Analysis > Sean Whelan

Promissory note – the final frontier

  by Economics Correspondent Seán Whelan @seanwhelanRTE No doubt we could all think of better things to do with €3.1 billion than paying off the promissory notes used to bail out Anglo Irish Bank and Irish Nationwide Building Society. My suggestion is we pay for the Square Kilometre Array. The SKA, as its known, is a project to build the world’s biggest radio telescope, with a receiving area of – yes, you guessed – one square kilometre.  Not that it’s …

Killing Drachmaphobia

  By Economics Correspondent Seán Whelan in Greece @seanwhelanRTE There is an EU Summit in Brussels on Thursday and Friday of this week, but there is also a meeting of the Eurogroup finance ministers, who are expected to take a key decision on Greece – a decision to pay over the latest tranche of bailout money this country badly needs. Earlier today we met the Greek prime minster Antonis Samaras, who put the pending Eurogroup decision in perspective. Greece is …

Budget 2013 – Some observations

  By Economics Correspondent Seán Whelan @seanwhelanRTE  They cut less than they said they would.  And they taxed more than they said they would. Overall the Budget adjustment is the advertised €3.5 billion. But up until Saturday morning the official line was still a cut to current spending of €1.7 billion, and a tax rise of €1.25 billion (including carry over from measured announced in last year’s budget). Instead we got cuts to current spending of €1.44 billion and a …

How China won the Iraq war

by Economics Correspondent Seán Whelan @seanwhelanRTE It seems the answer to the question “who won the Iraq war?” is – China.  India might also be deemed an acceptable answer. But China looks like the real winner of the Iraq war.  How come?  Because if the point of that war was oil, as many critics have asserted, then China looks like coming away with the lion’s share of that oil – and without having to fire a shot. According to the …

Debt Service and the Promissory note

By Economics Correspondent Seán Whelan @seanwhelanRTE It’s a number that leaps off the page – €1.9 billion in interest for the promissory note payment due next March.  It alone counts for most of the €3 billion jump in debt service costs next year. According to the medium term fiscal statement, the total interest bill for the state is estimated at €6.3 billion this year, but surges to €9.3 billion next year – that’s 48% more interest on debt. Without the …

Judge 1 – Rating Agency 0

  by Economics Correspondent Sean Whelan @seanwhelanRTE Bathurst is a small town 200km west of Sydney that is best known (to me at least) as the home of the Bathurst 1000 motor race. It is not known as a place that has its finger on the pulse of the GLOBOXX index. But why should it? After all a regional council’s job is looking after local services, promoting the local university, helping out with the local, internationally famous, motor race. No, …

Greek problems could cloud Kenny-Merkel talks

 By Economics Correspondent Seán Whelan @seanwhelanRTE Just when you think you’re getting somewhere with the talks on Ireland’s bank debt burden, more Greek problems jump up and cause panic, like a horror-film monster that refuses to die. First there is the news that even after big haircuts on private sector creditors, Greece’s national debt has still not stabilised, and is in worse shape than anyone imagined.  It was meant to stabilise at 167% of GDP this year and decline to …

Occupy was right, says Bank of England director

By Economics Correspondent Seán Whelan @seanwhelanRTE This might just be the speech of the year.  Andrew Haldane, the Executive Director of the Bank of England in charge of Financial Stability, and a top policy making official at the bank, went to a meeting organised by Occupy Economics last night, and said “Occupy has been successful in its efforts to popularise the problems of global finance for one  very simple reason: they are right”. Furthermore he told them Occupy’s voice had …

Short & Medium term issues – Schauble breaks down the Irish bank debt problem

By Economics Correspondent Seán Whelan @seanwhelanRTE Wolfgang Schäuble’s visit to Dublin was designed to avoid causing another fit of the vapours among hypersensitive commentators on Ireland’s debt problems.  He largely succeeded in that objective by sticking to the script written the week previously by Chancellor Angela Merkel and Taoiseach Enda Kenny, the one that described Ireland as a special case. As far as Mr Schäuble was concerned, the “special case” would be treated as such when euro zone finance ministers …

IMF’s the Good, the Bad and the Ugly

By Economics Correspondent Sean Whelan @seanwhelanRTE “Assuredly it does not pay to be good”, said economist John Maynard Keynes. The economist was writing about Britain’s efforts to deal with the high level of debt it had built up after the first World War (140% of GDP). The IMF have pulled out this quote as part of a review of how a number of advanced economies coped with debt ratios above 100% over the past 100 years – and they agree with …

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