So this week I am skiing and with limited access to the news, the only way I will be able to tell if World War 3 has happened is when the snow turns to nuclear fall out dust.
The media is brewing up a frenzy. Iran, Morocco, China, Leicester the world's people are at war with their leaders. It is happening so fast my map of places not to go on vacation in the summer is out of date already.
The question I ask, is it really that bad what is going on? It all seems to be Egyptcopyitus. When lots of civil unrest happens at once, the media get confused and much gets lost in the noise. We are now in death headlines territory and Libya is leading the pack. The markets are hardly reacting and oil is not shooting up to $150. We are growing tired and bored and I guess the markets will stir when a nuclear missile or two are fired. Until then, this middle east civil unrest is back page news. Unfortunately.
Onto more matters that should cause concern. It was reported a few days ago by the Times (subscription only so the stories never get reviewed or discussed on the web) that UK commercial property owners and developers are in breach of their covenants on four out of every five loans (banking times). I can confirm that I have never seen so many Let signs and empty buildings. And yet more are being built and finished. Its a bit like the shanty towns in the USA where new houses are built and recently built new houses are left empty because nobody wants to live in nearly new houses with no neighbours.
This means most of the UK banks have real estate assets that are still overvalued. This means rights issues. This means more bail outs. This means bonuses handed out is laundered money. When you know someone has laundered money you have to report it to your local regulator. I have just emailed the FSA the complete employee list of RBS, Lloyds-TSB, Barclays and Santander.
While the world burns, I shall speed down my slopes and contemplate life.
Older people who like the sun starve to death as 700,000 empty new builds rot away (daily mail)
Bank forgets to tell its customers something and gets fined GBP500m, enough to help the FSA keep its expanding art collection at the forefront of culture (telegraph)
New York Times: Where is the middle east? (nyt)
Germany launches new currency (bloomberg)
London is awash with middle east money; hedge funds turning it away.