For the sixth straight meeting, the Fed yesterday refused to raise rates and abandon its dependence on cheap money. The mother of all debt-makers in effect decided to keep the money-printing presses rolling in Washington, Tokyo and Frankfurt. But we don’t have to accept this as the new normal. The excessive creation of new debt is a social disease masquerading as the cure for an epidemic.
Deutsche Telekom’s supervisory board is meeting today to talk again about big structural changes. Departments that have been traditionally separate, such as technical services and customer services, will be fused. CEO Timotheus Höttges has been preaching about how the customer is king. But that’s something Telekom customers have heard before – from Höttges’ predecessors. Apparently you can not only inherit money and jewelry, but promises too.
Economics Minister Sigmar Gabriel wants Germany to dive into the digital age head first. His 12-point plan, seen by Handelsblatt, aims to transform everything from startups to e-government to energy grids. The backbone of the strategy is a €10 billion investment fund to build out high-speed broadband to every corner of Germany. Essential reading for everyone who doesn’t want to see Europe’s biggest economy turn into its biggest industrial museum.
Jones Day, the law firm hired by Volkswagen to get to the bottom of the Dieselgate scandal, has unearthed an email from 2007 that seems to point the finger directly at luxury unit Audi. According to public broadcasters WDR, NDR and Munich newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung, an Audi engineer advised superiors in the message it would be impossible to meet new U.S. air quality standards “without any cheating.’’ This casts a new light on Audi’s slogan for the U.S. market: “Truth in Engineering.’’ Does CEO Rupert Stadler care to comment?
Perhaps Audi can share a defense team with Deutsche Bank, which seems to be under bombardment from U.S. regulators. After the U.S. Justice Department last week proposed a $14 billion penalty for Germany’s largest bank, the vice chairman of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. this week said the bank’s leverage ratio, a measure of money in the mattress, was less than half that of its U.S. peers. One gets the impression the U.S. is fighting Deutsche Bank harder than IS. In Syria and Iraq there is a tentative cease fire, but they are using live ammunition against Frankfurt.
A crisis meeting tonight may decide the fate of struggling supermarket chain Kaiser’s Tengelmann. About 8,000 jobs are at stake. The CEOs of rival Edeka, which wants to buy Kaiser’s Tengelmann, and Rewe, which wants to block the hookup, will meet with Kaiser’s Tengelmann’s CEO and its unions at an undisclosed location. If the so-called healing powers of the free market are not a myth, now is the time to prove it.
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