Föhrenbergkreis Finanzwirtschaft

Unkonventionelle Lösungen für eine zukunftsfähige Gesellschaft

Posts Tagged ‘Greece’

Greeks Lean Heavily on Grandparents’ Pensions

Posted by hkarner - 4. Januar 2018

Date: 03-01-2018
Source: The Wall Street Journal

Retirement funds, a benefit politicians bestowed with abandon for decades, are now the last hope for impoverished Greeks—even young ones

ATHENS—Two years ago, Lumbi Nychas, 33, moved back into his childhood bedroom after sales at his jewelry store shrank drastically. A few months later his sister followed, along with her husband and daughter. Today they all depend largely on the state pension of the siblings’ retired 67-year-old father.

Mr. Nychas and his sister use his bedroom as their workshop and sell their handmade jewelry online. “What I miss most is my serenity, the opportunity to just be alone and relax,” said Mr. Nychas, who would like to earn enough to move back out but doesn’t believe that day—let alone the wherewithal to start his own family—will come soon.

Greece’s pension system, a benefit pumped up over decades by profligate politicians, has become a de facto welfare net for the country’s most vulnerable citizens, with millions of grandparents using what was meant to be retirement money to provide critical support for their extended families.

That broad dependency compounds the pain Greeks feel as the government prepares to enact a new round of pension cuts in 2018 and 2019. Retirees are expected to see their pensions reduced by up to a fifth in what will be the 13th cut implemented since the start of the bailout regime in 2010. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »


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Betting On A Greek Recovery?

Posted by hkarner - 14. Dezember 2017

Wednesday, December 13, 2017, Observing Greece

Having just finished our regular 3-month autumn stay in Greece, it’s a good time to reflect on the impressions I could gather and what may be in store for Greece until we return there next spring. Obviously, the all-important questions are: Has Greece really turned the corner (economically, that is)? Are we perhaps witnessing the beginning of an accelerated turn-around? In short: has the time come to bet on a Greek recovery?

There have been different views in recent months. Some, like the reputable American investor Kyle Bass, predicted that „investors are getting ready to pour billions back into the Greek economy„. Others considered talk about Greek economic recovery as „fake news in action„. Today, it was Bloomberg who headlined an article „Betting on the Greek Recovery.

What stands out is that all commentators focus on the macro-side of things: Will Greece successfully exit the program? Will Greece be able to return to markets? Will yields on Greek bonds decline further? Are bank shares rising? Do banks report profits? Etc. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Griechische Wirtschaft verlor im Sommer kräftig an Schwung

Posted by hkarner - 4. Dezember 2017

4. Dezember 2017, 14:15 derstandard.at

Steigende Exporte verhelfen dem krisengebeutelten Griechenland dennoch zu Wirtschaftswachstum, wenn auch zu langsamerem

Athen – Steigende Exporte haben der griechischen Wirtschaft in den Sommermonaten das dritte Quartal in Folge zu Wachstum verholfen. Allerdings fiel das Plus beim Bruttoinlandsprodukt von Juli bis September mit 0,3 Prozent merklich geringer aus als in der ersten Jahreshälfte, wie das Statistikamt am Montag in Athen mitteilte. Im zweiten Quartal hatte es noch zu einem Plus von 0,8 Prozent gereicht, zu Jahresbeginn zu 0,7 Prozent. Damit hinkt das unter einem hohen Schuldenberg ächzende Land dem Aufschwung in der Eurozone hinterher: Dort wuchs die Wirtschaft im abgelaufenen Vierteljahr mit 0,6 Prozent doppelt so schnell. „Die Erholung geht weiter“, sagte Eurobank-Chefvolkswirt Platon Monokroussos. „Weniger positiv ist allerdings, dass die Investitionen sehr schwanken und noch keinen überzeugenden Aufwärtstrend signalisieren.“ Die Exporte zogen um 5,0 Prozent zum Vorquartal an. Auch eine florierende Tourismussaison und höhere Staatsausgaben trugen das Wachstum. Dagegen investierten die Unternehmen weniger in Maschinen, Fahrzeuge und andere Ausrüstungen.

Finanzhilfen wehrten Kollaps ab

Griechenland muss seit 2010 mit internationalen Finanzhilfen vor dem finanziellen Kollaps bewahrt werden. Das laufende dritte Hilfspaket in Höhe von bis zu 86 Milliarden Euro läuft im August 2018 aus. Athen hofft, bis dahin das nötige Vertrauen an den Finanzmärkten zurückgewonnen zu haben, um sich wieder eigenständig Kapital beschaffen zu können. Die EU-Kommission erwartet in diesem Jahr ein Wachstum von 1,6 Prozent, 2018 sollen es sogar 2,5 Prozent sein. Dann dürfte auch die Arbeitslosenquote zumindest etwas zurückgehen, die derzeit mit mehr als 20 Prozent so hoch ist wie in keinem anderen Euro-Land.

Auf weitere Reformen geeinigt

Griechenland und seine internationalen Geldgeber einigten sich am Wochenende auf weitere Reformen, die die Grundlage für die Auszahlung weiterer Hilfsgelder sein könnten. Die Vereinbarung umfasst zahlreiche Punkte, etwa Finanzfragen,

Reformen am Arbeitsmarkt und im Energie-Bereich, den Umgang mit faulen Krediten und Privatisierungen. Die Euro-Finanzminister wollen sich noch am Montag mit dem Thema beschäftigen. Sollten sie die Vereinbarung billigen, könnten weitere fünf Milliarden Euro an Krediten aus dem insgesamt 86 Milliarden Euro umfassenden dritten Hilfsprogramm fließen. Griechenland hofft, dass es im August 2018 wie geplant auslaufen kann. (APA, 4.12.2017) – derstandard.at/2000069014023/Griechische-Wirtschaft-waechst-weiter-wenn-auch-langsamer

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Manufacturing Sector Starts Growing!

Posted by hkarner - 9. September 2017

Tuesday, September 5, 2017, Observing Greece

The latest report by IHS Markit about the Greek manufacturing sector has got to be the best news in ages! It says that:

* the Greek manufacturing sector growth, i. e. the Purchasing Managers Index (PMI), climbed to the highest level since August of 2008!
* it was bolstered by BOTH domestic and foreign demand!
* and the rate of jobs growth was the sharpest in over 17-1/2 years!

I am reminded of an article which a wrote 4 months ago, titled „The Gut Says: ‚Greece Is On The Rebound!‚“

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What Britain’s Brexit Negotiations Can Learn From Greece

Posted by hkarner - 1. September 2017

Date: 31-08-2017
Source: The Wall Street Journal By Simon Nixon

To succeed with talks, the U.K. needs to prepare public opinion for inevitable trade-offs, costs

Former Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis has become an unlikely hero to many in the U.K.

If the Brexit negotiations have got off to a tempestuous start after the summer break, blame Yanis Varoufakis.

It appears that top of the summer reading list for some senior British ministers was the former Greek finance minister’s book “Adults in the Room”—his account of the Greek debt crisis in which he played a starring role in the first half of 2015.

Mr. Varoufakis has become an unlikely hero to many in the U.K.: To those on the left, he is feted as a leader of the global antiausterity resistance; to the euroskeptic right, he is championed as the man who came close to delivering their dream of destroying the euro. Now his book is being trawled at the highest levels of the British government for insights into how to handle Brexit.

For many directly involved in the Greek crisis—not least in Greece itself—this lionizing of Mr. Varoufakis is surreal. They regard his portrayal of plucky Greece bought to its knees by an inflexible Brussels bureaucracy, while supposed allies stood aside terrified of alienating their German paymasters as seriously distorted.

In essence, many claim that what actually happened in Greece is this: a populist government was elected on the basis that it could persuade the rest of the eurozone to write off its debts with no strings attached. When the eurozone rejected this “have-your-cake-and-eat-it” proposal, Mr. Varoufakis engaged in six months of brinkmanship, convinced that the EU would ultimately capitulate to prevent wider damage to the eurozone—until Athens itself capitulated, signing up the deal that was on the table all along, having achieved nothing but to damage its own economy.

There are indeed lessons for the U.K. from the Greek crisis but the risk is that it draws the wrong ones. The government published a series of Brexit position papers this month which Prime Minister Theresa May and Brexit minister David Davis say shows that the U.K.—in contrast to Greece —is coming up with constructive proposals to advance the negotiations. Yet many of these papers are as threadbare as the papers Mr. Varoufakis circulated when similarly seeking to win in the court of public opinion. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Tools for Cleaning Up Europe’s Bad Debt: 18-Wheeler and a ‘Strong Stomach’

Posted by hkarner - 10. August 2017

Date: 09-08-2017
Source: The Wall Street Journal

Lack of documentation, strategic defaulters stymie banks’ efforts to get nonperforming loans off books

When a small Italian bank was looking to buy a portfolio of nonperforming loans last year, its due diligence turned up an unpleasant surprise: Virtually all the documentation for the 40,000 loans was on paper.

With each loan dossier consisting of about 1,000 pages, “we were talking about several 18-wheelers full of paper,” recalls Andrea Clamer, head of Banca Ifis IF -1.24% SpA’s bad-loans unit. So he knocked the price down by 10%, paying less than 5% of the loans’ €1 billion face value. Teams of employees have since spent months manually sorting and scanning all the paper.

Efforts have accelerated to combat the bad-loan problem afflicting much of southern Europe. In Italy, where 16% of all loans are nonperforming, banks may shed more than €60 billion in bad loans this year, according to PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, partly as a result of this summer’s €25 billion government bailout of three ailing lenders. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Greece Gets Solid Demand for First Bond Issuance in Three Years

Posted by hkarner - 27. Juli 2017

Date: 26-07-2017
Source: The Wall Street Journal

Government sees as first move to wean country from new bailouts

Greece got solid demand Tuesday for its first bond issuance in three years, in what the government sees as the first of several moves that will enable the debt-ridden country to wean itself from new bailouts.

Tuesday’s deal included an invitation for holders of a bond coming due in 2019 to swap their securities for new ones due in 2022.

Greece sold €3 billion worth of the 2022 bond, Greek government officials and bankers said. About half of that is new money, and half is existing investors in the 2019 bond who switched, according to one of the banks managing the deal.

The new bond matures in August 2022 and will yield 4.625%. The 2019 bond is yielding around 3.2%, so investors will be paid a decent premium for participating in the swap. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Some Interesting Debt Issues

Posted by hkarner - 20. Juli 2017

Wednesday, July 19, 2017,  Observing Greece

This article from the Ekathimerini suggests that the Yanis Varoufakis who had just become Finance Minister was quite different from the Yanis Varoufakis who had been seduced by fame only a few months later. The article quotes a document which Greece had submitted at the February 16 Eurogroup meeting (February of 2015, that is). In it, views were expressed by the Greek side which were reasonable and appropriate. Here is an excerpt:

„In this document, the debt-to-GDP ratio is calculated in terms of net present value and estimated at 135 percent. The document dating from just three weeks after the elections – and repeatedly citing the head of the European Stability Mechanism, Klaus Regling – states in a special appendix that: “The misunderstanding regarding Greece’s solvency is owed to the fact that the blunt 175 percent debt-to-GDP number does not fully describe the actual burden of public debt over the Greek economy.” The borrowing conditions of the European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF) as well as Greek Loan Facility (GLF) loans (the latter being the bilateral arrangements of the first bailout) are characterized as highly concessionary.“

I should add that in my communications with Varoufakis prior to his becoming Finance Minister, we had exchanged views along the same lines and I felt confident that he would pursue negotiations along these lines. Well, somewhere along the lines there was an abrupt personality change! Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Österreich verdiente 240 Millionen Euro mit Griechenland-Hilfe

Posted by hkarner - 12. Juli 2017

András Szigetvari12. Juli 2017, 16:09 derstandard.at

Bisher sind 111 Millionen an Zinsen an das Finanzministerium geflossen. Die Nationalbank erzielte einen Erlös von 190 Millionen

Wien – Eine Anfrage der deutschen Grünen an Finanzminister Wolfgang Schäuble hat frischen Wind in eine alte Debatte über den Stellenwert der europäischen Solidarität gebracht. Die Grünen wollten von dem CDU-Politiker wissen, wie viel Gewinn die Bundesrepublik mit den Nothilfen für das hoch verschuldete Griechenland gemacht habe. Über 1,3 Milliarden Euro seien es gewesen, berichtete die „Süddeutsche Zeitung“. Nicht allein die Deutschen haben sich mit den Griechenland-Programmen ein Körberlgeld verdient – sondern auch Österreich, wie eine Anfrage des STANDARD zeigt. Österreich hatte Griechenland 2010 einen bilateralen Kredit in Höhe von rund 1,56 Milliarden Euro zur Verfügung gestellt. Dafür hat die Republik bisher 111,44 Millionen Millionen an Zinsen erhalten. Das sind nicht die einzigen Einnahmen der Republik. Auf dem Höhepunkt der Schuldenkrise hatte die Europäische Zentralbank (EZB) begonnen, in einem ersten, damals noch zögerlich aufgesetzten Notprogramm Staatsanleihen von Krisenländern zu kaufen. Die EZB erwarb dabei auch massenhaft griechische Staatspapiere.

Bis zum Februar 2012 hatte die Notenbank griechische Anleihen im Wert von gut 42,7 Milliarden Euro gekauft. Danach wurde das Kaufprogramm beendet. Die griechische Regierung muss seither auf die Anleihen Zinsen bezahlen.

Auch Nationalbank beteiligte sich Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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A Plea For Greek Elites!

Posted by hkarner - 23. Mai 2017

Saturday, May 20, 2017, Observing Greece

I had never heard of Mr. Aristides Alafouzos before. Like many foreigners, I have practically zero knowledge of the Greek elite (political, economic, social or otherwise) except for those who are in the media all the time. Whether one likes the term ‚elite‘ or not, every society, even a communist one, produces its own elites. Some are artificial elites (i. e. hereditary or appointed), others are natural ones (meritocracy, charisma, etc.).

I learned about Mr. Alafouzos through two obituaries in the Ekathimerini (here and here). It seems clear that Mr. Alafouzos was one of the natural elites.

There is a German saying which cannot well be translated into English: „Wie der Herr, so das Gescherr“. One translation might be: „Like master, like man.“ Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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