Blogs & Comment

Protectionism, credit and another bailout

Every morning, a pile of clippings from around the world arrives on my desk, courtesy of sagacious newsgatherer and Canadian Businessresearch associate Miguel Rakiewicz. Selections from this mornings pile:
A good pieceby Anthony Faiola on the trade implications of the Buy American provisions in the various versions of the stimulus bill in the US Congress right now. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/01/28/AR2009012804002.html?nav=hcmodule The Senate version of the bill would limit stimulus funding only to projects with US-made equipment and goods. This is the dark side of fiscal action on the economyprotectionism in the guise of stimulus. A byproduct of measuring economic success by jobs instead of productivity. Trade disputes and retaliation in the form of protectionist measures elsewhere seem to be the likely outcomeswhich will only aggravate the global slowdown.
A Moodys Investors Service report, out yesterday, on budget deficits and Canadas government bond ratings. Upshot: even with a three-percentage-point increase in federal debt to GDP in 2009-10, to 31.6%, will not likely affect the Aaa rating.
An article from NRC Handelsbladthat spells out how the Dutch government is backing ING, the Netherlands biggest bank and insurer, to the tune of 21.6 billion eurosabout $34 billion Canadian. The reason: to cover INGs exposure to U.S. mortgage-backed securities that, a year ago, the company characterized as minimal.