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
Sunday, May 14, 2017
The chief executive of Goldman Sachs has warned that London’s financial centre will “stall” due to the turmoil of the Brexit process. Lloyd Blankfein, who runs the world’s second-largest investment bank, said a three-decade expansion that has turned London’s financial services sector into a world leader could grind to a halt. “It will stall, it might backtrack a bit, it just depends on a lot of things about which we are uncertain, and I know there isn’t certainty at the moment,” Blankfein said in an interview with the BBC. “I don’t think it will totally reverse.” Blankfein also said there would need to be an implementation period of at least a “couple of years” after the Brexit deal had been agreed in early 2019 to allow companies to adjust. “We are talking about the long-term stability of huge economies with hundreds of millions of people and livelihoods at stake, and huge gross domestic product,” he said. “So, if it takes a little while, I’d rather get it right than do things quickly.” If not enough time were factored in, banks such as Goldman would have to act “prematurely” and possibly move some of their operations and jobs.
Monday, March 20, 2017
President Trump on Saturday defended the success of his first face-to-face meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, dismissing a barrage of critical news accounts that describe it as “awkward.” “Despite what you have heard from the FAKE NEWS, I had a GREAT meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel,” Mr. Trump said Saturday morning via his personal Twitter account. News reports of the the meeting and a joint press conference Friday at the White House were dominated by descriptions of “awkward” moments between the two leaders, including the president’s quip that he and Ms. Merkel had “something in common” in being wiretapped by U.S. spies. Mr. Trump was referring to revelation in 2013 that President Obama authorized National Security Agency eavesdropping on her and his claim that Mr. Obama did the same to him during the 2016 presidential campaign. National Public Radio declared the meeting “The Axis of Awkward.” U.S. News and World Report dubbed it “Trump’s Awkward Merkel Summit.”
Wednesday, March 8, 2017
Here's a number to play with: $1.8 trillion. This is the amount of sovereign debt borrowed globally in a foreign currency, the overwhelming majority of it in US dollars. Add the amount of dollar debt attributable to foreign corporations, and the numbers soar off into the stratosphere. Most of the time, these debts are perfectly harmless, and nobody much worries about them. But right now, they are making everyone distinctly nervous. Already over the last two years, the dollar has appreciated 25 per cent in nominal terms against the rest of the world. If analysis by Moody’s, the credit rating agency, is to be believed, Trumponomics make a further, sharp appreciation – possibly by as much as an additional 25 per cent in real terms – all but inevitable, playing havoc with the debt dynamics of many overseas countries and companies. By the by, it might also remodel global trade, potentially dramatically....
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,...
Monday, February 20, 2017
There is now a growing band of politicians, entrepreneurs and policy strategists who argue that a basic income could potentially hold the solution to some of the big problems of our time. Some of these new converts have alighted upon the basic income as an answer to our fragmenting welfare state. They point to the increasingly precarious nature of today’s labour market for those in low-paid, low-skilled work: growing wage inequality, an increasing number of part-time and temporary jobs, and rogue employers routinely getting away with exploitative practices.
This grim reality collides with an increasingly punitive welfare state. Our welfare system was originally designed as a contributory system of unemployment insurance, in which workers put in during the good times, and took out during temporary periods of unemployment. But a big chunk of welfare spending now goes on permanently supporting people in jobs that don’t pay enough to support their families. As the contributory principle has been eroded, politicians have sought to create a new sense of legitimacy by loading the system with sanctions that dock jobseeker benefits for minor transgressions.
Sunday, February 19, 2017
In his acceptance speech, Steinmeier, 61, said Germany should be an “anchor of hope” while democratic institutions were under threat across the globe. “As the foundations are shaking elsewhere, we have to prop up those foundations even more strongly,” he said Gaining 75% of votes in the first round, he beat four outsider candidates fielded by the smaller parties, including Christoph Butterwegge, a political scientist and poverty researcher; Albrecht Glaser, a former Christian Democrat running for the rightwing populist Alternative for Germany party (AfD); and Engelbert Sonneborn, the father of the leader of the satirical organisation the Party. Despite the role being largely ceremonial, past German presidents have aspired to act as a moral authority in debates of national and international importance. Steinmeier succeeds Joachim Gauck, 77, a former Protestant pastor and East German civil rights activist who told the Guardian this month that Germany would “staunchly stand by the European project”.
The world must take note of what happened in Montenegro. It paid scant attention last October when reports surfaced of an attempted coup. All eyes were on the American election; Montenegro is small and hardly known. But we can now reveal that plans were laid for a bloody coup, which was designed to kill the prime minister and destabilise the country. The goal was to prevent this sovereign nation from joining Nato. According to intelligence sources, the puppet-master was Russia. It all sounds familiar. In the last few chaotic years, Moscow has backed a separatist movement in Ukraine, propped up Bashar al-Assad in Syria, stands accused of murdering critics on foreign soil and is believed to have bankrolled opposition parties abroad. It is even alleged to have interfered in the US election...if Europe is so intent on integration then what is it doing to defend countries such as Montenegro? Several European countries spend less on defence than the budget of the New York police department. Britain must meet its own obligations and take the case for Western resolve directly to the Trump administration. The stakes are high. In Munich, the Russian foreign minister spoke of a post-West order. The reality of that proposition may sadly be disorder and freedom for tyrants. Only Nato retains the power, and hopefully the will, to stand up for democracy and the rule of law.
Friday, February 10, 2017
Germany posted a record trade surplus in 2016, just weeks after Donald Trump's top trade adviser accused the country of exploiting a "grossly undervalued" euro.
The country's €253bn (£215bn) trade surplus was the result of a 1.2pc rise in exports to €1.2 trillion, while imports only rose 0.6pc to €954.6bn, according to the federal statistics office. The 2016 surplus surpasses the previous high of €244.3bn set in 2015. "This increase in net exports is a very encouraging sign for Germany," said Benno Bunse, head of Germany's economic development agency. "The overall picture is of an economy developing healthily towards being a place of manufacture and robust consumer-led development." Germany's 2016 current account surplus, which measures the total money flowing in and out of a country, of €266bn, surpassed China's last year, making it the world's largest.
Thursday, February 9, 2017
The institution of the EU Ombudsman recently received a complaint from NGO Corporate Europe Observatory (CEO), concerning the ties that exist between major members of the ECB management and the Group of the 30. The Group of the Thirty, created in 1978, is a private non-profit organization made up of the notable representatives of the public and private sector, as well as from academia, according to the presentation of the website of the institution, and its mission is "the drawing up of solutions for improving economic and financial stability". The president of the organization is Jean-Claude Trichet, former president of the European Central Bank, and its honorary president is Paul Volcker, former president of the Federal Reserve in the 80s. The G30 also includes leaders of major international banks, which came under the oversight of the ECB in the last two years. A spokesperson of the ECB said that the institution will provide all the required information to the Ombudsman, but at the same time, it stressed that "in compliance with the provisions of the EU treaties, the ECB must maintain a dialogue with concerned persons from outside the institution, and the G30 is a relevant forum to that purpose", according to a report by the RTE website, Ireland's public radio and TV network. Furthermore, the ECB officials think that they have the obligation to explain to investors the monetary policy decisions, and the effects are beneficial for the functioning of the channel for sending the monetary policy to the real economy.
Saturday, January 14, 2017
Brexit, Brexit, Brexit. For more than a year now, it has been scarcely possible to think or read about anything else. Seemingly all other economic discourse has been eclipsed by this over-riding prospect. In the circumstances, it’s an understandable obsession. Yet the fact is that far bigger challenges lie ahead for the UK economy than leaving the European Union, a point that the Governor the Bank of England, Mark Carney, seemed to acknowledge this week in admitting that Brexit was no longer the main domestic risk to financial stability. As it happens, it never was. Since the Brexit vote, the economy has continued to motor, and so far there seems to have been zero impact on financial stability...Over the last five years, the FTSE 100 has closed lower on seven of the 10 Friday 13ths. It could be a coincidence – or is there something else at play?
On Friday 13th July 2012, China’s GDP growth dropped to a three-year low of 7.6pc, marking a new stage for the country’s economic slowdown....Superstitious beliefs run so high in the UK that some people refuse to fly on Friday 13th, stay in hotel rooms bearing the unlucky digits or buy houses that bear the number 13. In fact, the Stress Management Center and Phobia Institute in North Carolina estimates that businesses lose up to $900m (£585m) in sales and productivity when the 13th of the month falls on a Friday as customers refrain from activities such as flying and anxious employees stay home from work. The phenomenon even has a name: paraskavedekatriaphobia is the fear of Friday 13th, while triskaidekaphobics are scared of the number 13 more generally. More than a quarter of Britons admit that they consider Friday 13th to be unlucky, according to a survey of 500 adults conducted by the conference call provider Powwownow. One in 10 people avoid travelling by train on Friday 13th, 11pc refuse to stay in hotel room number 13 and 16pc of people won’t take flights on this inauspicious day, the survey found.
Monday, January 9, 2017
Good on Andy Haldane, the chief economist of the Bank of England, for telling it as it is. In an explosive intervention, Haldane has just compared the financial crisis and Brexit to the Bank of England’s Michael Fish moments. He was referring, of course, to the day just before the greatest storm for 300 years hit Britain on Oct 15, 1987, when the famous weather forecaster got it spectacularly wrong. “Earlier on today, apparently, a woman rang the BBC and said she heard there was a hurricane on the way… well, if you’re watching, don’t worry, there isn’t!” he said. In the case of the Great Recession, the analogy is perfect. In the case of Brexit, the error was a reverse Michael Fish, another case of the Y2K millennium bug: a prediction of immediate disaster which failed to materialise. The Bank expected a hurricane but none came, as it was put to Haldane (it’s a “fair cop”, he replied).
Sunday, January 8, 2017
Wages in the US grew at their fastest pace since 2009 last month, pointing to continued momentum in the labour market and putting the country on course for a string of interest rate rises this year. Average hourly earnings increased by 2.9pc compared with the year before, the largest annual increase in more than seven years, while 156,000 jobs were created in December. Although the employment figure fell short of the 178,000 widely expected by economists, it was enough to suggest that the economy is steaming ahead. The unemployment rate ticked up to 4.7pc in December, from a nine-year low of 4.6pc in November, as more people entered the labour market, in a sign of confidence in the economic recovery. Over the course of 2016, more than two million jobs were created in the US. This set of jobs data will be the last for President Obama, as he makes way for Donald Trump, who is set to take office later this month. President elect Trump has pledged to increase spending on the country's infrastructure, cut taxes and reduce red tape, three measures widely expected to boost growth this year. The US jobs market is expected to hit full employment this year, and the country's central bank, the Federal Reserve, is set to push through interest rate rises in response. Last month, the Fed increased the benchmark rate by .25 percentage points to a range of 0.25pc to 0.50pc. A further three rate increases are forecast for this year. Kully Samra, managing director of Charles Schwab in the UK, said that despite December’s numbers missing forecasts, the US economy still had a robust labour market.
Saturday, January 7, 2017
The US vice-president, Joe Biden, has said it is “absolutely mindless” for Donald Trump not to have confidence in the intelligence community, as the heads of the US agencies prepared to present their findings on Russian election interference to the president-elect. The unprecedented dispute between Trump and the intelligence services he will soon control broke into the open at a congressional hearing on Thursday as the head of US intelligence publicly defended his analysts, who he said “stand more resolutely” than ever behind their conclusion of “Russian interference in our electoral process”. Former Indiana lawmaker and member of the Senate intelligence committee has been banned from entering Russia: ‘I’m not a big fan of Putin’ Biden said it would be legitimate to question intelligence and ask for more detail or disagree but “dangerous” to publicly criticise the agencies and claim to know more than them. “For a president not to have confidence in, not to be prepared to listen to, the myriad intelligence agencies, from defence intelligence to the CIA, is absolutely mindless,” he said in an interview with PBS. “The idea that you may know more than the intelligence community knows – it’s like saying I know more about physics than my professor. I didn’t read the book, I just know I know more.”
Friday, January 6, 2017
The Bank of England’s chief economist has admitted his profession is in crisis having failed to foresee the 2008 financial crash and having misjudged the impact of the Brexit vote. Andrew Haldane, said it was “a fair cop” referring to a series of forecasting errors before and after the financial crash which had brought the profession’s reputation into question. Blaming the failure of economic models to cope with “irrational behaviour” in the modern era, the economist said the profession needed to adapt to regain the trust of the public and politicians.... Haldane described the collapse of Lehman Brothers as the economics profession’s “Michael Fish moment” (a reference to when the BBC weather forecaster predicted in 1987 that the UK would avoid a hurricane that went on to devastate large parts of southern England). Speaking at the Institute for Government in central London, Haldane said meteorological forecasting had improved markedly following that embarrassing mistake and that the economics profession could follow in its footsteps. The bank has come under intense criticism for predicting a dramatic slowdown in the UK’s fortunes in the event of a vote for Brexit only for the economy to bounce back strongly and remain one of the best performing in the developed world. Haldane is known to be concerned about mounting criticism of experts and the potential for Threadneedle Street’s forecasts to be dismissed by politicians if errors persist. Former Tory ministers, including the former foreign secretary William Hague and the former justice secretary Michael Gove, last year attacked the Bank of England governor, Mark Carney, for predicting a dramatic slowdown in growth if the country voted to leave the EU.
Wednesday, January 4, 2017
Donald Trump's reflation rally will short-circuit. Rising borrowing costs will blow fuses across the world before fiscal stimulus arrives, if it in fact arrives.
By the end of 2017 it will be clear that nothing has changed for the better. Powerful deflationary forces retain an invisible grip over the global economy. Bond yields will ratchet up further and then come clattering down again – ultimately driving 10-year US yields below zero before the decade is over. There are few ‘shovel ready’ projects for Trump’s infrastructure blitz. The headline figures are imaginary. His plan will be whittled down by Congress....The House will pass tax cuts for the rich but these are regressive, with a low fiscal multiplier. The choice of an anti-deficit Ayatollah to head the budget office implies swinging cuts to federal spending. These will hit the poor, with a high multiplier. This Gatsby mix is mostly self-defeating...
Sunday, December 25, 2016
When an Italian government official tells you "the banks are turning the corner" it means that the real trouble is just beginning...Renzi wasted time and political & financial capital on importing hundreds of thousands of Africans and billeting them on unfortunate Italians.... Yes indeed, "Whether Italy is out of the woods is a burning question" is an accurate and pithy caveat to the latest declaration that this week`s sticking plaster solution means every is now rosy for Italian banks, the Italian economy...
...and of course by inference the EU. It will be until the next crisis hits 2 or 3 weeks down the road. This bailout will certainly help MPS in the short term, but it doesn`t offer any solution to the problems effecting larger financial institutions such as Unibanco. As A-EP points out the tapering of bond purchases by the ECB will lead to rising bond yields doesn't bode well for Italy and it`s banks...." The Italian state will be allowed to compensate some of 40,000 retail investors shunted into MPS bonds without understanding the risk, but these rebates will be partial, glacially-slow, and conducted on a means-tested basis. Fabio Fois and Giuseppe Maraffino from Barclays said the rescue falls short of a “systemic solution”, arguing that funding is too thin and the MPS model cannot easily be replicated. “We estimate that the largest six Italian banks could need about €30bn in total to clean-up their balance sheets,” they said. Some analysts think it could take €50bn, or more if the next global downturn hits early. If so, this risks another messy drama a year hence in even less hospitable circumstances."
Saturday, December 24, 2016
Exporters demand professionalism from the future government, said Mihai Ionescu, the president of the National Association of Romanian Exporters and Importers (ANEIR). "Our first request is for the future government to be professional. Secondly, we would want for it not to overdo it with social policies. If they do that, meaning if they overdo it with social policies without helping the economy, then I don't see a solid future for this country. The third thing that we are asking for is: «Show some love to Romanian capital!»". Mihai Ionescu warned that this year, the export growth rate is slower than the growth rate of the GDP. Also, this is the first time when Romanian exports outside the EU are dropping, he added. Another great discontent of the exporters is the elimination of the Foreign Trade Department of the Ministry of the Economy, according to the president of the ANEIR, who stated: "We are disappointed in the fact that the team in the Ministry of the Economy has succeeded in destructuring the Foreign Trade Department. We had a structure that was exclusively in charge of foreign trade. Some people thought we didn't need a department for that. That is not true! The existence of that department is very important. But that is how the technocrats saw fit to help exporters - they have dismantled that structure and they have frozen all departures of those nominated for those positions in the respective embassies. We used to have that kind of representatives in our embassies. This year only a few people went abroad to take those positions and they did so temporarily. Half of Romania's foreign network no longer exists. I am not saying they were geniuses, but we could rely on them. Good or bad, they were there and many of them were useful". Mihai Ionescu also mentioned the fact that the Ministry of the Economy has blocked the promotion of exports, despite the fact that a lot of money has been allocated from the state budget this year. "We have not even achieved half of the program for the promotion of exports planned in the beginning of this year". In this context, businesspeople are going to sue the representatives of the government who are guilty of the things mentioned above, like Mr. Ionescu, who mentioned: "We have decided, together with the representatives of the business sector: this government isn't going to go away just by handing over papers. We are going to take them to court, because they have to pay for what they have done and for what they haven't done. They are appointed and paid by us to help the economy. They are going to be taken to court, through criminal lawsuits, filed by the economic professional associations".
Thursday, December 22, 2016
European Union council president, Donald Tusk, called on the authorities in Poland to respect the constitution as a standoff between the opposition and the ruling party continued. Polish opposition leaders called for days of anti-government protests and pledged to keep blocking parliament’s main hall after being accused of trying to seize power illegally by a government they say has violated the constitution. Several thousand people protested in Warsaw and other cities after police broke up a blockade of the parliament building in Warsaw in the early hours. “Following yesterday’s events in parliament and on the streets of Warsaw … I appeal to those who have real power for respect and consideration of the people, constitutional principles and morals,” Tusk told a news conference in Poland’s western city of Wrocław....Protesters had blocked all exits from the parliament on Friday after the opposition said PiS politicians illegally passed the budget for next year by moving the vote outside of the main chamber of parliament. The protest marked the biggest political standoff in years in EU member Poland and the sharpest escalation of the conflict between the opposition and the ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party since it came to power in October 2015. The police attempted in the early hours of Saturday to remove protesters by grabbing them and pulling them aside, but stopped as new protesters arrived at the scene. The police also called on protesters blocking the parliament to disperse, saying on loudspeakers that they might otherwise use force
Wednesday, December 21, 2016
Forecasts made by investment banks such as Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan and Barclays Capital are only marginally better than flipping a coin, and if you hold on to their “hot picks” longer than a few months you will almost certainly lose money, according to new research. Intertrader, a spread betting firm, examined stock predictions from so-called (and highly paid) gurus at 16 investment banks, tracked them over the following 12 months and compared them to the returns on just putting your money into a savings account or a stock market index such as the S&P 500 on Wall Street. “Investment banks’ recommendations are only marginally better than a coin flip,” says Intertrader. “The banks we looked at only managed to predict the correct direction their hot picks would go 55% of the time. And that is actually the kindest we could be – holding their predictions for longer just meant worsening results.” Investors who bought and sold an investment bank recommendation within 30 days on average made a gain of just 0.8%. If they held it for 90 days, it moved to a loss of 1.48%, while over a year the average loss from buying an investment bank recommendation was 4.79%. “We found that if you put the money you would have invested in a 3% high-interest bank account instead, your returns would generally be higher,” says Intertrader, which has created a Gurudex index that analyses investment banks. The firm says the findings serve as a reminder of Warren Buffett’s words of advice on the value of stock market forecasters: “We have long felt that the only value of stock forecasters is to make fortune-tellers look good. Even now, Charlie [Munger] and I continue to believe that short-term market forecasts are poison and should be kept locked up in a safe place, away from children and also from grownups who behave in the market like children.”