Just how easy (or difficult) it is to ‘do business’ in a country is a subject many entrepreneurs and businesses have to consider if operating in or intending to operate overseas. This annual table and report is fascinating from two distinct perspectives. Those at the top of the list in terms of probity such as Denmark, Finland, and New Zealand are to be expected.
However, there’s another element of the exercise in judging corruption that the index would find it impossible to gauge and it involves the context of the word “perception”; how good various non stick ‘Teflon covered’ politicians are at navigating their way through the complicated process of government to ensure that nothing ever sticks.
Leading western nations court favour with mineral rich states, they create havoc covertly, sell arms, then ‘liberate’ the country (and it’s people) with democracy bombs to ensure a streamlined flow of its natural resources. Asking for a brown envelope of used dollars to be left in an airport locker in an African state, in order to avoid import duty on prestige used cars, doesn’t even come close.
Perhaps the perception of what might or might not be considered fraud and corruption needs to focus on the wealth gains of powerful politicians over the past decade and ask how prime ministers and presidents leave office wearing moth eaten suits to then accumulate vast wealth inside a decade through: trusts, foundations and charities.
Why look that far back, perhaps the “perception police” should focus their intelligence on Capitol Hill right now and begin to ask how, particularly since the crash of 2008-2009, so many high ranking USA politicians have become incredibly wealthy at a time that forty million USA citizens are on food stamps..?
“There’s no trust, no faith, no honesty in men; all perjured, all forsworn, all naught, all dissemblers.” – William Shakespeare
European stocks have halted their biggest four-day gain since 2008, while U.S. equity futures declined and Treasuries climbed before Spain and France sell debt. Copper retreated after Chinese manufacturing contracted.
The Stoxx Europe 600 Index lost 0.7 percent as of 8:50 a.m. in London, halting a four-day, 9.1 percent jump. Standard & Poor’s 500 futures slid 0.7 percent, following the stock gauge’s 4.3 percent surge yesterday. The euro weakened to $1.3431. Treasuries halted a four-day drop. China’s interest-rate swaps sank to the lowest level in a year. Copper slumped 1.4 percent and crude traded above $100 a barrel in New York.
Spain and France auction 8.25 billion euros ($11.1 billion) of bonds today as efforts to strengthen the region’s firewalls against contagion failed to rein in surging borrowing costs.
Spain is selling as much as 3.75 billion euros of notes as the extra yield on its 10-year bonds compared with benchmark German bunds was at 396 basis points today. France, rated AAA, is auctioning as much as 4.5 billion euros of debt as its 10- year securities yielded 112 basis points more than comparable German debt.
The People’s Bank of China yesterday said reserve ratios will decline by 50 basis points effective Dec. 5. The move may add 350 billion yuan ($55 billion) to the financial system.
Market snapshot at 9:50 am GMT (UK time)
China’s Shanghai Composite Index closed up 2.46 percent and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index closed up 5.63 percent. The yuan appreciated 0.19 percent to 6.3670. The Nikkei closed up 1.93%. European bourse indices have fallen marginally in the morning session after enjoying spectacular gains yesterday. The STOXX 50 is down 0.58% the UK FTSE is down 0.12%, the French CAC is down 0.83% and the German DAX is down 0.77%. The SPX equity index future is currently down 0.41%. Brent crude is down $0.22 per barrel and spot gold is up $4.93 an ounce.
Economic calendar data releases that may affect sentiment in the afternoon trading session
13:30 US – Jobless Claims
15:00 US – Construction Spending October
15:00 US – ISM Manufacturing November
A Bloomberg survey forecasts Initial Jobless Claims of 390K, compared with the previous figure released which was 393K. A similar survey predicts 3650K for continuing claims.
Economists polled by Bloomberg predicted a change of 0.3% for construction spending, compared to a previous figure of 0.2%.