Mr. Knot asserted yesterday that the ECB “can’t do much more” to fix the debt crisis and that the institution is not amenable to ratchet up its bond purchases just to assuage the anxiety-ridden markets (and government officials such as Mr. Silva) out there. BTW, if you are wondering why Mr. Silva might be so…vocal, consider the little factoid that the cost to insure Portugal’s bonds against default stands at 1,072 basis points versus 569 b.p. for Italy and 93 (!) for Germany and that the Portuguese economy is slated to shrink some 3% in 2012. The philosophical debate in the EU is once again (after the immediate ‘fire’ is extinguished) shifting towards whether or not the ECB (and/or the EU plus the IMF) should pay for the former lack of discipline and restraint by some of its members.
One EU member who is furious these days is France. A major “faux pas” by rating cop firm S&P has resulted in an outburst of critical words by French Finance Minister Francois Baroin. S&P is saying that a “technical error” caused the automatic dissemination of a note to clients that it intends to downgrade its view of France’s economy.
The glitch was characterized by Monsieur Baroin in La Tribune as “a shocking rumor of information that has no foundation” and resulted in S&P having to reaffirm its AAA rating on the country that represents the EU’s second-largest economy. S&P also had to offer the statement that it is “investigating the cause of the error.” Sacrebleu! Pardon! S&P might not make many a Christmas card list this year…
We leave you now with some very fun material to ponder and gawk at during the weekend. Our friends at GoldBarsWorldwide.com have just updated their supplement pages to include some stunning facts and images relating to the American Eagle and American Buffalo coin ranges. The in-depth descriptions and production details alone are worth your visit if you are an American coin aficionado.
But wait, there’s more! The technical team at the prestigious Perth Mint Down Under has come up with the ultimate gold…coin. As things stand right now, they can lay claim (and hold on to that prize, likely forever) to the world’s LARGEST gold coin –at least in terms of its weight: ONE metric tonne. That’s 32,150.70 troy ounces, that’s 2,200 lbs., that’s like $50 million bucks, that’s like…unreal.
Have a nice weekend.
Jon Nadler is a Senior Metals Analyst at Kitco Metals