Föhrenbergkreis Finanzwirtschaft

Unkonventionelle Lösungen für eine zukunftsfähige Gesellschaft

Posts Tagged ‘Economist’

A ranking of financial economists by centrality

Posted by hkarner - 18. Januar 2016

Co-Pierre Georg, Michael E. Rose 16 January 2016, voxeu

Senior Lecturer at the African Institute of Financial Markets and Risk Management, University of Cape Town; Research Economist, Deutsche Bundesbank

PhD student at the African Institute of Financial Markets and Risk Management, University of Cape Town

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Chinese acquisitions abroad: Better than barbarians

Posted by hkarner - 16. Januar 2016

Date: 14-01-2016
Source: The Economist

Rich-world firms are warming to the idea of being Chinese-owned

DESPITE the anaemic state of the global economy, companies from mainland China are investing abroad like never before. Chinese firms closed overseas deals worth $61 billion last year, according to a new analysis by the Rhodium Group, a consulting firm. This was up by 16% on 2014, and is the highest level on record. What is more, these firms are not all chasing natural resources such as oil and copper, as in the past.

On January 12th Dalian Wanda, a Chinese property and entertainment conglomerate, confirmed its long-rumoured purchase of Legendary Entertainment for about $3.5 billion. The acquisition of the American film studio behind “Jurassic World”, “The Dark Knight” and other blockbusters fulfils the dream of Wang Jianlin, Wanda’s boss, of becoming a global movie mogul. The same day, news surfaced that Beijing Kunlun Tech, a Chinese online-games firm, has acquired a majority stake in Grindr, an American social network for gay men, for about $93m.

Chinese foreign purchasesHowever, perhaps the most intriguing Chinese foreign purchase of the week is the acquisition by a state-owned chemicals firm of an obscure German maker of machinery to process rubber and plastic. China National Chemical Corp, more commonly known as ChemChina, bought KraussMaffei for about $1 billion.

ChemChina itself rose from obscurity thanks in large part to Ren Jianxin, its chairman. Three decades ago he borrowed 10,000 yuan (less than $2,000 at today’s rates) to start a solvents factory. In the following years, he forged the ChemChina empire by taking under his wing more than 100 distressed state-owned chemical plants across the country, with the government retaining ownership. He minimised lay-offs by shifting workers to one of the group’s sidelines, Malan Noodle, a restaurant chain. He professionalised management by bringing in outside consultants. Even a foreign chemicals boss who insists that “90% of ChemChina’s assets are rubbish” grudgingly praises Mr Ren’s vision and management style. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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The other side of paradise

Posted by hkarner - 16. Januar 2016

Date: 14-01-2016
Source: The Economist: Schumpeter

Glamorous tech startups can be brutal places for workers

SOFTWARE firms are supposed to be a paradise for “talent”. Not only are their workers fabulously paid, but they are showered with perks as well. They can gorge themselves on free food cooked by Cordon Bleu chefs. They can snooze in nap pods or, if they feel more energetic, work out in on-site gyms or take yoga classes. There are dry-cleaners on the premises to do their laundry and buses to ferry them to and from work.

There is some truth in this. Such companies have few resources other than their employees’ brains. And the battle for those brains is becoming more intense as the digital revolution reconfigures swathes of the business world. Giants such as Google and Facebook are seeking to reinforce their position at the heart of this new economy by investing heavily in research and expanding into ever more areas. Google’s headcount has grown by 157% in the past five years, to about 60,000. Smaller startups are also scrambling to attract talent; and manufacturers are responding to the digitisation of their industries by hiring coders and other tech geeks. Carmakers such as GM, Ford, Nissan and Toyota have all set up research outposts in Silicon Valley. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Rare metals: Unobtainiums

Posted by hkarner - 16. Januar 2016

Date: 14-01-2016
Source: The Economist

They are obscure, yet essential. Why rare metals make the world go round

The Elements of Power: Gadgets, Guns and the Struggle for a Sustainable Future in the Rare Metal Age. By David Abraham. Yale University Press, 319 pages; $30 and £20.

LIKE this reviewer, many parents will have given their children electric toothbrushes for Christmas, hoping that the sensors that buzz after two minutes will keep them brushing longer than their flimsy elbow grease. Both generations may, however, be ignorant of the fact that in that time the toothbrushes produce more than 62,000 strokes; that the power to generate such motion comes from tiny magnets using three rare metals, neodymium, dysprosium and boron; and that some of these metals are so coveted that in 2010 they were at the centre of a dangerous rift between China and Japan.

In all, an electric toothbrush is made of 35 metals. The journey they take to children’s gums may involve China, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Chile, Russia, South Korea, Indonesia, Turkey and other countries too. They are rare, says David Abraham in “The Elements of Power”, a thought-provoking book that follows the trail of these elements, not because they are necessarily scarce or hard to extract. It is because they are used in tiny yet essential quantities—like yeast in a pizza. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Referendum madness

Posted by hkarner - 15. Januar 2016

Date: 14-01-2016
Source: The Economist: Charlemagne

Plebiscite-pushers have got Europe’s voters hooked on the cheap rush of direct democracy

ONE dodgy referendum lost Ukraine Crimea. Another threatens to lose it the European Union. On April 6th the Dutch public will vote on the “association agreement” the EU signed with Ukraine in 2014. The deal cements trade and political links with one of the EU’s most important neighbours; the prospect of losing it under Russian pressure triggered Ukraine’s Maidan revolution. But last summer a group of Dutch mischief-makers, hunting for a Eurosceptic cause they could place on the ballot under a new “citizens’ initiative” law, noticed that parliament had just approved the deal. Worse luck for the Ukrainians.

Unlike the Crimeans in 2014, the Dutch will not be voting under foreign occupation. But nor are they likely to have familiarised themselves with the Ukraine agreement’s 2,135 pages. Jean-Claude Juncker, the president of the European Commission, says a Dutch “No” could unleash a “continental crisis”. That is a stretch: as the referendum is non-binding, the Dutch government could ratify the agreement anyway, and its most important provisions are already in force. But Mr Juncker put his finger on something, because national referendums on EU matters are turning into a throbbing headache. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Economicus Terra Incognita

Posted by hkarner - 11. Januar 2016

By John Mauldin, January 10, 2016Mauldin Video

“The most reliable way to forecast the future is to try to understand the present.”

– John Naisbitt

“We really can’t forecast all that well, and yet we pretend that we can, but we really can’t.”

– Alan Greenspan


Welcome to 2016. Tradition dictates that you spend the first few weeks or so reading forecasts for the coming year. I can say with certainty that most of them will be wrong. A smaller number may hit the target. Unfortunately, no one knows which forecasts will fall into which category.

For the last 16 years my first letter of the year has also been a forecast issue, and I will continue to go with that tradition – but with one major caveat. I do not base my forecasts on mathematical models or some finely honed methodology, but on my sense of where the economic world stands today and where I think it might likely be in the near future. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Economists Tackle the Refugee Crisis: ‘There Are No Easy Solutions’

Posted by hkarner - 7. Januar 2016

Date: 06-01-2016
Source: The Wall Street Journal

Economists are studying economic implications of the influx, including for employment of native-born Turks.

Millions of migrants are on the move, seeking shelter from war, poverty and persecution at home. Political leaders across Europe and the U.S. are engaged in passionate, often divisive debates about refugee resettlement and repercussions for society and security.

Economists are taking notice.

It’s “a crucial policy issue that is really very much underserved by our profession,” Columbia University economist Jeffrey D. Sachs said at the American Economic Association’s annual conference in San Francisco. He and more than a half-dozen other economists and experts spent two hours Monday discussing new research on asylum seekers, migration policy and related topics at a conference session titled “60 Million Refugees,” a reference to a United Nations estimate last year of refugees and other forcibly displaced people.

In the end, there remained more difficult questions than simple answers. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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The Closed Marketplace of Economic Ideas

Posted by hkarner - 4. Januar 2016

Photo of Federico Fubini

Federico Fubini

Federico Fubini is a financial columnist and the author of Noi siamo la rivoluzione (We are the revolution).

JAN 4, 2016, Project Syndicate

MILAN – Imagine that you fell asleep in 2006 and woke up today. The world economy would be barely recognizable. While you were dreaming of real-estate riches, the United States and Europe were hit by the most crippling financial crisis in almost 80 years, and China’s statist economy swiftly overtook Germany and Japan to become the world’s second largest (and, despite its recent slowdown, is poised to surpass the US).

Given such massive, unexpected shifts, you might be even more surprised by what didn’t change: the way economists think about themselves and their discipline.

To see this, one need look no further than the Ideas.RePEc.org website. RePEc (Research Papers in Economics) arguably provides the closest thing to a credible hierarchy of economists, not unlike the ATP’s rankings of professional tennis players. The site, entirely open and free (thanks to hundreds of volunteers in 82 countries), maintains a decentralized online database of around two million items of economic research, including working papers, journal articles, books, and software. Its index of influence assesses the number of citations for each author, weighted by impact and discounted by citation age (otherwise, Adam Smith and Karl Marx would likely still top the list). Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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European insurance firms: One rule to bind them all

Posted by hkarner - 3. Januar 2016

Date: 31-12-2015
Source: The Economist

New regulations will give a better sense of the soundness of Europe’s insurers

LIKE banks, insurers need a cushion of capital to ensure that they can meet customers’ claims in the event of unexpectedly big payouts or poor investment performance. As at banks, these cushions have at times proved woefully thin. In theory, all that changes on January 1st—in the European Union, at least—when a new set of regulations known as Solvency 2 comes into force. After more than ten years of negotiation, all European insurers will have to follow uniform rules on capital that are designed to make the firms more robust and allow investors and customers to assess their strength much more easily.

Not everyone is thrilled at this prospect. Mention “upcoming regulatory changes” to an insurance executive and a tirade inevitably follows about ambiguities and inconsistencies within the new rules, discrepancies in enforcement and the mountains of paperwork involved. Some firms have had to bolster capital in anticipation: Delta Lloyd, a Dutch insurer, announced in November that it would raise €1 billion ($1.1 billion). The rules favour diversified firms, so those that offer just one form of insurance are under pressure to merge. That impetus contributed to several deals involving specialist insurers in 2015, including Fairfax’s purchase of Brit in February and XL’s takeover of Catlin in May. Anxious bosses have trimmed the industry’s own debts to relatively low levels. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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2016’s global wealth forecast

Posted by hkarner - 1. Januar 2016

Date: 30-12-2015
Source: The Economist

Emerging markets gdp growthEMERGING markets have given the global economy most of its muscle since the recession ended in 2009. But in 2016 rich countries will account for their largest share of global growth this decade. The BRICs are in a sorry state. Brazil’s government has been both incompetent and corrupt. Russia’s has been no better, with a dose of military malevolence thrown in. China will perform reasonably well in 2016—if you believe the government’s numbers. By that reckoning, its GDP will rise by around 6.5%. The reality almost certainly will be lower. China is mired in debt and has mismanaged its currency and stockmarkets, sending shocks through the global economy. India looks perkier: it will grow by more than 7%. But that is worse than its average of 8.5% growth between 2005 and 2010. All said, the BRICs will make up only 16% of worldwide growth in 2016.

Against all this, the rich world will look solid, if unspectacular. America’s economy will expand by around 2.5%, and the American jobs machine will crank out at least 2m new positions for a sixth straight year—the first time that has happened since the 1990s. Europe will no longer be threatened by recession or deflation, and the euro zone’s most obvious time-bomb, Greece, has been defused for now. The world economy hasn’t managed growth of more than 4% since 2010. Save for America, 2016 will be another year of repair, recovery, reform and risk for most countries.

World GDP Growth Forecast

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