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Archive for Dezember 2015

Die Banken-Krise ist zurück: Probleme in Ungarn und Portugal

Posted by hkarner - 31. Dezember 2015

Deutsche Wirtschafts Nachrichten  | 

Ungarn und Portugal verlangen wegen neuer Risiken höhere Kapitalpuffer von ihren Banken. In Ungarn sind vor allem österreichische Banken betroffen. In Portugal müssen Senior Bondholder die Novo Banco retten. Dies betrifft vor allem institutionelle Anleger aus Europa.

Ungarns Notenbank fordert von neun führenden Banken zusätzliche Kapitalpuffer. Mit dem Schritt wolle Ungarn das Finanzsystem stärken, teilte die Zentralbank des osteuropäischen Landes am Mittwoch mit. Die neuen Anforderungen an die Banken sollten ab Januar 2017 gelten. Zu den Kreditinstituten gehörten unter anderen OTP Bank, die HVB-Mutter UniCredit sowie die beiden österreichischen Institute Raiffeisen und Erste. Der zusätzliche Kapitalpuffer betrage bis zu zwei Prozent der Risikopositionen des betroffenen Geldhauses.

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Better luck next year: financial markets

Posted by hkarner - 31. Dezember 2015

Date: 31-12-2015
Source: The Economist

2015 ReturnsInvestors will write off 2015 as a disappointment: barely any money was made in any category and big losses were suffered in some, notably emerging markets and commodities. Low bond yields and near-zero interest rates in many countries will make it difficult for investors in cash or fixed-interest securities to earn much next year. But equity markets often start the year in bullish mood. The main hope is that economic growth in the developed world will pick up as lower commodity prices boost consumer spending and the drag of tighter fiscal policy starts to fade. The Federal Reserve’s decision to raise interest rates before Christmas was, in essence, a gamble that economic conditions are returning to normal. The outlook for emerging economies is less promising, but all the bad news may already be reflected in prices; the MSCI emerging-market index has fallen in four of the past five calendar years.

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The World is Getting Better!

Posted by hkarner - 31. Dezember 2015

… but we are being betrayed by the media, which believe to need living of bad news! (hfk)

So: let’s be optimisitic! A Happy New Year!

Mohamed Nagdy and Max Roser (2015) – ‘Optimism & Pessimism’. Published online at OurWorldInData.org. Retrieved from: http://ourworldindata.org/data/culture-values-and-society/optimism-pessimism/ 

The world is improving in almost every measurable way; fewer people are dying of disease, conflict and famine; more of us are receiving a basic education; the world is becoming more democratic; we live longer and lead healthier lives. So why is that we, mostly in the developed world, are pessimistic about our collective future?

Things Are Getting Better

With all the negative news stories and sensationalism that exists in the media it may be hard to believe things are improving. These events can be contextualised as short-term fluctuations in an otherwise positive global trend. Quantifying this progress and identifying its causes will help researchers develop successful strategies to combat the world’s problems. Below is a selection of graphs showing just how much progress has been made over the centuries. More examples can be found on http://ourworldindata.org/data/.

Absolute number of people living in extreme poverty, 1820-2011 – Max Roser13

Roser Poverty2

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Piketty vs. Piketty

Posted by hkarner - 31. Dezember 2015

Photo of J. Bradford DeLongJ. Bradford DeLong

J. Bradford DeLong is Professor of Economics at the University of California at Berkeley and a research associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research. He was Deputy Assistant US Treasury Secretary during the Clinton Administration, where he was heavily involved in budget and trade negotiations. His role in designing the bailout of Mexico during the 1994 peso crisis placed him at the forefront of Latin America’s transformation into a region of open economies, and cemented his stature as a leading voice in economic-policy debates.

DEC 30, 2015, Project Syndicate

BERKELEY – In Capital in the Twenty-First Century, the French economist Thomas Piketty highlights the striking contrasts in North America and Europe between the Gilded Age that preceded World War I and the decades following World War II. In the first period, economic growth was sluggish, wealth was predominantly inherited, the rich dominated politics, and economic (as well as race and gender) inequality was extreme.

But after the upheaval of WWII, everything changed. Income growth accelerated, wealth was predominantly earned (justly or unjustly), politics became dominated by the middle class, and economic inequality was modest (even if race and gender equality remained a long way off). The West seemed to have entered a new era. But then, in the 1980s, these trends seemed to start shifting steadily back to the pre-WWI norm.

Piketty’s central thesis is that we shouldn’t be surprised by this. Our reversion to the economic and political patterns of the Gilded Age is to be expected as the economies of North America and Europe return to what is normal for a capitalist society. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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IWF-Chefin Lagarde gibt sehr pessimistische Prognose für 2016 ab

Posted by hkarner - 31. Dezember 2015

Deutsche Wirtschafts Nachrichten  | 

IWF-Chefin Christine Lagarde sieht ziemlich schwarz für die Weltwirtschaft im Neuen Jahr: Der Preisverfall bei den Rohstoffen, der starke Dollar, die Kriege im Nahen Osten und die daraus folgende Flüchtlingskrise werden uns ein enttäuschendes Jahr 2016 bescheren, glaubt Lagarde.

Lagarde
IWF-Chefin Christine Lagarde hat keine guten Nachrichten für die Weltwirtschaft.

IWF-Chefin Christine Lagarde rechnet mit einem enttäuschenden Wachstum der Weltwirtschaft im kommenden Jahr. Hintergrund seien politische Unsicherheit und eine stärkere wirtschaftliche Schwankungsanfälligkeit rund um den Globus, schrieb die Französin in einem Gastbeitrag im Handelsblatt. Ursache dafür seien unter anderem der Konjunkturabschwung in China und die Aussicht auf steigende Zinsen in den USA.

Die US-Zinswende könne insbesondere Schwellen- und Entwicklungsländer vor Probleme stellen, die Konjunkturprogramme im Kampf gegen die Finanzkrise in einem erheblichen Anteil mit Dollar-Krediten finanziert hätten, erklärte die Chefin des Internationalen Währungsfonds. Hier drohten bei einem weiteren Anstieg des Dollars Zahlungsausfälle von Unternehmen, die Banken und Staaten infizieren könnten. Auch die Flüchtlingskrise sowie die Spannungen in Nahost und in Nordafrika, die mit den Pariser Anschlägen bis nach Europa ausstrahlten, trügen zu den Unsicherheiten bei. Zudem stelle der Preisverfall bei Öl und anderen Rohstoffen die Förderländer vor Probleme. Und der Finanzsektor weise auch sieben Jahre nach der Lehman-Pleite nach wie vor Schwächen auf. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Paul Mason Postcapitalism: SOCIALIZE THE FINANCE SYSTEM

Posted by hkarner - 31. Dezember 2015

Mason Finance 1Mason Cover Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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„Österreich hat es versäumt, Reformen zu machen“

Posted by hkarner - 30. Dezember 2015

30.12.2015 | 18:19 | Von Gerhard Hofer (Die Presse)

Deutschland profitiert von Reformen, die Österreich nie gemacht hat, sagt Ökonom Wolfgang Wiegard. Den Mindestlohn hält das SPD-Mitglied für problematisch.

Die Presse: Warum steht Deutschland im Vergleich zu Österreich so gut da?

wiegardWolfgang Wiegard: Ich glaube, dass die Agenda 2010 eine extrem wichtige Stukturreform war, die den Arbeitsmarkt flexibilisiert hat. Mittlerweile liegt Deutschland bei der harmonisierten Arbeitslosenquote vor Österreich. Das hat konjunkturelle Gründe. Aber auch bei der strukturellen Arbeitslosigkeit liegt Deutschland besser. Außerdem hat Deutschland viel radikalere Steuerreformen gemacht als Österreich.

Und dann gab es viele Jahre sehr moderate Lohnsteigerungen.

Ja, die Tarifpolitik hat dazu geführt, dass die deutschen Unternehmen auf den internationalen Märkten wettbewerbsfähig geblieben sind. Das waren alles sehr mutige Reformen, und deshalb wurde Gerd Schröder 2005 auch abgewählt. Gerade als diese Reformen angefangen haben zu wirken.

Sie haben damals die Regierung Schröder beraten.

Ich war Vorsitzender des Sachverständigenrats, und Schröder hatte den Mut, die von uns erarbeiteten Punkte gegen große Widerstände in seiner eigenen Partei durchzusetzen. Die Erfolge hat Merkel eingeheimst.

Und Merkel weicht mittlerweile die Reformen Schröders auf.

Die wirtschaftspolitischen Maßnahmen der jetzigen Großen Koalition in Deutschland zielen auf noch mehr Umverteilung ab. Siehe Mindestlohn, Mütterrente und die abschlagsfreie Rente mit 63. Mit Letzterem wird etwa die Rente mit 67 konterkariert, die übrigens auch von einem SPD-Politiker – von Franz Müntefering – durchgesetzt worden ist. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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2015 im Rückblick

Posted by hkarner - 30. Dezember 2015

Die WordPress.com-Statistik-Elfen haben einen Jahresbericht 2015 für dieses Blog erstellt.

Hier ist ein Auszug:

Madison Square Garden in New York City hat Platz für 20.000 Konzertbesucher. Dieses Blog wurde in 2015 etwa 62.000 mal besucht. Das entspräche etwa 3 ausverkauften Konzertveranstaltungen im Madison Square Garden.

Klicke hier um den vollständigen Bericht zu sehen.

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Europe’s Fake Recovery

Posted by hkarner - 30. Dezember 2015

By on December 22, 2015  RGE EconoMonitor das

Investors were disappointed when they undid the wrapping on the European Central Bank’s (“ECB’s) early holiday present.

The package was not insignificant: a cut in deposit rates by 0.10% from negative 0.20% to 0.30%; an extension of the €60 billion per month bond purchase program by six months (additional €360 billion in liquidity); a commitment to reinvest the principal repayments on its holdings in further bonds; and expansion of the range of securities to be purchased to include regional and local government debt. 

But the market expected deeper rate cuts and acceleration of the rate of purchases. The ECB blamed markets for ‘over-hyping’ expectations. Markets blamed ECB’s recent guidance which promised more aggressive measure. 

Shortly after the announcement, ECB President Mario Draghi found himself the subject of uncomfortable questioning from Lord King, the former head of the Bank of England against a background of derisive audience laughter. Asked why his famous ‘forward guidance’ had failed to move markets, the uncomfortable ECB president could only respond that the words did not have the same effect as his famous “whatever it takes” because “it was not the same words”.

In reality, the rise in Euro-Zone market rates and the Euro will reverse. The increase in US rates will help. Dr. Draghi’s backtracking and subsequent promise for unlimited quantitative easing (“QE”) will mollify investors temporarily. 

But Dr. Draghi’s frequently repeated assertions of success notwithstanding, the necessity for the ECB’s new actions points to the failure of the policy to restore growth or raise inflation.

Europe did avoid a potential double dip recession in 2014. But economic activity remains weak. The Euro-Zone economy has lost momentum, expanding a mere 0.3% in the three months to September of 2015. Worryingly, Spain and Portugal slowed. Finland and Greece contracted. Italy and France remain weak. Real GDP remains below the level of 2008. Unemployment is around 10.7%, down from a high of 11.5%. It remains above 20% in many weaker economies. Inflation is near zero, although above the record low of -0.70% of July 2009.

The improvements are cyclical, the effect of low oil prices and the relaxation of fiscal policy as the European Commission has turned a blind eye to the failure by members to adhere to prescribed budget deficit targets. France and Italy in particular have openly flaunted budget targets. France even used the attacks in Paris to muse about invoking emergency or exceptional circumstances provisions to increase spending.

The ECB’s program has benefitted Europe primarily through the weakening of the Euro to improve competitiveness. But the improvement in European exports may be unsustainable. 

First, weakness in emerging markets affects around 25% of Euro-Zone exports with the greatest effect on Germany, France, Italy and Spain. China’s slowdown and rebalancing towards services and consumption will be detrimental to European exports of capital goods. Second, the Euro-Zone has a current account surplus of 3.7% of GDP, the largest in the world. This is unsustainable because it is fuelled by insufficient domestic demand and high unemployment. It requires trading partners to run equally large current account deficits. Other nations are unlikely to accept European neo-mercantilism and continue to indefinitely absorb European surpluses. 

ECB actions do not address crucial issues. Debt levels remain elevated and, in some case, are increasing. New lending has not recovered. 

Lack of demand rather than liquidity limits new lending. In addition, euro interest rates for companies and households remain relatively high, around 2%, despite government and inter-bank rates being negative. 

Another constraint is non-performing loans (NPLs) which total €1-1.2 trillion (9% of GDP), a doubling since 2009. NPLs are high in weak economies, such as Italy, Greece, Portugal, Spain and Cyprus, and concentrated amongst small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), responsible for two-thirds of Europe’s output and employment. The ECB’s measures are making the problem worse by allowing zombie companies that need to be restructured and debts written off to continue to operate. It is also reducing bank profitability, making it more difficult to write down NPLs.

Internal financial imbalances, evidenced by Target 2 balances, have begun to deteriorate. The fundamental problems of the single currency and uniform monetary policy remain unresolved. Finland is scheduled to hold a parliamentary hearing into continued membership of the Euro shortly. The British referendum on its membership of the EU is scheduled for 2017.

Despite Dr. Draghi’s insistence of the unlimited extent of his powers, the ECB is likely to face increasing constraints on its freedom of action. The recent weaker than expected actions in December 2015 may reflect divisions with the Governing Council, where German, Dutch and other members are known to oppose greater activism. 

The ECB also faces practical limits. It will increasingly find it difficult to execute bond purchases as it runs up against its single issuer and concentration limits. The ECB can only purchase government and agency debt at negative yields above the deposit facility rate (currently minus 0.30%). With an increasing proportion of government bonds trading at ever lower yields, the available universe of bonds may shrink. 

The ECB also faces external pressures. Negative deposit rates have triggered large capital outflows, around €500 billion, helping depreciate the value of the euro. This increases Euro-Zone exporters’ share of global demand. It does not increase the Euro-Zone’s contribution to global demand growth. This beggar-thy-neighbour policy is unsustainable and will intensify the currency wars that Dr. Draghi insists is not taking place. 

Continued weakness in commodity prices and over-capacity in many industries mean disinflationary or deflationary pressures will persist, making the ECB inflation target unattainable.

Problems of refugees, terrorism, Russian revanchism and domestic political tensions (in Germany, Portugal, Spain, France and Greece) also increase uncertainty and reduce business and consumer confidence. European decision making processes remain at best slow and at worst moribund. The debt crisis exposed a North-South divide. Now, immigration pressures have revealed West-East differences. The option of greater integration has stalled. Europe-wide public finances, banking and government have become less not more likely. The spat over immigration threaten the Schengen Treaty, which would mark a major policy reversal. Domestic political pressures in Greece, Portugal, Spain, Italy, France and Germany are increasingly problematic.

Against this background, any improvement in Europe is more cyclical than structural. In the final analysis, the ECB’s action will, at best, maintain for a limited time an uneasy equilibrium. It will promote false hopes for a timely Euro-zone recovery. But as Sigmund Freud observed: “Illusions commend themselves to us because they save us pain and allow us to enjoy pleasure instead. We must therefore accept it without complaint when they sometimes collide with a bit of reality against which they are dashed to pieces”.

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How to Fight Jihadi Terrorism

Posted by hkarner - 30. Dezember 2015

Photo of George Soros

George Soros

George Soros is Chairman of Soros Fund Management and Chairman of the Open Society Foundations. A pioneer of the hedge-fund industry, he is the author of many books, including The Alchemy of Finance, The New Paradigm for Financial Markets: The Credit Crisis of 2008 and What it Means, and The Tragedy of the European Union.

DEC 29, 2015, Project Syndicate

NEW YORK – Open societies are always endangered. This is especially true of America and Europe today, as a result of the terrorist attacks in Paris and elsewhere, and the way that America and Europe, particularly France, have reacted to them.

Jihadi terrorists, like the Islamic State (ISIS) and Al Qaeda, have discovered the Achilles heel of our Western societies: the fear of death. By stoking that fear through horrific attacks and macabre videos, the publicists of ISIS awaken and magnify it, leading otherwise sensible people in hitherto open societies to abandon their reason. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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