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Macro chatter: Another day, another downgrade in Europe

Around the world in business: Spain's banks get downgraded by Fitch as Greeks are withdrawing their euros to stock up on groceries.
Greece protest statue 2011 10 19Enlarge
The protests turned violent early as protesters fight with riot police during massive clashes in front of the Greek parliament on Oct. 19, 2011. (Louisa Gouliamaki/AFP/Getty Images)

Need to know: 

Spain's pains are showing no signs of letting up. Fitch, which a day earlier cut the credit ratings for two major Spanish lenders, downgraded its outlook for another 18 Spanish banks. 

Meanwhile, yields on 10-year bonds in Spain have risen to their highest level since Spain adopted the euro.

Want to know: 

Greeks aren't standing by their banks ahead of a major election many fear could force Greece out of the euro zone. 

Greeks are withdrawing about $1 billion a day and are using at least some of that money to stock up on groceries, Reuters reported. Greeks aren't planning for the end of the world but are instead planning for the election of a leader who could bring brack the drachma. 

Dull but important: 

JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon is headed to Capitol Hill today where he's expected to take a beating for his company's $2 billion plus in recent trading losses

Dimon tried to get a jump on the situation by releasing his planned remarks ahead of time. In his remarks, Dimon tries to deflect criticism by admitting to making some big mistakes and telling Congress taxpayers haven't had to pay for his companies losses. 

"We will not make light of these losses, but they should be put into perspective. We will lose some of our shareholders' money - and for that we feel terrible - but no client, customer or taxpayer money was impacted in this incident," McClatchey quoted Dimon as saying in his remarks. 

The hearing should be particularly interesting since Dimon has been among the most vocal critics of regulators' efforts to reign in trading practices at his bank and its peers. 

Just because: 

Italy's borrowing costs are surging, and the Wall Street Journal reports Prime Minister Mario Monti's honeymoon may be over. 

Monti is facing increasing pressure to turnaround the Italian economy but the austerity measures he's pushed aren't exactly popular with rank and file Italians. 

Monti has moved to increase taxes and revamp the country's pension system. Investors and world leaders have praised him but taxpayers and pensioners haven't been so approving. 

Strange but true: 

The economy isn't the only thing under siege in Greece. History is in trouble, too. 

Greek archaelogists are warning that austerity measurs could threaten the future of Greek antiquities. 

From GlobalPost's Amy Silverstein: 

In a commercial produced by the Association of Greek Archaeologists, a little girl is standing in a museum when a kidnapper suddenly puts his hand over her mouth. In the next scene, the girl remains standing in the museum, but the statue she had been staring at is now gone. "No future without past,'" the advertisement warns. '"Monuments have no voice. They must have yours."

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatches/globalpost-blogs/macro/macro-chatter-another-day-another-downgrade-europe

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