Anorak

Money | Anorak - Part 39

Money Category

Money in the news and how you are going to pay and pay and pay

Don’t Build the High Speed Railway from London to Birmingham!

IT’S just so lovely when you trun out to be right, isn’t it? Gilligan’s got a piece showing that the cost benefit calculation for the HS2 high speed train from London to Brum is entirely cock:

But the internal DfT report, “Productive use of travel time and the valuation of travel time savings for business travellers,” says that most of these supposed gains are illusory. It says that the DfT is relying on the “unsupportable” assumption that time spent on trains is unproductive and demands “major changes” to the “1960s” method used to calculate the HS2 business case. No such changes have been made.

With laptops, wi-fi and smartphones now making long-distance train carriages an extension of the office, the actual amount of extra work produced by HS2 may be almost nil, the researchers find.

In order to make it wortwhile building something like this there has to be some benefit. To someone, somewhere. And the assumption has been that by getting to places faster all those lovely highly paid people in first class will be able to do more work. Less time just sitting on a train and more time doing something.

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Posted: 11th, June 2012 | In: Money | Comments (2)


Argentina to sue UK oil companies for being bigger cheats than Maradona

THE Argies have decided to try suing the British oil companies drilling off the Falklands. There is of course just one teensie, tiny, problem:

The Argentine foreign ministry on Monday declared “illegal and clandestine” the activities of Desire Petroleum, Falkland Oil and Gas, Rockhopper Exploration, Borders and Southern Petroleum, and Argos Resources on the grounds that they are drilling in Argentine waters.

President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner said the companies were operating “in a sovereign area of the Argentine nation and as such fall within its specified laws and rules”. The companies “are not authorised by the Argentine government under law 17.319 on hydrocarbons”, she added.

According to the Argentine foreign ministry, her declaration opened the way for the “immediate launch” of criminal proceedings.

That problem being: where are they going to sue them?

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Posted: 6th, June 2012 | In: Money | Comment


Martin Lewis sells MoneySavingExpert to MoneySupermarket for £87m

MARTIN Lewis has sold his MoneySavingExpert site to MoneySupermarket for £87m.

Hard work, media whoring, affiliate deals self-promotion pay off. In the year ended 31 October 2011, MoneySavingExpert reported revenues of £15.773 million. The site is not only about you saving money. It’s about the site making money promoting those ‘savings’.

And it’s good news for everyone because Lewis can now afford to pay full price wherever he goes. Although had MoneySupermarket shopped around tehy could have got it for 11% less on a two-year contract with…etc.

 

 

Posted: 1st, June 2012 | In: Money | Comments (3)


Idiot complaints about Apple’s Foxconn

THERE are reasonable complaints one can make about conditions in the Foxconn factories that make all of Apple’s kit (and most of those for Microsoft, Dell, HP and so on). Excessive overtime, short holidays and so on.

Then there are truly idiotic complaints one can make such as this:

a living wage for Chinese workers, whom it says are paid half the salary of workers in Foxconn’s Brazilian factory,

Eh?

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Posted: 31st, May 2012 | In: Money, Technology | Comment


International Trades Unions go loopy over green finances

THIS is a true glory of a report from the International Trades Unions Conference, ITUC.

They’re thinking about how lovely it would be if there were lots of investment cash to throw at green projects. Which, if you like green projects, it probably would be.

Then they look at pension funds, note they have a lot of money and start to work out how much of that could be spent on all those lovely green projects.

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Posted: 30th, May 2012 | In: Money | Comment


The European Commission are being stupid aresholes

THE European Commission are being stupid aresholes. Yes, yes, I know, big surprise isn’t it? But they really are dangling out here on the outer precipices  of insanity:

The EU is poised to launch one of its biggest trade cases against China in a generation after telling member states it has compiled firm evidence that Beijing’s telecommunications equipment companies have benefited from illegal state subsidies.
….
EU officials informed representatives from the bloc’s 27 member states at a closed-door meeting on Thursday they believed the commission had “very solid evidence” that those companies benefited from illegal government subsidies and had sold products in the EU below cost, a practice known as “dumping”.

Upon a determination China was acting illegally, the EU could subject Chinese companies to punitive tariffs.

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Posted: 29th, May 2012 | In: Money | Comment


Gina Rinehart: World’s richest woman might not be rich all that much longer

GINA Rinehart, mother of those children… We have a new entrant in the list of the world’s richest woman. An Australian who inherited one of the world’s largest iron ore mines:

Her personal fortune now stands at A$29.2bn (£18.2bn) placing her at the top of BRW magazine’s Rich 200 list for a second consecutive year.

That also signals Ms Rinehart has overtaken Wal-Mart heiress Christy Walton, estimated to have a net worth of US$25.3bn (£16.1bn), taking her title as the richest woman in the world.

Still more eye-popping is the speed of her ascent. Rinehart’s wealth derives from Hancock Prospecting, the iron ore empire she inherited from her father, but she certainly has grown what she started off with.

That’s certainly a pretty decent chunk of change there. The big question though is how long is that going to last?

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Posted: 28th, May 2012 | In: Money | Comment (1)


Why is the Caracas stock market booming?

YOU can see from this picture that the stock market in Caracas, Venezuela, is booming. The interesting question is why of course?

The answer is here.

What’s driving the market? My guess is a combination of reports that Hugo Chavez is fighting cancer and the uniting of the opposition parties behind one candidate. The upsurge that begins in February coincides with the February primary that chose Henrique Radonski as the candidate to stand against Chavez.

And, of course, February was also when the news broke that Chavez’ cancer was not in fact entirely cured and that further treatment would be necessary.

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Posted: 25th, May 2012 | In: Money | Comment


Those idiots at Greenpeace and shale gas

SO. What has been the effect of the American rush for shale gas then?

‘The shale gas boom in the US has led to a big drop in its carbon emissions, as power generators switch from coal to cheap gas. According to the International Energy Agency, US energy-related emissions of carbon dioxide, the main greenhouse gas, fell by 450m tonnes over the past five years – the largest drop among all countries surveyed.’

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Posted: 24th, May 2012 | In: Money | Comment (1)


Well, Greece is screwed whichever way it turns

LOOKS like any which way Greece tries to turn it’s screwed. If they try and stay in the euro then they’re screwed by a decade or more of this internal devaluation, this austerity. Things would get better if they leave, after the horrible shock of actually leaving.

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Posted: 23rd, May 2012 | In: Money | Comment


The idiocy means we won’t dill for shale gas

IDIOTS! This piece of nonsense from the fools that rule us has me aghast:

The Government has rejected shale gas technology as a solution to Britain’s energy crisis, conceding it will do little to cut bills or keep the lights on……..

But The Independent on Sunday has learned that industry experts made clear at a meeting attended by senior ministers, including David Cameron and Ed Davey, the Lib Dem energy secretary, that the UK’s reserves were smaller than first thought and could be uneconomical to extract.

Now senior coalition figures have agreed that shale gas has the potential to be deeply controversial without securing major benefits in lowering carbon emissions or reducing energy costs.

This is the action of morons. Because a) we don’t know and b) we’ve got an excellent method of finding out.

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Posted: 22nd, May 2012 | In: Money | Comment (1)


Why Facebook’s Share Price Is Going to Fall

IT’S a brave man who tries to predict short term share prices but I’ll have a go. Sometime soon Facebook’s price is going to start falling.

The IPO did just great for the company and people selling the shares. That’s what an IPO is for after all, getting in money for those selling. However, one part of such a float is what’s known as “stabilisation”. For the first 30 days or so the underwriters of the issue try to keep the price stable.

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Posted: 21st, May 2012 | In: Money | Comment


G10 – the debt explained in a graphic

THAT debt problem explained:

Spotter: Occupy design

Posted: 20th, May 2012 | In: Money | Comment


Sam Hallam’s going to have to pay the government bed and board

I’LL guarantee you in a day or two you’re going to be seeing pieces shouting about how unfair it is that Sam Hallam, unfairly convicted and now released, will have to be paying bed and board for the time he was in prison.

The fact of the matter is that he won’t: but that won’t stop people saying he will.

What will happen is that he’s be due compensation: it’s how that compensation is calculated that allows the charge of being made to pay for bed and board.

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Posted: 17th, May 2012 | In: Money | Comments (6)


The Queen’s Speech In Austere pictures

AUSTERITY! Austerity! Austerity! The Queen’s well-spoken plans for the country, as outlined in her Queen’s Speech at the State Opening of Parliament, we’re all about austerity. Still, we’re all in this together. Here are some photos of all that austerity in action:

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Posted: 16th, May 2012 | In: Money, Royal Family | Comment


Can you pay your bill with pennies?

YOU cannot pay your bills with pennies. Well, actually you can, but you can’t insist on doing so. The original story in the Mail:

A disgruntled client who paid a bill with £800 of loose change after a row with his accountant has been ordered to pay his debt ‘properly’ by a court judge.

And then the cock up The Guardian made of it:

A care home manager has been fined £1,118.62 after he settled an £804 debt to his accountant with five crates of mostly 1p and 2p coins. He had been to the bank especially, he said: be glad that you weren’t behind him in the queue. So what did Robert Fitzpatrick, the care home manager, do wrong?

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Posted: 16th, May 2012 | In: Money | Comment


Smartphones: the fastest growing technology ever

ONE way of looking at the current economic world is that it’s a complete disaster. Slow to little growth (and don’t even start talking about Southern Europe), mass unemployment, a general dirge of it all being pretty crappy.

One the other hand, there are bright spots: what economic growth there is is in the poor countries, meaning people are moving from absolute, $2 a day type, poverty to the unaccustomed luxury of three square meals a day.

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Posted: 15th, May 2012 | In: Money, Technology | Comment


The euro is doomed, doomed I tell ‘ee

THERE’S been much head scratching about what’s going to happen to the euro. Will anyone manage to get thumb out of bum in time to actually save the thing (pretty simple to do, just get the ECB to print a few trillion euros and set off some nice inflation) or is it going to collapse in a heap?

The betting is now that Greece is going to go: Chase puts it at a 75% odds. Paul Krugman is similarly gloomy:

Some of us have been talking it over, and here’s what we think the end game looks like:

1. Greek euro exit, very possibly next month.

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Posted: 14th, May 2012 | In: Money | Comments (4)


If Facebook’s worth $96 billion then Apple’s worth $2.7 trillion

THE big thing in the tech investing markets at the moment is the long awaited Facebook IPO. This is where they actually bring the company to the public markets and let the general public try to buy a piece of it.

The valuation they’re trying to put on the whole company is $96 billion. Which is, if we’re honest about it, a pretty heady price for what is essentially a website, even if it is one with 900 million users.

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Posted: 10th, May 2012 | In: Money | Comment


Another idiot idea: Make those northern suburbs grow like Detroit

SIR Simon Jenkins, very important man that he is, fully paid up member of the Great and the Good, has managed to get infected with yet another of the idiot ideas that flow from the US to the UK.

So, the great journalistic mind opines on what ails Britain’s cities and comes up with the wondrous idea that what we actually need is a little less capitalism red in tooth and claw and a little more planning and direction by the Great and the Good. It isn’t, of course, an unusual reaction from a member of any group. What the country needs is that more power should be given to my group and everyone should do what members of my group tell them to do.

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Posted: 9th, May 2012 | In: Money | Comment


How Bruce Dickinson and Iron Maiden will save the economy

IN the FT, a letter from Peter Cook, of the Academy of Rock, Gillingham, explores how Iron Maiden’s Bruce Dickinson will save the entrepreneurial economy. (Click the image to watch it grow.)

Spotter: Matt Miller

Posted: 8th, May 2012 | In: Money | Comment (1)


The Hunger Strike of Eric Russell

IF you should go down to Whitehall you might find an interesting sight. A man, Eric Russell, on hunger strike over the appalling bloody bureaucracy that this country has.

No, it’s not about “the cuts”, not about the welfare state not giving a shit. It’s about the welfare state simply being incompetent. Eric has told all us media types that he’s going to be there from yesterday, the bank holiday, until someone somewhere among the six million civil bloody servants we pay for manages to get a clue.

The back story is one of taking a minimum wage job, getting tax credits while doing so. The usual nonsenses when the job came to an end, getting back on Jobseeker’s, making sure that the tax credits were stopped (seriously, difficulty in getting them to stop damn paying you what you’re not eligible for!).

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Posted: 8th, May 2012 | In: Money | Comment


Wonga starts lending to businesses: the credit crunch is over!

WONGA is lending to businesses. Hurrah, Hurrah! It looks like the credit crunch is over, business will get all the loans it needs and things will be just perfect again, kittens will gambol in the sun and puppies chase balls once again:

British online payday loans provider Wonga.com launched a credit service for small businesses on Monday, aiming to fill a gap in the market left by banks who have been hamstrung by tight lending conditions imposed since the credit crunch.

Wonga, which has made 4 million short-term loans to consumers since its launch in 2007, will offer small businesses loans of 3,000 to 10,000 pounds ($4,800 to $16,200) for periods of between one and 52 weeks.

Interest rates will be fixed at between 0.3 and 2 percent per week, depending on how risky the loan is judged to be.

Well, OK, it’s not going to be quite that miraculous. The amounts they have available to lend really aren’t going to cover the entire gap. And those interest rates are a bit high for anything except the most short term of lending.

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Posted: 7th, May 2012 | In: Money | Comment (1)


What to do when a bank wrongly deposits millions in your account

TWO stories on banking errors. The first involves the €18m deposited into Laura Hughes’s bank account. Hughes, of Athenry, Co Galway, was surprised to see the new balance in her Ulster Bank account of €18,099, 425.99 – a figure that includes the 35c she had saved before the windfall.

Hughes moved  €9,000 into another account. She thought about buying a new Nissan Micra car. She says her “gut instinct wouldn’t let me do it”. Then the bank shut down her account. How fair is that? They make the error and hen forcibly close your account?

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Posted: 7th, May 2012 | In: Money | Comments (8)


So how much is Facebook really worth then? Let’s see

GIVEN that Facebook is just about to come to the stock markets for the first time, how much is it really worth? The length of string comes to mind, obviously, but your and my opinion is what counts here: the value of a company on a stock market really is just the aggregation of what everyone believes it is worth.

The actual answer is we don’t know but my own impression, along with that of the FT, is almost certainly not as much as a lot of other people seem to think:

How to put all this into a Facebook valuation? To justify the big numbers being tossed around – $100bn and up – several things must happen in the next five to seven years. The business needs to become much less capital intensive (inclusive of acquisitions) over time, as Google and Microsoft have done. That is the easy part. But margins must also stay near today’s level of about 50 per cent – which would be uncharted territory. And sales would have to grow at least sixfold in this period.

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Posted: 4th, May 2012 | In: Money | Comment (1)