UK government bond auction fails?

Well, that was the Beeb headline, to The UK Treasury has failed to sell all its government bonds in an auction for the first time since 2002. But in fact It wanted to sell £1.75bn of 40-year bonds, but investors only bid for £1.63bn of the debt, the Debt Management Office said. so (a) it is hardly an obvious failure, when most of it was sold and (b) this is 40 year debt.

I wonder what it means.

A certain loss

Via Steinn, who got it from CR, this delightful story of how people are now so scared of losing unknown amounts of money they are prepared to sign up to a certain but small absolute loss (and thats neglecting inflation).

They should buy our shares, like I did earlier this week, and they actually went up! Mind you I don’t think we could absorb $57B input.
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You’re sharpening stones, walking on coals / To improve your business acumen

REM, of course. Or perhaps more appropriately, Its the end of the world as we know it (and I feel fine). I won’t elaborate on the I-feel-fine for the sake of not tempting fate, not that I’m superstitious mind you.

Where was I? Oh yes, commenting on CIPs vision of our government as competent. No prophet has honour in his own city, of course. I thought Broon was largely copying Buffett.

While I’m here, hat tip to Quark Soup for digging up this space oddity from Krugman. Nice to see that economists have a sense of humour, though his physics isn’t so good and, though he hides it well, relativity is irrelevant.

The fish-eaters are still in trubble though; is the oil running out?

Strange days indeed

Just a minor addition to the vast streams of pap being written and spoken about the current crisis (what crisis?). Inspired by watching financial TV in my hotel room.

Iceland seems to have sold itself to the Russians “We have not received the kind of support that we were requesting from our friends,” said Geir Haarde, prime minister. “So in a situation like that one has to ask one’s enemies look for new friends.” Your friendly local Icelander has some comments. At least I didn’t put any of my savings into Iceland, which now looks distinctly unwise. They were offering desperation rates.
Continue reading “Strange days indeed”


Scenario one: you borrow some money. You exchange the money for shares. The shares go up, you exchange the shares for more money than originally, and so pay back the loan and you have a profit. If you get it wrong, they go down and you lose instead.

Scenario two: you borrow some shares. You exchange the shares for money. The shares go down, you exchange the money for more shares than originally, and so pay back the loan and you have a profit. If you get it wrong, they go up and you lose instead.

Symmetrical, yes? Very pleasing.

Indulge in #1, and no-one cares. Indulge in #2, and everyone hates you. And bans it.

Another one bites the dust?

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Update: now we know why they keeled over.

Update: Incidentally, the Lehman bankruptcy is apparently 10x the size of Enron. And HBOS has now gone. And MS or GS?.