Smoke signals


Does the Treasury know something we don’t? This intriguing little item popped up on the UK.Gov website five days ago (my emphases):

‘On Thursday 25 April, the government published a consultation on a special administration regime for payment and settlement systems. Payment and settlement systems are integral to the efficient operation of the financial system, processing transactions worth hundreds of billions of pounds a day. Any interruption of their services would likely cause severe disruption to the wider financial sector and the real economy.

The government proposes that a “special” administration regime should be in place for systemically important payment and settlement systems, under which the overarching objective of the administration would be to maintain the firm’s critical services. This would ensure that even in insolvency the firm would continue to provide the required infrastructure, until the firm recovers or an alternative source of provision is available. This is the latest step in the government’s work to ensure that the failure of a single financial institution is not allowed to put UK financial stability at risk.’

Perm any two from four: Lloyds, Barclays, RBS, Co-op. Place your bets, 1/3 RBS, Evens Lloyds, 20/1 the field.

Bill Roache arrest: anger stirring in some quarters. The man who’s played Coronation Street character Ken Barlow since 1960, actor Bill Roache, has been arrested on suspicion of raping a 15-year-old girl in 1967. He’s 81 years old, and was arrested by police at home in Wilmslow, near Manchester, after which Plod “searched his home thoroughly”. I am reliably informed that, in recent days, a senior media consultant has been using very forceful language in the vicinity of senior Camerlotters, along the lines of “WTF is the Home Office playing at arresting nearly-dead people of no consequence who clearly have nothing to do with systemic paedophilia, and don’t any of you dingbats grasp yet that people can see through this diaphanous distraction from half a mile away?” But I couldn’t possibly comment further.

The Final Gold Rush is under way. I’ve been picking up signals all today and most of yesterday in relation to the stampede to get gold out of the clutches of those whom, owners fear, will steal, sell, or embezzle it at the earliest opportunity and first excuse – whichever arrives first.

Gerhard Schubert, head of Precious Metals at Emirates NBD, wrote earlier this week, ‘I have not seen in my 35 years in precious metals such a determined and strong global physical demand for gold. The UAE physical markets have been cleared out by buyers from all walks of life. The premiums, which have been asked for and which have been paid have been the cornerstone of the gold price recovery.‘ The Comex has had about 30% of its gold bars literally drained from the customer accounts of the Comex bank custodian vaults, and the U.S. mint is running way behind on demand for silver eagles and some weights of gold eagles. And there is a major kick bollock and scramble under way among wealthy European families/entities to get their 400 oz bars out of the big bank vaults.

Germany, meanwhile, is still asking (in vain) for the 1800 tonnes of shiny stuff being held by the US. Thus far, the Yanks have agreed to ship 300 tonnes back over seven years. Informed sources suggest that Berlin is asking “How about 1800 tonnes by August?” This is all going to get embarrassing very soon, but whatever happens one thing is clear: the trust in any bank anywhere is evaporating fast. As I posted two weeks ago, we have now entered the exponential acceleration stage of disaster. I hope to post about more overt signs of propellers rising from the waves either later this morning or in the afternoon. Stay tuned.

Last night at The Slog: Paedo-cops engaged in mutual investigation sessions, could get messy