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News : International Last Updated: Aug 3, 2011 - 9:12 AM


Markets Tuesday: US House supports debt deal 'capitulation to hostage-taking demands of Republican extremists'
By Finfacts Team
Aug 2, 2011 - 10:10 AM

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President Obama announcing a debt deal, Sunday, July 31, 2011.

After weeks of turmoil, the US House of Representatives on Monday supported a deal to raise the US federal debt ceiling from $14.3trn to avert a default on federal debt.

The 269 to 161 vote in the House broke down as follows: 174 Republicans and 95 Democrats supported the deal, while 66 Republicans and 95 Democrats opposed it. The Democrat-controlled Senate is all but certain to approve the proposal today.

The New York Times said in an editorial on Monday that the "deal would avert a catastrophic government default, immediately and probably through the end of 2012. The rest of it is a nearly complete capitulation to the hostage-taking demands of Republican extremists. It will hurt programs for the middle class and poor, and hinder an economic recovery."

The NYT added: "There will be no second hostage-taking on the debt ceiling in a few months, as Speaker John Boehner and his band of radicals originally demanded. Democratic negotiators decided that the automatic cut system, as bad as it is, was less of a threat to the economy than another default crisis, and many are counting on future Congresses to undo its arbitrary butchering.

Sadly, in a political environment laced with lunacy, that calculation is probably correct."

Property group Balmoral International Land, the Fyffes spin-off) has today announced an extraordinary general meeting (EGM) of shareholders on Aug 25, to approve a reorganisation of the company which will involve the cancellation of its stock market listings in Dublin and London.

Toyota, the Japanese car giant, today reported that net profit plunged 99% from a year earlier in the quarter to the end of June, mainly resulting from the devastating March 11 earthquake and tsunami.

The world's biggest car maker reported a net profit of ¥1.16bn yen ($14.9m) in its first fiscal quarter despite the serious disruption to production since March.

Barclays, the UK bank, announced today that it will cut about 3,000 jobs this year in response to tougher regulation and a drop in investment banking income.

First-half earnings dropped by a third after a decline in bond trading activity at Barclays Capital and a charge to compensate customers who were mis-sold insurance. However, the bad debts situation showed a significant improvement.

Pre-tax profit for the six months to the end of June was £2.64bn, off 33% from a year ago but better than the average forecast of £2.4bn among analysts.

Barclays Capital's half-year profit dipped 9% on the year and revenue at the investment banking arm was off 11% to £6.26bn, led by a dip in fixed income revenue.

Debt Deal White House Reaction:

Economic View: The US looks set to avert debt default; Juliet Tennent, economist at Goodbody, comments  -- "The US debt ceiling deadlock is going all the way to the wire. While the compromise deal passed the crucial House of Representative vote last night, the Senate is yet to give its approval.

Expectations are that the deal will pass through the Senate later today, the official deadline, but it has been a close run thing. The deal allows the $14.3trl debt ceiling to be raised by over $2trl in exchange for spending cuts of $2.4trl over the next 10 years. Needless to say, neither side of the political divide is entirely happy with the compromise reached.

However, at least a technical default on the part of the world’s most important economy looks set to be averted. Financial markets, which had already been subject to massive uncertainty due to the debt crises in Europe and were under pressure following an unexpectedly weak July ISM, steadied somewhat as it emerged that a compromise agreement had been reached and a default would be averted.

With concerns surrounding the health of the US economy intensifying in recent weeks, the uncertainty surrounding the debt ceiling was an additional destabilising influence on financial markets. Now that an agreement has been reached it remains to be seen what, if any, impact it has on the US’s AAA rating and whether the planned spending cuts will further slow US economic growth."

US set to pass €2.4trn fiscal consolidation and raise debt ceiling; Conall Mac Coille, chief economist at Davy, comments - - "The US Congress appears to be ready to pass a new $2.4trn fiscal consolidation package today, while at the same time raising the US Treasury's debt ceiling by $2.1trn. So, the immediate threat of default by the US government has been averted. However, it remains to be seen whether ratings agents will maintain the US's AAA status. A downgrade could put further pressure on funding costs across the US economy. Also, only $917bn of the overall $2.1trn has been agreed thus far, with further measures to be negotiated later in the year.

The agreed fiscal consolidation programme follows news that US economic growth has been far weaker than anticipated in the first half of 2011. GDP data released on July 29th indicated annualised growth of 1.3% in Q1, following a downwardly revised expansion of just 0.4% in Q1. The downward revisions reflected a strong negative contribution from government spending in the first quarter.

In addition, purchasing managers indices released yesterday indicated that economic conditions are likely to remain weak in the third quarter of the year. The UK manufacturing index fell to 49.1, below the 50 no-change level in July, suggesting that manufacturing will continue to push down on GDP growth in Q3. Similarly, the US Institute of Supply Management survey fell to 50.9, well below the 54.5 reading expected. Although above the 50 no-change level, the past statistical relationship with the official data suggests that the reading is probably consistent with a contraction in the US manufacturing sector."

US Markets

In New York Monday, despite the debt ceiling deal, the Dow fell 11 points or 0.09% to 12,132.

The S&P 500 declined 0.41% and Nasdaq dipped 0.43%.

Asia Markets

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index fell 1.6% Tuesday, the most since July 12.

Japan's Nikkei 225 dropped 1.21%; China's Shanghai Composite index dipped 0.91%; Australia's S&P/ASX 200 lost 1.43% and the Bombay Stock Exchange's Sensex index declined 1.36% in Mumbai.

Asia benchmarks

Finfacts Reports

Irish manufacturing sector contracted again in July with new orders dipping at faster pace
Irish insolvencies in July rose 9%; On track for 5,300 firm collapses in 2008-2011 period
Growth of global manufacturing sector moves closer to stagnation
UK banks' direct exposure to debt of struggling Eurozone economies could trigger "substantial contractionary shock"
Eurozone manufacturing recovery moves closer to stagnation in July
US GDP increased at annualized rate of 1.3% in second quarter
Eurozone annual inflation is expected to be 2.5% in July down from 2.7% in June

In Europe, the Dow Jones Stoxx 600 dropped 0.43% in early trading Tuesday.

The ISEQ is off 0.27% in Dublin.

CRH has dipped by 0.43% and Elan is up 0.96%.


European Benchmarks

Irish Share Prices

Irish Stock Market Capitalisation by Company

Key Index Performance Statistics

Euribor Rates

AIB Daily Report

Bank of Ireland Daily Report

Currencies

The euro is trading at $1.4207 and at £0.8732.

For live currency updates, check the right-hand column of the Finfacts home page.

The US dollar fell to $1.6038 per euro on Tuesday, July 15, 2008 - an-all time record.

Commodities

The Baltic Dry Index, a measure of shipping costs for dry commodities, hit an all-time High of 11,771 on the 21st of May, 2008. From that time it reversed and on the 5th of December, 2008 it hit a low of 663 - - close to a 1986 low.

The BDI closed at 3,005 on Thursday, Dec 31st - - a rise of 289% in 2009. The index averaged 59% lower in 2009 than a year earlier.

On Thursday, July 15, 2010, the index fell for the 35th straight session, by 9 points, or 0.537%, to 1,700 points, Bloomberg report.

On Friday July16th, the BDI rose 20 points or 1.12% to 1,700 to break the 35-session losing streak.

On Monday this week, the BDI fell 8 points or 0.63% to 1,256.

The Financial Times reported in January, that Australia’s flooding and fears of ship oversupply has pushed down a gauge of the cost of hiring ships to carry coal, iron ore and other dry bulk by nearly half since October to the lowest level since the aftermath of the financial crisis. The Baltic Dry index, the widely watched measure of dry bulk charter rates, fell to 1,453, nearly half the 2,784 peak reached on October 27, 2010.

Crude oil for August 2011 delivery is currently trading on the Chicago York Mercantile Exchange (CME/Nymex) at $94.33 down 56 cents from Monday's close. In London, Brent for August delivery is trading on the International Commodities Exchange at $116.16. The North Sea benchmark accounts for two-thirds of the global market.

The margin between the US benchmark WTI (West Texas Intermediate) used on the New York Mercantile Exchange and Brent is over $21.

The US Energy department recently said that growing volumes of Canadian crude oil imported into the United States contributed to record-high storage levels at Cushing, Oklahoma of over 41m barrels at the end of March 2011 (86% of working capacity at Cushing), and a price discount for WTI compared with similar-quality world crudes such as Brent. A discount for WTI is expected to persist until transportation bottlenecks impacting the movement of mid-continent crude oil to the Gulf coast are relieved. Consequently, the projected US refiner average acquisition cost of crude oil, which was about $2.70 per barrel below WTI in 2010, is $1.60 per barrel above WTI in 2011 and $1.10 per barrel above WTI in 2012.

Gold spot price

The spot price of an oz of gold is trading in New York at $1,625.20 per oz, up $5.50 from Monday's close in New York.

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