Observer: The pledge made by one UBS trader – “I’m a man of my word” – seems a fine sentiment, until the realisation dawns that the promise he is making is to do “one humongous deal” with a broker to help him manipulate the Libor rate. …..”I will fucking do one humongous deal with you … Like a 50,000-buck deal, whatever … I need you to keep it as low as possible … If you do that … I’ll pay you, you know, $50,000, $100,000 … whatever you want.” Read more
FT: So Weir Group’s CEO says. The FTSE 100 engineer has sold pumps to the oil industry for more than a century, and has profited greatly from the shale gas boom in the US.
Will Hutton in the Observer: “There was a complete disdain for the banks’ customers, for the notion of custodianship of other people’s money, that was industry wide. It is hard to believe this culture has evaporated with the imposition of a fine.” Read more
Guardian: “Consumers are deserting major high-street banks in unprecedented numbers after a slew of revelations about unethical behaviour, according to data from the Move Your Money campaign.” Read more
FT editorial: “Of all the illustrations inspired by the “fiscal cliff” – Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke’s metaphor for the looming tightening of the US budget – none is more telling than a chart of US stock indices for the past week.” Read more
FT: “For a while at least, manipulating Libor was a profitable business for UBS. But a record $1.5bn fine to settle US and UK investigations may be only the initial price the bank must pay as a result of the scandal.”
Karl-Eric Stromsta in Recharge: “SolarCity fooled the headline writers, at least. The company “shined” in its 14 December initial public offering (IPO), with shares “leaping” 47% to $11.79 on their first day of trading, claimed USA Today.” Read more
REW: “Shares in Chinese solar companies soared after the government allocated a further 7 billion yuan ($1.1 billion) of subsidies for domestic installations this year, taking the year’s total to 13 billion yuan ($2 billion), according to the official Xinhua News Agency.” Read more
Ambrose Evans-Pritchard in the Telegraph: “If no changes are made to current policies, coal will catch oil within a decade,” (the IEA) said. …“The situation is utterly dire,” said Jeremy Leggett, head of the UK Task Force on Peak Energy and Climate Change.” Read more
European Energy Review: When Germany’s environment minister Peter Altmaier addressed the first-ever congress of energy cooperatives in Berlin on November 19, he knew he was looking out over one of the Energiewende’s core constituencies.” Read more
Independent: “The days of the banking middlemen may be numbered as a technological revolution in business lending shakes the dominance of the UK’s biggest banks, a senior director of the Bank of England has said.” Read more
Guardian: Estimates suggest that for every 1% increase in energy prices, about 40,000 households are pushed into fuel poverty – defined as when consumers spend more than 10% of their income on heating. The Fuel Poverty Advisory Group (FPAG) said 300,000 more homes had fallen into difficulty this winter and millions could follow without urgent government action.” Read more
FT: US banks are making a last-minute push to ease new global liquidity requirements under Basle 3, arguing that they would need to come up with an additional $800bn in easy-to-sell assets in order to comply.
FT: Insurers are pushing back against regulators trying to prevent a repeat of AIG’s collapse, making a last-ditch effort to avoid capital surcharges. “In a series of submissions to global supervisors seen by the Financial Times, insurers warn that plans to designate some of them as ‘too big to fail’ are incoherent, impractical and simplistic.”
ODAC: “Not even the most fevered frack-head thinks Britain will become self-sufficient in gas, which means the price will continue to be set by the need to attract imports from Norway, Qatar and beyond, and by European demand for UK gas — to which we are umbilically connected (or exposed) by pipeline.” Read more
FT: Shares closed at $11.79, up 47 per cent from their IPO sale price of $8. The IPO can be classed as a qualified success, although investors clearly remain nervous about solar.
Guardian: Ed Davey “said companies drilling wells would be subject to a “traffic light” system, with seismic monitoring to ensure that if there are tremors above a certain level, drilling is halted pending investigation.” Read more