Monday, December 24, 2007

Merry Xmas and A Happy New Year

Well, a Merry Xmas and a Happy New Year to all my readers. Thank you for taking the time and trouble to pass-by. This blog will now - failing major and surprising new developments in the global economy - be offline till the end of the first week in January, or till after the festival of Los Reyes Magos in Spain (for those of you who know what this is all about). Come to think of it, maybe this is just what our ever hopeful central bankers are in need of even as I write - some surprise presents from the three wise men - but I fear that this year if these worthy gentlemen do somehow show at the next G7 meet, the star in the east which draws them will not be the one described in the traditional texts, but in all likelihood the rising star of India.

Credit crunch, did someone use the expression credit crunch?

South Korean Q4 2007 Consumer Confidence

South Korea's consumer confidence declined from a five-year high, signaling spending may slow and crimp growth in Asia's fourth-largest economy. The sentiment index fell to 106 in the fourth quarter, the lowest in three quarters, from 112, the Bank of Korea said today in a report in Seoul. A reading higher than 100 indicates optimists outnumber pessimists.

The benchmark Kospi index of stocks has fallen 8 percent from a Nov. 1 record of 2085.45 on concern U.S. subprime-related losses will slow the global economy. Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. this month cut its 2008 growth forecast for South Korea to 4.6 percent from 4.7 percent.

The yield on a five-year government bond rose 2 basis points to 5.87 percent at 3:00 p.m. in Seoul and the won gained 0.1 percent to 939.65 versus the dollar. The Kospi climbed 2.2 percent.

Confidence fell as ``sentiment on living conditions and the local economy weakened,'' the central bank said. ``The number of consumers with a negative view on the economy rose sharply.''

South Koreans' debt-servicing costs have climbed steadily as the central bank has pushed borrowing costs to a six-year high. The Bank of Korea raised rates in July and August to curb household debt that topped 600 trillion won ($640 billion) for the first time in September.