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Home > Blogs > QFINANCE Editor > QFINANCE: News Briefing (August 15–21, 2012)

QFINANCE: News Briefing (August 15–21, 2012)

Each week brings you some of the biggest news stories from the past five days in finance and business—essential reading to keep you up-to-date with the latest topics.

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Wednesday August 15

Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff announced on Wednesday a new stimulus package of $60bn to encourage private investment. Created for growth purposes, the invested money will go mainly towards new infrastructure and railway, the BBC reported. In NY, Standard Chartered agreed to pay $340m to the American state following accusations of transactions with Iran and violating US sanctions policy. By settling the accusations by paying this amount, the British bank is avoiding a civil penalty that could have had a much worse effect on the group and over a longer term, the FT reported last Wednesday.

Thursday August 16

India and China amongst many other countries seem to have lost their interest in gold as the Wall Street Journal reported the lowest level of gold demand in the last two years. Gold demand fell by 7% down to 990 metric tons from the second quarter of 2011 according to new published reports from the World Gold Council. In the UK, unexpected strong retail sales figures were published by the Office for National Statistics on Thursday. The Independent reported that retail sales in July raise hope for Britain’s recovery and might help the country out of the double-dip recession.

Friday August 17

Following on from the LIBOR scandal, major banks such as HSBC, Barclays, and RBS were accounted to have received subpoenas from the NY investigators on the alleged rigging. The groups risk multi-billion-dollar bills in relation to the US housing market collapse and for dealing with impostor Bernard Madoff, The Guardian reported on Friday. Meanwhile, Facebook shares fell considerably, reaching their new low below $20. The FT reported that the group’s stock price fell 7% to an all-time low of $19.69 before rebounding to almost $19.87.

Monday August 20

In Brazil, the central bank gave a brief warning to the currency market before intervening with a reverse-swap auction. The Wall Street Journal reported that the real “was threatening to break through the BRL2.00 mark,” according to Marcos Trabbold, head of foreign-exchange operations at Sao Paulo trading house BT Associados. In relation to one of UK’s biggest nuclear projects, the FT reported that Chinese companies bidding were unlikely to end up with a majority stake in any winning consortium as there seems to be a preference for the two competing consortiums’ Chinese partners to be minority investors in the project, according to sources close to the deal.

Tuesday August 21

Newly published numbers showed that Apple became the largest market capitalization ever seen in the US. Hitting a market capitalization of $623.5bn, it is taking over Microsoft’s record of $620.6bn since December 1999, the FT reported on Tuesday. In the US, the worst drought in half a century risks to be pushing up inflation, The Guardian reported. HSBC senior economist Karen Ward told the daily that at the time of slowdown in growth, considerable rises in the price of wheat, corn, and soya beans occurred. Because of weak wage pressure there was no need for central banks to raise interest rates in response to a higher cost of living, Ward explained.

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Tags: Apple , Brazil , Chinese investment , currency movements , drought , Facebook , fiscal stimulus , gold , inflation , Iran , Libor rate fixing , nuclear power , retail sales , sanctions , Standard Chartered , United States
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