95 thoughts on “Ireland’s Report Card: February 2014”

  1. Can we please have objectivity in reporting facts. Less of the adjectives.

    “Ireland exited the bailout” not “Ireland successfully exited…” – by whose measure.
    “Return to the bond markets” not “Successfully returned…” – I would argue that is a tragedy for a country with an already crippling debt to GDP ratio.
    Key figures – no mention of emmigration. Pretty key measure of a countries economic health I would have thought. The measure of health is where we are now – not where you are forecasting us to be….when have they EVER been right. Spin

    Slide 3 – entitlted “Achievements”….when the majority of things listed are events that are neither achievements or failures….just events. Draghi statement, fiscal responsibility bill (many would argue a key recipe for ongoing problems), sale of Energy business….hmmm. Maybe, maybe not. Spin.

    Slide 4 – Progress on Jobs. Again not a mention of emmigration notwithstanding the reliance on the unemployment stat to highlight progress on Jobs. Spin.

    Slide 5 – Contributors to Growth. Domestic demand – only actual figure is negative. Blinkered optimism – any risk factors considered or is blue sky all the way….Global markets turning bearish? Doesn’t affect us.

    …ah sure why am i bothering.

  2. NAMA has maintained a
    strong level of cash
    generation and has
    successfully divested
    €10bn in assets since
    inception.

    @Kerchav

    It’s a marketing document.

    Perhaps:

    successfully divested = sold

  3. @Kerchav

    Slide 3 – entitlted “Achievements”….when the majority of things listed are events that are neither achievements or failures….just events. Draghi statement, fiscal responsibility bill (many would argue a key recipe for ongoing problems), sale of Energy business….hmmm. Maybe, maybe not. Spin.

    Slide two is a classic all right, difficult to read past it. Not sure that even is selling Bord Gas Energy an achievement. Was it loss making? If any privatization is in there is in there so should hundreds of data points for “Cowardly submitted to the will of various EU neoliberal cultists.”. Imagine they had the same graph versus unemployment in the under 25s, emigration, debt/GNP or employment versus working age population?

    I do like the way bond yields went up after the FAC was established though. Wisdom of crowds and all that.

  4. As a marketing piece, it looks good though. It also gives a picture of a “managed” situation, and there’s nothing wrong with that. The issue though is how much is spin versus reality. For instance, the debt /GDP 124% is to peak this year and substantially decline through to 2016. Growth is one key element, but so too is the indication that net leverage is 99% i.e. net of the Euro 20bn cash plus Govt investments in the banks and the like (although there is good reason for not including the latter). Clearly, the Govt plans to reduce the Euro 20bn cash pile as part of the process….a primary block on which to “manage” the planned decline in debt /GDP. We have also seen the plan to put Euro 3bn or so OBS via Irish Water (if that is in fact real). The real question though remains as to how much of that cash pile will be consumed by (net) deficit spending versus being repaid to keep the debt /GDP on track. The other real question is whether growth will also “play ball” with this financial management exercise.

    Still, the plan is clear. Presumably they have built in margin for error.

  5. Was it a bailout? I remember someone in 2010 saying it wasn’t because every cent had to be paid back…
    Was it not more of an ‘arrangement’ ?

  6. seafoid,

    the original bagehot , lombard street quote for the LOLR was

    Bagehot’s “Lend freely at a high rate against good collateral.”

    nowadays it is 1.5% for 30 years for Greece, and they are still making noises

  7. @seafóid – you’re dead right. It was never a bail-out. It was/is a programme. Or credit facility, if you prefer.

    Bail-outs, as we know, are freely given with no expectation, hope, nor premise of a return of the sums advanced.

  8. @fhttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eSaHKDrzws
    Irancis
    The Greeks did this also to gain access to the euro,with the help of Goldman Sachs;

  9. @Paulr

    Perhaps IBEC should demand a deal with the government that mandates outlaws any further price decreases and mandates incremental price increases for goods and services in the Irish Republic.

    Imagine the multiplier effects.

    End customers could be subsidised by government levies, on something.

    They should try to ‘fit in’.

  10. @ “IBEC have the solution.”

    That’s a bit odd. How can you have the ‘solution’ when you cannot even identify the ‘problem’?

    Maybe we should we christen such commentators as ‘Growthologists’. That is, economists who know that the ‘Jack and the Beanstalk’ fable is based on an actual historical event.

  11. Someone needs to tell the economy that is supposed to be sick. Unemployment rate down again, services PMI in record territory. It’s hard to keep up with all the job announcements.

  12. Ireland’s report card is posted in uncategorized

    Could there not be a folder called “still underwhelming” ?

  13. Assuming the SEPA impact is an anomaly that will quickly correct itself, the need for budget and accounting procedures to underpin a credible “report card” should become even more evident. The hand to mouth behaviour, e.g. in relation to the cost of flood damage, will otherwise continue.

    Colm McCarthy had a very telling commentary on the situation with regard to natural monopolies such as Irish Water.

    http://www.independent.ie/opinion/columnists/colm-mccarthy/irish-water-must-be-controlled-with-protection-of-the-consumer-in-mind-29971586.html

    A situation where there is a modernisation of how taxes and charges are collected, notably through the import of outside expertise, without a matching modernisation of budgetary procedures and control of how they are expended, if it is allowed to develop, is asking IMHO for serious political trouble.

  14. An interesting guide to the mind-set of DOF.
    As for the ‘mind-set’?
    Same old flim-flam and wooly/fuzzy/aspirational stuff that got us into the mess originally – hard to believe it has any credibility outside of DOF.

  15. “Unemployment rate down again, services PMI in record territory”

    clubbers down 20% in Dublin since 09, Johnny.
    Pick that wan out.

    When will the economy generate jobs for them ?
    Mol an oige agus rachaidh siad.

  16. The NTMA should be allowed do the marketing as having economists in the DoF producing propaganda pieces is not a good use of them.

    Note how officials yesterday were eager to show that the headline deficit figure in the Exchequer was distorted by a one-off event but on page 12 of the progress report, the statement: “Continued competitiveness boost through reduction in unit labour costs with a 21% relative improvement forecast against the Eurozone average” is so misleading that it is effectively a lie.

    BTW, adding 87,000 in activation programs to the Jan Live Register numbers gives a total of 487,000 which is 22.3% of the workforce (this number includes casual workers and some part-timers and could be regarded as a broad rate of unemployment.)

  17. @ BW snr and Grumpy
    IBEC should read David McWilliams in todays Indo, think he like me would laugh at IBEC. I love the figure of 60,000 jobs would be created if prices went up. What a load of rubbish.

  18. Forget about glasses.

    People can choose 401,000 for the Live Register or a total with an additional 86,000 unemployed.

    The CSO reported today that it’s services index measure of more than 2,000 companies rose 1.3% in December and fell 1.5% in 2013.

    For those who like some more cheery news, there’s the PMI survey data and Facebook’s 55% jump in 2013 revenues and Google’s rise of 21% shows that there is a lot of mileage in virtual output and exports.

    By all means query the facts – most people of course wouldn’t.

    Maybe it’s unpatriotic to say that most Irish data should not be taken at face value!

  19. I would not describe you as un patriotic. Maybe you are not as good as you like to think you are or maybe you are too far away to see an improving trend in the Anglo Saxon oriented economies.

  20. @ jg

    I agree that considerable praise is in order for the progress made to date in terms of righting the overall economy. This has not been matched with regard to the management of the public expenditure in general. There may be hope also on this front, not because of any initiative by the political class – old habits die hard – but because of the tolerance cliff that is looming with the electorate as a result of the property tax, water charges, hikes in health and other insurance, planning issues relating to pylons and wind farms etc. etc.

    When coupled with recent scandals regarding the dubious disbursal of public funds and the need to make further budget cuts, the future political prospects of many public representatives is not looking that rosy. This has been reflected in the near total incoherence of the response of both government and opposition. They appear to be seeing some benefit from spreading the responsibility around cf. this chapter from the government’s Expenditure Report 2014.

    http://budget.gov.ie/Budgets/2014/Documents/Part%20III%20-%20Ireland's%20Public%20Expenditure%20Framework%20in%20Comparative%20Perspective.pdf

  21. @ Tull: “…maybe you are too far away to see an improving trend in the Anglo Saxon oriented economies.”

    Tull, whatever about the UK economy ‘marking time’ and debating with itself which way to go, the US economy is firmly is in “La La” territory.

    They have made absolutely no progress in employments (workforce/population) – its still stuck at 57%, having fallen back from 65%. Median wages have stagnated – and are less than they were 20 years ago. Underlying prices of necessaries have increased. Personal, corporate, state and federal debt levels are stratospheric. Money supply has been increased by trillions! Where has it gone? Where has it gone?

    @ paulr: Comment noted. Have not read the PW piece yet. Thanks.

  22. “maybe you are too far away to see an improving trend in the Anglo Saxon oriented economies.”

    Rebuilding after those storms will be great for UK GDP.
    I though Deloitte might have been able to offshore the weather in an SPV, tull but they don’t seem to be able to do that sort of magic.

  23. @ John Gallaher

    long time no see !

    @ MH

    I would say, it also needs some folks like you to keep people sober and on the data.

    Some tenured folks went from total panic, we must default and damn the consequences to irish debt is as safe as german and back in a mater of weeks.

    @ all
    From a german point of view, the presentation looks like it is supposed to look, rosy, but not downright insane, and Ireland certainly has some things to show, on nominal targets, means in the upper 25% of real expectations : – )

    Maybe, to make you feel a little better about your Ireland, compare this to Greeeeeeeeece:

    http://www.ekathimerini.com/4dcgi/_w_articles_wsite1_1_04/02/2014_537095

    “Farmers are protesting new tax regulations, including the need for them to keep books”

    Dont see how cruel Europe is? Keeping books, torture.

    Next thing would be that they would want to collect some tax on profits. Pure racism.

    But you could also sue the rating agencies, like Italy

    http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/6ed9649e-8dab-11e3-bbe7-00144feab7de.html?siteedition=intl#axzz2sFZU4m9j

    Wouldn’t that be fun?

    I have certainly no sympathies for credit rating agencies, especially not Baloney Mahoney, LOL, but looking back to the time sequence of downgrades, I see them just following Mister Market following the crazy behavior of our southern neighbors.

  24. @DOCM the whole irish water thing is tilting at windmills its a side show a distraction.The real fun and games with elected reps is going start once the repo men are unleashed,any day now.Haven’t a clue where FF or FG stand on the issue but SF could make significant headway in the polls,if they ever get rid those provos.
    The central bank recently issued a very very disngenous and medal winning study as cover,suggesting that a large cohort off people in arrears are working,whilst excluding sub prime from the data,tacky tacky study and bad math too.Labour will bite the bullet on this,families getting evicted in their strongholds….

    totally off topic apols but with all the tight ‘panties’ in Irl…

    http://www.nytimes.com/2014/02/05/nyregion/de-blasio-to-skip-st-patricks-day-parade-cites-exclusion-of-gay-groups.html?_r=0

  25. @ jg: I’m really sorry for your good fortune, 😎 !!! Crying all the way to the bank, are we?

    I love de Blasio! At 6’7″ (is it?). He can sure stick it to those wannabes.

    I covered that ‘medal-fest’. Datum was mangled completely out of context by the ‘rubbish’ media. Newsporn headlines ‘sell’ rags. The explanation was so trivial – and rational: hence, no ‘newspron factor’.

    How often does one have to say/write this?. “Unpayable debt will not be repaid” – many folks will never have the required amount of income to do this. I suppose they are lucky to have any income at all.

  26. @ Johnny F

    “Unemployment rate down again”

    to 12.3% and that’s supposed to be super duper, is it ?

  27. BW,
    De Blasio is a spoofer in the tradition of Bertie. Give it about 6 months and the electorate will want the old Mayor back.

  28. @BWSnr winners grin,losers spin but i am aiming for more humility in my life this year,just started “Polishing The Mirror”,how to live from your spiritual heart,the writer is Ram Das famous counter culture figure he wrote “Be Here Now” fits with your comic book interests:)

    I think we are among the few who read it,i stopped posting as i assumed i had been ‘dorked’ or banished given my rather harsh critique of it,i thought it was garbage.

    Not sure if NYT is paywalled,Bill is a very cool guy,ran hilary’s senate campaign…. a ‘player’
    http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/02/05/us-usa-newyork-stpatricks-idUSBREA140XA20140205

  29. @John G

    Sometimes I get sufficiently distracted by substituting ‘of’ for ‘off’ that I miss the point. Are you suggesting there is likely to be an increase on either BTL or PPR reposessions? If so why?

  30. @grumpy in my ‘opinion’ the sub prime category/borrowers have been ostracised by ‘polite’ society.Disproportionate amount repo’s/evictions expect it to escalate.

  31. @Johnny Foreigner
    “Someone needs to tell the economy that is supposed to be sick…”
    Live Register Dec 2013: 395411
    Live Register Jan 2014: 399630

    The additional 4219 people will be first in the queue to spread your message.
    The statistician’s percentage reduction is sure to be fully understood by them.

    @Grumpy / PaulW
    re: Price Increase needed.

    For once, I am on the side of IBEC on this issue. In most of the unsheltered private sector, if price increases does not come, then the casualty rate will increase. It is, as I understand it, classical economics, with the price finally rising as capacity falls.

    On the other hand, if one has a ‘Energy Regulator’, or some other such quango, to ‘approve’ any kind of bonanza pay, bonanza consulting expense, or any white elephant project, there are no obvious immediate casualties. But the highest electricity charges in Europe will extract their own toll in time.
    Still, the private sector needs to get more competitive, exhorted along by politicos whose bread is always well buttered, Great Recession or not.

    @DOCM

    “Assuming the SEPA impact is an anomaly that will quickly correct itself,..”

    Are you ready for SEPA?
    Clearly the PR departments were not quite up to speed on the state of unreadiness of the people who run the country.

    An AIB bank statement, for the past two month, resembles more a piece of computer code that a bank statement. The transition to SEPA has been a shambles so far, with the govt narrowly escaping severe embarrassment by getting VAT and PAYE through AIB bank on Jan 31st, versus the normal due date of Jan 23rd. The private sector should not be spared either. The predominance of UK software suppliers, whose distain for SEPA preparation is matched only by their distain for Europe in general, must shoulder some of the blame.

    ‘Sepa direct debit’ is apparently now sufficient information to put against a deduction from a person’s bank account. It could well anything from a mobile phone account to a donation to the CRC, but all you need to know is ‘Sepa direct debit’

    What is the betting that some of the usual consultants have their names on this one, either in the Revenue, banks or IPSO (Irish Payment Services Organization).

    The SEPA situation should correct itself, but RTE and the govt has done well to spin the reason for this shambles as being technical difficulties with a new European system. Slovakia and Slovenia have managed rather well.
    The smart people in the smart economy have fallen flat on their ar$e again.

    Despite all this the AIB head honchos wanted a bonus.
    Question to AIB head honchos:
    Are you ready for SEPA?

  32. “The smart people in the smart economy have fallen flat on their ar$e again.”

    This sentence is inappropriate when talking about banks.

  33. @ jg

    I took the mortgage arrears time-bomb as a given. But it has yet to explode while the other issues that I listed have already done so or will in the coming months and impact a much wider cohort of the population. In fact, I am beginning to wonder if it may not prove to be a bit of a damp squib as I can make neither head nor tail of the statistics. The one certainty is that property prices are rising rapidly in the Dublin area (which would leave the country with the same two-tier market that applies in most countries).

  34. @ Tullmcadoo

    or maybe you are too far away to see an improving trend in the Anglo Saxon oriented economies.

    What did I say negative about recent trends in Anglo Saxon economies? The point above about unit labour costs, is making a distinction between fairytales and reality.

    When I highlight the benefits of globalisation for the world, I think I know which country – the US- deserves most credit for that.

    “The UK economy grew by 1.9% in 2013, its strongest rate since 2007, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS) today. GDP (gross domestic product) increased by 0.7% in the fourth quarter of 2013.”

    “Real earnings in UK in 2014 may overtake price rises”

    You may find The Wall Street Journal too negative when in a piece: ‘Slow Income Growth Lurks as Threat to Consumer Spending’ it warns that the recent rise in consumer spending that was reflected in Q4 GDP and accounts for almost 70% of GDP, needs rising income to be sustained.

    “The upturn came while incomes were flat during the month. Real disposable income, which accounts for taxes and inflation, advanced just 0.7% during 2013. That was the weakest growth since the recession ended in 2009.”

    It’s interesting that since the celebration of 2013 stock market gains on Dec 31/Jan 01, there has been hardly a change in the facts and in the US, the jobs report on Friday is likely to show a return to a recent trend.

    Sentiment has changed because people are paying more attention to the facts.

    Twitter had some good news in its earnings report Wednesday but it was old news that sent shares tumbling 16.5% in after hours trading – the slowing growth in new user numbers.

    Finally, some people find the debate on inequality tiresome and negative but there is one metric that wise rich investors would be concerned about: 5% of US consumers are responsible for almost 40% of consumer spending and a bear market could have a bit of an impact on discretionary spending.

    Since the US recession ended in 2009, consumer spending by the 95% has grown by only a real 1%.

    Class war or economics? 😆

  35. Irish Times Anglo blog:

    “Before lunch, Cork economics lecturer, Seamus Coffey, came under some colourful cross-examination from Michael O’Higgins SC, counsel for Sean FitzPatrick.

    “It’s a bit like that movie, Trading Places. Win, lose, or draw, they always get paid,” he said, describing how big international institutions profit from the use of CFDs.

    “It’s all done in the dark. To use a buzzword, there may be a lack of transparency,” Mr O’Higgins said. The economist agreed this was an issue with the use of CFDs.”

    Looks like “Big”, “International” and “Dark” are the defence’s buzzwords…

  36. http://www.irishtimes.com/news/crime-and-law/jury-hears-details-of-anglo-s-st-patrick-s-day-massacre-1.1682020

    “Aisling McArdle, regulation manager with the Irish Stock Exchange agreed there was “an overall pattern of decline” in the share price of the bank from January 2008 onwards.

    Ms McArdle said she was not in a position to answer the question, but she did agree she was aware of the collapse of Northern Rock in 2007 and the economic downturn as well as the failure of the “largest institution in the world” Bear Stearns. ”

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cYPtCmdFCrc

    “I don’t want to create fear; I like Bear Stearns very much, but I think that at this stage this is not a good call, they shouldn’t have done it, and they should have just said ‘you know what, we’re doing well’ and don’t say another thing. Just don’t say it because it does not…it does not inspire confidence…

    “Alan Greenspan told everyone to take a teaser rate and then raised the rate seventeen times, and Bernanke is being an academic…he has no idea how bad it is out there! He has NO IDEA! HE HAS NO IDEA!! I have talked to the heads of almost every single one of these firms in the last seventy two hours and he has no idea what it’s like out there! NONE! And Bill Poole has no idea what it’s like out there! My people have been in this game for twenty five years!! And they are losing their jobs and these firms are going to go out of business and he’s nuts, they’re nuts! They know nothing!!!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bd2B6SjMh_w

    Erin, “Cramer…I, I…”

    “I have not seen it like this since I went five bid for half a million shares of Citigroup and I got hit in 1990. This is a different kind of market and the Fed is asleep. [Erin tries to interrupt] Bill Poole is a shame. He’s shameful. [Erin tries to interrupt] He ought to go and read the Accredited Home document…You can’t get a darn loan unless you’re rich like me.”

    Then Erin tries to calm Cramer down, telling Cramer that if the Fed enacts an emergency rate cut we’ll have Armageddon.

    Cramer, “no, we have Armageddon. I wouldn’t try to cause that. We have…we have Armageddon. In the fixed income markets we have Armageddon. We haaaavvve Armageddon…

    “This is crazy. I am sorry to be upset about it…call someone for heaven sake…I worked at Fixed Income at Goldman Sachs. This is not the time to be complacent. I mean darn, sometimes I wish I didn’t know anybody so I could just sit here and say, ‘you know what, just go buy some Washington Mutual and take that yield.’ Unfortunately I know too many people and I’m too darn old…I’ve been around too long… And Bill Poole? Bill Poole. Bill Poole listen to me: there was a president by the name of Hoover. And no one thinks much of him now: The Great Engineer…”

    Erin go bragh BTW

    And what did the ISE do?
    Were they watching the Angelus ?

  37. http://www.irishtimes.com/news/crime-and-law/jury-hears-details-of-anglo-s-st-patrick-s-day-massacre-1.1682020

    “She also agreed it was not possible from day to day to know if a share price would go up or down and “if one could predict what way a share price was going to go you’d be a very wealthy person”.

    Or just an analyst, even, like, sort of . Or a CEO.

    http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/efbeffd2-8a9b-11e3-9465-00144feab7de.html#ixzz2sYjSTOIf

    “Yet obtaining better information about companies is essential to the efficiency of markets and society: obtaining it fractionally earlier is of no public value at all. Stimulating trade seems more important than establishing truth.”

  38. @seafóid

    It isn’t complicated. Some countries (i.e. everywhere not under the ECB thumb) have got it right. Some (the poor buggers under the ECB thumb) are stuck in a nightmare. The only blessing for Ireland is getting the overspill from the UK/US recoveries. Imagine how bad things would be if we were truly integrated into the EU as per the fantasy of the europhile insiders that run Ireland.

    http://trueeconomics.blogspot.com/2014/02/422014-good-at-anything-europes-broken.html

  39. @ JF: ” …The only blessing for Ireland is getting the overspill from the UK/US recoveries.”

    Are we? Things look a little iffy in the ‘recovery’ departments. What exactly would ‘recovery’ look like? More consumption? More employments? More output of manufactured goods? More credit being drawn down? Pardon!

    Now would someone please explain to me about this debty thingy? Its going to ‘go away’ anytime soon? It is in its glue!

    No debt repayments, no ‘recovery’. QED. But that’s not likely to be found in the economics text books, is it?

    Funny thing*. “Asked therefore if not every region could be accommodated, could some parts of the coastline be surrendered to the sea, he [Big Phil] said, “Absolutely, we’re in an era where we have finite resources”.

    Finite resources! So where’s our recovery then?

    *Irish Times: p1: 06/04/’14

  40. @ DOCM

    Your position is, genuinely, a puzzle to me. You are remarkably well informed about the intricacies of EC decision making, and sagely correct on the governance issues in various states and polities of Europe, yet you seem impervious to basic knowledge of the functioning of the financial system. It is unashamedly corrupt, and it has thoroughly undermined our party politics, and our states. Plutocracy is one of the forms of tyranny.

    http://www.amazon.com/THE-BUBBLE-BEYOND-Michael-Hudson/dp/3981484207

    As for our Russian friend, it was a good day for us. IMHO, when he cast his eye on Ireland. He can pack more into a paragraph than most writers can do in a paper. The pure drop, and a real political economist in the tradition of John Stuart Mill. Nostrovia Constantin.

  41. We still don’t have our clearance from Mario on the prom note deal.

    Question: Just a year ago, the Irish Government engaged in an arrangement whereby promissory notes that were used to recapitalise financial institutions were replaced by long-term bonds. At the time, the ECB took note of this but said it would have to review it to see if it was in compliance with monetary financing rules. Two questions. Number one: have you, or when will you discuss this? And number two: what kind of demands could you make from the Irish central bank if it’s found that this arrangement was indeed in breach of Article 123?

    Draghi: Well, the second question I’ll answer immediately. We will see. We don’t know it in advance, we’ll have to see what we find out. And, concerning your first question, we are collecting all the necessary information and the assessment of the Governing Council will be known in due course, after the completion of this monitoring exercise.

    http://www.ecb.europa.eu/press/pressconf/2014/html/is140206.en.html

  42. The really important stuff often gets overlooked

    http://www.rte.ie/ten/news/2014/0206/502567-larry-gogan-moving-to-weekends/

    “I’m also really excited to be taking the most popular music show in the country The Golden Hour to the weekend along with my Just A Minute Quiz and the Best of New Music.”

    The PTB are a bit like Larry. Most popular logic show in the country is growth. When will it return? In just a minute .
    And the best of new music sounds very like all the old music. But it’s all very limited, the music.

    There’s a far deeper well that very few people go near.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3JEiuM_eHuw

  43. @ PQ

    Why the puzzlement? The explanation is obvious. I do not believe, as you seemingly do, that the financial system is “unashamedly corrupt”.

    @ Frank Galton

    Against a background where extending Greek loans to 50 years, and reducing the rate, is reported to be under discussion, it seems hardly likely that the ECB is in any particular hurry with its examination.

  44. http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/023d887a-8de6-11e3-bbe7-00144feab7de.html
    Morgan Stanley has been forced to restate its fourth-quarter earnings after agreeing a $1.3bn settlement with a US regulator over $11bn in mortgage-backed securities it sold to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
    The bank cut its quarterly earnings per share from 7 cents to 2 cents after it announced on Tuesday it has struck a deal with the Federal Housing Finance Agency.

    The US has an interesting litigation culture.
    JPM got hammered as well over the London whale- the tempest went from a 6bn volume teapot to a 20bn one.

    More

    On this topic
    Fast FT M Stanley taps Erskine Bowles to lead board
    Lex Morgan Stanley – ripeness is all
    Morgan Stanley pledges higher targets
    Hadden leaves senior Morgan Stanley post

    IN Banks
    Junior trader made Barclays Forex chief
    S&P warns of higher risk in bank bail-in bonds
    Commerzbank offloads Spanish loans
    Danske Bank restores dividend payout

    Morgan Stanley said in a regulatory filing it would add $150m to its legal reserves, prompting it to restate earnings. The bank had already booked $1.2bn of litigation costs in the fourth quarter.

    Morgan Stanley follows other banks, including JPMorgan Chase, Deutsche Bank and UBS, which have settled with the FHFA over soured mortgage-backed securities sold in the lead-up to the financial crisis.

    Morgan Stanley’s settlement came shortly before JPMorgan said it had resolved another civil mortgage claim by paying $614m to the Department of Justice and admitting that for more than a decade it had defrauded two government insurance programmes by submitting mortgages it knew failed to meet underwriting requirements. Both government insurance programmes – the Federal Housing Administration and Department of Veterans Affairs – suffered losses as a result of backing the unqualified loans, the DoJ said.

    The complaint against Morgan Stanley alleged that “defendants made untrue statements and material omissions in connection with the sale” of mortgage-backed securities to Fannie and Freddie.

    Morgan Stanley on January 17 reported a 78 per cent drop in net income in the fourth quarter, with earnings per share down 84 per cent to 7 cents a share compared with analysts’ estimates of 42 cents.

    Shares in the bank were flat at $29 in after-market trading following Tuesday’s announcement of a further revision.

    The bank’s shares had risen 4 per cent on the day of results to their highest level since 2009 as investors had taken comfort from the bank’s shift towards equities and wealth management under chief executive James Gorman.

    Banks in the US have been seeking to settle their outstanding cases with government agencies and private investors as they try to put large legal costs behind them.

    JPMorgan last year struck out from its US bank peers by settling with both the FHFA and President Barack Obama’s task force on mortgage-backed securities in a landmark $13bn deal.

    Bank of America is expected to reach a deal with the FHFA soon that could cost the bank as much as $6bn.

    Morgan Stanley said its agreement was subject to final approvals by the parties.

    Additional reporting by Kara Scannell

    Related Topics
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  45. The law is so flexible when needs must

    FT

    http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/3feab440-8fd5-11e3-aee9-00144feab7de.html

    “Germany’s constitutional court has referred its complaint over the European Central Bank’s pledge to buy government bonds in unlimited amounts to the European Court of Justice, in an unprecedented move that is likely to be seen as a victory for the eurozone’s central bank.
    The court said on Friday it believed the European Central Bank’s outright monetary transactions programme exceeded the central bank’s mandate. But the judges’ decision to hand the matter on highlights the level of disagreement over the legality of the controversial programme”

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YuAl6ie6UFQ

    Just what is it that you want to do?
    We wanna be free
    We wanna be free to do what we wanna do
    And we wanna get loaded
    And we wanna have a good time
    That’s what we’re gonna do
    No way baby let’s go
    We’re gonna have a good time
    We’re gonna have a party

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yd8jh9QYfEs

    Do you know what you started? I just came here to party
    But now we’re rocking on the dance floor, acting naughty
    Your hands around my waist, just let the music play
    We’re hand in hand, chest to chest and now we’re face to face
    I wanna take you away
    Let’s escape into the music D.J let it play
    I just can’t refuse it, like the way you do this
    Keep on rocking to it, please don’t stop the
    Please don’t stop the music
    I wanna take you away
    Let’s escape into the music D.J let it play
    I just can’t refuse it, like the way you do this
    Keep on rocking to it, please don’t stop the
    Please don’t stop the Please don’t stop the music

  46. @ DOCM,

    you are absolutely perfect !! ROFL

    I did bet with myself,

    1. how fast your response is, and I said half an hour. 29 min on my screeen´.

    2. And you saying “You just beat me to it” , we know where we find each other : – )

    3. AND you adding the relevant links

    Beautiful, Perfection, I love it

    The only very minor footnote, I might want to add, is that Draghi announced it yesterday, keeping up with procedures : – )

  47. @ francis

    Draghi did? On behalf of the BVfG? That must have been something else I missed.

    The fact of the matter remains, however, that the BVfG has finally agreed to refer an issue to the ECJ although it could not resist putting in its own view, with an appropriate suggested exit for the ECJ.

    The Allies left Germany with a very dispersed system of government and a strong role for both the Bundesbank and the BVfG. The latter are part of the political rather than the legal and financial landscape of Germany and have tended to overplay their hand. This is not fully appreciated IMHO outside Germany.

  48. @paul quigley

    Your position (DOCM) is, genuinely, a puzzle to me.

    DOCM has been at the forefront of defending the interests of the financial sector on this blog since its inception and his/her/their support for EU institutions disappears whenever things like the financial transactions tax come up. The whole smoke and mirrors nature of the the dialog should be pretty clear by now.

    It is all a variation on blaming the public sector and social democratic structures for the failures of the private sector and the market.

    you seem impervious to basic knowledge of the functioning of the financial system. It is unashamedly corrupt, and it has thoroughly undermined our party politics, and our states. Plutocracy is one of the forms of tyranny.

    Have you read the Mark Blyth book “Austerity: The History of a Dangerous Idea” yet? It is interesting in that it blames the structure of modern international financial capitalism for the global financial crisis rather than just (or mainly) simple corruption and greed. I think it is a convincing narrative but that he intentionally left out a long prologue as it might have made the book indigestible for some readers.

    Does this narrative make sense to you:

    * The greed and wealth of modern capitalists and their propensity for class warfare led to the dangerous structure of the financial sector and its preeminent place in western economies. (The political right were collaborators).

    * The financial sector eventually collapsed due to its inherently dangerous structure.

    * In Europe, because of the large size of the financial sector relative to the productive parts of the economy austerity had to be implanted to dig out the capitalist classes from their own bad bets and protect their financial assets. This was a win/win because it involved yet more class warfare and subversion of the democratic process.

    * Though austerity was always a dreadful failure it would increased relativity the power and wealth of the German block and so they supported it (helped by their gold bug tendencies).

    The Eurozone is now run to keep its currency strong and its investors (sorry, savers) safe. When authoritarianism returned to Europe it was wrapped in the Euro and carrying a copy of the Maastricht treaty.

  49. @Shay

    +1 on DOCM

    @DOCM

    ‘… IMHO …’ maith an cailin/buachaill

    @Paul Quigley

    A Financial Sector Spinner & an Ayn Randite disciple!!

    Have you been assimillated?

  50. DOCM,

    I dont find the draghi quote I had in mind in the moment.

    But him to acknowledge publicly the BVG as a relevant body, would have been poor form.

    What we do here is a kind of wiki/Investiturstreit (poor translation : wiki/Investiture_Controversy)

    I warmly recommend to read Simone de Beauvoir “All men are mortal”.
    She got a better grasp at political economy than 99% of anglo-phone “economists”

  51. @ DOCM

    ‘Why the puzzlement? The explanation is obvious. I do not believe, as you seemingly do, that the financial system is “unashamedly corrupt”.’

    All I am asking you to do is to employ the same level of objectivity to the financial sphere as you do to the political sphere. That will be more than sufficient. It’s a question of not dismissing the possibility that the financial system, as currently constructed, may be toxic to our economy and society.

    1% of doubt is all it takes.

  52. @ Paul Quigley

    For what it is worth, my view of the financial sector, both domestic and international, is that it is inherently unstable and prone to abuse, and often outright fraud, if it is not adequately democratically supervised, endemically so where that democratic supervision does not exist.

    It may well be toxic to our economy and society as currently constructed but I see little point in asking for the moon with regard to reforming it. As a small grossly indebted player, both private and sovereign, the little leverage that we have is best devoted to getting our own house in order. My concentration is on the developments, both domestic and international, which are either helping or, mostly, hindering that objective.

  53. @DOCM Watch.

    For a short contribution there is a lot to unpack here.

    Most people would have trouble reconciling the earlier ‘Why the puzzlement? The explanation is obvious. I do not believe, as you seemingly do, that the financial system is “unashamedly corrupt”.’ with your subsequent For what it is worth, my view of the financial sector, both domestic and international, is that it is inherently unstable and prone to abuse, and often outright fraud, if it is not adequately democratically supervised, endemically so where that democratic supervision does not exist.’.

    The second statement looks like an attempt to get the cat back into the bag while laying the fault for the private financial sector crisis on the state (Jesuitical is not a compliment you know.). It’s not like the banks have any agency after all, or spend considerable money and time trying shape the regulatory environment and avoid supervision.

    As a small grossly indebted player, both private and sovereign, the little leverage that we have is best devoted to getting our own house in order. My concentration is on the developments, both domestic and international, which are either helping or, mostly, hindering that objective.

    So why are we grossly indebted again? It’s the public sector, right? I knew it!

    So to recapitulate: The people, through their representatives, let the banks down but the resultant 65 billion Euro damage to the states finances from digging out the private financial sector is an ideal opportunity to shrink the state and pursue the market reforms that would somehow or other have prevented the crisis or ameliorated its outcome.

    My concentration is on the developments, both domestic and international, which are either helping or, mostly, hindering that objective.

    Your concentration is on distraction through a kremlinological (new word, should take off) approach to how the EU operates.

    Rather than a pointless analysis of how the institutions and dominant states of the EU operate and adapting to what they might do we should be basing our plans on what they have done and what they are doing now. If you look at the Eurozone’s level of unemployment, lagging economic performance and increasingly undemocratic structures and then suggest that the best course of action is to wait on further (no doubt fascinating) developments in the balance of power between the various significant players in the European Union (of which Ireland is not one) then you might have a slightly different agenda then helping us navigate our way out of this crisis.

    Nothing Ireland does domestically is as significant as how badly the institutions of the EU have dealt with the European component of the global financial crisis and yet there will be no accountability for the these failures and ideologues and little resistance from our government.

  54. A bit of Sunday reading by Will Hutton on the matter.

    ‘The public sector isn’t perfect but at least it doesn’t fleece us’

    “Lloyds Bank casually announced last week that it was setting aside another £1.8bn to meet potential claims from customers after knowingly selling them expensive insurance policies they could not need nor use. The grand total of provisions it has made is now nearly £10bn for claims from up to 700,000 people – a stunning indictment of its business practices.”

    http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/feb/08/britain-private-sector-public-sector-ethics-customers

  55. @ All

    FYI Colm McCarthy in the Sindo this morning on the state of Irish banking (probably the most significant element in establishing a credible “report card”).

    http://www.independent.ie/opinion/columnists/colm-mccarthy/time-we-cut-our-banking-cloth-to-fit-our-measure-29992843.html

    The possibility a development on the EU front through the ECB in relation to asset backed securities (ABS) seems rather a long shot. However, simple kite-flying is not a mark of the approach of Draghi.

    The FT on the topic.

    http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/e5f84990-874e-11e3-9c5c-00144feab7de.html#axzz2slJMOtSK

  56. @Shay

    How do you think that the “Irish Component” of the “European component” of financial crisis became so much relatively larger than other countries contribution?

    (for avoidance of doubt, I am not DOCM)

  57. @DOM

    How do you think that the “Irish Component” of the “European component” of financial crisis became so much relatively larger than other countries contribution?

    Ireland’s frightening ratio of bank “assets” to GDP has to be seen in the context of Europe’s bloated financial sector. In 2008 Ireland’s level was almost twice the Euro average at slightly over 200% . However even the virtuous Netherlands had 125% and Spain (which supposedly had quite a tough regulatory environment) was at 160%. Europe wide the banks were out of control and in a smaller jurisdiction like Ireland where it was easier to game the authorities (which is what Anglo did, lest we forget) the problem was more pronounced.

    I suppose you could blame EMU and the dangers of a small country trying to deal with the kind of speculation that this allowed.

  58. @john gallaher

    Looking around Europe right now you have the choice of two options.

    [1] All of the countries not bordering Germany had equally poor standards of governance for a variety of different reasons and these individual failures led to their collective troubles.

    [2] There is a systemic problem in the Eurozone with financial flows and EMU and the countries not next to Germany got stuffed when the financial system went to hell.

    You can choose option one if you like but Occam might disagree.

  59. @Shay genuine question,the gentleman in the dock today ‘his’ fault or i bankers,regulators,govt. for resisting taxes on the ‘ponies’ h/t SC.

  60. @john gallaher

    Not sure Mr Gallagher, not informed enough.

    I do think that these were greedy people who had a unavoidably weak regulator but that in a country outside of EMU the speculation could not have reached the levels it did. The culture of impunity and recklessness in the European financial sector as a whole has got to be an enabling factor too.

    I think the tax rate is going to bite us in the end but that it is was not a large component of the banking crisis.

    What do you think?

  61. @Shay,hi Shay oh i’m a big believer in personal responsibility,specifically with the numbers involved here,it was GREED pure and simple unadulterated GREED.

    I think/believe ill informed poor people were preyed on by sc*m bag mortgage companies and brokers,subprime,the govt. should be doing a lot more for them.The CB has all but washed their hands off this issue i think its a fu*ing disgrace.

    I could care less about ‘some’ farmer who’s schtick was oh i like a quite stroll in me wellies,few simple games off cards in the local battle cruiser…gas up the chopper lads:)

    Cowen overruled a DofF recom. to tax CFD’s…
    http://www.thinkadvisor.com/2006/04/03/irish-authorities-withdraw-cfd-stamp-tax

  62. “Unashamedly Corrupt”

    Surely you are not implying that the financial system in the shining light on the hill that we all adore from afar is corrupt. The litigation loving country with the highest per capita incarceration rate known to man, by its actions (or lack thereof) decided that it was complex accounting errors and lack of close supervision of clerks that caused the 2007 implosion. And since no Board of Directors or Executives played a part then the newly discovered doctrine of TBTF would apply.

    In Ireland it was the usual collection of drunks, clowns and fools conducting business as usual. We are so accustomed to it that we immediately elected the clones in waiting. The DoF, CBI and the retail banks had been praying to the BVM and believed that property in Ireland was propped up by divine intervention which would never be withdrawn because our days in the sun were long overdue. They were using computers the way they used rosary beads and with a lack of secular, adult supervision the rest will come out in a book any day now.

    Gallaher, retail banking as related to tens of thousands of relatively small loans is a simple business to run and regulate. I would subscribe to the theory that the DoF, CBI and the banks know more than their individual customers. Instead they behaved like a man who has won the lottery spending it at the Curragh as he doubled up on the favourites.

  63. @Shay,

    You don’t seem to give any weight to the failures on the regulatory system (which is there to protect everyone – depositors, investors, tax payers, borrowers, competitors, etc).

  64. @DOM

    You don’t seem to give any weight to the failures on the regulatory system (which is there to protect everyone – depositors, investors, tax payers, borrowers, competitors, etc).

    You could say that the regulator was outwitted or dimwitted or out of their depth but it seems wrongheaded to argue from there that the state shares responsibility for the fraud and incompetence and has to pick up the bill. I think when it happens abroad abroad many of those in Ireland beating their chests over how the state let the financial sector down take an entirely different and more sensible line.

    It seems when the private sector screws up horribly or engages in fraud it is often the people who get the blame and foot the bill. Frankly it smacks of blaming the victims for the crime. Perhaps if they had spent some money on bars for their houses they would not have been burgled. Irresponsible fools encouraging crime.

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