From Volume 36, Issue 50 of EIR Online, Published Dec. 25, 2009

Global Economic News

European Central Bank Swindle

Dec. 15 (EIRNS)—The real story behind European banks not lending is the great bond market/European Central Bank swindle. It is well known that banks have been buying highly rated state bonds simply to go to the ECB for almost free money. Now commercial bonds can be added to this shell game.

Bloomberg reports that European banks have virtually stopped making loans to industry. In fact, the old syndicated loans are on the way to going out of existence. This is forcing AAA-rated companies to go to the bond market, where they have little problem selling their debt. This is okay for large companies, but for small and medium-size companies it is a disaster, because they cannot easily go into the bond market for the type of ongoing credit lines they need to run a business. Bloomberg notes that this is all happening despite the $5.3 trillion worth of aid the banks have gotten from the governments of Europe since the crisis began.

Bond sales, which have reached EU337 billion, have surpassed loans for the first time. Loans have collapsed by 46% and stood at EU279 billion. Bank purchases of government bonds have increased from EU1.19 trillion to EU1.51 trillion in the last year.

While Bloomberg claims that this is part of the so-called "deleveraging" policy, what they do not say, is the obvious: that the banks are taking these highly rated assets in order to go to the ECB for new money, which is nothing more than a different type of leveraging.

Average French Farm Income Fell By 32% in 2009

Dec. 15 (EIRNS)—In line with the Copenhagen drive for global genocide, the consequences of the British-imposed total deregulation of EU food production to destroy food production is now showing its consequences. The French Agricultural Ministry yesterday published its anticipated catastrophic figures for 2009. The profile is identical "in all major farm countries, in the EU as well as in the USA," says the ministry.

Considered an annus horribilis, the 400,000 French farmers' average income this year fell by 32%, on top of a 20% drop in 2008! "This is the worst crisis agriculture has undergone in 30 years," admitted Agriculture Minister Bruno Le Maire. All sectors are hit. First of all, dairy farmers, whose net income fell by 54%, followed by fruit growers (-51%), cattle for meat (-42%), horticulture (-34%), and vegetables and produce (-32%). Even wine income dropped by 8%.

Production costs fell slightly, but sales crashed. A French grain farmer commented that "my disposable income will be zero. We can no longer make a living from our profession and are obliged to hold another job.... All this confirms the need for European-wide market regulation. These price variations are unbearable; I see it on the ground. The instability of agricultural prices absolutely has to be limited," insists Le Maire.

French Medical Sector in Revolt

Dec. 16 (EIRNS)—A meeting last night of the large hospital group Assistance Publique Hôpitaux de Paris (AP-HP), composed of 37 hospitals and over 90,000 employees, confirmed the fact that 902 top doctors and other medical professionals will resign from their posts if French President Nicolas Sarkozy's health-care "reform" is not stopped.

Taking the lead in a fight which is in fact taking place on a national scale, Pierre Coriat, the president of the Medical Commission of AP-HP, already announced two weeks ago that he would resign if things didn't change. Now he is supported by nearly a thousand medical professionals who confirmed they would do the same. Their argument is simple: reducing the workforce by 4,000, as scheduled by the "reforms," will impair both the quality and the quantity of care for patients. Said an emergency room physician, "How can we agree to have personnel reduced, when patients have to wait six, seven, eight, or more hours before receiving care?" Over 1 million people receive emergency medical treatment per year by AP-HP.

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