Föhrenbergkreis Finanzwirtschaft

Unkonventionelle Lösungen für eine zukunftsfähige Gesellschaft

Posts Tagged ‘USA’

Infrastructure Plan Falls Flat for Investors

Posted by hkarner - 20. Februar 2018

Date: 19-02-2018
Source: The Wall Street Journal

President Donald Trump’s infrastructure plan has left investors in infrastructure firms unimpressed

The nonfederal to federal funding ratio of President Donald Trump’s Incentives Program is far above the one typical of large projects such as the new Tappan Zee Bridge in New York.

Maybe it should be called “Infrastructure Weak.”

In the days following the 2016 U.S. presidential election, investors took President-elect Donald Trump at his word that he would open the floodgates of federal spending and deregulation to fix America’s creaking transport, energy and water systems. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »


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(Not only American) banks pay depositors less than online accounts

Posted by hkarner - 19. Februar 2018

Date: 18-02-2018
Source: The Economist

They seem to be relying on the power of inertia to retain their customers—a risky strategy

EVERYONE knows that interest rates are rising—except, perhaps, one group: American savers who have put $12trn in bank accounts. They have seen the government’s deposit guarantee, purportedly designed to protect them, become a ticket for banks to receive free money. For evidence, look no further than the ubiquitous bank branches dotting America’s high streets.

Those seeking a home for their money find that, unlike petrol stations or grocers, banks are not required to post their most important price, the interest rate. Ask and you will be referred to a specialised member of staff. After a wait, numbers are typed into a computer, followed by pauses for thought, a bit of throat clearing and, often, comments that the current rates on offer may not exceed inflation. Then come hints, doubtless filtered through a compliance department, of the higher returns available on the bank’s investment offerings, which, of course, carry risks (and fees). Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Germany’s Coffers Are Overflowing, But No One Is Talking About Tax Cuts

Posted by hkarner - 19. Februar 2018

Date: 18-02-2018
Source: The Wall Street Journal

Despite huge government surpluses and comparatively low debt, lowering taxes is off the table

The German government never had so much money or so many ideas about how to spend it. The one thing that isn’t being discussed is giving it back to taxpayers.

Tax cuts—a fixture of the political debate in the U.S., where the government hasn’t balanced its books in decades—are barely on the agenda here, even though Germany’s next government is expected to post a consolidated budget surplus of roughly €50 billion ($62 billion) between now and 2021, according to finance ministry calculations.

“It is sort of a through-the-looking-glass world,” said John Kornblum, a former U.S. ambassador to Germany, of the two countries’ differing attitudes. “Traditionally Germans have been in favor of hoarding resources rather than lowering government expenditures.” Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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How does Chinese tech stack up against American tech?

Posted by hkarner - 17. Februar 2018

Date: 15-02-2018
Source: The Economist: Schumpeter

Silicon Valley may not hold onto its global superiority for much longer

AMERICANS, and friends of America, often reassure themselves about its relative decline in the following way. Even if the roads, airports and schools continue to slide, it will retain its lead in the most sophisticated fields for decades. They include defence, elite universities, and, in the business world, technology. Uncle Sam may have ceded the top spot to China in exports in 2007, and manufacturing in 2011, and be on track to lose its lead in absolute GDP by about 2030. But Silicon Valley, the argument goes, is still where the best ideas, smartest money and hungriest entrepreneurs combine with a bang nowhere else can match.

Or is it? American attitudes towards Chinese tech have passed through several stages of denial in the past 20 years. First it was an irrelevance, then Chinese firms were sometimes seen as copycats or as industrial spies, and more recently China has been viewed as a tech Galapagos, where unique species grow that would never make it beyond its shores. Now a fourth stage has begun, marked by fear that China is reaching parity. American tech’s age of “imperial arrogance” is ending, says one Silicon Valley figure. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Americans Can’t Get Enough Consumer Debt

Posted by hkarner - 16. Februar 2018

Back to normal! (hfk)

Date: 15-02-2018
Source: The Wall Street Journal

After taking a breather during the recession, Americans have a voracious appetite again for credit-card, auto loans.

Interest rates are on the rise, but that hasn’t curbed Americans’ appetite for consumer debt.

If anything, consumers are borrowing more on credit cards or through auto loans than they have in years, and lenders seeking growth are happy to oblige them.

Abe Schilling, a 33-year-old car salesman in Great Falls, Mont., said he signed up for more than five credit cards over the past year, from issuers including Capital One Financial Corp. and Discover Financial Services , after he received offers in the mail. He also took out a $36,000 loan to buy a new Jeep Grand Cherokee. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Shale Output Hasn’t Grown This Fast Since Oil Was at $100

Posted by hkarner - 14. Februar 2018

Date: 13-02-2018

Source: The Wall Street Journal

In closely watched report, IEA warns U.S. crude output is set to outpace demand in 2018

LONDON—Unyielding U.S. shale production is expected to overwhelm global oil demand and weigh on prices this year, the International Energy Agency warned Tuesday.

In its closely watched monthly oil-market report, the IEA said crude output by the U.S. and some other producers outside the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries will likely outpace demand in 2018, undermining the market rebalancing over the past year.

The agency called the current climate “reminiscent of the first wave of U.S. shale growth” at the start of this decade, which ultimately flooded the market and caused oil prices to plummet in late 2014.

“Today, having cut costs dramatically, U.S. producers are enjoying a second wave of growth so extraordinary that in 2018 their increase in liquids production could equal global demand growth,” the IEA said. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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What will result from America’s strangely timed fiscal stimulus?

Posted by hkarner - 9. Februar 2018

Date: 08-02-2018
Source: The Economist
Subject: The great experiment

The threat of inflation is less worrying than some investors think

GOOD economic news is not always good for everyone. On February 2nd it was revealed that average hourly wages grew by 2.9% in the year to January—the fastest growth since 2009, at the end of the recession. Stocks promptly tumbled around the world. Investors fretted that inflation might rise, forcing the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates further and faster than expected. Whether the jitters are justified, however, depends on how an extraordinary experiment in economic policy plays out. America is poised to stimulate an economy that is already growing strongly, at a time of historically low unemployment.

Most of the stimulus will come from tax cuts that President Donald Trump signed into law in December. These are worth 0.7% of projected GDP in 2018 and 1.5% of GDP in 2019. On February 18th Senate leaders sketched out a budget deal containing a further fiscal boost. If the proposal passes, defence spending will rise by $80bn this year, pleasing Republicans. Democrats have been offered $63bn in spending on other programmes. The total increase in outlays is worth another 0.7% of GDP. The White House also promises to unveil an infrastructure investment plan on February 12th. Higher spending will add to government borrowing that, after tax cuts, is already likely to reach almost $1trn, or 5% of GDP, by 2019 (see chart 1). Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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The markets deliver a shock to complacent investors

Posted by hkarner - 9. Februar 2018

Date: 08-02-2018
Source: The Economist

Out of a clear blue economic sky, volatility returns and may linger

EVERY good horror-film director knows the secret of the “jump scare”. Just when the hero or heroine feels safe, the monster appears from nowhere to startle them. The latest stockmarket shock could have been directed by Alfred Hitchcock. The sharp falls that took place on February 2nd and 5th followed a long period where the only direction for share prices appeared to be upwards.

In fact the American market had risen so far, so fast that the decline only took share prices back to where they were at the start of the year (see chart). And although a 1,175-point fall in the Dow Jones Industrial Average on February 5th was the biggest ever in absolute terms, it was still smallish beer in proportionate terms, at just 4.6%. The 508-point fall in the Dow in October 1987 knocked nearly 23% off the market.

Still, surprise rippled round the world. Between January 29th and early trading on February 7th, the MSCI Emerging Markets Index dropped by 7.5%. The FTSE 100 index fell by 8.2% from its record high, set in January. A late recovery on February 6th, in which the Dow rebounded by 2.3% (or 567 points), restored some calm.

What explains the sudden turmoil? Perhaps investors had been used to good news for so long that they had become complacent. In a recent survey investors reported their highest exposure to equities in two years and their lowest holdings of cash in five. Another sign of potential complacency was the unwillingness of investors to pay for insurance against a market decline, something that showed up in the volatility, or Vix, index. Funds that bet on the continuation of low volatility lost heavily.

The wobble may also reflect a decision by investors to rethink the economic and financial outlook. Ever since 2009 central banks have been highly supportive of financial markets through low interest rates and quantitative easing (bond purchases with newly created money). There was much talk of an era of “secular stagnation”, in which growth, inflation and interest rates would stay permanently low.

But the Federal Reserve and the Bank of England are now pushing up interest rates, and the European Central Bank is cutting its bond purchases. Future central-bank policy seems much less certain. A pickup in global economic growth may naturally lead to fears of higher inflation. The World Bank warned last month that financial markets could be vulnerable on this front.

Bond yields have been moving higher since the autumn; the yield on the ten-year Treasury bond, 2.05% on September 8th, reached 2.84% on February 2nd. On that day American employment numbers were released, showing that the annual rate of wage growth had climbed to 2.9%. That suggested inflation may be about to move higher. Furthermore, the recent tax-cutting package means that the federal deficit may be over $1trn in the year ending September 2019, according to the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, a bipartisan group. Making such a large amount of bonds attractive to buyers might require higher yields. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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US Foreign Policy and the Missing Left

Posted by hkarner - 9. Februar 2018

Michael Walzer

Michael Walzer is Professor Emeritus at the Institute for Advanced Study. His most recent book is A Foreign Policy for the Left.

US foreign policy under Donald Trump has been a disaster, marked by pointless militarism, nuclear saber rattling, support for some of the world’s most brutal regimes, and now a presidential demand for a Soviet-style military parade. Yet the US left has remained all but silent on foreign-policy questions, embracing a tacit isolationism that consigns it to irrelevance.

PRINCETON – Consider the disaster of American foreign policy under President Donald Trump. While the president spent his first year in office trading insults with the dictator of North Korea, that country has moved steadily forward with its nuclear program, and the United States has moved steadily closer to a war that no one wants.

In Syria last April, US forces attacked government installations with a one-time bombing raid that, with no political or diplomatic follow-through, achieved nothing. Similarly, after arming Kurdish militias to fight the Islamic State (ISIS) on its behalf, the US has stood by and watched Turkey attack those same men and women.

As a result of the Trump administration’s abandonment of Obama-era restraints on the use of airpower, a US-led coalition “victory” in Mosul, Iraq, caused thousands of civilian casualties and left a pile of rubble. As in Vietnam, America had to destroy the city in order to save it. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Donald Trump und die schwindende weiche Macht der USA

Posted by hkarner - 7. Februar 2018

Joseph S. Nye, Jr., a former US assistant secretary of defense and chairman of the US National Intelligence Council, is University Professor at Harvard University. He is the author of Is the American Century Over?

CAMBRIDGE – Die Beweislage ist eindeutig. Die Präsidentschaft Donald Trumps untergräbt Amerikas weiche Macht. Im Rahmen einer jüngst von Gallup durchgeführten Umfrage in 134 Ländern gaben lediglich 30 Prozent der Befragten an, eine positive Einstellung gegenüber den Vereinigten Staaten unter der Führung Trumps zu haben – ein Rückgang von beinahe 20 Punkten seit der Präsidentschaft Barack Obamas. Das Pew Research Center stellte fest, dass China mit einem Beliebtheitswert von 30 Prozent beinahe zu den USA aufgeschlossen hat. Und im britischen Index The Soft Power 30rutschte Amerika vom ersten Platz im Jahr 2016 auf den dritten Platz im letzten Jahr ab.

Trumps Verteidiger erwidern, dass es auf weiche Macht nicht ankommt. Trumps Haushaltsdirektor Mick Mulvaney verkündete einen „Haushalt der harten Macht” als er die Mittel für das Außenministerium und die Behörde für Internationale Entwicklung um 30 Prozent kürzte. Für die Verfechter des Ansatzes „Amerika zuerst” ist es zweitrangig, was der Rest der Welt denkt. Haben sie Recht?

Weiche Macht beruht nicht auf Zwang oder Zahlungen, sondern auf Anziehungskraft. Sie bindet Menschen ein anstatt Druck auf sie auszuüben. Auf persönlicher Ebene wissen kluge Eltern, dass ihre Macht größer und dauerhafter ist, wenn sie ihren Kindern solide ethische Werte vorleben anstatt auf Prügel, Geldgeschenke und versteckte Autoschlüssel zu setzen. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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