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Friday, 3 April 2009

G20, Success or failure? More troubles ahead!

Hot air, or practical steps to free up global credit markets? I don't know is the answer and neither do the leaders it seems to me.

Market led economies are dynamic beasts, the tensions between investors or speculators winning and losing will always pull markets, stocks, shares, gilts, commodities in directions that are completely beyond the control of politicians. For example look at the oil price over the last 3 years.

I suspect that the recession will not end any sooner because of the communiques issued this week and that there are many more big failures of banks, investment houses, hedge funds and advisory firms ahead. We simply do not know what their assets are worth when markets remain largely closed, time till tell what the true write downs will be. The quicker these losses are admitted and dealt with the sooner the recession will end.

What will be really interesting is when the litigation activity starts to gather momentum; witness the $1bn writs issued against KPMG this week in the US. Could we see auditors taken to task for spectacular negligence claims. Remember Enron? Well there was once a large, world wide professional services firm called Arthur Anderson, it disappeared for ever after the Enron fiasco.

Could KPMG, PWC, Deloitte and Ernst & Young survive an Enron type attack? Will the ratings companies be able to avoid litigation from the investors who relied on their AAA ratings of what amounted to "trailer-trash mortgages"?

Time will tell.

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