Euro Pain Hits Money Funds – The European debt crisis has rippled into one of the last redoubts of safety for U.S. investors: money-market funds. Money funds are thought to be low-risk because they invest in high-quality short-term debt issued by governments and big corporations. But many funds are holding big slugs of European bank debt. As of March 31, nine of the top 10 corporate issuers of short-term debt held by Moody’s-rated U.S. prime money funds were big European firms. Some funds are scaling back aggressively in shakier countries, like Spain and Ireland, according to managers and analysts. Among U.S. and European money funds rated by Fitch Ratings, for example, Spanish and Portuguese holdings declined about 27% in the first four months of this year, to about $26 billion.
Debt Crisis Drying Up European Lending, Espirito Santo Says (Bloomberg) — Europe’s sovereign debt crisis is making financial institutions reluctant to lend, threatening to choke off credit to the region’s banks and consumers, said a senior executive of Banco Espirito Santo SA. “There is a problem with the real economy, because now credit is shortening completely,” said Jose Maria Espirito Santo Ricciardi, head of the investment banking unit of Portugal’s largest traded bank. “I will not say capital markets are completely closed, but it has been difficult, more for the banks than for sovereigns. Namely, the medium and small banks are having problems.” Lending growth in Portugal will slow to about 2 percent this year from 9 percent in 2009, Ricciardi said in an interview May 27 at Bloomberg’s headquarters in New York. Espirito Santo “will lend much less” and “many, many banks” in the region are in the same situation, he said.
Debt-hit Greece threatened with health supply freeze – Greece’s debt-plagued state hospitals faced a supply embargo after providers rejected Saturday a government compromise plan to repay billions of euros owed for equipment and medicine purchases."This proposal forces our companies to shut down altogether," Panagiotis Stravolaimos, head of the association of science and health providers (SEP) told Mega channel on Saturday."I do not think there is any possibility of agreement on this," he said.The finance ministry on Friday said it would issue bonds to pay back most of the 5.6 billion euros (6.9 billion dollars) of accumulated state hospital debt.
Fed chief sees delicate dance ahead – The delicate task ahead for the Federal Reserve and other central banks is deciding when to start boosting interest rates and reeling in all the stimulus pumped out during the global financial crisis, Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke says.Bernanke, however, didn’t provide any new clues on that front. As is typically the case in the early stages of an economic recovery, central bank officials "will have to weigh the risks of a premature exit against those of leaving expansionary policy in place for too long," Bernanke said Sunday in precorded remarks deliverted bia videolik to a conference sponsored by the Bank of Korea in Seoul, South Korea.Tightening credit too soon risks short-circuiting countries’ economic recoveries. Waiting too long could risk unleashing inflation and sparking a dangerous new wave of speculation like the one that powered the housing boom and its devastating bust.
Global rebound anemic: Roubini (Reuters) – Advanced economies face years of anemic growth and the risk of a double-dip recession as their citizens cope with sluggish employment and highly indebted governments, economist Nouriel Roubini said on Monday.A sovereign debt crisis in the euro zone has rattled financial markets in recent weeks as investors worry that fiscal austerity measures dictated by a $1 trillion European Union-International Monetary Fund rescue plan could stifle already hobbled global growth.In contrast, some emerging markets risk overheating and are showing symptoms of a potential asset bubble."Labor market conditions will remain very weak in some advanced economies." said Roubini, known as Dr. Doom
42,719 Pounds of Minerals for Every American Last Year (Note: this is from 2009, but worth reviewing every year)Last year, every person in the United States needed more than 21 tons of minerals and energy fuels to maintain their standard of living, according to statistics compiled by the Mineral Information Institute, an Affiliate of the Society for Mining, Metallurgy and Exploration Foundation.With the life expectancy in the U.S. now averaging 77.8 years, this means that the average American will need to have 3.3 million pounds of resources to be mined to provide the products and materials they will depend upon in their lifetime. The population of the U.S. is over 304 million people, so this means that last year, nearly 6 billion tons of different rocks and minerals had to be mined somewhere, to make the things we use in our everyday lives.