July/August 2012: Summer of strife

There’s no evidence of a summer lull. The controversy over the wrong kind of interest rate fixing by London banks, the yo-yo fluctuations on forging banking union in Europe, America’s advance towards the debt cliff and evidence of a further slowdown in the Chinese economy have kept financial markets on edge. This month’s double edition embodies a selection of news and views marking the mood of the moment. Trepidation is laced with tension. The euro may be a convenient scapegoat blamed by governments in different countries for their domestic ills, but the negative effect of the European sovereign debt crisis has now become a real world-wide issue. John Plender, who has become a member of the OMFIF management board in this month’s strengthening of our team, describes how the European authorities’ well-intentioned effort to break the nexus between sovereign debt and banking health has had the opposite effect. Michael Lafferty, who has become deputy chairman, portrays the parlous state of Spanish banks and the setbacks to the supervisory regime of the Bank of Spain. George Hoguet says emerging market economies, for all their resilience during the west’s downturn, cannot function as a locomotive to pull the world out of its economic difficulties.

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