Föhrenbergkreis Finanzwirtschaft

Unkonventionelle Lösungen für eine zukunftsfähige Gesellschaft

Archive for Juli 2018

DARPA has an ambitious $1.5 billion plan to reinvent electronics

Posted by hkarner - 31. Juli 2018

Date: 30-07-2018

Source: Technology Review

The US military agency is worried the country could lose its edge in semiconductor chips with the end of Moore’s Law.

Last year, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), which funds a range of blue-sky research efforts relevant to the US military, launched a $1.5 billion, five-year program known as the Electronics Resurgence Initiative (ERI) to support work on advances in chip technology. The agency has just unveiled the first set of research teams selected to explore unproven but potentially powerful approaches that could revolutionize US chip development and manufacturing.

Hardware innovation has taken something of a back seat to software advances in recent years, and that bothers the US military for several reasons.

End of an era Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Jack Ma’s Giant Financial Startup Is Shaking the Chinese Banking System

Posted by hkarner - 31. Juli 2018

Date: 30-07-2018
Source: The Wall Street Journal

Ant Financial is transforming how Chinese run their daily finances, drawing flak from big banks and warning shots from the government

It handled more payments last year than Mastercard , controls the world’s largest money-market fund and has made loans to tens of millions of people. Its online payments platform completed more than $8 trillion of transactions last year—the equivalent of more than twice Germany’s gross domestic product.

Ant Financial Services Group, founded by Chinese billionaire Jack Ma, has become the world’s biggest financial-technology firm, driving innovations that let people use their phones for buying insurance as easily as groceries, enabling millions to go weeks at a time without using physical cash.

That success is also putting a target on the company’s back. China, even more than the U.S., is now under pressure to reckon with the disruptive power of a financial-technology giant.

China’s banks complain Ant siphons away their deposits, causing them to pay higher interest rates, and is a factor leading them to close branches and ATMs. One commentator at a state-owned television channel described Ant’s huge money-market fund as “a vampire sucking blood from banks.”

Ant Financial was founded by Jack Ma, chairman of Alibaba.

Chinese authorities, clearly increasingly uncomfortable about Ant’s scale, have started to put limits on the activities it can pursue. Earlier this year, China’s central bank undermined a years-long effort by Ant to build a national credit-scoring system. The bank effectively prevented Ant’s system from being used by institutions making loans. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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The US is at Risk of Losing a Trade War with China

Posted by hkarner - 31. Juli 2018

Joseph E. Stiglitz, a Nobel laureate in economics, is University Professor at Columbia University and Chief Economist at the Roosevelt Institute. His most recent book is Globalization and Its Discontents Revisited: Anti-Globalization in the Era of Trump.

The “best” outcome of President Donald Trump’s narrow focus on the US trade deficit with China would be improvement in the bilateral balance, matched by an increase of an equal amount in the deficit with some other country (or countries). In fact, significantly reducing the bilateral trade deficit will prove difficult.

NEW YORK – What was at first a trade skirmish – with US President Donald Trump imposing tariffs on steel and aluminum – appears to be quickly morphing into a full-scale trade war with China. If the truce agreed by Europe and the US holds, the US will be doing battle mainly with China, rather than the world (of course, the trade conflict with Canada and Mexico will continue to simmer, given US demands that neither country can or should accept).

Beyond the true, but by now platitudinous, assertion that everyone will lose, what can we say about the possible outcomes of Trump’s trade war? First, macroeconomics always prevails: if the United States’ domestic investment continues to exceed its savings, it will have to import capital and have a large trade deficit. Worse, because of the tax cuts enacted at the end of last year, the US fiscal deficit is reaching new records – recently projected to exceed $1 trillion by 2020 – which means that the trade deficit almost surely will increase, whatever the outcome of the trade war. The only way that won’t happen is if Trump leads the US into a recession, with incomes declining so much that investment and imports plummet. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Europe’s Trade Victory in Washington

Posted by hkarner - 31. Juli 2018

Simon Johnson, a former chief economist of the IMF, is a professor at MIT Sloan, a senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics, and co-founder of a leading economics blog, The Baseline Scenario. He is the co-author, with James Kwak, of White House Burning: The Founding Fathers, Our National Debt, and Why It Matters to You.

US President Donald Trump holds himself out as a brilliant negotiator, and his supporters regard his trade policy as a perfect example of his success. But in his recent trade talks with the Europeans, Trump was clearly out of his depth.

WASHINGTON, DC – On July 25, when US President Donald Trump appeared in front of the White House with Jean-Claude Juncker, the president of the European Commission, their joint statement and spoken remarks surprised many. The two sides agreed “to work together toward zero tariffs, zero non-tariff barriers, and zero subsidies on non-auto industrial goods.” It seemed like a remarkable U-turn for Trump, who, until recently, was threatening the European Union with higher tariffs – and extolling the value of trade tariffs (which are essentially taxes on imported goods) more generally. He even called the EU a “foe” as recently as June.

Substantive follow-through on the joint US-EU statement would represent a major policy shift for the Trump administration. But this is no triumph for Trump; rather, he seems to have been outmaneuvered by adroit European diplomats. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Der Euro am Beginn des dritten Jahrzehnts

Posted by hkarner - 31. Juli 2018

20 Jahre Euro-Geschichte in 5 Minuten: großartig! (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 – Wenn man den Zeitpunkt der unwiderruflichen Festlegung der Wechselkurse im Mai 1998 als Startpunkt setzt, ist der Euro nun zwanzig Jahre alt. Das erste Jahrzehnt war Party in Südeuropa, im zweiten herrschte Katerstimmung und das dritte steht im Zeichen einer zunehmenden politischen Radikalisierung.

Die Party kam durch den billigen Kredit zustande, den die Kapitalmärkte Südeuropa unter dem Schutz des Euro zur Verfügung stellten. Plötzlich war Geld genug da, die Gehälter der Staatsbediensteten und die Renten zu erhöhen und außerdem mehr private Konsum- und Investitionsausgaben zu finanzieren.

Die Geldflut erzeugte inflationäre Wirtschaftsblasen, die am Ende des ersten Jahrzehnts platzen, als die Lehman-Krise auch Europa erfasste. Zurück blieben völlig überteuerte Torsos einst halbwegs wettbewerbsfähiger Volkswirtschaften, die in ernste Schwierigkeiten gerieten, weil sich die Kapitalmärkte einer Fortführung der Kreditfinanzierung verweigerten. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Causa Winterkorn: „Vorwürfe bestätigen das Bild der Raffgier“

Posted by hkarner - 30. Juli 2018

Die neuen Vorwürfe gegen Winterkorn wegen Steuerhinterziehung sollten zu mehr Distanz seitens Volkswagen gegenüber dem Ex-Chef führen, fordert Autoexperte Dudenhöffer.

Angesichts der Ermittlungen gegen Ex-VW-Chef Martin Winterkorn wegen Steuerhinterziehung fordert Auto-Experte Ferdinand Dudenhöffer vom Autokonzern, sich stärker von seinem ehemaligen Vorstandsvorsitzenden zu distanzieren.

„Wenn sich herausstellt, dass die Vorwürfe wahr sind, wird die Marke VW weiter stark beschädigt. Denn die Vorwürfe bestätigen das Bild der Raffgier“, sagte Dudenhöffer der „Neuen Osnabrücker Zeitung“ (Montagsausgabe). Um sich selbst zu schützen, müsse VW seinerseits Klage gegen Winterkorn einreichen und vorsorglich Ansprüche stellen, sollte dieser als Vorstandsvorsitzender seine Pflichten verletzt haben.

Auch auf noch ausstehende Verfahren gegen den Wolfsburger Autokonzern im Zusammenhang mit dem Diesel-Skandal könnten die Ermittlungen Auswirkungen haben, sagte Dudenhöffer der Zeitung: „Dadurch steigt die Wahrscheinlichkeit, dass VW die Aktionärsforderungen in Milliardenhöhe erfüllen muss.“ Die Ermittlungen würden die Glaubwürdigkeit der Zeugen steigern, die sagen, Winterkorn habe frühzeitig von Manipulationen gewusst und nicht reagiert. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Bond yields reliably predict recessions. Why?

Posted by hkarner - 30. Juli 2018

Date: 27-07-2018
Source: The Economist: Free exchange

An inverted yield curve may mean a few things, none of them cheering

AS NAMES for market phenomena go, “inverted yield curve” lacks a certain punch. It is no “death cross” or “vomiting camel”. But what it lacks in panache, the inverted yield curve more than makes up for in predictive potency. Just before each of America’s most recent three recessions the yield curve for government bonds “inverted”, meaning that yields on long-term bonds fell below those on short-term bonds. Economists and stockmarkets seem unconcerned that inversion looms again (see chart). But despite generally strong economic data, there is reason to heed the warning signs flashing across bond markets.

There is nothing particularly magical about the yield curve’s predictive power. Short-term interest rates are overwhelmingly determined by changes in central banks’ overnight policy rates—for example, the federal funds rate in America, which has risen by 1.75 percentage points since December 2015. Long-term rates are less well-behaved. They reflect the average short-term rate over a bond’s lifetime, but also a “term premium”: an extra return for holding a longer-term security.

An inverted yield curve may mean a few things, none of them cheering. Markets may expect future short-term rates to be lower than present ones, presumably because the central bank has chosen to cut rates in response to economic weakness. Or markets may think they need less compensation for holding long-term bonds in the future. That might reflect expectations that inflation will fall, or that appetite will grow for the safety provided in financial storms by long-run government debt. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Jean-Claude Juncker’s Unexpected Deal

Posted by hkarner - 30. Juli 2018

Date: 29-07-2018

How the European Commission President Won Over Trump

This week, Washington and Brussels struck an unexpected agreement to lift levies in the tariff conflict between the U.S. and the EU. The move represents a victory for all sides, but especially beleaguered European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker.

So, how did he ultimately manage to secure a deal with Donald Trump that nobody had thought possible? Jean-Claude Juncker found himself sitting in an unadorned meeting room at a Washington think tank, where he reflected on the hours he had just spent at the White House. He appeared visibly exhausted, but was in a buoyant mood. „I did it,“ he said.

He had spent more than two hours negotiating with Trump before finally reaching an agreement that was greeted with relief both in the European Union and the United States. Trump has now said he will not impose punitive tariffs on European cars — at least for the time being. In exchange, the Europeans have expressed a willingness to buy more liquefied petroleum gas and soybeans from the U.S. and, among other things, discuss how tariffs on other goods can be abolished. The president has agreed there will be no further tariffs, Juncker announced proudly, and that existing tariffs on cars would not be increased.

Of course, it’s still too early to tell how long that agreement will hold. Many fear all it would take is one nasty tweet from Trump for the whole thing to come unspun again. And then comes the fact that the deal does nothing to solve the many other problems the Europeans have with this unpredictable American president. The man who, for now at least, seems prepared to call a kind of cease-fire in the trade conflict, but still wants to abolish NATO, threatens Iran and dismisses climate change as nonsense largely promulgated by Europeans. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Is Europe America’s Friend or Foe?

Posted by hkarner - 30. Juli 2018

Jean Pisani-Ferry, a professor at the Hertie School of Governance (Berlin) and Sciences Po (Paris), holds the Tommaso Padoa-Schioppa chair at the European University Institute and is a Mercator senior fellow at Bruegel, a Brussels-based think tank.

Since Donald Trump took office as US president, a new cottage industry in rational theories of his seemingly irrational behavior has developed. On one issue, however, no amount of theorizing has made sense of Trump: his treatment of America’s oldest and most reliable ally.

PARIS – Since Donald Trump became US president in January 2017, his conduct has been astonishingly erratic, but his policies have been more consistent than foreseen by most observers. Trump’s volatility has been disconcerting, but on the whole he has acted in accordance with promises made on the campaign trail and with views held long before anyone considered his election possible. Accordingly, a new cottage industry in rational theories of Trump’s seemingly irrational behavior has developed.

The latest challenge is to make sense of his stance towards Europe. At a rally on June 28, he said: “We love the countries of the European Union. But the European Union, of course, was set up to take advantage of the United States. And you know what, we can’t let that happen.” During his recent trip to the continent, he called the EU “a foe” and said it was “possibly as bad as China.” Regarding Brexit, he declared that British Prime Minister Theresa May should have “sued” the EU. Then came the truce, on July 25: Trump and Jean-Claude Juncker, the president of the European Commission, agreed to work jointly on an agenda of free trade and World Trade Organization reform. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Private equity is piling into health care

Posted by hkarner - 30. Juli 2018

Date: 29-07-2018

Source: The Economist

High prices and stiff competition mean investors must think creatively

LAST month KKR, a private-equity firm, announced that it would buy Envision Healthcare, one of America’s largest providers of doctors to hospitals. The deal was valued at $9.9bn, including debt. If shareholders agree to the sale, it will be the largest in a string of health-care investments by KKR, including an ambulance service, a company that helps treat children with autism and a maker of medical devices.

“Ten years ago only a few private-equity houses had dedicated health-care teams,” says Dmitry Podpolny of McKinsey, a consultancy. “Today nearly everyone does.” Last year saw a frenzy of deal activity, the highest by value since the go-go year of 2007.

Private-equity funds are not the only ones keen on the industry. Institutional investors, tech-focused funds, generalist asset managers and corporate buyers are sniffing around, too. As they chase a limited number of targets, they are pushing up prices. Not high enough to dampen interest, however: health care is loved by investors for its resilience in downturns. It held up in 2000, when the dotcom bubble burst, and in 2008, during the financial crisis. People who need medical care rarely wait for an economic recovery. “Particularly late in the cycle, or if you’re leveraged, the sector can offer stability,” says Jim Momtazee of KKR. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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