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First PPI, then LIBOR now Oil Prices

BusinessPosted by Christian Mark Taylor Thu, May 16, 2013 19:15:58

It is deeply concerning to hear that certain oil giants may have been fixing their prices for at least a decade. But does this come as any surprise to any one of us? The public have been complaining about prices at the pump for over a decade. We all know we pay more in this country than in any other major country in Europe and the World. When the price of oil goes up per barrel, the price goes up at the pump. When the price of oil per barrel goes down, the price of at the pump stays the same or you have a small token reduction. It doesn’t help when oil is priced in Dollars!

I would not be shocked to see these allegations confirmed, but I am shocked that after all the years of speculation and complaints, it has taken this long to investigate and it is the European Commission investigators not the Office of Fair Trade that are looking into the potential price fixing.

Ironic that the country is in Euro bashing mode at the moment, especially with the Queen’s Speech Amendment Bill on the EU referendum being voted on in the House of Commons tonight, and it is the EU that have stepped up on our behalf.

What happens if the allegations are proved and these oil giants have been fixing their prices? They get fined, which is hardly going to damage their huge profits. If they are fined then those costs work there way down to the consumer eventually. How can we compensate those that have been wronged over the last decade, the consumer. In these times of austerity, how well better off would a household be if they had not paid inflated prices at the pump? The answer is probably the same as they are now, because they would have spent the excess money.

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What future for Cyprus if there is a Russian exodus?

BusinessPosted by Christian Mark Taylor Tue, March 26, 2013 21:36:22

Cyprus has set a precedent that every person in the EU will now be worried about, accepted that the vast majority of people will be safe because the average person does not have savings of more than €100,000. It seemed bizarre last week when Cyprus was proposing to impose a levy on all savers, yet under the EU guarantee system that couldn’t happen to people with under the €100,000?! Quite rightly that was thrown out in the Cypriot Parliament, but it should never have got that far to begin with.

At the moment Cyprus still don’t know the exact levy they are going to impose, but the figure being used is around 40%. Is it me, or does that seem completely over the top! If you had €200,000 of savings, then your first €100,000 will be protected but you will then lose €40,000 from the remaining €100,000! Seems like daylight robbery to me and there are going to be some seriously upset Russians.

What is going to happen next? The banks remain closed and from information I have received from someone in Cyprus, the ATMs are always empty, the hotel he is staying in will only accept cash because they can’t do any online transactions, restaurants and bars are closed because there is no cash flow. You can’t even go out and have a beer to commiserate yourself.

The banks will reopen on Thursday but there will be a temporary ceiling on the level of transactions that can take place, which is not good for big businesses! Ordinary people will be queuing to get their money out, businesses will be trying to get their cash flow moving again before they go bankrupt and the online movement of money will go through the roof. From past experience a country that asks for a bailout tends to have to ask for more than one. To me that means I would want to get my money out of the Cyprus banks before this one time levy happens again! If the Russians take out all there money, and who could blame them, the Cypriot economy could see a cash exodus of billions. This will drive down the economy at an unimaginable rate, the banks will collapse, businesses will go bankrupt, mass unemployment and Cyprus will need another bailout! More likely is that they will depart from the EU and then downgrade their currency.

With all this going on, what does the Dutch finance minister say? “the deal for Cyprus could form a template for resolving eurozone banking problems” although he did try to clarify that Cyprus was a specific case with exceptional challenges. To me this sends alarm bells ringing for those all over Europe especially in countries such as Greece, Italy, Spain, Ireland etc. If you have savings of over €100,000 what should you do? Leave it and hope, or act to protect what you can? I don’t know what you should do, but if I was lucky enough to have that much money I would probably look at dividing up my money sufficiently over a number of bank accounts so that I always stayed within the €100,000 protection limit.

What is certain is the next week will determine the future of the Cyprus Economy and their membership of the Euro!

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Savers in Cyprus could pay a levy on their savings!

BusinessPosted by Christian Mark Taylor Mon, March 18, 2013 16:40:47
It is very worrying when a EU bailout deal comes with terms whereby savers are basically robbed of their money! We all understand the times we are living in and that we all must make a contribution, which we all do with higher taxes and higher costs of living. It is not easy to put some money away, but when you do have some spare people do try and save. It is a shame governments didn't put some money away when the times were good!!!

Now to find out you are going to lose some of your savings to a levy imposed by the EU for bailing out your government is idiotic. I have always had mixed views on being a member of the EU as there are some great benefits, however at what point do the drawbacks begin to out way the benefits?

This levy in Cyprus will not only affect the markets around the world, which can already be seen today. But it will also sow the seed of doubt in peoples minds in other struggling countries. If I was an individual in Spain, Italy or Ireland for example, I would now be asking myself the question of whether my money is safe in my local bank. Another point to bare in mind as well is that there are some very wealthy Russians who keep their money in Cyprus and this will not go down well in the Kremlin.

It doesn't help matters because the Cypriot government keeps delaying their decision on the matter. The banks are now closed until Thursday, online transfers have stopped so people can no longer withdraw their money and cash machines limited. If it was my money, then I should be able to access it whenever I wanted and if the bank was intentionally preventing me, then I would consider that theft.

A levy of 6.75% on savings under €100,000 is going to hurt people that are already hurting. It could ensure the collapse of the Cypriot banking system and could create a 'run' on other banks in other troubled countries. One last point to bear in mind is, that even though this is a one off levy, who is to say they will not do it again.

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