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1213GMT - The shape of the deal emergeth

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Paul Mason | 12:13 UK time, Thursday, 2 April 2009

Here's where I think it's going. There's going to be a big number announced that is an add-up of extra money for the IMF, extra Trade Finance via the World, Regional Development Banks and bilateral deals, plus Special Drawing Rights from the IMF.

I understand the IMF part of the deal could be in the region of an extra $500bn as I indicated earlier; the extra trade finance piece will be around $100bn; so to get it anywhere near a politically significant $1trillion, a hefty chunk has to come from expanding the IMF's SDR programme. Currently $20bn it will likely be hiked significantly.

What this does is allow the governments to put a big figure on their already-agreed fiscal stimuli (a recent private estimate was 2.7 trillion over 2 years). Then put another big figure on what you might call international-institution liquidity plus loans.

This is what they are agreeing to do in lieu of a fiscal stimulus. Expect Gordon Brown to come out and say we've injected an extra trillion dollars into the economy.

OK, so what's the price they pay for this. To get China to stump up to the IMF they may have to agree to keep Hong Kong and Macau off a blacklist of tax havens. The furia franchese is now, I understand, being directed no longer against the US/UK but against various emerging market countries that often figure in James Bond movies when the scriptwriters want to indicate sleaze. And I mean countries that are actually seated at the table, not tiny "offshore" tax havens.

So what's left is the shape of the commitment on global regulation. Here the language is important: the French/Germans want a principled commitment - every nation, every player, every financial instrument comes effectively "onshore" and "on balance sheet". This is what they're working on now.


  • Comment number 1.

    ".....every financial instrument comes effectively "onshore" and "on balance sheet"."

    I would be nice if the British government put the following liabilities on its own balance sheet:

    (i) Toxic Asset Insurance of GBP600bn provided to RBS and Lloyds
    This is likely to cost the British taxpayer somewhere in the region of GBP100bn to GBP200bn

    (ii) Public sector unfunded pension liabilities
    Thought to amount to between GBP600bn and GBP900bn in total

    (iii) Public liabilities under the PFI scheme
    Thought to be in the region of GBP48bn in total

    These costs will be spread over a number of years, but keeping them off Britain's balance sheet is just misleading.

  • Comment number 2.

    "OK, so what's the price they pay for this. To get China to stump up to the IMF they may have to agree to keep Hong Kong and Macau off a blacklist of tax havens."

    This bizarre cartel's fascination with tax havens is perverse. Tax havens are not a bad thing. They serve as a canary in the coalmine for high tax countries.

    Future taxpayers are being pushed into poverty by Governments without mandates to maintain specious GDP growth* despite the doublespeak of free markets and global trade. Trade is good. It lowers the cost of living for us and raises poorer nations out of poverty. Yet Governments these days maintain trade tarrifs and subsidies and cannot accept deflation even when it is benign. They are hellbent on maintaining the illusion of prosperity rather than actual productive growth.

    You cannot create wealth by dividing it. Too many people are now wholly reliant on the State for their income.

    If you agree with Darwin's argument that the most adaptable survives what we have had for more than a decade is going against the tide of progress. Global financial regulation was the cause of this crisis not the solution - over specialisation brings death to any species as it cannot adapt to change. Survival of the fittest requires that different economies try different things and we see which succeed. Instead we had badly stage-managed growth built on credit spending not spending real earnings.

    It didn't have to be this way.

    * Specious as inflation has had the better of it for a long time.

  • Comment number 3.

    Did you know it would take a person 32000 years to count to a trillion?

    Kind of puts it in perspective. (This monkey's going to heaven)

  • Comment number 4.

    who benefits from offshore and off balance sheet? not the public who end up with the debts while others walk away with the profits?

    not a word on focussing on growth industry like a feed in tariff that will generate money to pay for all this debt. just more 'spending'.

    'jacking up' on more debt to get another 'high'? because they feel good?

  • Comment number 5.

    So far it all seems to be about dealing with what has already happened and restabilising the system as it was.

    The real grit is all this stuff about accounting and tax havens. This is about the future.

    I never ever understood off-balance sheet accounting as to me it sounds like fraud. I hope Frau Merkel gets her way.

    This will mean that Gordon is going to have to stand up and say that Britain owes three trillion quid.

    I await the coming cuts in public spending with interest.

  • Comment number 6.

    The World is saved and there will still be honey for tea... Yippee!

    A new World Order eh!? I hope it will be like Star Trek where we all wear mini-skirts or brightly-coloured pyjamas and spend our lives living out our fantasies in holo-decks...

    Snap election!

    Best to get a result in the polls now before the markets crash spectacularly later on this year. The least we can do is vote for the Man who shot Liberty Valance... I mean, the man who saved the World...

  • Comment number 7.

    Despite the cynics downgrading the importance of the resolutions, the big surprise is that almost everything we wanted was agreed; and agreed, if not in numeric terms, in hard and fast principle. The result is more radical than we could ever have hoped for. Even the introduction, that 'the Washington economic consensus has ended', clearly signalled not just the move from Reagan/Thatcher Monetarism to Keynes but also that the wider (multi-polar) world now was what mattered; G20 and no longer G7/8.

    But some of the unnoticed details were equally significant. The IMF clearly has been put at the centre of the international financial system. But it is to be monitored and supervised by a new G20 body; a crucial role where the IMF has signally failed in its duty to monitor the situaltion over previous decades.

    The promise of another G20 in a few months has been seen as a sign of weakness. In fact it is a source of considerable strength. It means the G20 is taking responsibility for action as well as talk!

  • Comment number 8.

    So Mugabe has been advising Gordon on financial matters.

    I have told my children that they need to include emigration in their future plans.

  • Comment number 9.






  • Comment number 10.

    Interesting interviews on BBC2 last night with Peter Mandelson and George Sorros. Madelson an ex EU Trade Commissioner, evaded, ducked and dived the questions asked providing clear illustration as to why the politicians projected the world into its current mess. George Sorros was the opposite providing direct clever answers to the questions, reflecting the fact that the first squanders wealth and the other generates wealth.


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