Today, in Romania, all the significant transactions are calculated in Euros, even though some of them are paid in lei. And "homo economicus" is in every man; all they need is the freedom to make decisions. In the end, the entire economy can be reduced to four words: people respond to incentives! Let's remember the skill of currency dealers on the black market, I the first years of transition, when the currency exchanges were not yet fully liberalized. In order to take their profit, they would keep their dollars in packs, depending on the exchange rate they got them at. I don't think that Romanians will have "cultural shocks" if they were to only operate in Euros, given that the vegetables traders in markets watch the exchange rate to see whether or not they should raise their prices for carrots, radishes, tomatoes, cucumbers, etc. Of course, we are living on the outskirts of the East, where there is no rush. The president of the European Commission, who recently visited our country, when listening to the questions of some politicians, about how Romania didn't want a two-speed Europe, gave us an answer that is worth thinking on: the current treaties of the European Union stipulate the possibility of a 2-speed Europe and it is up to every member state on where it wants to find itself. The trends in the European Union indicate a desire of the member states in the Eurozone to move faster towards integration (there is talk of a common budget of the Eurozone and even of a parliament of the Eurozone...). Member states from outside the Eurozone can not oppose those trends. Romania will have the presidency of the European Union, in the first half of 2019, but unfortunately, Romania's weight in the decision making process for the decisions that concern the Eurozone will be low, because we are not yet part of it. I wish that this once at least, the intention of drawing up a plan of action for the move to the Euro, as well as the switch of this plan to be taken seriously by every politician and institution of the state that are concerned. Let's not forget that Romania, when it was accepted in the European Union, made the commitment to take all the necessary steps to carry out the conditions needed for the adoption of the Euro! (Source bursa.ro)
Friday, June 2, 2017
Tuesday, May 23, 2017
U.K. - The home secretary, Amber Rudd, who will attend this morning’s emergency Cobra meeting, has added to the tributes to emergency services: This was a barbaric attack, deliberately targeting some of the most vulnerable in our society – young people and children out at a pop concert. My thoughts and prayers go out to the families and victims who have been affected, and I know the whole country will share that view. I’d like to pay tribute to the emergency services who have worked throughout the night professionally and effectively; they have done an excellent job. Later on this morning I will be attending Cobra, chaired by the prime minister, to collect more information, to find out more, about this particular attack, and I can’t comment any more on that at the moment. The public should remain alert but not alarmed. If they have anything to report, they should approach the police. But I have two further things to add. The great city of Manchester has been affected by terrorism before. Its spirit was not bowed; its community continued. This time it has been a particular attack on the most vulnerable in our society. Its intention was to sow fear; its intention is to divide. But it will not succeed.
Sunday, May 21, 2017
German industrialists have warned that British hopes of their support in Brexit negotiations are misplaced and could backfire with dangerous consequences for international trade. Business leaders in Europe’s biggest economy are instead calling on Conservatives to rethink their commitment to leaving the single market, even though the party has doubled down on this promise in its election manifesto. David Davis and Boris Johnson have repeatedly cited likely pressure from German exporters, such as carmakers, as a reason for thinking they can persuade European negotiators to maintain free trade access after Britain leaves. But the theory is increasingly rejected by those whose support they need most – scepticism relayed most forcefully by Steffen Kampeter, the chief executive of the German employers’ federation, on a trip to the UK this week. “The top priority of European business is the integrity of the single market; the second priority is making good business with the UK. We will see if there is a conflict, but the message is: do not harm the single market by cherry-picking deals,” he told a conference of British business leaders in London this week. “It’s not the German carmakers that are directing the negotiations,” added Kampeter, who said he knew of no one who thought a trade deal within 18 months was possible and called for “rhetorical disarmament on all sides”.
Saturday, May 20, 2017
The European Commission reacted on Tuesday, after the deputies of the Commission for Industries and Services have passed a series of amendments to the Natural Gas Law, according to which the gas producers will be required to fully trade their output on the OPCOM, with the Romanian Commodities Exchange being left out in the cold. Currently, they have licenses for the trading of natural gas on two entities: the Romanian Commodities Exchange, private company, and the OPCOM, a branch of Transelectrica, in which the state owns 58.68%. The amendments made in the Commission for Industries would leave the BRM without a license. On Tuesday, the European Commission wrote to Iulian Iancu, the president of the Commission for Industries, that the proposal for the production of natural gas to be traded completely on the OPCOM is problematic. The commission thinks that moving trading to the OPCOM is not recommended, as the BRM is currently a more liquid market, and granting exclusive rights to the OPCOM raises competition issues. Also, the Commission considers that the trading of 100% of the natural gas output on an exchange can be excessive. A warning letter concerning the "severe consequences" of the amendments to the Law of natural gas was recently received by the president of the Chamber of Deputies Liviu Dragnea, from the PEGAS European natural gas platform. That letter also arrived, among other places, at the Ministry of Energy, the ANRE and the European Commission. It is debatable whether the amendments are compatible with the competition laws of the European Union, since they limit the ability of offering trading services, amid the obligation of using only one platform, according to PEGAS, which also says that there is a risk that the platform used by the operator would not reflect the requirements of the market. Furthermore, the measures proposed can raise an obstacle in the implementation of the EU package of energy, which would lead to an isolation of the Romanian gas market, says PEGAS, the trading platform of the German EEX Group, operated by Powernext, in France. PEGAS had 238 members and offers access to the trading of natural gas on contracts from Austria, Belgium, Holland, France, Germany, Italy, Denmark, Czech Republic and Great Britain.
Thursday, May 18, 2017
Emmanuel Macron is the fourth French president to have been in office during Angela Merkel’s 12-year tenure as German chancellor, and so it was with a faintly indulgent smile that she greeted the Europe Union’s new young pretender as he arrived in Berlin on Monday. The mismatch in experience was so apparently obvious that Mrs Merkel felt it necessary to say in advance that she would not behave like a “know-it-all” to the new occupant of the Elysee, but would listen carefully to his vision for France. Such protestations of modesty on Mrs Merkel's part are to be expected, but they cannot conceal the reality that if France wants to rekindle its post-war partnership with Germany, it needs to demonstrate it is committed to reforms.
Wednesday, May 17, 2017
Britain’s ambition to sign a quick Free Trade Agreement with the European Union after Brexit has received a significant boost after a landmark ruling by the European Court of Justice handed expanded trade negotiation powers to Brussels.
The much-anticipated decision from the court in Luxembourg surprised experts by ruling that on key areas - including financial services and transport - the European Union does not need to seek ratification of a trade deal by the EU’s 38 national and local parliaments. Trade experts said the ECJ ruling could substantially reduce the risk of any future EU-UK free trade agreement getting bogged down in the EU national parliaments, opening the way for an FTA to be agreed by a qualified majority vote of EU member states.
Saturday, May 13, 2017
In a number of recent analyses, Patrick Artus, chief economist of investment bank Natixis, writes that France has all the premises for a high degree of unemployment, which includes high social security contributions, high employee protections, the low degree of workforce skills and the chronic budget deficit. "France's economic and social situation since the crisis that began in 2008, characterized through de-industrialization, high unemployment among youth, the low quality of new jobs and the erosion of purchasing power has led to the results of the current elections", Artus further writes, who expresses his skepticism over the ability to resolve these problems, regardless of who the new president will be. For the chief-economist of Natixis, "this perverse economic model has reached its limits and the structural adjustments have to begin". It is hard to believe, however, that Macron will be the "savior", when "his platform is typical for a bureaucrat, who offers a little something to everyone", according to Martin Armstrong. On the contrary, "a victory of Macron would sentence the EU to a complete collapse and a hard landing in 2018", is the verdict of the American analyst, because "Brussels will celebrate the end of populism and will continue down the same path, without reforms". The cynicism of another American, Bill Bonner, the author of the books "Empire of Debt" and "Mobs, Messiahs, and Markets" and former French resident in France for 18 years, is heading towards an aspect that more is closer to the daily concerns of the French. "It is not a matter of whether the voters will be robbed or not, the question is by whom", Bonner writes.
Friday, March 31, 2017
European leaders will formally reject British demands to hold trade talks at the same time as negotiating the terms of the UK’s "divorce" from the EU, leaving both sides heading for an early stand-off in the Brexit talks.
The hardline EU response will be outlined in draft negotiating guidelines that will be distributed by the European Council to the remaining 27 member states at a closed-door meeting in Brussels.
Theresa May’s request that the terms of the future UK-EU partnership be negotiated “alongside” the terms of the divorce – rejected by the German chancellor Angela Merkel on Wednesday - was shot down again on Thursday, this time by the outgoing French president, Francois Hollande.
Saturday, March 18, 2017
The launch by British Airways’ owner of a low-cost long-haul airline could be a key staging post in the development of the growing trend for cheaper and longer flights.
'Level' has been unveiled by International Airlines Group as a low-cost, long-haul carrier operating out of Barcelona from June with flights to Los Angeles, San Francisco, Buenos Aires and Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic.
The move will put the company in direct competition with companies such as Norwegian, which has tried to carve a niche for itself in the nascent cheap long-haul flights market...Level will be run by IAG’s Spanish carrier Iberia’s flight and cabin crew and fares with start from €99 one-way or $149 compared to the lowest price for flights on Norwegian from Barcelona to San Francisco of €162, according to prices published on its website.
Wednesday, March 15, 2017
The Romanian gambling sector has the best regulations in Europe, which has been admitted in the meetings which the National Gambling Office (ONJN) had at the level of the European Commission and the events it has attended, according to Odeta Nestor, the president of the Office. Besides, all the representatives of the sector, claim, in unison, that in its current form, the legislation in effect is known as being one of the most advanced internationally. Nevertheless, there are still small improvements that could be made to the new legislation, especially when it comes to online gambling. Concerning this aspect, Odeta Nestor told us: "I think that an amendment of the Fiscal Code, to implement retention tax for players, would be the best. Besides, the office has made this kind of proposals for the amendment of the legislation, because I have noticed, based on the functionality of the last few years, that everyone would benefit more through this kind of taxation system: players would be taxed correctly, and the state would earn more in taxes. Right now, aside from the fact that there are players who don't report the entirety of their own gambling revenues, this process is also bureaucratic and difficult".
Monday, March 13, 2017
BERLIN — Police ordered a shopping mall in the western German city of Essen not to open Saturday after receiving credible tips of an imminent attack. The shopping center and the adjacent parking lot stayed closed as about a hundred police officers positioned themselves around the compound to make sure nobody could enter the mall. Several officers scoured the inside of the building to bring out early morning cleaning staff. “As police, we are the security authority here and have decided to close the mall,” police spokesman Christoph Wickhorst said, adding that they had been tipped off late Friday by other security agencies. He did not want to provide further details because of the ongoing investigation.
The downtown mall at Limbecker Platz square will be closed for the entire day. The mall is one of the biggest in Germany with more than 200 stores, according to the shopping center’s website. In 2016, three people were injured in an attack on a Sikh temple in Essen by radicalized German-born Muslim teenagers.
Germany has been on the edge following a series of attacks in public places over the past year.
Sunday, March 12, 2017
Oil prices have plunged to the lowest level this year as US shale producers boost output at an astonishing pace and crude inventories keep rising, triggering a wave of selling by hedge funds with record speculative positions. The US surge threatens to neutralise cuts agreed by the Opec cartel and a Russia-led group of producers last November, potentially delaying a full recovery of the market until 2018 or even later. Texas light crude fell to $48.90 a barrel on Thursday after yet another surprise jump in US stocks. Prices have slid 8pc in three days and have broken through key levels of technical support, dousing enthusiasm for commodities across the board. Higher interest rates are expected to push up the value of the dollar and suck in foreign funds to the US financial system. Surveys show firms are concerned that the high dollar will dent exports, and Trump has accused China and rival exporting nations of winning trade wars after artificially depressing their currencies.
Friday, March 10, 2017
Fed watchers were alarmed by a 31 January letter to Fed chair Janet Yellen from Representative Patrick McHenry, the vice-chairman of the House committee on financial services. McHenry did not pull his punches. “Despite the clear message delivered by President Donald Trump in prioritising America’s interest in international negotiations,” McHenry wrote, “it appears that the Federal Reserve continues negotiating international regulatory standards for financial institutions among global bureaucrats in foreign lands without transparency, accountability, or the authority to do so. This is unacceptable.” In her reply of 10 February, Yellen firmly rebutted McHenry’s arguments. She pointed out that the Fed does indeed have the authority it needs, that the Basel agreements are not binding, and that, in any event, “strong regulatory standards enhance the stability of the US financial system” and promote the competitiveness of financial firms. But that will not be the end of the story. The battle lines are now drawn, and McHenry’s letter shows the arguments that will be deployed in Congress by some Republicans close to the president. There has always been a strand of thinking in Washington that dislikes foreign entanglements, in this and other areas. While Yellen’s arguments are correct, the Fed’s entitlement to participate in international negotiations does not oblige it to do so, and a new appointee might argue that it should not.
Monday, March 6, 2017
Western political and media elites reacted with horror to President Trump’s repeated statements that NATO is “obsolete” during the 2016 electoral campaign. They have also reacted with skepticism to more recent efforts by senior administration officials to affirm the U.S. commitment to NATO while pressing America’s allies to do more for their own defense. The critics forget both NATO’s history and — more fundamentally — confuse means with ends in U.S. national security. NATO is an instrument and, accordingly, something the United States can and should examine and seek to fix when it is not working properly. Mr. Trump has correctly understood that NATO isn’t doing its job. Post-Cold War history demonstrates NATO’s failure to adapt to changing circumstances and requirements. George W. Bush administration officials appropriately questioned the alliance’s contribution to U.S. operations in Afghanistan following the Sept. 11 attacks and NATO’s first-ever invocation of its mutual defense obligations under Article Five of the Washington Treaty. Later, NATO’s 2011 airstrikes against Libya illustrated considerable shortcomings as key allies proved unable to sustain the campaign for lack of precision bombs against a foe barely able to fight back.In 2014, when Russia annexed Crimea, NATO members all too readily opted to respond primarily through coordinated U.S.-European Union economic sanctions that predictably failed to deter subsequent Russian intervention in eastern Ukraine. Former President Obama bears no small responsibility for this, having declared in April 2014 that Russia could not be “deterred from further escalation by military force” at a time when decisive deployments of U.S. and NATO military forces in NATO member states surrounding Ukraine might well have affected Mr. Putin’s calculations. But Mr. Obama was far from alone among NATO leaders in his reluctance do this. NATO today has three major problems. First, the alliance has spent far more time discussing its membership than its purpose, leaving its goals unclear. If NATO is a defensive alliance, why did it intervene in Yugoslavia’s civil wars of the 1990s and launch airstrikes in Libya? Neither threatened NATO members with attack. If NATO seeks to stabilize Europe and Eurasia, how did NATO officials expect to do that without a security architecture that incorporated Russia on mutually acceptable terms? Conversely, if NATO sees Moscow as an existential danger and aims to contain and deter Russia, why do so few alliance members meet minimal standards for defense spending and military readiness?
Sunday, March 5, 2017
Europe - European capital adequacy directives typically transpose Basel accords into EU law. If the Basel process stalls, transatlantic deals, which are the crucial underpinning of western capital markets, will be far harder to reach. There is a further complication arising from Brexit. Absent any special deal between the EU27 and the UK, British and EU regulators will come together in Basel, not in the European Banking Authority. If Basel becomes a talking shop, without the ability to set firm standards, another key link in the chain will be broken, and it will be harder for the UK to argue that if London’s banks meet international standards, they should be granted equal treatment in the EU. As central bankers bid farewell to the devil they know, financial regulation has entered a period of high uncertainty – and high anxiety for policymakers as they await an announcement from Mar-a-Lago. No likely Federal Reserve Board candidates have been spotted at poolside, or being interviewed on the golf course, but a decision cannot be far off. Nothing can be taken for granted. The financial world is holding its collective breath.
Friday, March 3, 2017
As President Trump struggles to staff his administration with sympathisers who will help transpose tweets into policy, the exodus of Obama appointees from the federal government and other agencies continues. For the financial world, one of the most significant departures was that of Daniel Tarullo, the Federal Reserve governor who has led its work on financial regulation for the last seven years. It would be a stretch to say that Tarullo has been universally popular in the banking community. He led the charge in arguing for much higher capital ratios, in the US and elsewhere. He was a tough negotiator, with a well-tuned instinct for spotting special pleading by financial firms. But crocodile tears will be shed in Europe to mark his resignation. European banks, and even their regulators, were concerned by his enthusiastic advocacy of even tougher standards in Basel 3.5 (or Basel 4, as bankers like to call it), which would, if implemented in the form favoured by the US, require further substantial capital increases for Europe’s banks in particular. In his absence, these proposals’ fate is uncertain. But Tarullo has also been an enthusiastic promoter of international regulatory cooperation, with the frequent flyer miles to prove it. For some years, he has chaired the Financial Stability Board’s little-known but important Standing Committee on Supervisory and Regulatory Cooperation. His commitment to working with colleagues in international bodies such as the FSB and the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision, to reach global regulatory agreements enabling banks to compete on a level playing field, has never been in doubt.
Thursday, March 2, 2017
Theresa May has defiantly insisted her timetable for triggering Brexit will not be blown off course despite suffering her first Parliamentary defeat over the Article 50 bill. The House of Lords voted to amend the Bill to force the Government to guarantee the rights of EU citizens living in the UK. Seven Tory peers - including the former pensions minister Baroness Altmann - backed the amendment. But the Prime Minister is confident the amendment will be rejected by the Commons later this month, and Downing Street insisted the timetable for Brexit “remains unchanged”... Lords who voted to alter the Bill were accused of “playing with fire” and critics accused them of pointless “posturing” and “doing a disservice to the national interest”. The scale of the Government’s defeat in the Lords, where the proposal to amend the Bill was passed by 358 votes to 256, prompted speculation that Mrs May could face a fresh Tory rebellion when the Bill returns to the Commons. Conservative whips are confident, however, that no more than a handful of Tory MPs will support the amendment. Labour's amendment to the EU (Notification of Withdrawal) Bill, tabled with Liberal Democrat and crossbench support, calls for ministers to bring forward proposals ensuring the rights of EU citizens living here to continue post-Brexit, within three months of triggering Article 50.
Saturday, February 25, 2017
The Balkans is in danger of slipping under Russian influence if the Trump administration ignores the region, Albania’s prime minister has warned in an interview with The Telegraph. Questions are also being asked over whether the European Union is doing enough to ensure stability and block Moscow’s alleged plots. In a wide-ranging interview, Albania’s charismatic prime minister, Edi Rama, said without US support “the Balkans would not be a place where there is peace and cooperation”.
“For the US this area is very important strategically and the US is very important for us,” he added. Given Russia’s apparent role in the prime minister’s assassination plot in neighbouring Montenegro, disclosed by The Telegraph this week, there are worries Washington’s disinterest will embolden Moscow. “Russia has been interested in spreading its influence and there’s a lot of it in this region,” Mr Rama, 52,...
Friday, February 24, 2017
Early last month, Andy Haldane, chief economist at the Bank of England, blamed“irrational behaviour” for the failure of the BoE’s recent forecasting models. The failure to spot this irrationality had led policymakers to forecast that the British economy would slow after last June’s Brexit referendum. Instead, British consumers have been on a heedless spending spree since the vote to leave the European Union; and, no less illogically, construction, manufacturing, and services have recovered. Haldane offers no explanation for this burst of irrational behaviour. Nor can he: to him, irrationality simply means behaviour that is inconsistent with the forecasts derived from the BoE’s model. It’s not just Haldane or the BoE. What mainstream economists mean by rational behaviour is not what you or I mean. In ordinary language, rational behaviour is that which is reasonable under the circumstances. But in the rarefied world of neoclassical forecasting models, it means that people, equipped with detailed knowledge of themselves, their surroundings, and the future they face, act optimally to achieve their goals. That is, to act rationally is to act in a manner consistent with economists’ models of rational behaviour. Faced with contrary behaviour, the economist reacts like the tailor who blames the customer for not fitting their newly tailored suit.
Thursday, February 23, 2017
The City of London has warned that the loss of banking jobs to EU countries due to Brexit could threaten British and European financial stability. Interviews with more than half a dozen senior bankers and business leaders reveal growing certainty that the threat of losing single market access will force a wave of relocations this year and may cause an “unwinding” of a cluster of related businesses.
While the immediate loss of a few thousand jobs is viewed with relative equanimity, concern is mounting over the knock-on effect on financial stability if the City’s valuable related professions begin to fragment. Douglas Flint, the chairman of HSBC, Britain’s biggest bank, said common regulation needed to be agreed with the remaining 27 EU members once Brexit talks got under way or there was a risk of sparking turbulence in the financial system. “One of the critical pieces is the ecosystem that exists, which effectively connects the fund managers to the risk managers to the liquidity providers to the insurance providers and the credit providers … it all benefits from all the other pieces being there,” Flint said.