organization:bank of england

  • Venezuela Wants $1.2 Billion in Gold Back From Bank of England

    Nicolas Maduro’s embattled Venezuelan regime, desperate to hold onto the dwindling cash pile it has abroad, was stymied in its bid to pull $1.2 billion worth of gold out of the Bank of England, according to people familiar with the matter.

    The Bank of England’s decision to deny Maduro officials’ withdrawal request comes after top U.S. officials, including Secretary of State Michael Pompeo and National Security Adviser John Bolton, lobbied their U.K. counterparts to help cut off the regime from its overseas assets, according to one of the people, who asked not to be identified.

  • Angry Bear » The Continuing Dominance of the #Dollar

    An article by Fernando Eguren Martin, Mayukh Mukhopadhyay and Carlos van Hombeeck of the Bank of England in the BOE’s Quarterly Bulletin documents the different international roles of the dollar. First, it continues to be the main currency in central bank reserves, with a share of about 70% of total holdings. Second, the dollar is used as an invoicing currency for many international transactions, such as commodity sales. Third, firms outside the U.S. obtain funding through dollar-denominated bank loans and debts.

    The use of the dollar for finance has also been examined by Iñaki Aldasoro and Torsten Ehlers of the Bank for International Settlements in an article in the BIS Quarterly Review. They report a rise in the use of international debt securities, driven primarily by dollar denominated debt issued by non-U.S. residents. The increase in such funding is particularly noticeable in emerging markets economies in Asia and Latin America. This debt includes sovereign bonds issued by governments that sought to lock in low interest rates.

  • The Long Road to #blockchain Adoption Might be Getting Shorter

    image source: PexelsIn September last year, Christina Lagarde, the head of IMF, gave an incredible speech about Central Banking and Fintech in a Bank of England Conference in London. The most notable theme in the presentation was the role of virtual currencies and their place in disrupting the traditional financial systems as we know them.According to Lagarde, virtual currencies such as Bitcoin are offering to solve existing problems and therefore mainstream finance should not take them lightly. However, she notes that the mass adoption of the digital currencies is still far from realization given that they are too volatile, highly energy intensive and blockchain- the technology behind them is still not yet scalable. There is also an issue with regulation, with governments across the (...)

    #payment-systems #blockchain-adoption #blockchain-technology #payment-processing

  • Men Only: Inside the charity fundraiser where hostesses are put on show

    The gathering’s official purpose is to raise money for worthy causes such as Great Ormond Street Hospital, the world-renowned children’s hospital in London’s Bloomsbury district.

    Auction items included lunch with Boris Johnson, the British foreign secretary, and afternoon tea with Bank of England governor Mark Carney.

    But this is a charity fundraiser like no other.

    It is for men only. A black tie evening, Thursday’s event was attended by 360 figures from British business, politics and finance and the entertainment included 130 specially hired hostesses.

    All of the women were told to wear skimpy black outfits with matching underwear and high heels. At an after-party many hostesses — some of them students earning extra cash — were groped, sexually harassed and propositioned.

    • Ici aussi en français
      J’aime leur concept de soirée fermée à la presse et uniquement réservée à la gent masculine comme ils écrivent. Dans ce cas ils auraient pu mettre uniquement du personnel masculin également.
      Par contre ce qu’il faut reconnaître c’est qu’en Grande Bretagne (et dans d’autres pays européens aussi) généralement quand on est mis en cause on démissionne, ce qui est n’est quasiment jamais le cas en France.

  • Open Letter to EC President Jean-Claude Juncker

    From: John Palmer, #Pompeu_Fabra_University

    To: Jean-Claude Juncker, President, European Commission

    Date: 25 September 2017

    Dear President Juncker:

    I write to alert you to recent actions by the Spanish Government that affect research funds provided by the European Commission and infringe on fundamental rights guaranteed under international and European law. My interest in this matter stems from my current position as a Marie Skłodowska-Curie research fellow at Pompeu Fabra University (UPF) in Barcelona and, more importantly, as a person who cares about the rights of others and is horrified by the attack on democracy and liberty that is currently underway in the city and region in which I reside.

    On 20 September the Spanish Ministry of the Treasury and Public Function issued Order HFP/886/2017, freezing the finances of numerous public bodies in Catalonia, including those of Catalan public universities like UPF (see BOE-A-2017-10741). It appears from the Treasury’s order and from the regulatory structure on which it draws that it encompasses funds provided by the European Union (see Order PRE/2454/2015 of 20 November 2015, BOE-A-2015-12575). This fact was highlighted in a public statement issued by affected universities on 21 September, demanding that “Spanish authorities desist immediately from these unusual and unacceptable measures” (statement at Universities will be able to gain access to their frozen funds only based on regular certification that they are not being used for activities contrary to the law or to the “decisions of the courts” (Order HFP/878/2017 of 15 September 2017, BOE-A-2017-10609), this latter reference clearly aimed at the upcoming independence referendum called for in a law passed by the Catalan Parliament but subsequently suspended by the Spanish Constitutional Court.

    Although it seems unlikely that university funds are being used for unlawful activities, this regular certification process imposes an absurd hurdle for research activities and significantly undermines academic freedom. This is particularly true in light of the harsh crackdown by Spanish authorities against activities even loosely connected to the independence referendum, with detentions and/or prosecutions not only of mayors and senior officials in the Catalan government, but even of private citizens who have helped to disseminate information about the referendum, and of the organizers of peaceful demonstrations against the crackdown. Given this backdrop, it is hard to imagine that the certification process for research funds will not place enormous pressure on academics to avoid criticizing the government or taking any position that might be seen as supporting the referendum, including simply speaking out in favor of the right to vote, freedom of expression and assembly, or self-determination.

    Although the funding issue is what affects me most directly as a Marie Skłodowska-Curie research fellow, my greatest concern is with the attack on democracy and human rights that the Spanish state is carrying out against my family, friends, colleagues, and neighbors throughout Catalonia. The prosecutions noted above have been accompanied by raids and detentions by Spain’s paramilitary police force, which has now sent thousands of troops with riot gear to the region. The government has threatened to arrest more members of the Catalan government, to shut down the press, and even to detain school principals. The charges being sought include sedition, which is punishable by many years in jail. These actions amount to serious violations of the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, the European Union Charter of Fundamental Rights, and other European and international instruments.

    One of the core virtues of the European Union is its ability to prevent this type of repression from occurring. Although there is a temptation to view the events here as internal matters of the Spanish state, the reality is that they directly threaten the European Union’s ideals and they add to the creeping spread of authoritarianism that we are witnessing around the world. I urge you to take whatever steps you can to stop the Spanish government from continuing on this course.

    Sincerely yours,

    John Palmer

    Reçu via la mailing-list geotamtam
    #Catalogne #référendum #indépendance #oppression #université #recherche #Espagne #liberté_académique #it_has_begun #chantage

  • Inside the project to fix Britain’s low-performing businesses

    The four-decade-old glassworks at Cumbria Crystal near the Lake District, where molten glass is still blown by mouth, is exactly the sort of company that has, until now, held Britain back, according to the chief economist of the Bank of England.

    A lossmaking small business with 21 staff, it admits it was stuck in the dark ages. “Two years ago we didn’t even have an electronic till,” says Chris Blade, the managing director who joined the company in 2015.

    #royaume-uni #économie #crise_économique

  • Mona Chalabi ( mona_chalabi) • Photos et vidéos Instagram


    I drew this for @womensmarch. I was proud to do it, partly because I’m in this #datasketch. I’m part of the 13.2% of Americans that are immigrants, the 38.7% that’s not white and the 50.8% that’s female. 🇺🇸 Happy 4th July everyone 🇺🇸
    Source: US Census Bureau 2016

    • Mona Chalabi

      Mona Chalabi is the Data Editor of Guardian US and has presented TV shows for the BBC, National Geographic, Channel 4 and VICE. Mona is also an illustrator - in 2016, her data sketches were commended by the Royal Statistical Society. The drawings, which are designed to make numbers more relatable, can be viewed on her Instagram account. 

      Before joining The Guardian US, Mona moved to New York to write for Nate Silver’s site FiveThirtyEight where she also presented a regular segment on American National Public Radio called “The Number Of The Week”. She began to write about statistics after analyzing large data sets in her roles at the Bank of England, the Economist Intelligence Unit, Transparency International and the International Organization for Migration.

  • SFO launches investigation into Bank of England liquidity auctions | Business | The Guardian

    The Bank of England is facing an unprecedented criminal investigation by the Serious Fraud Office over emergency lending measures it took at the height of the credit crisis to inject cash into financial markets.

    In late 2007 and early 2008, as the authorities struggled to prevent financial markets from freezing up, banks were invited to bid to borrow funds from the Bank of England in exchange for collateral in a series of so-called “auctions”.

    It is the conduct of these liquidity auctions that is now being investigated by the SFO, which confirmed it has opened an official investigation. In a statement, the SFO said it was “investigating material referred to it by the Bank of England concerning liquidity auctions during the financial crisis in 2007 and 2008”.

    In response, Threadneedle Street said: “The Bank can now confirm that it commissioned Lord Grabiner QC to conduct an independent inquiry into liquidity auctions during the financial crisis in 2007 and 2008. Following the conclusion of that initial inquiry, the BoE referred the matter to the SFO on 20 November 2014.”

    The Bank refused further comment. It remains unclear why the investigation was not made public before now.
    Minouche Shafik, the Bank’s deputy governor for markets and banking, said it was time to end the era of “constructive ambiguity” in the contacts between Bank officials and City traders, which were traditionally referred to as “fireside chats”. News of this new criminal inquiry will underline fears that the Bank’s relationship with the City was sometimes too cosy.


  • Bank Of England To Monitor Social Networks

    The central bank sets up a taskforce to monitor the internet and social networks for early signs of economic ups and downs.

    "Official statistics tend to be lagging and tend to be revised. And what this scraping of the web can do is give us a better today read on what’s going on," said the Bank’s chief economist, Andy Haldane.

    He added that these and other “informal sources” of data "have been somewhat more reliable in picking up the uptick in the fortunes of the economy".

    #tracking #médias_sociaux

  • Bank of England governor warns of a bubble as UK house prices rise 10.5%

    Rising house prices and high levels of household debt could tip the UK back into recession if left unchecked, the Bank of England governor has warned.

    Mark Carney told MPs on the Treasury select committee that the threat of a property bubble was the “biggest risk” to economic recovery over the medium term, as official figures showed house prices rose by 10.5% in the year to May – and more than 20% in London.

    #immobilier #Londres #Royaume-Uni #endettement #économie

  • The truth is out: money is just an IOU, and the banks are rolling in it | David Graeber | Comment | The Guardian

    Back in the 1930s, Henry Ford is supposed to have remarked that it was a good thing that most Americans didn’t know how banking really works, because if they did, “there’d be a revolution before tomorrow morning”.

    Last week, something remarkable happened. The Bank of England let the cat out of the bag. In a paper called “Money Creation in the Modern Economy”, co-authored by three economists from the Bank’s Monetary Analysis Directorate, they stated outright that most common assumptions of how banking works are simply wrong, and that the kind of populist, heterodox positions more ordinarily associated with groups such as Occupy Wall Street are correct. In doing so, they have effectively thrown the entire theoretical basis for austerity out of the window.
    Why did the Bank of England suddenly admit all this? Well, one reason is because it’s obviously true. The Bank’s job is to actually run the system, and of late, the system has not been running especially well. It’s possible that it decided that maintaining the fantasy-land version of economics that has proved so convenient to the rich is simply a luxury it can no longer afford.

    But politically, this is taking an enormous risk. Just consider what might happen if mortgage holders realised the money the bank lent them is not, really, the life savings of some thrifty pensioner, but something the bank just whisked into existence through its possession of a magic wand which we, the public, handed over to it.

    Historically, the Bank of England has tended to be a bellwether, staking out seeming radical positions that ultimately become new orthodoxies. If that’s what’s happening here, we might soon be in a position to learn if Henry Ford was right.

    Note: #IOU, juste à lire phonétiquement I owe you

    En même temps,

    David Graeber (né le 12 février 1961) est un anthropologue et anarchiste américain.

  • The world is still being held hostage by its rotten banks-


    in dealing with large, complex financial institutions the rules for risk-weighting bank assets are insanely complex and distorting. In a speech last year the Bank of England’s Andrew Haldane argued that the regulators use rules that are needlessly complicated – adding that this was tantamount to asking a border collie to catch a Frisbee by applying Newton’s law of gravity to calculate its flight path. He would like more attention to be paid to a simple leverage ratio requiring a minimum level of equity capital in relation to bank liabilities. Yet Basel III’s backstop leverage figure is just 3 per cent by 2019. For a banking system to operate on the basis that a fall of a mere 3 per cent in the value of bank assets will wipe out the banks is simply absurd; all the more so when banks’ risk-management techniques were shown to be hopelessly flawed in the crisis, yet remain substantially unchanged. The dangers here were highlighted when JPMorgan, supposedly the best risk manager in the business, lost $6bn in the “London whale” trading fiasco. Its much admired bosses had no notion at all of what was afoot.

    It follows that on current policy another financial crisis is probable. And since it is clear that there is no political will for further bailouts in the US, little at the German heart of the eurozone and limited fiscal capacity for bailouts in the UK, a new crisis would be much more damaging to the world economy. In effect, the UK and much of the eurozone appear determined to repeat the mistakes that inflicted stagnation on Japan for the past 23 years, but with more financial risk.


    ... both the UK and the world remain hostage to unreconstructed bankers and their powerful lobbyists, to whom government ministers are extraordinarily deferential. The global economy and taxpayers everywhere are still seriously at risk.

  • Récemment, @simplicissimus évoquait G. Soros...

    ... Reuters a publié une nécro inachevée aujourd’hui dépubliée, je la recopie via le cache de Google.

    George Soros, enigmatic financier, liberal philanthropist dies at XX
    By Todd Eastham
    WASHINGTON, XXX | Thu Apr 18, 2013 5:41pm EDT

    (Reuters) - George Soros, who died XXX at age XXX, was a predatory and hugely successful financier and investor, who argued paradoxically for years against the same sort of free-wheeling capitalism that made him billions.

    He was known as “the man who broke the Bank of England” for selling short the British pound in 1992 and helping force the United Kingdom to withdraw from the European Exchange Rate Mechanism, which devalued the pound and earned Soros more than $1 billion.

    And his Soros Fund Management was widely blamed for helping trigger the Asian financial crisis of 1997, by selling short the Thai baht and Malaysian ringgit.

    “Subsequently, Prime Minister Mahatir of Malaysia accused me of causing the crisis, a wholly unfounded accusation,” Soros wrote in The Crisis of Global Capitalism: Open Society Endangered," in 1998.

    “We were not sellers of the currency during or several months before the crisis; on the contrary ... we were purchasing ringgits to realize profits on our earlier speculation.”

    Still, economist Paul Krugman, was one of many observers who accused Soros of helping trigger the crisis.

    In 1999, Krugman wrote that

    “nobody who has read a business magazine in the last few years can be unaware that these days there really are investors who not only move money in anticipation of a currency crisis, but actually do their best to trigger that crisis for fund and profit.”

    Still, Soros has written extensively on the folly of what he has called free market “fundamentalism,” the belief of many conservative economists that markets will correct themselves with no need for government intervention.

    In Soros’ view, markets and investors are subject to “mood” swings, or a prevailing positive or negative bias which can be exploited by savvy investors but which inevitably lead to damaging market bubbles and boom/bust cycles.

    An enigma, wrapped in intellect, contradiction and money.

    A Jew born in Hungary as the Nazis were gaining power in Germany, Soros survived World War Two and then emigrated to Great Britain, where he earned a degree from the London School of Economics in 1952, and landed his first job in the financial industry largely through pure stubborn chutzpah.


    While at the London School, Soros studied under the economist and philosopher Karl Popper and a main vehicle for his philanthropy, the Open Society Institute, is named for Popper’s two-volume work, “The Open Society and Its Enemies.”

    In that work, Popper develops the philosophy of reflexivity, a theory first articulated by William Thomas in the 1920s that posits that individual biases enter into market transactions, coloring the perception of economic fundamentals. Soros has attributed his own financial success in part to his understanding of the reflexive effect.

    Key to understanding that effect is recognizing when markets are in a condition of near-equilibrium, or in disequilibrium. Soros has observed that when markets are rising or falling rapidly, they are typically marked by rising disequilibrium, and the dispassionate investor can capitalize on that recognition.

    While Soros has benefited enormously from this understanding (Forbes put his wealth in 2013 at $19 billion, making him the world’s 30th richest person, not counting the roughly $8 billion he has given away through various charitable entities he controls), he has argued nevertheless for strong central government regulation to correct for and counterbalance the excesses of greed, fear and the free market.

    Popper’s idea of fallibilism, which posits that anything one believes may in fact be wrong, is another key principle that has guided Soros in his career, and his philanthropy.

    Soros’ philanthropy since the 1970s, when he began funding the studies of black students at the University of Cape Town in South Africa, has been marked as much by his personal journey as by the needs of the communities he has set out to serve.

    His efforts through the Open Society Institute and the Soros Foundations have been skewed toward the effort to promote democratic values in the post-Soviet economies of Central and Eastern Europe, where he witnessed the rise of communism in Hungary after World War Two.

    “The bulk of his enormous winnings (as an investor and speculator) is now devoted to encouraging transitional and emerging nations to become ’open societies,’” former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker wrote in the foreword to Soros’ “The Alchemy of Finance” (2003).

    “Open,” Volcker wrote, “not only in the sense of freedom of commerce but - more important - tolerant of new ideas and different modes of thinking and behavior.”


    Soros also pledged $50 million in 2006 to the Millennium Promise, led by economist Jeffrey Sachs, to provide educational, agricultural and medical aid to help poor villages in Africa. And the Open Society Institute has expanded its giving to more than 60 countries around the world, giving away roughly $600 million a year.

    Soros was an early supporter of the peaceful transformation of the Solidarity movement in Poland and Open Society Institute programs were considered by many Western observers to be a key factor in the success of the “Rose Revolution” in Georgia.

    While his philanthropy has earned him friends around the world, his political giving has earned him both friends and enemies. Former President George W. Bush, who Soros blamed for turning the United States into “the main obstacle to a stable and just world order,” was perhaps the biggest single target of his political wrath.

    “By declaring a ’war on terror’ after Sept. 11, we set the wrong agenda for the world,” Soros told Newsweek magazine in a 2006 interview. “When you wage war, you inevitably create innocent victims.”

    In a bid to stop Bush’s re-election, Soros donated $23.5 million to more than 500 liberal and progressive groups during the 2003-2004 U.S. election cycle.

    Other causes that have attracted Soros’ generosity include drug policy reform. He donated $1.4 million to promote California’s Proposition 5 in 2008, a failed initiative that would have expanded drug rehabilitation programs as alternatives to prison for non-violent drug offenders, and $400,000 to the successful 2008 Massachusetts initiative to decriminalize possession of less than an ounce (28 grams) of marijuana.

    He has also been a vocal supporter of the right to die in dignity, revealing in 1994 that he had offered to help his own mother, a member of the Hemlock Society, commit suicide.

    While Soros’ life has been marked by remarkable success in his far-flung endeavors, it has not been without defeat. His investment in France’s Societe Generale following Jacques Chirac’s aggressive program of privatization led to charges of insider trading, which he disputed, and eventual conviction and the payment of a small penalty.

    And he was a minority partner in a group that failed to acquire the Washington Nationals Major League baseball team.

    But these failings stand out in the life of this remarkably successful Hungarian-American financier, philanthropist and thinker, in contrast to his stubborn refusal to fail in virtually every other venture.


    Ministry for Foreign Affairs External Trade Director Martin
    Eyjolfsson bleakly described for Ambassador and EconOff the
    difficult, ongoing negotiations with the British delegation over the
    obligation and repayment connected with the Icelandic IceSave
    accounts in the U.K. Eyjolfsson said the British government sent a
    “technical delegation” to negotiate; the team consists of Finance
    Ministry and the Bank of England officials, but no diplomatic
    representatives. He said the lack of diplomatic presence has made it
    difficult for the British team to appreciate the full effects of the
    British authorities’ actions in seizing Icelandic assets under
    terrorism legislation. Eyjolfsson said, “If the U.K. had seized
    France’s sovereign gold reserves like they had Iceland’s, a war
    between France and the U.K. would have broken out by now.” (Note:
    Featured in the Icelandic media today is the online petition
    “Icelanders Are Not Terrorists,” ( which is
    collecting photographs and signatures to send to PM Gordon Brown
    protesting the seizure of Icelandic assets under the terrorism law.
    End Note.)

    #Islande #Grande-Bretagne