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Archive for 4. März 2016

Goldman-Chefökonom: „Das Glas ist wieder halb voll“

Posted by hkarner - 4. März 2016

03.03.2016 | 18:39 | Nikolaus Jilch (Die Presse)

Schumacher ccDie Eurozone ist auf dem richtigen Weg, sagt Goldman-Chefökonom Dirk Schumacher. Die Politik der EZB funktioniere, Konjunkturrisken kämen jetzt eher aus den USA und China.

Wien. Die Arbeitslosigkeit sinkt, Wachstum und Inflationsrate ziehen langsam wieder an. Ist die Eurozone nach Jahren der Krise inzwischen aus dem Gröbsten heraus? Ja, sagt Dirk Schumacher, Chefökonom der US-Investmentbank Goldman Sachs in Deutschland.

„Das konjunkturelle Bild sieht okay aus – wenn auch nicht spektakulär. Aber wir glauben, dass man das Momentum des vergangenen Jahres mit einem Wachstum von rund einem Prozent jetzt halten kann. Nicht zuletzt deshalb, weil der niedrige Ölpreis ein massives Konjunkturprogramm ist. Aber auch die Lage auf dem Bankensektor ist besser“, sagt Schumacher im Interview mit der „Presse“ beim Fondkongress in Wien. Goldman erwartet für das kommende Jahr ein Wachstum von 1,4 Prozent in der Eurozone, gefolgt von 1,5 Prozent 2017.

„Das war ein Geniestreich“

Die Hauptrisken für die Eurozone seien inzwischen extern: „Wie stabil ist die Lage in den USA? Was passiert in China? In der Eurozone selbst gibt es einen durchaus soliden Aufschwung, der sich auch selbst trägt. Das Glas ist wieder halb voll.“ So hätten die Strukturreformen in den Krisenländern tatsächlich gewirkt. Die Regierungen in Spanien, Italien und auch Frankreich hätten die richtigen Schritte bei Bürokratieabbau, Arbeitsmarkt und Rechtssystem gesetzt. „Da ist einiges geschehen, aber natürlich muss da noch mehr kommen“, sagt Schumacher. „Klar ist aber auch: Die Unterstützung der EZB war notwendig, denn die Märkte hätten da keine Geduld aufgebracht.“ Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Rückschlag für Merkel: Grenzen in Europa bleiben bis Dezember dicht

Posted by hkarner - 4. März 2016

Deutsche Wirtschafts Nachrichten  | 

Die EU ist mit ihrem Bemühen, den Schengen-Raum zu erhalten, vorerst gescheitert. Eine Stellungnahme der Kommission zeigt, dass die EU davon ausgeht, dass die Grenzen bis Dezember geschlossen bleiben – also wesentlich länger als geplant. Damit ist auch Angela Merkels Forderung nach einer umgehenden EU-weiten Lösung der Flüchtlingskrise hinfällig.

Die EU-Kommission glaubt nicht mehr an eine kurzfristige Einigung in der Flüchtlingskrise: Sie hofft allerdings immer noch, dass es eines Tages zu einer Wiederbelebung des Schengen-Raumes kommen könnte. Daher fordert die Kommission die Staaten auf, alle wegen der Flüchtlingskrise verhängten Grenzkontrollen innerhalb des Schengenraums bis Jahresende zu beenden. Bis Dezember müssten „alle internen Kontrollen“ aufgehoben werden, sagte EU-Migrationskommissar Dimitris Avramopoulos am Freitag.

Das Problem der EU-Kommission: Bis auf Deutschland redet kein Staat mehr davon, dass er auf eine EU-weite Lösung setzt. Die meisten Staaten haben Grenzkontrollen wieder eingeführt. Nach den Vorfällen von Köln ist die Stimmung auch in den zu diesem Zeitpunkt noch willigen Staaten gekippt. Die Osteuropäer und Skandinavier hatten allerdings schon vor Silvester reagiert und ihre Grenzen geschlossen. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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First Solar’s Cells Break Efficiency Record

Posted by hkarner - 4. März 2016

Date: 04-03-2016
Source: Technology Review

Lab results herald a new era for cadmium telluride technology.

Driving forward in the race for highly efficient solar cells, First Solar says it has converted 22.1 percent of the energy in sunlight into electricity using experimental cells made from cadmium telluride—a technology that today represents around 5 percent of the worldwide solar power market. The company’s commercial line of solar cells has reached an energy conversion efficiency of 16.4 percent.

The theoretical efficiency limit for cadmium telluride cells is above 30 percent—significantly higher than that of conventional silicon. (Today’s commodity silicon-based solar panels have efficiencies between 16 and 18 percent; their theoretical limit is thought to be well below 30 percent.) First Solar, which is the only major manufacturer of cadmium telluride solar panels left in the United States, is working to bring commercial solar panels closer to that limit. “The gap between what’s theoretically achievable and what’s out there today has been pretty broad,” says Raffi Garabedian, First Solar’s chief technology officer. “We are closing that gap at a breakneck pace.” Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Death of a fracking pioneer: A gambler on shale

Posted by hkarner - 4. März 2016

Date: 03-03-2016
Source: The Economist

Aubrey McClendon dies in a car crash a day after a federal indictment

McClendon“To hell with OPEC”

IT WAS a tragic end to a life that epitomised the winner-takes-all spirit of American capitalism. On March 2nd, the day after he was indicted by a federal grand jury on charges of rigging bids for oil-drilling rights, Aubrey McClendon, a founder of Chesapeake Energy and one of the pioneers of America’s natural-gas revolution, died after driving his car at high speed into a wall.

Mr McClendon, 56, was one of the high-rollers of the shale boom—and of its bust. He turned a $50,000 investment in 1989 in Chesapeake, based in Oklahoma City, into what became one of the two biggest natural-gas producers in the United States, with an acreage of leaseholds almost the size of West Virginia. He was also one of the champions of natural gas as a relatively clean fuel compared with coal, and an advocate for freeing America from dependence on Middle Eastern oil. “To hell with OPEC”, he was fond of saying.

Yet his ride was a white-knuckled one even by the standards of America’s oil industry. He quickly seized on the potential of two emerging technologies, horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing (fracking), to unlock vast new sources of natural gas and change the face of American energy. But it was his zeal in amassing land by borrowing heavily that gave him his edge—and ultimately brought him down. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Regulatory treatment of sovereign debt: Risk weights vs large exposure limits

Posted by hkarner - 4. März 2016

Peter Goves, Michael Spies, Alessandro Tentori 02 March 2016, voxeu

Director, Citigroup

Vice President, Citigroup

Head of International Rates Strategy, Citi

Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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US, China and Ultra-Low Oil Prices

Posted by hkarner - 4. März 2016

By on March 1, 2016  RGE EconoMonitor Steinbock

The US-led petrodollar era is being surpassed by a multipolar oil age in the Middle East. The transition is permeated by fundamental change and financial speculation that is penalizing the roles of the US and China in the region.   

As producers have scrambled to gain market share from competitors, prices remain more than 70% down from summer 2014. Recently, oil ministers from Saudi Arabia, Russia, Venezuela and Qatar announced an agreement to freeze their oil output levels if other major producers will follow suit. In the near-term, that is not likely.

The current status quo heralds more economic, market and military volatility in the world’s most explosive region.

Eclipse of US-Saudi partnership          

After the 1945 Yalta Conference, which effectively divided Europe, the ailing President Franklin D. Roosevelt rushed to USS Quincy where he met Saudi Arabia’s King Ibn Saud. Bypassing the Brits who had been courting the Saudis for oil, FDR and Saud agreed to a secret deal, which required Washington to provide Saudi Arabia military security in exchange for secure access to supplies of oil. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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The Global Economy’s Stealth Resilience

Posted by hkarner - 4. März 2016

Photo of Ngaire Woods

Ngaire Woods

Ngaire Woods is Dean of the Blavatnik School of Government and Director of the Global Economic Governance Program at the University of Oxford.

MAR 3, 2016, Project Syndicate

OXFORD – Last week, Christine Lagarde, the International Monetary Fund’s managing director, warned that if countries do not act together, the global economy could be derailed. Likewise, the OECD has warned that countries must move “urgently” and “collectively” to boost global growth prospects. Yet the G-20 finance ministers and central-bank governors to whom these entreaties were directed failed to agree any such action at their recent meeting in Shanghai.

To be sure, the communiqué released after the meeting includes a pledge to use “all policy tools – monetary, fiscal, and structural – individually and collectively” to “foster confidence and preserve and strengthen the recovery.” But the communiqué also reflects distinct divisions – particularly with regard to the role of monetary and fiscal policy in stimulating growth – among the finance ministers and central bankers who agreed on its text. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Time for Helicopter Money?

Posted by hkarner - 4. März 2016

Photo of Kemal Derviş

Kemal Derviş

Kemal Derviş, former Minister of Economic Affairs of Turkey and former Administrator for the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), is a vice president of the Brookings Institution.

MAR 3, 2016, Project Syndicate

WASHINGTON, DC – “Out of ammo? The Economist recently asked of monetary policymakers. Stephen Roach has called the move by major central banks – including the Bank of Japan, the European Central Bank, and the Bank of Sweden – to negative real (and, in some cases, even nominal) interest rates a “futile” effort that merely sets “the stage for the next crisis.” And, at the February G-20 finance ministers meeting, Bank of England Governor Mark Carney reportedly called these policies “ultimately a zero-sum game.” Have the major advanced economies’ central banks – which have borne the burden of sustaining anemic post-2008 recoveries – really run out of options?

It certainly seems so. Central-bank balance sheets have swelled, and policy rates have reached their “near zero” lower bounds. There is plenty of cheap water, it seems, but the horse refuses to drink. With no signs of inflation, and growth still tepid and fragile, many anticipate chronic slow growth, with some even fearing another global recession. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Switzerland Fights Uphill Battle Against Strong Franc

Posted by hkarner - 4. März 2016

Date: 03-03-2016
Source: The Wall Street Journal
Subject:
A supercharged currency has seriously challenged export-dependent Switzerland

Lugano, Switzerland. In response to the Swiss franc’s strength, companies have sought  to stay competitve through extra working hours, pay freezes and stepped-up production.

ZURICH—For many advanced economies, economic growth just under 1% is pretty pedestrian. Not so in Switzerland, where a huge rise in the value of its currency threatened to upend the export-dependent economy.

Against that backdrop, 0.9% growth in gross domestic product last year was pretty impressive. Swiss companies—particularly the midsize manufacturers that help anchor the roughly $700 billion economy—proved nimble in adjusting costs to stay competitive through extra working hours, pay freezes and stepped-up production.

But doubts persist on how much longer Switzerland can withstand the effects of its supercharged currency, which makes exports pricier and erodes overseas revenue when it is converted back into francs.

“Companies are doing all kinds of things, they have been very adaptive,” said Hans Hess, president of the manufacturers’ association Swissmem. “But some companies are really struggling and jobs have been lost and have had to cut back on their investments,” he said. His group expects job losses and company closures to accelerate in 2016 and 2017 as Switzerland digests the franc’s rise. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Banks and insurers are obviously suffering? What about savers?

Posted by hkarner - 4. März 2016

Date: 03-03-2016
Source: The Economist
Subject: The euro-zone economy: The new mediocre

The ECB will do something at its meeting next week, but to what effect?

Euro area good bad uglyTHE launch, a year ago, of the European Central Bank’s programme of quantitative easing (QE—creating money to buy bonds) sparked elation. Growth was picking up, consumers had a spring in their step and stockmarkets were jubilant. A year later spirits are sombre as the recovery flags, stockmarkets languish and deflation returns. After prescribing more medicine in December, the ECB is expected to increase the dose again on March 10th. But there are increasing doubts about its effects.

Consumer prices fell by 0.2% in the year to February (see chart), reinforcing the case for greater stimulus. Though this fall was driven by a renewed collapse in oil prices, the core inflation index, which excludes volatile items such as energy, is also looking wan. Prices rose by just 0.7% in the year to February, among the lowest readings since the euro was born 17 years ago. Despite a year of QE, during which the ECB has bought €60 billion ($65 billion) of bonds a month, it appears to be no closer to its goal of inflation of nearly 2% than when it started.

Unemployment has at least carried on falling, to 10.3% in January, reflecting the continuing economic recovery since the spring of 2013. But the upturn has failed to live up to the promise of early 2015, when GDP growth reached 0.5% (an annualised rate of 2.2%). That turned out to be the (not very) high point. Expansion subsequently slowed, to 0.3% (an annualised rate of 1.1%) in the final quarter of last year. GDP in the single-currency club is still below its peak in early 2008, whereas America’s is almost 10% above its pre-crisis high from eight years ago. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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