London futures market opens early to drive down UK economy

Bizarre as it may seem the London International Financial Futures Market, now owned by the New York Stock Exchange, is going to open at 1am on Friday May 7, six hours early, so that dealers, many of whom will be pissed or drugged by that hour, can have a bit of fun with the UK economy in the event of a hung Parliament.

The last few years of capitalism have demonstrated incidences of the tail wagging the dog that would have brought tears to the eyes of Marx and Engels. How on earth LIFFE has been allowed to perpetrate this particular joke will engage economic historians for years to come.

Aren’t we supposed to have regulators?

At the same time there is a soupcon of common sense around, from one Michael Barnier, an EU official, who says that it’s no longer good enough for the world’s financial system to depend on the judgements of three New York-based credit agencies, Standard & Poor’s (poor they’re not), Moody’s and Fitch to decide, not just the fate of companies but also countries.

S&P recently did for Greece, you may recall.

Yet these were the companies that assigned AAA ratings to the dodgy sub-prime packages that brought about the financial crisis in the first place. And who paid them for their labours? The people who originated the dodgy deals in the first place of course.

So good luck to Barnier in his attempt to rein in these spivs. Not that he’ll get much help in the UK because he’s ‘European.’

As to the LIFFE decision it’s beyond comprehension. In essence it’s saying ‘vote Tory or wake up to higher interest rates.’

What’s our election got to do with them?

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About Stephen Foster

Stephen is a former editor of Marketing Week and London Evening Standard advertising columnist. He wrote City Republic for Brand Republic and is a partner in communications consultancy The Editorial Partnership.