From Volume 37, Issue 38 of EIR Online, Published Oct. 1, 2010

Global Economic News

Is the Irish Taxpayer Bailing Out the ECB?

Sept. 20 (EIRNS)—As Ireland sinks into a sea of bailout debt, questions are being raised about why the names of those who are profiting from the bailout are being kept secret. The Irish Independent questions how many bondholders in Anglo Irish Bank had their bond holdings converted to a "deposit" between March 17, 2007, the day the Anglo bubble burst, and Sept. 30, 2008, when the Irish government extended its guarantee to all deposits and bond holdings in Anglo. The Irish Independent further reports that the names of senior bondholders, junior bondholders, and major institutional depositors also in the bank, remain secret. The daily writes: "Confidentiality, we are told, prevents the Irish public knowing who we are going into debt for a hundred years to rescue."

Now it turns out that among those for whom the Irish taxpayer is going into debt for is the European Central Bank (ECB), which has EU30 billion worth of guaranteed deposits in Anglo Irish. The Irish Independent notes the fact that "the EU is a benefactor of Irish state aid, a provider of EU aid to Ireland, through buying our government bonds, and the not insignificant matter of the ECB's huge 'deposit' in the bank that has suffered the biggest collapse of any bank in history, is the greatest story never told about our economic quagmire."

The day of reckoning for the Irish banks is rapidly approaching. On the eve of a new government bond sale, Moody's cut its rating on Anglo Irish Bank's covered bonds—IOUs supported by loans—by two notches, to Aa2 from Aaa, on the fear that timely interest payments were "unlikely," if the bank defaulted. Further rating cuts are possible. Moreover, Fitch placed covered bonds issued by AIB's mortgage bank on negative watch, putting them in line for a possible ratings cut.

Meanwhile, the collapse continues in other Eurozone countries: The Portuguese daily Diario de Noticias reported that three former Portuguese finance ministers said that the country might have to call in the IMF, saying the country had become sunk into "reckless reliance on foreign debt," and "runaway public spending."

In Greece, the International Monetary Fund is stationing a team in Athens for the duration of the IMF-European Union aid package, which could be increased to last until 2020. This extends it from three years to ten.

IAEA Raises Its Nuclear Power Forecast, Nations Going Nuclear

Sept. 20 (EIRNS)—More and more nations are going nuclear, especially in Asia, according to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)'s new report. Since 2008, the number of countries interested in introducing nuclear energy or actively pursuing it has risen from 43 to 65, mainly in Asia and Africa; and there are currently 60 nuclear power reactors under construction worldwide, a figure that nearly doubled in the last two and a half years. The number of countries planning to phase out nuclear power, dropped from 10 to 6.

The IAEA forecasts that nuclear power plants, which last year produced 7.6% of global electric power (372 gigawatts), will produce 10.4% by 2030 and 11.9% by 2050. Just a year ago, that 2030 forecast was 9%.

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