Business, Finance & Economics

"Crisis of Capitalism?" Europe: daily economic round-up

The "crisis of capitalism" is a phrase more associated with Marxists than Conservative politicians like British Prime Minister David Cameron, but with the public still dismayed by what it sees as the excesses of the financial services industry - particularly bankers' pay and bonuses - and with bonus season about to get underway, Cameron needed to address the issue.

He gave a policy speech (video here) joining in the criticism of banker pay and threatened to strip the knighthood of Sir Fred Goodwin, former head of Royal Bank of Scotland, who presided over its near collapse. RBS is now 83 percent owned by the British taxpayer.

It is an odd speech to watch. Further proof that many conservatives on this side of the Atlantic would be considered pinkos in America. It will be interesting to see if Cameron puts forward any policies to tax bonuses or in some way restrain the singularly unfettered, unregulated world of the City of London.

In other news, the euro zone situation continues in calmer waters. French and Spanish bond auctions saw reductions in their borrowing costs. Call it the Standard & Poor's effect. After S&P downgraded the U.S. last summer the yield paid on treasury bonds came down as well.

Europe's stock markets closed the day slightly up: the FTSE 100 by 0.7percent, Frankfurt's DAX by 1 percent, and the Paris CAC-40 by 2 percent.