China is top gold consumer for 2013
China has overtaken India as the world’s largest gold consumer thanks to soaring purchases of jewellery, minted Panda coins and small gold bars. According to the Thomson Reuters GFMS gold survey, Chinese demand reached 1,189.8 tonnes last year, a 32 per cent year-on-year jump and a fivefold increase since 2003. The frenetic buying of gold in China was sparked by the 28 per cent fall in the metal’s price last year, the worst performance in more than three decades.
Turkey props up sliding lira
Turkey’s central bank intervened directly in foreign exchange markets for the first time since 2012 yesterday, but failed to stop the lira plunging to fresh lows as doubts grew over its ability to prevent a run on the currency. Market participants said the central bank could have sold as much as $3bn over the course of the day.
China races to stop trust loan default
Chinese authorities are racing to prevent the default of a soured $500m high-yield investment trust. Local media reported yesterday that the Shanxi provincial government is considering helping fund a bailout of the trust loan after ICBC, which distributed the product through its branches, said last week it would not provide a backstop. However, Time-Weekly reported that the bank and the product issuer China Credit Trust will also be asked to chip in.
British economy back to bad old ways
Britain has lurched back into its bad old economic habits like an alcoholic in need of a drink, according to Lord Turner of Ecchinswell, the former Financial Services Authority chairman. “If you chuck enough monetary stimulus at an economy, something happens,” he said.
Poland at heart of shale revolution
Shale gas is set to start flowing in Europe within weeks after an AIM-quoted company backed by George Soros fracked Poland’s second successful well. San Leon Energy said that it intended to produce millions of cubic feet of gas per day from the well, near Gdansk, before the summer.
The Daily Telegraph
Clegg: Bring on Chinese investment
Lloyd Blankfein, the head of Goldman Sachs, has joined with Nick Clegg, deputy prime minister, in warning the West not to be afraid of Chinese investment. The unlikely pairing were united on a panel at the 2014 World Economic Forum in Davos.
Stiglitz warns over Japan tax rise
Japan’s bold drive to end almost two decades of deflation and economic decline is in danger of
stalling this year as the country raises consumption tax before recovery is secure, Nobel economist Joseph Stiglitz has warned. “There is a significant risk that growth will sputter,” Stiglitz warned, speaking at Davos.
THE WALL STREET JOURNAL
Goldman to ban some chat services
Goldman Sachs is planning to ban traders from using some computer-messaging services in a bid to protect proprietary information at the heart of its sales-and-trading operation.
Ruble Drops to Five-Year Low
The Russian ruble dropped to a five-year low yesterday and both officials and market players expect its depreciation to continue. Versus the euro-dollar basket, the central bank’s main barometer of the currency market, the ruble slipped to 39.75, a level last seen in February 2009, during a financial crisis.