Föhrenbergkreis Finanzwirtschaft

Unkonventionelle Lösungen für eine zukunftsfähige Gesellschaft

Archive for 9. September 2018

They sure love trump

Posted by hkarner - 9. September 2018

Date: 08-09-2018
Source: The Wall Street Journal By Abigail Shrier
Subject: The New Jewish-Christian Amity

Social changes lead to a confluence of worldviews between the Orthodox and the evangelical.

Soon after meeting the fellow who would become my best friend in law school, I confessed something to him: I’m pro-Israel. For Orthodox Jews, this allegiance isn’t simply a matter of politics. As close to my heart as any article of faith is the land God granted Abraham with the promise to multiply his descendants like stars in the sky.

I had reason to be nervous about broaching the subject. I’d spent the previous two years, 2000-02, as a graduate student in Europe, a period that coincided with the second intifada. I learned then—with every fire-bombed synagogue in France and the cries of the rabble that stormed Oxford carrying Israeli flags defaced with swastikas—that otherwise sensible people can transmogrify when the topic of Israel arises.

My new friend, one of only two Southern Baptists I’d known, let out a barking laugh. The North Carolina church where he’d worshiped as an undergraduate, he told me, had two flags: One American, the other Israeli. Supporting and loving Israel was part of his faith, too. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

Posted in Artikel | Verschlagwortet mit: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Alibaba’s Jack Ma to Step Down as Executive Chairman

Posted by hkarner - 9. September 2018

Date: 08-09-2018
Source: The Wall Street Journal

The co-founder of the Chinese e-commerce giant plans to focus on his philanthropic efforts

Jack Ma plans to focus on philanthropy after stepping down as Alibaba’s executive chairman.

BEIJING—Jack Ma, the billionaire tycoon who rode the currents of China’s rising affluence to build one of the world’s biggest e-commerce companies, is planning a transition out of his role as executive chairman at Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. to focus on philanthropy and other pursuits, according to a person familiar with the situation.

Mr. Ma is expected to disclose his plans, including a timeline for the transition, on Monday, when he turns 54, the person said. The person emphasized that Mr. Ma wants to ensure an orderly transition and plans to remain on the company’s board.

The New York Times earlier reported that Mr. Ma plans to step down Monday.

In his years at the helm of Alibaba, Mr. Ma emerged as China’s most famous business leader, known for his charisma and his candor, and a fluency in English honed by years of teaching the language and guiding American tourists along the shores of scenic West Lake in his hometown of Hangzhou.

“Jack overseas and at home is the most recognizable symbol of the China internet explosion and more broadly the China consumer boom,” said Duncan Clark, a business consultant in China and author of “Alibaba: The House that Jack Built.” “So you have an iconic figure associated with these two major forces, who plans to relinquish his executive functions.” Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

Posted in Artikel | Verschlagwortet mit: , , , | Leave a Comment »

What Will Trigger the Next Crisis?

Posted by hkarner - 9. September 2018

Date: 08-09-2018
Source: The Wall Street Journal

Potential threats include bad loans, a euro exodus, China’s debt levels, earthquakes

Italy Dumps the Euro

The recovery of the eurozone from the 2012 bond crisis has been predicated on Italy, Spain and Portugal pledging to meet the European Union’s budget rules, and Germany overlooking the fact they haven’t. As long as countries stick with the project, markets have rightly ignored debts and deficits.

But Italy may be wavering. Italian bond yields spiked in May after two parties with anti-euro leanings tried to form a new government. The crisis could escalate again once politicians return from holidays. Some 59% of Italians want to keep the common currency, official surveys show—the slimmest majority in the eurozone.

If Italy left the euro, Italian banks would face runs on their deposits and would be crushed—sovereign debt accounts for 9% of their assets.// This would paralyze lending and the economy. The shock waves would ripple abroad: Foreigners own 36% of Italian government debt. Markets would lose faith in Spain and Portugal’s debt and eurozone banks outside of Italy, which own $140 billion of Italian debt. This would weigh on the eurozone, one of the world’s three main economic engines.

Posted in Artikel | Verschlagwortet mit: , , | Leave a Comment »

Frankreich optimistisch: EU-Digitalsteuer kommt noch heuer

Posted by hkarner - 9. September 2018

Digitalkonzerne sollen mehr Steuern zahlen. Die Bedenken Deutschlands sollen ausgeräumt werden. Frankreich beharrt auf der Besteuerung beim Verkauf von Nutzerdaten.

Frankreichs Finanzminister Bruno Le Maire hat sich nach dem informellen EU-Finanzministerrat (Ecofin) am Samstag in Wien überzeugt gezeigt, dass es noch heuer eine Einigung zur Besteuerung von Digitalkonzernen kommen werde. Sein Vorschlag, dem EU-Alleingang ein Ablaufdatum zu geben, das mit einer Maßnahme auf OECD-Ebene schlagend wird, solle den Durchbruch bringen.

Die Bedenken von Juristen, dass so eine bedingte Frist nicht zulässig sei, müssten von der EU-Kommission ausgeräumt werden, sagte Le Maire auf Journalistenfragen. „Wir werden daran arbeiten.“ Zugleich räumte er ein, dass Deutschland noch Vorbehalte habe, diese seien verständlich.

Deutschland Finanzminister Olaf Scholz teilt aber Le Maires Optimismus. Eine Einigung auf eine Digitalsteuer bis zum Jahresende sei „möglich“. Man solle nicht den Optimismus aufgeben, noch heuer „zu etwas zu kommen, dem alle zustimmen können“.

Besteuerung auf Ort der Produktion, nicht des Konsums Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

Posted in Artikel | Verschlagwortet mit: , , | Leave a Comment »

Why Italy’s government bonds are so unstable

Posted by hkarner - 9. September 2018

Date: 06-09-2018
Source: The Economist: Buttonwood

If you fret about the euro’s survival, Italian bonds might be the last asset you sell

A SHREWD observer of London’s after-work drinking culture once offered the following bit of mathematical heterodoxy to explain it: “There is no number between two and six.” If you go out with colleagues and stop at two drinks, you will be able to summon the will to go home at a reasonable hour. After a third drink, another will seem like a good idea—and another, and another. You will be on course for a hangover.

A modified version might apply to Italy’s bond market. As long as yields are two-point-something or lower, they are sustainable. At that level, the bonds are safe. Italy’s public finances are stable. As yields rise above 3%, they may become unmoored. The bonds start to look like speculative instruments. The stability of public finances is in question. Yields might plausibly spike to 6% or more.

It is thus a source of anxiety that Italy is on its metaphorical third pint, with yields on ten-year government bonds hovering around the 3% mark. In part this reflects lingering concerns that Italy’s coalition government will table a budget for 2019 that breaks the euro zone’s fiscal rules. More generally, investors are asking themselves what is the right price for Italian risk. The wiser among them admit that they simply do not know. For Italy’s bonds come with a set of implicit options attached that make them tricky to price.

To make sense of Italy’s bond markets, it helps first to make a distinction between safe assets and credit securities. An American Treasury bond is the archetypal safe asset. Yields are largely determined by the interest-rate policy of the Federal Reserve. Bondholders do not worry much about the federal government’s ability to service its debts, which are, after all, in the currency it issues. The typical credit security is a dollar bond issued by a company, such as GM or Apple, or by a country, such as Brazil or Mexico. Its yield will vary with that of a Treasury of the same maturity, with an interest-rate premium, or “spread”, to compensate bondholders for the risk that the borrower might not earn enough dollars to pay its debts. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

Posted in Artikel | Verschlagwortet mit: , , | Leave a Comment »

Britain’s unemployment is ultra-low, but its wages are ultra-measly

Posted by hkarner - 9. September 2018

Date: 08-09-2018
Source: The Economist

Normally, low joblessness means high wages. No longer

BRITAIN is enjoying a jobs miracle. Its rate of unemployment is one of the
lowest in Europe. Before long, and possibly as soon as the next release of data on September 11th, it could fall below 4%, a level not breached since 1974. The ruling Conservative Party is rightly proud of its record on jobs. Yet the economy that has got so many people into work has proved incapable of generating pay rises. Real wages are lower than a decade ago. The government may crow about unemployment being at its lowest since the 1970s, but pay growth is at its weakest since the Napoleonic wars.

A few factors help to explain why Britain enjoys such little unemployment. The OECD, a club of mostly rich countries, says the country has the least-regulated labour market in Europe. Hiring and firing staff is easier than in countries such as France, where the hassle of getting rid of bad employees makes bosses think twice about taking someone on in the first place. (France’s unemployment rate is more than twice Britain’s.) Policy measures have made Britons more employable. Since the 1980s governments have more closely supervised jobseekers’ efforts, which some research has associated with lower long-term unemployment.

In the past, low unemployment went hand in hand with juicy pay rises. The fewer the number of people looking for work, the harder employers had to compete for staff. The inverse relationship between unemployment and wage growth is summed up by the Phillips curve, named after William Phillips, who first plotted it in 1958. Yet in recent years the relationship has become much weaker. Economists in many rich countries, including America and Germany, have noticed that low unemployment is not generating the high wage-growth that might be expected. Britain’s ultra-low rate of joblessness, coupled with particularly weedy wages, makes it perhaps the biggest Phillips-buster of all.

As Britain’s unemployment rate has fallen, economists have been stumped time and again by the failure of pay to respond. In 2013 calculations from the Bank of England suggested that 6.5% was as low as unemployment could go without wages beginning to push inflation above its target rate. Within a few months that estimate had edged down to 5.5%. Then 5% or so. Now that rate is thought to be just over 4%.

Yet even as unemployment heads below that level, there is little sign of pay pressure. If the relationship seen during the 2000s held today, workers would be enjoying nominal wage rises of some 5% a year (see chart 1). Instead, the most recent official reading shows annual nominal wage growth of just 2.7% in June. Data from Adzuna, a job-search website, show that advertised salaries fell from June to July. The upshot is that wages have done worse in Britain lately than almost anywhere in the rich world (see chart 2). To explain this unusually poor performance, consider three factors.

First, productivity. In the long run, changes in real wages depend on how much workers produce per hour. Since the financial crisis, productivity growth has stagnated. Low government and business investment may be in part to blame. Britain’s manufacturing industry uses fewer robots per worker than Slovakia’s. Moreover, in recent years Britain has seen the rapid growth of low-productivity jobs in industries such as hospitality. The number of hairdressers has risen by 50% since 2010. The growth of such jobs has dragged down average productivity. Our analysis suggests that the changing composition of jobs in the British labour market has pushed down the average real wage by more than 2%.

Yet productivity is not the whole story. Pay per person has deviated further from its pre-crisis trend than productivity growth. In the past year output per hour has at last picked up, but wages have not. This points to a second reason for Britain’s weak wage-growth: workers’ diminished bargaining power.

The decline of unionisation is commonly blamed for this. In the 1960s, when unions were mightier, the share of GDP accruing to workers was far higher. But the kneecapping of the unions in the 1980s predates the recent stagnation in pay. Perhaps a more important reason is the government’s cap on public-sector pay rises. Since 2011 salaries for most public employees have increased by no more than 1% a year in nominal terms (though in recent months the cap has been raised). The pay premium typically enjoyed by public-sector workers has diminished. This also affects the private sector. If bosses are less fearful of losing workers to the state, they will be less inclined to offer pay rises.

Changes to welfare policy from 2010, including tougher rules on who gets benefits, and declines in their value, have also played a role. Cross-country analysis of welfare policy is scanty, but it suggests that the reforms in Britain have been especially hard-nosed. As losing a job becomes a scarier prospect, workers may not bargain so hard for better pay.

In trying to puzzle out the breakdown of the relationship between unemployment and pay observed by Phillips, economists are increasingly asking themselves whether the labour market is really as tight as the headline unemployment rate suggests. Few Britons are out of work altogether, but 8% say they would like to work more hours than they do, a higher share than before the financial crisis. A delivery driver, for instance, might want more errands than he is offered. Such workers may be more concerned about securing extra hours than demanding higher pay.

All this means that the labour market may need to tighten even more before wage growth improves substantially. Yet with inflation above the official 2% target, the Bank of England’s monetary-policy committee has lately taken a hawkish turn, raising interest rates in an effort to dampen the spending and investment that would raise demand for labour. Meanwhile, with Brexit six months away, the outlook for economic growth is poor. It may be some time before Britain’s miraculous unemployment figures are matched by equally impressive wage growth.

Posted in Artikel | Verschlagwortet mit: , , , | Leave a Comment »

The perils of China’s “debt-trap diplomacy”

Posted by hkarner - 9. September 2018

Date: 08-09-2018
Source: The Economist: Banyan

Malaysia’s rethink of Chinese belt-and-road projects has lessons for other countries

IN AUGUST, three months after his opposition coalition trounced the Malaysian party that had ruled since independence, Mahathir Mohamad, the country’s 93-year-old new prime minister, travelled to Beijing. His aim was to tell President Xi Jinping that his country was now the Malaysia that can say no.

Dr Mahathir’s predecessor, Najib Razak, had hewed close to China. His loss at the polls resulted more than anything from the stench of corruption within his ruling United Malays National Organisation (UMNO). But his chumminess with China was also a factor. The two issues were entwined.

During Mr Najib’s rule, huge holes appeared in the finances of a state investment vehicle, 1MDB, which Mr Najib chaired. America’s Justice Department estimates that $4.5bn was stolen from the fund by insiders. (Around the same time, nearly $700m turned up in Mr Najib’s own bank accounts.) As 1MDB teetered, Chinese state entities stepped in, taking stakes in 1MDB ventures. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

Posted in Artikel | Verschlagwortet mit: , , | Leave a Comment »