Wednesday, June 24, 2009

BRIC Want Diverse System

The BRIC countries-Brazil,Russia,India and China-concluded their recent summit in Ekaterinburg,Russia by calling for a more diverse global monetary system.They did not attack the U.S. dollar,nor call for the development of new reserve currencies to supplement it,which Russia has called for on its own.China and the others do not want to risk devaluing the dollar further,since so much of their reserves consist of greenbacks.The BRIC countries called for systemic reform based on a democratic and transparent decision-making and implementation process at the international financial organizations.This reflects their fear that emerging markets could be pushed aside by developed economies during reform talks.

Nature Note:High Up

A black-throated green warbler sang in the top of a pin oak on the property.This bird breeds from the Northwest Territories across to Newfoundland,and south to Georgia in the Appalachians.I had never encountered one at this low an elevation-420 feet,or 128 meters.It favors open tracts of pine or Canadian hemlock,especially above 2500 feet,or 762 meters.The forest bird hasn't been seen since five days ago,so I'm wondering if it will ever be down here in the foothills again.It measures five inches long,or 13 centimeters,and has white wing bars,in addition to its striking black throat and olive upperparts.There are certainly open tracts of white pine here for it to breed in.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Ministers Agree on Framework

The G8 finance ministers,meeting in Lecce,Italy over the weekend,have produced the Lecce Framework,a strategy for obtaining a set of common principles and standards governing the conduct of international business and finance,according to their communique.Their goal is to identify and resolve regulatory problems that contributed to the financial crisis.U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said the U.S. would propose more conservative standards,including several international proposals to help raise global standards of oversight of cross-border financial firms and global derivatives markets.
The G8 ministers,representing the U.S.,France,Italy,Germany,Russia,Canada,the U.K. and Japan,noted recent improvements in global financial markets and economic data,although significant risks remain.They asked the International Monetary Fund to help devise a plan for winding down fiscal and monetary interventions,while agreeing to maintain the programs as needed.

Nature Note:Old World Guest

At the entrance to the driveway,yellow sweet clover is growing.This Old World plant has spikes of small yellow flowers.They give off a sweet scent when crushed.Yellow sweet clover grows from two to five feet tall and is commonly seen along roadsides.There is also a white sweet clover.The sweet clovers are members of the pea family.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Asian Assets Sought

A number of banks have expressed interest in Asian assets of Royal Bank of Scotland Group.Among those interested are Standard Chartered,HSBC Holdings and Australia&New Zealand Banking Group,or ANZ.RBS is divesting commercial and retail units in eight Asian locales,such as Hong Kong,China and India.RBS has been in talks with the prospective buyers.ANZ has gone as far as to sell shares in order to raise capital to fund such purchases,among other purposes.In better times,the RBS assets might well go for a less attractive price than today.

Nature Note:Surprising Dove

As I go about maintaining the property,mourning doves often explode out of a tree or shrub,startling me-no matter how many times I have experienced this.The doves want to stay on their perches,but fear overwhelms them until,at the last moment,they are forced into the air with a great rustle and whistle.They would have been perfectly safe,as I've never noticed one who subsequently blew past me.On the ground,this placid and portly-looking bird gives no hint of its extraordinary agility and speed in the air,which make it a test for hunters in the late summer.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

China Extends Influence

China is entering the Singapore energy market by purchasing an oil refiner there.Petro China,its biggest oil firm,is to buy 45.5% of the Keppel Corporation's refiner,Singapore Petroleum.Petro China will pay one billion dollars for the stake,which will in turn trigger an offer for the remaining shares.Singapore is the largest oil trading hub in Asia,with 12% of the world's daily output transiting the Strait of Malacca,which is off the Singapore coast.By owning Singapore Petroleum,China may be able to sway the price of oil.China has been expanding its energy holdings at a vigorous pace for some years now.

Nature Note:Back to Flocks

The resident Canada geese are back in their flocks,having split up for a while in order to breed.Indeed,much of the growth and reproduction in the natural world has already been accomplished in the Mid-Atlantic by early June.The chrysanthemums have budded in preparation for their first blooming.Early tomato plants have green fruit hanging even now.The first seeding has sprouted or not by now.There is still plenty of time to replant seed or seedlings to reach the season's goals.