prevailed.

23.20 The post-debate chatter on many cable channels is about the tense exchanges between the candidates. Mr Obama displayed a more aggressive side while seeking to defend his handling of the economy and national security. He became visibly emotional when discussing the recent attacks in Libya that took the lives of four Americans.

23.08 Here’s a instant poll from CBS News taken just after the debate concluded:

[blackbirdpie url="https://twitter.com/CBSNews/status/258400553271435266"]

22.54 Andrew Edgecliffe-Johnson, the FT’s media editor, points us to the Twitter Government (@gov) account, which shows what a big night on social media the debate has produced.

[blackbirdpie url="https://twitter.com/gov/status/258400143802507264"]

22.50 Speaking on ABC, conservative commentator George Will says that “both men tip-toed right up to the point of rudeness” and says that this was the best debate he’s ever seen — and he has seen many across his long career.

22.45 Here’s the verdict from Ed Luce, our chief US political commentator:

[blackbirdpie url="https://twitter.com/EdwardGLuce/status/258397128035016705"]

22.42 As the debate ends, the candidates are joined on stage by their wives — both in hot pink outfits — and are mingling with the audience. Read more