British PM meets with U.S. bankers

Stephen Beard Apr 16, 2008


Renita Jablonski: The chatter on Wall Street today will include the voice of British Prime Minister Gordon Brown.
He’s in New York today to talk with some of the major bankers. Marketplace’s Stephen Beard is with us now from London, good morning..

Stephen Beard: Good morning, Renita.

Jablonski: All right, let’s cut to the chase, here. Why would Wall Street answer to a British Prime Minister?

Beard: Well, he is the prime minister of a country which has arguably the world’s leading international financial center. So, he does carry a certain amount of weight. But, he’s going to say something, which, undoubtedly, lots of other people have been saying to Wall Street bankers: Tell us, as soon as you can, what your subprime and credit losses are, so that we can bring this global credit crisis to an end.

Jablonski: There are a lot of people questioning whether he’s actually going to get anything out of this trip. What are you hearing in London?

Beard: The indications are that he won’t get anything at all. Also, there is some commentary here that it’s a bit rich for Gordon Brown to be lecturing the Americans, since both his government and the British Central Bank have been heavily criticized for not doing enough, in fact for not going as far as the Federal Reserve in trying to ease the credit crunch.

Jablonski: And he’s also making this trip in a week when we heard about the British housing market falling in March to its lowest point in 30 years and some pretty poor retail sales number in the U.K., as well.

Beard: Yes, and he’s, he’s going to America at a time when he is under a very serious political cloud at home. His whole political reputation was built on his handling of the economy when he was finance chief. Now that he takes over as prime minister, the British economy is heading into what looks like some serious trouble.

Jablonski: Stephen Beard in London. Thank you, Steven.

Beard: OK, Renita.

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