Föhrenbergkreis Finanzwirtschaft

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Archive for 25. März 2018

Warum Europa sich nicht an einem Handelskrieg beteiligen sollte

Posted by hkarner - 25. März 2018

Die Wahrheit über die „Unschuld“ der EU! (hfk)

Hans-Werner Sinn, Professor of Economics and Public Finance at the University of Munich, was President of the ifo Institute and serves on the German economy ministry’s Advisory Council. He is the author, most recently, of The Euro Trap: On Bursting Bubbles, Budgets, and Beliefs.

MÜNCHEN – Europa hat zwar eine Verschnaufpause im Handelsstreit mit den USA erwirken können, doch wird Präsident Trump nicht locker lassen. Das Damokles-Schwert höherer Zölle auf Aluminium, Stahl und schließlich auch deutschen Autos lässt er an einem dünnen Faden hängen, weil er die amerikanischen Produzenten schützen möchte. Dabei nimmt er die Belastung der amerikanischen Verbraucher in Kauf. Wie stets setzt sich das Produzenteninteresse gegenüber dem Verbraucherinteresse durch, weil der Streitwert pro Kopf bei ersteren höher als bei letzteren ist und sie deshalb stärkere Lobbys aufbauen können.

Die EU-Kommission hat gedroht, auf die neuen Zölle der USA mit eigenen Strafzöllen auf Importe aus Amerika zu reagieren. Sie hat eine Liste von möglichen Sanktionen ausarbeiten lassen, die von Zöllen auf den Import der Motorräder der Marke Harley Davidson bis zu einer Vielzahl von Einzelprodukten reicht, um bei den betroffenen amerikanischen Produzenten Gegendruck auf Trump zu erzeugen. Das hat offenbar gewirkt.

Doch so plausibel diese Reaktionen der EU-Kommission auf den ersten Blick erscheinen mögen, sie führen in die falsche Richtung, weil sie einem Handelskrieg Vorschub leisten, der allen schadet, weil er die Arbeitsteilung unterminiert. Wie echte Kriege lassen sich Handelskriege nicht gewinnen. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Can Markets Handle So Much Trouble at Once?

Posted by hkarner - 25. März 2018

Date: 24-03-2018
Source: The Wall Street Journal

Investors are suddenly facing a trio of negative forces: trade tariffs, tech swoons and central bank tightening

Trouble comes in threes. In isolation, the headwinds facing global markets—fears of a trade war, problems for the highflying tech sector, and central banks tightening policy—could be manageable. Taken together, they spell continued turbulence.

The turnaround in markets has been sharp after January’s bright start. U.S., European and Japanese stocks are all down for the year. Bonds have offered no haven: U.S. Treasurys, investment-grade corporate and high-yield bonds are all sporting negative returns. Emerging markets are faring better, but may suffer if risk aversion persists.

On trade, markets may have become too relaxed last year, when hawkish noises from the U.S. administration failed to turn into anything significant. Even as tensions ratcheted up, economists were quick to argue that tariffs on steel and aluminum would have little direct impact on the global economy. But President Donald Trump’s actions on China, and China’s swift response, clearly increase the risk of a trade war. The Bank of England warned this week that greater protectionism could hit global growth and push global inflation up, a toxic mix.

Meanwhile, the tech troubles centered on Facebook , down 11% this week, are a new shock that may undermine a popular trade that appeared unstoppable until recently. Analysts at Nomura suggest that a regulatory or customer backlash against businesses built around data might burst a bubble that so far hasn’t been seen as one, with investors too focused on past crisis flashpoints like banks and sovereign debt.

It shouldn’t be a shock that central banks are gently removing stimulus: it has been discussed endlessly for months. But ultraloose policy has underpinned markets by suppressing volatility, encouraging investors to pile into risky stocks and bonds.

That increases the chance of sharper market moves even as central banks proceed cautiously. One sign of rising concern is that corporate-bond spreads, which initially appeared robust in the wake of the stock-volatility shock in February, are now moving steadily wider. In both the U.S. and Europe, high-yield bond spreads are some 0.5 percentage point wider than their tightest point this year, while investment-grade spreads are about 0.25 point wider.

Set against all of this is still the sense of momentum in the global economy that supported markets in 2017, and the continued softness of the dollar. But investors fretted about how much those factors had pushed up asset prices last year even when shocks were fewer and further apart. Stocks and bonds are a little cheaper now, but not much, and the threats to the outlook are clearer. Caution is advised.

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What about next time?

Posted by hkarner - 25. März 2018

Date: 23-03-2018
Source: The Economist

Britain pulls off a diplomatic coup against Russia at the EU
After Brexit, it will be a lot harder

ONE question confronting Britain and the European Union is how to maintain foreign-policy and security co-operation after Brexit. Theresa May, Britain’s prime minister, often notes that failure to find agreement would harm the security interests of both sides. On March 22nd that observation found a pointed form of expression at an EU summit in Brussels, following the recent nerve-agent attack on a Russian émigré and his daughter in Salisbury. After some agile British diplomacy the EU’s 28 leaders issued a joint statement declaring that the only plausible explanation for the attack was that Russia was responsible for it.

This language, tougher than Mrs May had dared to hope, clears the way for further collective EU action, including on beefing up defensive instruments against Russian hybrid warfare, later this year. Nor was the European response limited to words. The EU’s ambassador to Russia has been temporarily withdrawn to Brussels, and on March 26th several countries, possibly including France and Germany, are expected to announce that they are following the British example and expelling Russian diplomats. Angela Merkel, Germany’s chancellor, reportedly asked her fellow leaders to state which of them would agree to do so. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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The undead: A compelling look at the flaws in the Chinese economy

Posted by hkarner - 25. März 2018

Date: 24-03-2018
Source: The Economist

But Dinny McMahon’s predictions might yet prove too gloomy

China’s Great Wall of Debt. By Dinny McMahon. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt; 256 pages; $28. Little, Brown; £14.99.

THE zombies that appear in Chinese legends are not quite the same as their Western counterparts. They feast on blood, not brains, and hop about rather than staggering forwards. The differences extend to economics. Chinese officials, like their Western peers, openly fret about zombie companies—insolvent firms kept alive by banks—but are far less willing to kill them off. This small excursion into the world of the undead is one of many gems in Dinny McMahon’s new book, a vivid account of China’s economic problems, from debt to falsified data.

Mr McMahon, a veteran financial correspondent in China, most recently with the Wall Street Journal, wears his knowledge lightly, whether discussing ghost stories or balance sheets. His book, “China’s Great Wall of Debt”, is notable for two reasons. It is one of the clearest and most thorough statements of an argument often made about the country: that its government has relied on constant stimulus to keep growth strong, an addiction that is bound to backfire. Second, he comes closer than any previous writer to covering the Chinese economy as Michael Lewis, the hugely popular author of “The Big Short”, might do. His analysis is informed but accessible, animated by anecdotes and characters, some colourful, some verging on tragic. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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