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Chase Bank Limits Cash Withdrawals, Bans International... Before you read this report, remember to sign up to for 100% free stock alerts Chase Bank has moved to limit cash withdrawals while banning business customers from sending...

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Richemont chairman Johann Rupert to take 'grey gap... Billionaire 62-year-old to take 12 months off from Cartier and Montblanc luxury goods groupRichemont's chairman and founder Johann Rupert is to take a year off from September, leaving management of the...

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Cambodia: aftermath of fatal shoe factory collapse... Workers clear rubble following the collapse of a shoe factory in Kampong Speu, Cambodia, on Thursday

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Spate of recent shock departures by 50-something CEOs While the rising financial rewards of running a modern multinational have been well publicised, executive recruiters say the pressures of the job have also been ratcheted upOn approaching his 60th birthday...

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UK Uncut loses legal challenge over Goldman Sachs tax... While judge agreed the deal was 'not a glorious episode in the history of the Revenue', he ruled it was not unlawfulCampaign group UK Uncut Legal Action has lost its high court challenge over the legality...

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Greece: Three years after the bailout

Category : Stocks

In May 2010, Greece turned to the EU and IMF for help. But the nation has paid a heavy price in lost output and soaring unemployment.

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UK industrial output beats forecasts

Category : World News

UK industrial production rose in March, boosted by manufacturing and a recovery in oil and gas output, according to the Office for National Statistics.

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VIDEO: Hugh’s Review: Is the recovery underway?

Category : Business

Hugh Pym and guests discusses this week’s figures for economic output which showed that the UK avoided a so called triple dip recession.

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Eurozone output ‘continues to fall’

Category : World News

Activity in the eurozone’s manufacturing and services sectors continued to fall in April, a survey indicates, with output in Germany declining.

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Japan banks on success of Abenomics | Joseph Sitglitz

Category : Business

Shinzo Abe is doing what many economists have been calling for in the US and Europe: a comprehensive programme entailing monetary, fiscal, and structural policie

Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe’s programme for his country’s economic recovery has led to a surge in domestic confidence. But to what extent can “Abenomics” claim credit?

Interestingly, a closer look at Japan’s performance over the past decade suggests little reason for persistent bearish sentiment. Indeed, in terms of growth of output per employed worker, Japan has done quite well since the turn of the century. With a shrinking labour force, the standard estimate for Japan in 2012 – that is, before Abenomics – had output per employed worker growing by 3.08% year on year. That is considerably more robust than in the United States, where output per worker grew by just 0.37% last year, and much stronger than in Germany, where it shrank by 0.25%.

Nonetheless, as many Japanese rightly sense, Abenomics can only help the country’s recovery. Abe is doing what many economists (including me) have been calling for in the US and Europe: a comprehensive programme entailing monetary, fiscal, and structural policies. Abe likens this approach to holding three arrows – taken alone, each can be bent; taken together, none can.

The new governor of the Bank of Japan, Haruhiko Kuroda, comes with a wealth of experience gained in the finance ministry, and then as president of the Asian Development Bank. During the East Asia crisis of the late 1990s, he saw firsthand the failure of the conventional wisdom pushed by the US Treasury and the International Monetary Fund. Not wedded to central bankers’ obsolete doctrines, he has made a commitment to reverse Japan’s chronic deflation, setting an inflation target of 2%.

Deflation increases the real (inflation-adjusted) debt burden, as well as the real interest rate. Though there is little evidence of the importance of small changes in real interest rates, the effect of even mild deflation on real debt, year after year, can be significant.

Kuroda’s stance has already weakened the yen’s exchange rate, making Japanese goods more competitive. This simply reflects the reality of monetary policy interdependence: if the US Federal Reserve’s policy of so-called quantitative easing weakens the dollar, others have to respond to prevent undue appreciation of their currencies. Someday, we might achieve closer global monetary-policy coordination; for now, however, it made sense for Japan to respond, albeit belatedly, to developments elsewhere.

Monetary policy would have been more effective in the US had more attention been devoted to credit blockages – for example, many homeowners’ refinancing problems, even at lower interest rates, or small and medium-size enterprises’ lack of access to financing. Japan’s monetary policy, one hopes, will focus on such critical issues.

But Abe has two more arrows in his policy quiver. Critics who argue that fiscal stimulus in Japan failed in the past – leading only to squandered investment in useless infrastructure – make two mistakes. First, there is the counterfactual case: how would Japan’s economy have performed in the absence of fiscal stimulus? Given the magnitude of the contraction in credit supply following the financial crisis of the late 1990s, it is no surprise that government spending failed to restore growth. Matters would have been much worse without the spending; as it was, unemployment never surpassed 5.8%, and, in throes of the global financial crisis, it peaked at 5.5%. Second, anyone visiting Japan recognises the benefits of its infrastructure investments (America could learn a valuable lesson here).

The real challenge will be in designing the third arrow, what Abe refers to as “growth”. This includes policies aimed at restructuring the economy, improving productivity, and increasing labour-force participation, especially by women.

Some talk about “deregulation” – a word that has rightly fallen into disrepute following the global financial crisis. In fact, it would be a mistake for Japan to roll back its environmental regulations, or its health and safety regulations.

What is needed is the right regulation. In some areas, more active government involvement will be needed to ensure more effective competition. But many areas in which reform is needed, such as hiring practices, require change in private-sector conventions, not government regulations. Abe can only set the tone, not dictate outcomes. For example, he has asked firms to increase their workers’ wages, and many firms are planning to provide a larger bonus than usual at the end of the fiscal year in March.

Government efforts to increase productivity in the service sector probably will be particularly important. For example, Japan is in a good position to exploit synergies between an improved healthcare sector and its world-class manufacturing capabilities, in the development of medical instrumentation.

Family policies, together with changes in corporate labour practices, can reinforce changing mores, leading to greater (and more effective) female workforce participation. While Japanese students rank high in international comparisons, a widespread lack of command of English, the lingua franca of international commerce and science, puts Japan at a disadvantage in the global marketplace. Further investments in research and education are likely to pay high dividends.

There is every reason to believe that Japan’s strategy for rejuvenating its economy will succeed: the country benefits from strong institutions, has a well-educated labour force with superb technical skills and design sensibilities, and is located in the world’s most (only?) dynamic region. It suffers from less inequality than many advanced industrial countries (though more than Canada and the northern European countries), and it has had a longer-standing commitment to environment preservation.

If the comprehensive agenda that Abe has laid out is executed well, today’s growing confidence will be vindicated. Indeed, Japan could become one of the few rays of light in an otherwise gloomy advanced-country landscape.

UK economic policy ‘illogical’

Category : World News

Austerity in the UK has cut demand and output more than even pessimists predicted, former US Treasury Secretary Larry Summers tells the BBC.

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Pound falls on weak factory output

Category : Business

The pound falls against both the dollar and the euro after figures show that UK manufacturing output fell by 1.5% in January.

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Construction output drops in January

Category : World News

The output of the UK’s construction sector dropped sharply in January compared with a year earlier, latest official figures show.

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King Coal nears the end of the line

Category : Business

Daw Mill will see its output end just as another large mine – Maltby – has been mothballed due to geological problems

The closure of Daw Mill comes when King Coal has made an astonishing comeback with consumption by UK electricity generators up year-on-year by more than 30%.

Despite government targets of reducing Britain’s CO2 emissions, the energy companies are burning lots more carbon-heavy coal attracted by its relatively cheap price compared to (environmentally-cleaner) gas and the need to use or lose this coal-burning capacity ahead of new pollution controls in 2015.

Around 40% of the electricity generated by power stations comes from coal while gas trails with a 30% share followed by nuclear, wind and other renewable sources.

Because of heavy usage, local coal stocks are at their lowest level for 40 years while Daw Mill will see its output end just as another large underground mine – at Maltby in South Yorkshire – has been mothballed due to geological problems.

The winners in the short-term will be the foreign coal exporters such as the US, Russia and Colombia which saw shipments to Britain rise by 50% last year.

The discovery and exploitation of cheap shale gas in the US has undermined the competitive advantage of coal there, encouraging US mine owners to export more to Britain.

But the UK is not alone in rediscovering a liking for coal. Consumption in other nations, notably India and China, is booming with estimates of up to 1,000 new coal-fired power stations being prepared for operation, according to the World Resources Institute.

Despite the immediately sunny outlook for the global coal industry, the longer-term future looks more cloudycloudier. China is increasingly worried about air pollution while energy suppliers in Britain have been forced to fit expensive filters on their power stations to screen out nitrogen oxides and other pollutants or risk closure under EU environmental legislation.

An industrial emissions directive, also emanating from Brussels and forcing even tighter controls, came into force in Britain in January while a carbon price support mechanism – an additional levy on fossil fuels used to generate electricity – will be introduced next month.

Five years ago there were high hopes of a new generation of “clean” coal-fired power stations as the government prepared to help fund plants where C02 would be removed using new carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology. Little has happened due to the soaring cost of development although pilot schemes are planned.

Coal has a rich history as a fuel source in Britain. During its heyday just before the first world war, 1.25 million British workers produced 300m tonnes annually. Now the number of miners is set to fall to 5,000 and the output which rose after previous falls to 18.5m tonnes in 2011 is set to decline again.

The industry has fought back after previous setbacks, not least when striking miners were dubbed the “enemy within” by a Thatcher government which introduced energy privatisation and a “dash for gas”.

But the end of Maltby and now Daw Mill makes it look like the local King Coal – if not dead – is finally on its last legs.

Intergraph(R) CAESAR II(R) and PV Elite(R) Enhancing Knowledge and Productivity for Ford, Bacon & Davis Engineers

Category : Stocks

HOUSTON, TX–(Marketwire – Feb 26, 2013) – Intergraph has published a new case study on how CAESAR II and PV Elite are helping Ford, Bacon & Davis LLC perform fast and accurate stress analyses of piping, vessels, and related equipment to ensure that its clients’ facilities are designed to code, avoiding potentially costly errors, delays, and risks during construction and operation. The case discusses how the ease-of-use and built-in intelligence of CAESAR II and PV Elite are helping the Ford, Bacon & Davis entry-level and even more experienced stress engineers develop the knowledge and experience they need for their jobs, enhancing productivity for the firm and its clients and other stakeholders. It also describes how the software’s user-friendly output format, color-coded stress visuals, and animated models provide a visual representation of all of the stresses, making it easier for a non-technical client to quickly see the importance of designing to code. This speeds up the reviews and client approvals significantly.

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