The 10 Things We Learned At Davos - Corporate Intelligence - WSJ: "Inflation — The Silent Silent Killer The world’s most important central banks are almost universally undertaking major money-printing campaigns. But of all the macro topics under discussion, inflation got relatively little discussion in both official sessions and on the cocktail scene. It’s the kind of thing that will seem terribly ironic one day a few years from now. But then again, maybe not. And for that perhaps we can take comfort: The people in Davos are no different than the rest of us trying to take the measure of our world. The more you know, the more you know you don’t. . . . "
Dutch state nationalizes SNS Reaal bank
" . . . Although the bank's failure had been long-coming, it carries the added embarrassment for Dijsselbloem that he has recently been chosen President of the "Eurogroup," the regular meetings of eurozone finance ministers. The Netherlands has been among the loudest in demanding that other countries adhere to the 3 percent rule. Costs from the nationalization "must not lead to new spending cuts that will hurt the taxpayer further," said Carola Schouten of the opposition Christian Union Party. "Dijsselbloem must go directly to Brussels to ask for an exemption" to the 3 percent limit. SNS has insurance and banking operations, including about 10 percent of Dutch retail deposits. Its total balance sheet was around (EURO)134 billion. Its decline and fall happened over a period of years, rather than as a result of any acute crisis, as falling property values in the Netherlands and Spain continually eroded its portfolio of real estate loans month after month. . . . "
Spain sinks deeper into recession: "Spain's second recession in three years deepened in the fourth quarter of 2012, as domestic demand sank in the face of government spending cuts and record unemployment. The National Statistics Institute said Wednesday that gross domestic product fell by 0.7% on the quarter, more than double the rate of contraction in the previous three months and the weakest performance since the second quarter of 2009. The figures represent the sixth straight quarter of contraction in the eurozone's fourth-biggest economy and underscore the difficulty indebted European states face in bringing down budget deficits while their economies remain stuck in reverse. Tax increases introduced to help the government meet its budget deficit target of 4.5% of GDP in 2013 are also depressing consumer spending."
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