Föhrenbergkreis Finanzwirtschaft

Unkonventionelle Lösungen für eine zukunftsfähige Gesellschaft

Posts Tagged ‘Kastner’

The Evaporation Of The Greek Banking Sector

Posted by hkarner - 7. Dezember 2018

Tuesday, November 13, 2018, Observing Greece

The below statistics (source: Bank of Greece) show the development of the aggregate balance sheet figures of the Greek banking sector (all banks except the Bank of Greece) since the beginning of the financial crisis. Aggregate means that the figures are simply added up and not consolidated, i. e. there may be overstatements in some categories. For the years 2010 and 2015, the figures are as of June. For 2018, the figures are as of September (in BEUR).

2018 2018
vs vs
2010 2015 2018 2010 2015
Claims on domestic financial institutions 19,1 2,1 5,6 -13,5 3,5
Claims on foreign financial institutions 107,4 26,0 13,5 -93,9 -12,5
Domestic loans 273,9 217,1 181,2 -92,7 -35,9
Foreign loans 7,0 4,8 3,1 -3,9 -1,7
Domestic securities 42,9 13,6 11,6 -31,3 -2,0
Foreign securities 35,3 56,2 13,8 -21,5 -42,4
Domestic equities 7,0 4,8 3,6 -3,4 -1,2
Foreign equities 11,7 9,1 4,1 -7,6 -5,0
Remaining assets 40,4 52,8 54,8 14,4 2,0
Total assets 544,7 386,5 291,3 -253,4 -95,2
Debt to Bank of Greece 96,1 126,7 12,2 -83,9 -114,5
Debt to domestic banks 7,5 0,3 1,1 -6,4 0,8
Debt to foreign banks 63,8 7,6 23,2 -40,6 15,6
Domestic deposits 223,1 130,5 147,5 -75,6 17,0
Foreign deposits 25,5 9,8 6,9 -18,6 -2,9
Remaining liabilities 98,6 42,7 33,2 -65,4 -9,5
Total liabilities 514,6 317,6 224,1 -290,5 -93,5
Capital & Reserves 30,1 68,9 67,2 37,1 -1,7
Total liabilities & equity 544,7 386,5 291,3 -253,4 -95,2

In 2018, total assets (291 BEUR) were only a little over half the total assets of 2010 (545 BEUR), i. e. a decline of 47%. Put differently, almost half of a most important sector of the Greek economy evaporated. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Greece: Long-Run GDP Growth Prospects Are Poor

Posted by hkarner - 17. August 2018

Friday, August 17, 2018, Observing Greece

Last month, the IMF pubslished its 2018 Article IV Report on Greece and it was widely commented in the media. I have now read the full 80+ pages and can only recommend others to read the full report. It can be found under this link (under the caption Electronic Access, click on Free Full Text).

I focus here on Annex VI about Greece’s Long-Term Growth Potential and I reproduce it below. A summery statement would be: „Ceteris paribus, aging would imply an average yearly decline of 1.1 percentage points in Greece’s labor force during the next four decades. Labor productivity (output per worker) would grow only at about 0.4 percent in the steady state (the rate of TFP growth adjusted for the labor share in output). Long-run GDP growth prospects are thus poor, absent a major change in policies. Structural reforms to raise TFP growth and employment are therefore the only option to achieve higher long-term output growth.“

Below is the Annex VI about Greece’s Long-Term Growth Potential.

1. Greece is set to experience dramatic population aging over the next several decades. In its 2018 Aging Report, the EC projects Greece’s working age population to fall by about 35 percent between 2020 and 2060 due to a shrinking and rapidly aging population. This is among the largest such declines in the Euro Area, and three times the average fall for the Euro Area. Ceteris paribus, aging would imply an average yearly decline of 1.1 percentage points in Greece’s labor force during the next four decades.

2. Greece’s productivity growth has historically been poor. Greece’s underperformance relative to peers is often associated with relatively low openness of the economy and a high share of labor allocated to non-tradable sectors. Total factor productivity (TFP) growth over the last 47 years averaged just ¼ percent annually, by far the lowest in the Euro Area. Assuming this historical average TFP growth rate going forward, labor productivity (output per worker) would grow only at about 0.4 percent in the steady state (the rate of TFP growth adjusted for the labor share in output).

3. A pickup in investment could provide a short-run boost to growth, but productivity and demographics will dominate in the longer run. Investment is bound to recover from its highly depressed level once Greece emerges from the crisis, but the growth effect of this will wane once the capital stock returns to its long-run level. Staff’s medium-term projections already assume a temporary boost to GDP growth from higher investment (with real GDP growth rates averaging close to 2 percent during the investment recovery). Once the transition to the new, higher capital ratio is completed, however, the impact of increased investment will fade and growth dynamics will be determined by the evolution of output per worker and of the number of workers. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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A Plea For Exit From The Eurozone (And The EU As Well!)!

Posted by hkarner - 5. Februar 2018

Tuesday, January 23, 2018, Observing Greece

Here is a passionate plea for Greece to exit the Eurozone (and the EU as well): „Greece – Convenient Victim Or Complacent Masochist?“ The author has quite a resume:

Peter Koenig is an economist and geopolitical analyst. He is also a former World Bank staff and worked extensively around the world in the fields of environment and water resources. He lectures at universities in the US, Europe and South America. He writes regularly for Global Research, ICH, RT, Sputnik, PressTV, The 21st Century (China), TeleSUR, The Vineyard of The Saker Blog, and other internet sites. He is the author of Implosion – An Economic Thriller about War, Environmental Destruction and Corporate Greed – fiction based on facts and on 30 years of World Bank experience around the globe. He is also a co-author of The World Order and Revolution! – Essays from the Resistance.

His conclusion is as follows: 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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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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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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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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Dijsselbloem’s Dutch Flippancy

Posted by hkarner - 23. März 2017

Thursday, March 23, 2017, Observing Greece

I joined a large American bank as a trainee back in 1972. After having gone for over a year through various training programs with fellow MBAs, I was sent into the field where business development was the job description. My first boss was a Dutchman. An unforgettable man. Simply Dutch. The ideal boss to take one down from the academic heights of MBA training programs to the rough field of selling.

His Dutch humor was great for those who could take it and terrible for those who were overly sensitive. The former laughed about the latter for being overly sensitive. The latter asked whether being sensitive wasn’t part of responsible conduct.

MEP Ernest Urtasun (Spain): But you apologize for saying, or for implicitly saying, that the South has spent the money on women and alcohol in the last years? Would you apologize for that?

Jeroen Dijsselbloem (Dutch President of Eurogroup): No, certainly not!

My Dutch boss would have fired a guy who gave such a stupid response. And, frankly, I, too, thought – after listening to that exchange – that Dijsselbloem ought to tender his resignation the very next day. Absolutely irresponsible his insinuation! Some, like Nick Malkoutzis, took it with sarcasm by tweeting: „Dijsselbloem under fire for claiming Southern Eurozone spent money on ‘alcohol & women.’ The rest we just wasted.“ Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Greek Parties: Adjust Your Programs To What Voters Really Want!

Posted by hkarner - 13. März 2017

Friday, March 10, 2017, Observing Greece

A frequent experience with management consultants is that their beautifully phrased ideas and proposals, all in PowerPoint format, don’t work so well during implementation. Many times the reaction to that is to involve the consultants even more, based on the belief that, eventually, their beautifully phrased ideas and proposals simply had to show results.

Every once in a while a common sense manager asks a different kind of question, namely: „If we want to increase efficiency in, say, Operating Division A, why don’t we ask the people concerned how they think we could accomplish that?“ More often than not, the result of such common sense is miraculous.

The non-profit think tank Dianeosis made a survery where they tried to find out „What Greeks believe“. The results are astonishing! Here are some excerpts: Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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The Bitch Is Back!

Posted by hkarner - 10. Februar 2017

Thursday, February 9, 2017, Observing GreeceKastner

Suddenly, the Greek crisis is back. Or so all the media have reported in recent days. In actual fact, the Greek crisis is neither back nor has it ever been gone – it’s just there!

The question is only whether the crisis is dormant or coming back to life. It is dormant when there are no ‚decision points‘ (no major payments due, no major deadlines to be kept, etc.). When a new tranche has just been disbursed with a new review date set in 6 months, one can rest assured that there will be no Greek crisis until 6 months later. When there are decision points all the time, there will be a Greek crisis all the time. We are now, once again, approaching decision points. And the bitch is back.

As always, the Greek Analyst nails it above. I think even if all of Greece’s debt were forgiven, the problems would continue. They wouldn’t be felt for a number of years because, starting from zero, Greece could again start borrowing heavily. But that wouldn’t change the process: as soon as a decision point comes up, the crisis returns.

Marcus Walker of the WSJ put together a coherent thread about the timeline of the Greek crisis where he traces Greece’s problems to the fiscal mismanagement from 2002-09. Not quite! I believe that today’s Greek crisis has its origins back in the early 1980s when two tectonic movements reinforced each other: the spendthrift policies of the PASOK/Papandreou (father) government and the financial benefits of having joined the EU. This is not to blame PASOK alone. On the contrary, PASOK started it and when ND came to power, they tried to be a cheap copy of PASOK. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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