Mr Bill Rhodes è uno dei vecchi saggi del sistema bancario americano e mondiale.
Il fatto che il suo nome sia quasi sconosciuto alla gente comune è un segno della sua potenza: non ama la pubblicità, parla poco, ascolta molto. Può proteggere la sua privacy.
«William R. “Bill” Rhodes (born August 15, 1935) is an American banker and philanthropist. Rhodes is President and CEO of William R. Rhodes Global Advisors, LLC which he founded in 2010. He is a former senior international officer and senior vice chairman of Citigroup and Citibank. He served in various senior executive positions at Citi from 1957 until his retirement from Citigroup on April 30, 2010. ….
Post his retirement in 2010, Rhodes continued to serve as senior advisor to Citi from 2010 through 2017 ….
– Rhodes established and is currently president and CEO of William R. Rhodes Global Advisors, LLC.
«Bill Rhodes, chief executive officer of William R. Rhodes Global Advisors and author of “Banker to the World,” weighs in on the looming elections in Italy. He speaks with Bloomberg’s Vonnie Quinn on “Bloomberg Markets.”»
«Bill Rhodes Warns of Possible Italian Exit From EU After Election»
* * * * * * *
La possibilità che l’Italia si stacchi sia dall’Unione Europea sia dall’Eurozona c’è, ed è concreta. Nel caso, sarebbe una catastrofe.
Il vuoto politico che si è determinato sia in seno all’Unione Europea, sia in una Germania un tempo egemone in Europa, sia infine in un’Italia di fatto ingovernabile potrebbe facilitare questa drastica presa di posizione dalle impredicibili conseguenze.
Troppe persone stanno vivendo questo periodo esternando visceralità non supervisionate dalla mente, tentativo inconscio di esorcizzare il drammatico quadro sociale ed economiche che si delinea fosco all’orizzonte.
Il vero dramma consiste nel fatto che alle agoniche ideologie liberal e socialiste sembrerebbe non contrapporsi una svolta metodologica verso un ragionevole empirismo economico.
Sostituire un credo ideologico con uno eguale e contrario non aiuterebbe in nulla a risolvere i problemi in atto: qualsiasi ideologia coerce le menti verso un’ideazione coatta e, quindi, avulsa dalla realtà fattuale.
Nei fatti invece sembrerebbe proprio che la stagnazione politica non costituisca humus favorevole all’abbandono di un modus pensandi che a stento riesce a superare il momento di slogan roboanti.
Sembra che le menti abbiano perso la capacità cognitiva ed il potere di revisione critica.
– Almost a third of Italian electorate undecided, YouTrend says
– With hung parliament projected, the swing voters could be key
Almost a third of Italians have yet to decide who to vote for in next month’s general election — more than enough to determine the outcome.
Their profile? Mostly women, middle-aged, without a university degree and disappointed with former Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, the leader of the ruling Democratic Party. Those are the findings of Agenzia Quorum, which did an analysis of so-called swing voters ahead of a pre-election polling blackout that’s set to begin Saturday.
“This is yet another sign that the Democratic Party is on a downward slope, and its voters feel let down by Renzi,” said Giovanni Diamanti, the managing partner of Agenzia Quorum. “But it also suggests that the game is open and the final outcome is far from decided.”
With Italians set to vote in little more than two weeks, on March 4, the latest surveys published by the main Italian newspapers also point to a large proportion of undecided voters. A poll done by Demos&Pi and printed in la Repubblica on Friday showed some 45 percent of people still unsure.
While the anti-establishment Five Star movement has risen in polls to become the leading single party, it still trails the center-right coalition led by four-time former premier Silvio Berlusconi. Neither appears set to win a majority of seats, setting the stage for a hung parliament and difficult talks over a grand coalition or national unity government. That makes swing votes potentially key to the outcome.
About 30 percent of potential voters remain undecided, according to Agenzia Quorum’s YouTrend poll of 1,000 adults on Feb. 12 and 13. About 64 percent are women, just 11 percent have a degree and the largest share abstained in previous votes. Among those who cast a ballot in the past, former backers of the Democratic Party are the most unsure. About half of those still undecided who voted in the 2014 European elections are from Renzi’s party. The margin of error was 3.1 percent.
An electoral law passed last year gives just over a third of seats in the lower house and in the Senate to first-past-the-post winners, which encourages the formation of coalitions. Five Star has traditionally opposed tying up with another party, while the Democratic Party suffered a blow after a splinter group, Free and Equal, decided to run on its own. That paved the way for a resurgent Berlusconi, who can’t serve as prime minister because of a public office ban following a tax fraud conviction.
A Bloomberg-calculated average of polls through Feb. 11 has the center-right at 37 percent of the vote, almost 10 points higher than the center-left at 28 percent and Five Star at 27 percent.
Trending Toward Berlusconi
As the blackout nears, a projection by YouTrend based on their final poll of polls for news agency Agi shows Berlusconi’s camp taking 290 seats in the 630-member lower house and 141 seats in the 315-member Senate. The Demos&Pi poll, and a separate one by Ipsos published by Corriere della Sera on Friday, also found that none of the parties or coalitions would be able to obtain a parliamentary majority.
Compared to previous projections, centrist parties, including Berlusconi’s Forza Italia, are gaining some seats from the fringes, making a post-vote national unity government or grand coalition more likely.
“The clearest trend in recent weeks is a gain in consensus for Berlusconi,” Diamanti said.
Of the 232 first-past-the-post seats in the lower chamber, about a third are too close to call, according to YouTrend. Thirty-five of those are in the South. Winning all of those seats could give Berlusconi a majority.
That highlights the importance of voters who make up their minds at the last minute. About 55 percent of undecided voters are based in the North, and 45 percent in the Center and the South, YouTrend’s poll showed. The survey indicates that if the undecideds turn out to vote, the biggest parties — the Democratic Party, Forza Italia and Five Star — would gain the most.
But falls in China can spark nervousness around the world over sentiment in the world’s second largest economy.
As well as the broader sell-off, analysts said stocks in China were weighed down by people selling ahead of the Lunar New Year holiday.
This is a common trend as the need for cash grows during this period – a time when Chinese companies typically pay bonuses and people also traditionally exchange cash and gifts during the period.
Why are markets falling?
This global sell-off began last week after a solid US jobs report fuelled expectations that the Federal Reserve would need to raise interest rates faster than expected because of the strength of the economy.
That concern has prompted the pull-back from stocks.
On Thursday, the Bank of England seemed to offer support for that view.
Si dice che l’uso del cash sia appannaggio dei malavitosi, che tutti i movimenti debbano essere tracciabili, e così via. Lo stato dovrebbe avere sempre sotto controllo tutto ciò che i sudditi cercano di fare: per il loro bene, sia ben chiaro.
Adesso il buon Bloomberg pubblica un articolo dal titolo molto significativo:
«The national disdain for plastic has become a proxy for profound concerns about trust, privacy and the role of the state ….
For Germans, more than for the citizens of virtually any other Western economy, “money” still means, above all, physical cash ….
Cash is still the means of payment in some 80 percent of point-of-sale transactions, compared with only 45 percent—and falling fast—next door in the Netherlands ….
mild suggestions in 2016 that it might be restricted in certain circumstances in Germany ignited passionate protest from almost every point on the political spectrum.»
Questa accorata domanda potrebbe però essere tranquillamente rovesciata.
«Perché liberal e socialisti odiano il cash»?
Se per i liberal usare il cash è qualcosa di peggio di un peccato mortale, per tutti gli altri il volerne limitare l’uso è gesto di tirannide, di dittatura, di violazione dei diritti fondamentali della persona umana.
Non c’è scritto da nessuna parte che liberal e socialisti abbiano ragione: e si direbbe che quanto ad elezioni gli Elettori diano loro torno in grande maggioranza.
«“Cash, to me, is an important public good by which you measure the transparency and legal order of a society, and also the respect for the individual and the private sphere,” says Max Otte, an economist in Cologne who leads Save Our Cash, a national campaign that opposes measures to restrict the use of physical currency. “ ‘Why do Germans like cash?’ is the wrong question,” he adds. Instead, Otte asks, “Why have others shifted to a cashless society so quickly?”»
«Why have others shifted to a cashless society so quickly?»
La risposta alla fine è semplice.
È impossibile costituire uno stato tirannico senza avere il controllo su tutti i movimenti di denaro. E questo è l’obiettivo dei liberal.
* * * * * * *
Questo articolo di Bloomberg è il piagnucoloso lamento di liberal e socialisti ideologici che sono stati estromessi dal potere perché gli Elettori non li votano più.
Essi sono esterrefatti, sbigottiti, increduli:
“siamo la perfezione assoluta, il culmine dell’evoluzione,
The national disdain for plastic has become a proxy for profound concerns about trust, privacy and the role of the state.
The building that might be the spiritual heart of the German economy is a 30-minute walk from Frankfurt’s towering financial district, down a five-lane road lined with squat apartment blocks of exquisite ordinariness.
Located in an annex of the Bundesbank, Germany’s central bank, the Money Museum is a sprawling homage to the virtues of sound monetary management, a 10,800-square-foot series of carefully curated displays about the history of currency, the evils of inflation, and the inevitability that policymakers must occasionally make enemies to contain it. On one wall, a looping feed of an impeccably dressed male teller explains gravely why banks must be careful not to lend too much. On another, visitors are invited to try their hand at a curious video game, set to a Mario Kart-style electronic soundtrack, in which the goal is to keep a rolling €1 coin upright while dodging villains that include real estate appreciation, oil shocks, and spiraling food costs. Lose your balance, and the caroming coin flips dejectedly onto one side, felled by a failure to maintain, of course, price stability.
The game may be a crude metaphor for the complexities of central banking, but it does speak to an important truth. For Germans, more than for the citizens of virtually any other Western economy, “money” still means, above all, physical cash. The average German wallet contains 103 physical euros, the European Central Bank estimated in November, more than three times the figure in France. Cash is still the means of payment in some 80 percent of point-of-sale transactions, compared with only 45 percent—and falling fast—next door in the Netherlands. Using cash is a habit deeply resistant to regulatory intervention; mild suggestions in 2016 that it might be restricted in certain circumstances in Germany ignited passionate protest from almost every point on the political spectrum.
In a world that for most of us is moving inexorably toward electronic payments for almost everything, Europe’s largest economy remains a remarkable holdout, still dominated by a form of commerce that’s existed for millennia. It’s an odd distinction for a country that’s in most respects on the economic vanguard and a rebuttal to any assumption that, all other things being equal, the most advanced economies are generally less cash-dependent.
Yet for many Germans, the convenience of electronic payment is beside the point. Rather, the use of cash has, to a surprising extent, become a proxy for profound concerns about trust, privacy, and the role of the state. Whereas in most countries the choice of how to organize purchases is basically a question of utility, in Germany it’s freighted with much deeper connotations. “Cash, to me, is an important public good by which you measure the transparency and legal order of a society, and also the respect for the individual and the private sphere,” says Max Otte, an economist in Cologne who leads Save Our Cash, a national campaign that opposes measures to restrict the use of physical currency. “ ‘Why do Germans like cash?’ is the wrong question,” he adds. Instead, Otte asks, “Why have others shifted to a cashless society so quickly?”
The short answer: It varies. Even as the electronic payment landscape explodes into a multiplicity of new options, whether prepaid debit cards, novel services such as Apple Pay, or the peer-to-peer transfer platform Venmo, countries are adopting them at sharply divergent rates. Germany’s co-champion in resisting electronic payments may be Japan, where the equivalent of more than $7,000 in bank notes and coins is in circulation for every inhabitant—more than four times the volume in South Korea or the U.K. A small clutch of tech-savvy northern European countries, led by Sweden and the Netherlands, are on their way to becoming effectively cashless societies. In Sweden, central bank statistics show, the number of ATMs plunged 17 percent from 2012 to 2016, while the Dutch use contactless payments for 10 percent of all retail transactions, by far the highest proportion in the euro area, according to the ECB. With the exception of Austria, the other European Union countries that share Germany’s reliance on notes and coins are concentrated in the bloc’s far poorer eastern and southern tiers.
The U.S. lies somewhere in the middle, because of its size, fragmented banking system, and the relatively high percentage of residents who don’t have payment cards. A little less than half of U.S. payments, with a bias toward smaller transactions, are made in cash, researchers from several central banks estimated in 2016. Payment behavior in the land of Apple, Google, and Facebook continues to exhibit an unusual analog quirk: the relatively wide use and acceptance of paper checks, something many younger European consumers have never seen.
And then there are a few truly strange outliers such as Zimbabwe, where a critical shortage of U.S. dollars, which the country adopted as its quasi-official currency in 2009 to combat the hyperinflation of its own dollar, has driven explosive adoption of mobile payment services. The most popular, EcoCash, boasts more than 7 million customers, or about half the population. It’s helping to keep commerce flowing in a country where using an ATM can mean waiting in line all day.
India and China are both driving hard toward a cashless future, for different reasons. Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government is trying, with mixed success, to implement a slate of policies to move transactions to electronic formats, in theory to squeeze out black-market commerce. In China, the push comes from innovative companies such as Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. and Tencent Holdings Ltd., whose mobile-wallet services are wildly popular.
Needless to say, none of these novel methods is widely accepted in Germany.
When the original members of the euro zone—Germany, France, and nine other EU states—set out in the 1990s to design the common currency, one question needed to be resolved quickly: What denominations of bank notes would replace the kaleidoscope of guilders, francs, deutsche marks, and pesetas then in use? In line with the U.S. dollar, it was obvious €5, €10, €20, and €50 notes would be necessary. The upper limit was harder to define. The Federal Reserve had retired its $1,000 bill in 1969, leaving the largest unit of American currency at $100, an early example of the long-lived global trend away from very high-denomination bills.
Germany’s Bundesbank, however, had different ideas. West Germany began issuing 1,000-mark bills in 1964, and they soon became a popular tool for holding the savings being generated by the Wirtschaftswunder, or economic miracle, that transformed the postwar state. German officials concluded, as former ECB Chief Economist Otmar Issing explains, that a €500 bill would create psychological continuity with the mark, which was to be retired at an exchange rate pegged at a little less than 2 marks to the euro. After all, since having a single currency meant asking the citizens of Europe’s strongest economy to give up a monetary system that was a symbol of their prosperity, winning their confidence was deemed crucial.
Other euro zone countries objected, as did U.S. officials, including then-Treasury Secretary Larry Summers, who said providing such a large-denomination note in what was certain to be a widely respected currency would aid only money launderers, gangsters, terrorists, and tax evaders. (One million dollars in $100 bills weighs about 22 pounds; €1 million in €500 paper, less than 5 pounds—the difference between toting one’s drug-deal proceeds in, say, a chunky folder or in a suitcase.) But the Bundesbank prevailed, and the €500 note—subsequently nicknamed “the bin Laden” for the rarity of sighting one outside a mattress or safe—entered circulation along with its smaller cousins on Jan. 1, 2002.
The euro eliminated national currencies, but it didn’t eliminate national central banks, instead incorporating them as, in effect, provincial administrations in a broader monetary authority known as the Eurosystem. One of its ongoing responsibilities is to gauge national demand for notes, based largely on the volumes of commercial bank withdrawals and deposits, and to print them accordingly. In this respect the Bundesbank is the clear European leader. Since the introduction of physical euros in 2002, it has issued more of them than the rest of its peers combined; more than half the roughly €1.1 trillion in physical notes in use in 2016 originated in Germany. German issuance is a big part of the reason that the total volume of cash in the euro area continues to expand, despite the proliferation of electronic payment options. Cash currently in circulation is equivalent to about 10 percent of the euro zone’s gross domestic product, according to Deutsche Bank AG, double the proportion in 2003.
Issing, the former ECB economist, accounts for this demand by making reference to an oft-repeated German maxim: “Cash is printed freedom”—offering the ability to transact with autonomy and anonymity in a country with good historical reasons to value both. Under the Nazis, he points out, the use of foreign currency was heavily restricted.
Today’s German policymakers agree that there’s just something different about their compatriots’ attitude to cash. “German citizens value cash very highly, and that’s quite simply a fact,” Bundesbank President Jens Weidmann said in 2016. The central bank, he said, “sees its role in assisting and supporting the general public in using those payment methods which they wish to use,” rather than in placing its thumb on the scale in favor of any one mode. Many German businesses, however, haven’t always shared that goal, especially if the payment method a consumer wishes to use happens to be electronic. The ubiquitous supermarket chain Aldi and German branches of Ikea began accepting credit cards only in 2015 and 2016, respectively. Tens of thousands of restaurants, small shops, and service providers, from big cities to rural villages, are still cash-only.
It might be tempting to view the German attachment to cash as a relatively harmless cultural oddity—like, say, Japanese companies’ ongoing love affair with fax machines—but a growing number of academic economists argue that it has serious undesirable consequences. Because so many transactions don’t enter electronic records, “it’s easier to avoid tax in Germany than in the U.S.,” says Harvard economist Kenneth Rogoff, whose 2016 book, The Curse of Cash, argued for the abolition of large bills to, among other benefits, make it more difficult to conduct business under the table. “People all over the world buy apartments in cash, and it’s not because they don’t know how to use a bank, believe me,” Rogoff says.
He and others make an additional, key argument against cash: Limiting its availability removes one of the main obstacles to negative interest rates. Once the largely theoretical preserve of economics textbooks, sub-zero rates have become a more mainstream monetary policy tool since the 2008 global financial crisis as policymakers seek to press consumers and companies to spend their money rather than save it. Although the euro area—along with Sweden and Denmark, which are not part of the euro zone—currently employs negative interest rates, the true “zero lower bound,” economists say, lies some distance below zero, at the point where the cost of keeping large amounts of physical cash—in safes, armored trucks, and so on—is lower than the haircut that those same funds would be subject to in a bank account. Remove the option of cash, and deeply negative rates, kept in place for a long time, become far more practical, opening entirely new frontiers in monetary policy.
Presenting an easier path to negative interest rates as a benefit does not, to say the least, go over well in much of Germany, which is a net creditor to a large chunk of the euro zone. Using negative rates to drive higher inflation “is just another way to make us pay for the debts of others,” says Klaus-Peter Willsch, a member of parliament for Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union party. Cash, Willsch says, “gives you independence from people making monetary policy.”
Restricting every citizen’s use of cash to make life harder for a small number of crooks “is like using a cannon to shoot little birds”
In early February 2016, the German finance ministry unveiled a proposal that in most countries would be uncontroversial: imposing an upward cap of €5,000 on cash transactions. Elsewhere in Europe the concept is familiar. In France, payments larger than €1,000 may not legally be made in cash in most situations; in Italy the limit is €3,000. A related proposal, which the ECB later adopted, suggested phasing out the €500 note.
The reaction was ferocious. The tabloid newspaper Bild, which has a daily circulation of almost 1.8 million and enormous influence over the nation’s political agenda, introduced a “Hands Off Our Cash” campaign on its front page. Weidmann had to hurriedly intervene to make clear that cash in general was going nowhere. And politicians of all stripes objected, with no one making more of the issue than the Alternative for Germany, or AfD, a nationalist anti-immigration party that’s Germany’s answer to Britain’s UKIP. The AfD made “protecting” cash a significant plank in its 2017 election campaign, in which its better-than-expected result seriously complicated Merkel’s efforts to form a stable ruling coalition. It’s not hard to see why: For a party such as the AfD, taking a position as a defender of traditional habits and against policies that could be associated vaguely with the desires of powerful outsiders was an opportunity too obvious to ignore.
“We are currently seeing the gradual abolition of cash,” Frauke Petry, a chemist-turned-politician who led the AfD until late last year, says on the sidelines of “The Day of Cash,” a November conference in Berlin organized by the national association of cash-handling companies. Such a development, she argues, would be toxic to frugality, a much-admired virtue in a country where, as foreign observers of its financial habits rarely fail to point out, the word for debt, schuld, means, literally, guilt. This supposed abolition is occurring, she says, “not according to market rules but in a politically motivated way, to hide the mistakes made by governments in recent years.”
Among defenders of cash, a certain fever-swamp conviction that something like a conspiracy exists to eliminate it is not uncommon. As Otte, the Save Our Cash founder, puts it, “A very strong coalition of forces”—central banks, data-hungry technology companies, commercial lenders eager to avoid the expense of handling money—is “working for a cashless or almost cashless society.”
But the passion for cash is equally strong within political factions that are far more reconciled to modernity than the AfD. Konstantin von Notz is in most respects the picture of 21st century Germany. In a meeting at his Berlin office on a frigid November morning, the Green party legislator wears a crisp, open-neck blue shirt under a V-neck sweater and a trimly cut gray blazer, his light brown hair artfully disheveled. Perched on a ledge on one side of the room is a large, framed sketch of Wrapped Reichstag, the artist Christo’s 1995 shrouding of the nearby building that now houses the German legislature in flowing silvery fabric—a daring physical meditation on national shame, the impossibility of full atonement for Nazi crimes, and the hope nonetheless for rebirth.
When it comes to money, however, von Notz’s attitudes are decidedly more traditional. He strenuously opposed the effort to limit cash transactions, in part because making purchases with cash, he says “is one of the last unsurveilled things” a citizen can do. That makes it an essential outlet of anonymity in a country where, “because of the two very harsh experiences with dictatorships, people have a broken understanding and relationship to government.” Privacy in Germany is a serious matter. Google ceased taking Street View images of German cities in 2011 after public complaints. In the limited areas where it does have coverage, the company gives German homeowners the option to blur out their properties, which many of them do.
The argument that restricting cash is essential to curbing criminality doesn’t convince von Notz. It’s not as if criminals need cash to make illicit transactions, he says, with alternative options ranging from complex corporate structures such as those revealed in the Panama Papers to cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, of which Germans are enthusiastic users. Restricting every citizen’s use of cash to make life harder for a small number of crooks, in von Notz’s view, “is like using a cannon to shoot little birds.”
The flight from Berlin to Stockholm takes a little more than an hour. From the perspective of how people organize their financial life, it may as well be a journey into another universe. Sweden is closer to being a cashless society than virtually any country on the planet. Fewer than 20 percent of retail transactions involve Swedish krona coins or notes, and the majority of bank branches no longer handle cash—a boon to lenders that would rather not worry about the expenses of security and cash distribution in a large, sparsely populated country.
The move to a virtually cashless financial system hasn’t been without drawbacks: Credit card fraud is rising, and groups that represent the elderly have complained that the process is moving too quickly for some older people to adapt. But at this point it’s probably unstoppable. Although the Riksbank, Sweden’s central bank, insists cash will remain available and in production for the foreseeable future, it’s not at all outlandish to speculate that the day it turns off the printing presses for good will come sooner rather than later.
“I think I haven’t been to an ATM for a year and a half,” says Bengt Nilervall, a payment expert. The decline has become self-reinforcing. As the volumes of cash in use slide, the costs charged to retailers for handling and transporting it are rising. For most Swedish businesses, the transaction costs of cash total about 2 percent or 3 percent of the amount concerned, Nilervall says, compared with less than 1 percent for cards. A rising number of retail establishments are actually refusing to accept cash—restaurants and bars operated by the Scandic hotel chain among the most prominent. (There were questions initially about the legality of such bans, but as long as businesses tell customers upfront, they appear to be on safe ground, says Bjorn Segendorf, a Riksbank policy adviser.)
Swedes’ embrace of digital payments has been accelerated by high levels of trust—in their leaders and in one another. Asked in a 2013 EU survey to rank their trust in their fellow citizens on a scale of 1 to 10, Swedes answered on average 6.9, compared with 5.5 in Germany and 5.0 in France. Asked the same question about their political system, the mean result in Sweden was 5.6, outstripping Germany at 4.9 and France at a mere 3.0. “Maybe we’re kind of naive,” Nilervall says. “We trust the government, we trust the authorities, we trust the banks. And that’s why we are where we are.”
Take the example of online shopping. When a Swedish consumer makes a web purchase, she has the option of skipping the tedious business of filling in an address and payment details by simply entering her social security number. Everything else is prepopulated, and an invoice can be sent by email for settlement via Klarna AB, a Stockholm-based electronic payment service. That such a system could catch on in the more privacy-minded U.K., U.S., or Germany is hard to imagine. Yet in Sweden—a country that stayed neutral through both world wars and which has been consistently democratic since 1909—the idea of giving the government potentially complete knowledge of one’s financial affairs just doesn’t seem very dangerous.
The battle to bring German attitudes about cash into convergence with the rest of the Western world is being waged, in part, from an attractive 19th century office block in Berlin’s hip Mitte district. The German offices of SumUp, an electronic payment company that provides low-cost, wireless card terminals, are straight out of startup central casting. A multinational group of twentysomethings in jeans and hoodies is clacking away at keyboards in a long, attractively messy open-plan office with hardwood floors and tall casement windows, through which light streams in from Friedrichstrasse, central Berlin’s main drag. In an adjacent meeting room, a bulletin board is packed with yellow Post-its bearing handwritten ideas and scraps of customer feedback: “Paying cash is a habit.” “I recommended SU to a doctor. … He was happy and recommended it back.”
SumUp’s co-founder, Marc-Alexander Christ, a Frankfurt native in a stylish black turtleneck and round glasses, is convinced Germans are on their way to giving up their cash fixation. “People do realize that you need a [credit card] terminal, especially in the big cities, where tourists just don’t expect to need cash anymore,” he says. The company is finding success in some surprising places, such as “a couple of thousand” German Tupperware sellers who’ve switched from cash to SumUp devices, finding they can sell far more of the containers to their friends as a result. And unlike in other countries where SumUp operates, in which the need for merchants to take cards is self-evident, in Germany the company is emphasizing the utility of its point-of-sale software, which helps retailers track and analyze purchases, with the card reader as a sort of add-on. He declines to provide country-specific figures, but Christ says SumUp’s growth in Germany is brisk, thanks in large part to generational change. “It’s definitely moving in the right direction, because I can tell you my mother never uses cards, and my brother always uses cards,” he says.
Yet even in the heart of Germany’s most dynamic and internationally oriented city, there’s a long way to go. Leaving my meeting with Christ at almost 2 p.m., I crossed the street toward a row of storefronts in search of lunch. Dada Falafel, a hipster-inflected Middle Eastern spot, seemed to be the most popular option, a multicultural queue of elegantly dressed young Berliners spilling onto the sidewalk outside. I neared the counter, stated my order, and reached instinctively for my American Express. No such luck. “Sorry, cash only.”
Questo è l’intervento del Governatore Draghi al Parlamento Europeo.
«In a major legislative achievement, US President Donald Trump signed into law the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act on 22 December 2017. This tax reform, which took effect on 1 January 2018, entails a major overhaul of the US tax system. The reform involves a large number of changes, with some of its main provisions being:1 (i) a permanent reduction in the corporate tax rate from 35% to 21%, while allowing the full deduction of investment from the corporate tax base for five years, after which this will be phased out; (ii) a temporary simplification of and reduction in individual income taxes, as well as an increase in the child tax credit; (iii) lower income taxation for small business owners; and (iv) elimination of the taxation of most foreign corporate income of US corporate shareholders, implying a move to a “hybrid” territorial system with a one-time transition tax on untaxed profits of 15.5% on liquid and 8% on non-liquid assets. The territorial system is complemented by base erosion measures and a minimum tax on some of the foreign operations of US companies.»
«The tax burden on US corporate income will fall significantly to a level close to that in a number of euro area economies. Chart A shows the corporate tax rate (combined for central and sub-central governments) of the United States before and after the reform as compared to the large euro area economies. Prior to the reform, the US corporate tax rate stood above the rates of all large euro area countries, while, after the reform, it is closer to the lower end of rates in those countries.»
«The reform is expected to boost US domestic demand and raise US real GDP in the near term. Lower individual income tax rates will raise household disposable income and boost consumption, especially among liquidity-constrained households. Part of the increase in after-tax income will also raise savings, in particular for wealthier individuals. In addition, lower corporate taxes should boost household wealth via higher asset prices and dividends, thereby also raising consumption and savings. Higher corporate profits may also lead to higher wages as workers bargain for a share of the increased profits,2 which will in turn raise consumption. Finally, cuts in corporate taxes and the full deductibility of investment for five years will lower the after-tax cost of investment, thereby raising demand as a result of increased incentives to invest.»
«In addition, some positive impact on the economy’s production capacity can be expected. Income tax cuts for individuals increase the after-tax rate of return on labour, which may strengthen incentives for workers to increase their participation in the labour market.3 Moreover, by increasing the after-tax rate of return on capital, lower corporate taxes and the full deductibility of investment should increase investment and the economy’s capital stock. A higher capital stock should, in turn, increase the economy’s potential output and boost labour productivity. Some simplification of the tax code and the elimination of tax distortions for different corporates’ financing strategies might also raise productivity by reallocating capital to more efficient sectors.»
«The euro area will also be affected by the changes in the international tax landscape, the consequences of which are highly uncertain and complex. First, lower US corporate taxes raise the tax attractiveness of the United States relative to other countries, which will influence corporations’ incentives to invest. A study by the Centre for European Economic Research (Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung – ZEW)8 finds that the tax reform will lead to a rise in inbound foreign direct investment (FDI) into the United States originating from the European Union which outweighs an increase in US outbound FDI into the EU. Second, the reform will affect tax planning strategies of multinational enterprises. In particular, through the US move to a territorial system and through the differences in tax rates between the United States and some high-tax EU countries after the reform, the incentives for profit shifting are changed. Some aspects of the reform also provide incentives to relocate intellectual property to the United States. More generally, the reform risks intensifying tax competition worldwide, entailing a possible erosion of tax bases in EU countries. Third, it has been pointed out that some of the international provisions of the US tax reform may not be in accordance with World Trade Organization rules and double taxation treaties.»
* * * * * * * *
Ecb si è espressa in modo particolarmente chiaro.
– Questa riforma fiscale determinerà una forte espansione dell’economica americana, aumenterà la liquidità disponibile ai cittadini, gli elevati risparmi delle società condurranno ad aumenti salariali ed ad aumento degli investimenti.
Molte società a sede legale negli Stati Uniti ed attività nel resto dl mondo troveranno vantaggio a ritornare negli States.
«The euro area will also be affected by the changes in the international tax landscape, the consequences of which are highly uncertain and complex»
«lower US corporate taxes raise the tax attractiveness of the United States relative to other countries»
«the tax reform will lead to a rise in inbound foreign direct investment (FDI) into the United States originating from the European Union»
L’Eurozona adesso è messa con le spalle al muro.
A fine anno l’Ecb dovrà interrompere i QE, e per molti stati, specie poi quelli meridionali, saranno dolori severi.
Se l’Europa mantenesse un’alta tassazione potrebbe ancora per qualche tempo finanziare il welfare. Ma per poco.
In tale evenienza tutti i capitali fuggirebbero veloci come leprotti negli Stati Uniti, ove, tra l’altro, i tassi di interesse sono in ascesa. Sempre poi che già non lo stiano facendo.
Ma abbassare le tasse proprio nel momento in cui cessano i QE imporrà di fatto tagli disumani al welfare. Lo statalismo è destinato a crollare perché illogico.
L’Unione Europea si sta mestamente avviando allo stato minimo: ciò che non si fa con le buone, lo si fa sempre a calci nei denti.
La Bce: “Può scatenare la concorrenza sulle tasse ed erodere la base imponibile degli Stati”. Ma per decenni si è predicato che così si deve fare.
La riforma fiscale avviata dal presidente Donald Trump negli Stati Uniti «rischia di intensificare la competizione fiscale globale, comportando una possibile erosione delle basi imponibili nei Paesi dell’Unione europea». Lo segnala la Bce in un focus su «L’impatto economico della riforma fiscale statunitense» pubblicato oggi sul sito istituzionale. Se nel complesso la riforma «fornirà un significativo stimolo fiscale all’economia statunitense nel prossimo decennio», segnala la Banca centrale europea nel documento, «spingendo la domanda interna e facendo salire il Pil reale nel breve termine, le conseguenze che tutto ciò avrà sull’area euro rimangono altamente incerte e complesse».
La concorrenza fiscale fra Stati, purché non spinta fino alla creazione di «paradisi», è stata lodata per decenni dagli apologeti del libero mercato come via da seguire, anche in Europa dove si trovano il Lussemburgo, le isole Jersey e Guernsey, l’Irlanda e altri Stati o staterelli che offrono fiscalità di vantaggio ai capitali stranieri. Durante gli stessi decenni si è detto da parte dei liberisti (ma anche degli europeisti senza etichetta) che questa concorrenza fiscale è cosa buona e giusta e che quando si scatena è tanto peggio chi non è capace di adeguarvisi. In tutti questi decenni i costi dell’elusione fiscale per gli Stati europei e per i singoli cittadini sono stati pesantissimi, senza bisogno di Trump. La situazione è stata esaltata per decenni dagli economisti iper-liberisti e (di volta in volta) benedetta oppure ignorata dai trattati europei e dalle istituzioni di Bruxelles e di Francoforte. Adesso che gli Usa fanno passi nella stessa direzione l’Europa è a corto di argomenti per polemizzare.
«Il Vix (Cboe Volatility index) è l’indice che misura la volatilità (la “velocità”) implicita (futura nei 30 giorni successivi) delle variazioni di prezzo delle principali 500 azioni quotate alla Borsa di Neew York, quelle dell’indice S&P 500. Il Vix è un paniere ponderato di opzioni, sia call (acquisto) sia put (vendita). Se il mercato è stabile, il premio delle opzioni rimane basso. Se la volatilità implicita aumenta, allora anche i premi crescono, facendo così salire l’indice. Di norma quando l’S&P500 scende il Vix dovrebbe salire, mentre, quando l’indice azionario sale, il Vix dovrebbe scendere.» [Sole 24 Ore]
Ci si prepari quindi ad assistere a rivolgimenti e scossoni.
Una grande quantità di titoli azionari, ed anche titoli di stato, sono sopravalutati. Adesso tutti sono stati avvisati. E chiaramente.
«La parabola di Trump, lato dollaro, ha due volti»
«All’inizio del suo mandato (novembre 2016) il biglietto verde ha avuto subito uno scatto nei confronti delle principali valute. Tanto che l’euro da quota 1,12 è scivolato nel dicembre 2016 a 1,04 sfiorando la parità»
«Dopodiché il trend è girato. Il dollaro ha iniziato a perdere terreno su scala globale con un’escalation nelle ultime settimane. I fattori scatenanti sono la spinta protezionistica di Trump e l’innalzamento del tetto del debito.»
«Il presidente Usa ha delineato una strategia commerciale molto aggressiva, da molti considerata eccessivamente protezionistica, che prevede tra le altre cose l’imposizione di dazi su lavatrici e pannelli solari cinesi»
«A conti fatti quindi se Trump voleva un dollaro più debole …. ora può dire di averlo ottenuto»
«Analizzando le performance del biglietto verde nei confronti delle 10 principali valute al mondo emerge chiaramente che la valuta Usa non ha fatto eccezioni: si è svalutata nei confronti di tutte. Nei confronti dell’euro ha perso oltre il 15%, così come per la corona danese. Il dollaro si è svalutato anche nei confronti della sterlina (13,9%) che a questo punto non è lontana (manca un 4%) a ritornare ai livelli pre-Brexit. Ci vogliono oggi più dollari anche per acquistare yen e franchi svizzeri (circa il 5% in più), rispetto a novembre 2016»
«Ci sono state sempre trade war. Ora la differenza è che l’America sta salendo sulle barricate»
* * * * * * * *
Se è vero che alcuni effetti di una svalutazione competitiva siano quasi immediati, sarebbe altrettanto vero che molti altri effetti si dispieghino lentamente nel tempo.
I contratti in essere che avessero fissato il rapporto continuerebbero ad essere onorati, ma dopo tutto dovrebbe essere riconsiderato e rinegoziato.
Se è vero che l’eurozona risulta essere facilitata nell’approvvigionamento di materie prime denominate in dollari, è altrettanto vero che le sue esportazioni verso gli Stati Uniti saranno ostacolate dai rincari. In confronto ad un anno fa, il vino italiano sugli scaffali dei supermercati è aumentato di circa il 30%.
Ma forse il punto di maggiore interesse potrebbe essere nei confronti della Cina, dato stranamente omesso dal Sole 24 Ore.
Il 1° maggio 2017 lo yuan valeva 6.91, ed oggi invece è quotato 6.3316.
La parabola di Trump, lato dollaro, ha due volti. All’inizio del suo mandato (novembre 2016) il biglietto verde ha avuto subito uno scatto nei confronti delle principali valute. Tanto che l’euro da quota 1,12 è scivolato nel dicembre 2016 a 1,04 sfiorando la parità. Dopodiché il trend è girato. Il dollaro ha iniziato a perdere terreno su scala globale con un’escalation nelle ultime settimane. I fattori scatenanti sono la spinta protezionistica di Trump e l’innalzamento del tetto del debito.
Il presidente Usa ha delineato una strategia commerciale molto aggressiva, da molti considerata eccessivamente protezionistica, che prevede tra le altre cose l’imposizione di dazi su lavatrici e pannelli solari cinesi. Allo stesso tempo è riuscito a trovare la quadra al Congresso per aumentare la capacità di spesa a deficit.
Più debito equivale, nei manuali di macroeconomia, a una moneta meno forte. A conti fatti quindi se Trump voleva un dollaro più debole – che certamente può far comodo a un Paese chiamato a mantenere elevati e costanti standard di crescita a fronte del percorso di normalizzazione dei tassi avviato – ora può dire di averlo ottenuto. Su tutti e contro tutti.
Analizzando le performance del biglietto verde nei confronti delle 10 principali valute al mondo emerge chiaramente che la valuta Usa non ha fatto eccezioni: si è svalutata nei confronti di tutte. Nei confronti dell’euro ha perso oltre il 15%, così come per la corona danese. Il dollaro si è svalutato anche nei confronti della sterlina (13,9%) che a questo punto non è lontana (manca un 4%) a ritornare ai livelli pre-Brexit. Ci vogliono oggi più dollari anche per acquistare yen e franchi svizzeri (circa il 5% in più), rispetto a novembre 2016.
Ieri il segretario al Tesoro degli Stati Uniti, Steven Mnuchin, ha affermato che un dollaro così debole è un toccasana per l’economia. Parole che hanno messo nuova pressione al ribasso nei confronti della divisa statunitense.
Intanto la situazione – guerra valutaria che fa rima con guerra commerciale – sta alimentando il dibattito in Svizzera, dove è in corso il forum di Davos. Jack Ma, fondatore del colosso cinese dell’e-commerce Alibaba, ha detto che gli scambi commerciali non dovrebbero essere usati come un’arma, in quello che è apparso un attacco neppure troppo velato a Trump. Jack Ma, da Davos, ha detto di essere «spaventato e preoccupato» dalla possibilità di una guerra commerciale.
I suoi timori sembrano trovare fondamento nelle parole del segretario al Commercio americano Wilbur Ross, che, sempre da Davos, ha detto: «Ci sono state sempre trade war. Ora la differenza è che l’America sta salendo sulle barricate». Secondo Ma, invece, il protezionismo non è salutare: «La globalizzazione è una grande cosa» e gli «effetti collaterali» devono essere accettati, perché «è facile dare inizio a una guerra commerciale, ma è difficile fermarla».
Trump al momento al momento non la pensa così. Per continuare con il motto “America first” ora più che mai ha bisogno di un dollaro “fragile”.
Quando in famiglia muore il nonno decrepito tutti si disperano. Del nonno se ne facevano un baffo a torciglione: uno di qua e l’altro di là. Importava loro invece la sua pensione. Morto il nonno, basta pensione, e si deve iniziare a pensare di andare a lavorare per vivere.
Ma la terra è bassa: lavorare costa fatica. Un partito, un candidato, mica che possa promettere lavoro: sarebbe immediatamente linciato.
Qui in Italia ci si dimentica, non si vuole dire, che nonna Banca Centrale ci ha comprato per anni titoli di stato ed altre frattaglie. Mica briciolotti: decine di miliardi. Ed ora la pacchia sta per finire. I QE sono destinati a cassare, ed ora proseguono a ritmo ridotto. E mancheranno all’appello all’incirca sessanta miliardi di euro subito, ma la cifra a fine QE dovrebbe salire a 146 miliardi.
Nessun partito politico in corsa per le elezioni ha detto donde vorrebbe cavare una cifra del genere, quando cesseranno i QE.
Al sodo: il nuovo governo, sempre che alla fine lo si possa fare, cosa mica poi così scontata, dovrà attirare un qualcosa come trecento miliardi all’anno ora in tasca ai privati, che vogliono essere remunerati del rischio che corrono e che alla fine ne vorranno la restituzione.
Il kompagno Keynes ha spiegato alla perfezione come fare i debiti, ma si è scordato di spiegare come fare a rimborsarli.
Se non stupisce il fatto che i partiti ed i candidati non lo sappiano, quelli si intendono più di grammatica ittita che di economia, lascia esterrefatti il cumulo di promesse buttate sul tavolino, con soave levità.
Facendo una somma anche molto grossolana, tutti assieme hanno promesso azioni per oltre settecento miliardi.
«lunga promessa con l’attender corto / ti farà trïunfar ne l’alto seggio»
diceva padre Dante.
«Il debito pubblico italiano (oltre 2.200 miliardi su cui maturano interessi annui per circa 60 miliardi) nel 2018 continuerà a ricevere (come per tutti i Paesi dell’Eurozona, eccezion fatta per la Grecia) un aiutino da parte della Banca centrale europea. Ma sarà meno ricco rispetto al passato di circa 5 miliardi al mese. »
«Il Pspp (Public sector purchase program, il piano di acquisti di bond sovrani, l’elemento più corposo del pacchetto complessivo del quantitative easing attraverso il quale la Bce compra anche obbligazioni private, covered bond e titoli Abs) continuerà infatti almeno fino al prossimo settembre»
«C’è però una differenza sostanziale rispetto al 2017. I miliardi iniettati saranno molti di meno: anziché 60, scenderanno a 30 al mese»
«Sommando quindi ai 30 miliardi mensili destinati a nuovi titoli circa 15 miliardi che verranno utilizzati per ricoprire le scadenze (ottenuti sulla base di un monte scadenze pari a 146 miliardi a cui aggiungere il reinvestimento delle cedole maturate) vuol dire che, miliardo più miliardo meno, la Bce immetterà qualcosa come 45 miliardi al mese per l’acquisto di asset.»
«Escludendo la quota di acquisti destinata a bond privati e titoli Abs la fetta relativa ai titoli di Stato dell’Eurozona nell’ipotesi che l’aiuto arrivi fino a dicembre sarà vicina a 310 miliardi, di cui 116 per reinvestimenti.»
«Nel complesso il sostegno pubblico della Bce sarà inferiore per oltre 300 miliardi rispetto al 2017.»
* * * * * * * *
Cerchiamo di essere chiari.
Paroloni grossi grossi, come reddito da cittadinanza, aumentare le pensioni, rendere gratuita la frequenza universitaria, nozze gay per tutti, possono colpire le menti microlissencefale, ma sono solo nuovi capitoli di spese.
A spendere siamo buoni tutti.
Il problema è guadagnarseli, e qui si sta parlando di cifre astronomiche.
Quando c’è poco, dire che si potrebbe risparmiare è follia pura: roba da neurodeliri.
In un paese serio questo dovrebbe essere il vero nodo del dibattito politico. Il resto è roba da Boldrini, dicerie da carampane in disarmo.
Il debito pubblico italiano (oltre 2.200 miliardi su cui maturano interessi annui per circa 60 miliardi) nel 2018 continuerà a ricevere (come per tutti i Paesi dell’Eurozona, eccezion fatta per la Grecia) un aiutino da parte della Banca centrale europea. Ma sarà meno ricco rispetto al passato di circa 5 miliardi al mese. Vediamo perché.
Il Pspp (Public sector purchase program, il piano di acquisti di bond sovrani, l’elemento più corposo del pacchetto complessivo del quantitative easing attraverso il quale la Bce compra anche obbligazioni private, covered bond e titoli Abs) continuerà infatti almeno fino al prossimo settembre. Anzi, molti analisti si aspettano che venga prolungato fino a dicembre. C’è però una differenza sostanziale rispetto al 2017. I miliardi iniettati saranno molti di meno: anziché 60, scenderanno a 30 al mese. Questo dato però non tiene conto della quota di titoli in mano alla Bce che andranno in scadenza e che l’istituto di Francoforte reinvestirà. Sommando quindi ai 30 miliardi mensili destinati a nuovi titoli circa 15 miliardi che verranno utilizzati per ricoprire le scadenze (ottenuti sulla base di un monte scadenze pari a 146 miliardi a cui aggiungere il reinvestimento delle cedole maturate) vuol dire che, miliardo più miliardo meno, la Bce immetterà qualcosa come 45 miliardi al mese per l’acquisto di asset.
Escludendo la quota di acquisti destinata a bond privati e titoli Abs la fetta relativa ai titoli di Stato dell’Eurozona nell’ipotesi che l’aiuto arrivi fino a dicembre sarà vicina a 310 miliardi, di cui 116 per reinvestimenti.
Nel complesso il sostegno pubblico della Bce sarà inferiore per oltre 300 miliardi rispetto al 2017. Quanto ai BTp italiani i calcoli indicano che la Bce immetterà fino a dicembre 45 miliardi a cui aggiungere un importo che oscilla tra i 14 e i 20 miliardi relativo al riacquisto dei titoli in scadenza. Quindi circa 60 miliardi, ovvero 5 miliardi al mese. Considerando che nel 2017 la Bce ha stanziato solo per il debito italiano 117 miliardi (circa 9,8 miliardi al mese) il conto è fatto: nel 2018 all’Italia mancheranno all’appello (lato Bce) 4,8 miliardi al mese.
A questo punto è lecito chiedersi: chi ce li mette? Il mercato degli investitori privati sarà in grado di coprire il calo di acquisti annunciato da Francoforte? A giudicare dalla forte domanda che c’è stata a gennaio sulla prima emissione a lunga scadenza (BTp a 20) non ci dovrebbero essere problemi: il titolo è stato offerto per un controvalore di 9 miliardi mentre la domanda è arrivata a 30, oltre tre volte. Segnale che la richiesta di BTp da parte dei privati resta ancora sostenuta anche perché in questa fase – complici anche le incertezze legate alle elezioni politiche del 4 marzo – i rendimenti italiani sono i più alti (Grecia esclusa) dell’Eurozona. Venerdì il BTp a 10 anni è tornato sopra il 2%, 138 punti base in più del rispettivo titoli tedesco e 60 del Bonos spagnolo di pari durata.
«Il mercato obbligazionario dovrà trovare più domanda per la carta italiana rispetto all’anno scorso – spiega Gianni Piazzoli, head of advisory di Anthilia Capital Partners -. Un target ambizioso, ma a nostro modo di vedere alla portata dei titoli del Tesoro italiano, che possono contare in questa fase su un quadro macroeconomico in significativo miglioramento e, grazie alle vicende politiche, un premio al rischio ancora attraente rispetto ai rendimenti offerti dalla carta “core” europea».
A quanto pare dal mercato dovrebbe arrivare senza patemi quella quota di ossigeno che la Bce ha deciso di ritirare. C’è poi un altro fattore che tranquillizza. È vero che la Bce stanzierà meno soldi a sostegno dei BTp ma è anche vero che nel 2018 il Tesoro ridurrà le emissioni nette. Le stime di uno studio di Bnp Paribas indicano che lo Stato italiano emetterà nuovi titoli per 225 miliardi a fronte dei 181 che andranno in scadenza per un netto positivo di 44 miliardi che in ogni caso rappresenta il 16% in meno rispetto al 2017. Quindi meno titoli emessi vuol dire anche meno titoli da “coprire” dal mercato.
La solidità della domanda privata potrebbe però non bastare ad evitare il rialzo dei rendimenti. Questo perché i tassi stanno salendo in tutto il mondo non per la mancanza di compratori ma in funzione del fisiologico adeguamento dei bond all’aumento delle stime di inflazione. E questo è certamente un tema per chi in questo momento ha in pancia dei bond.
«I rischi per i governativi europei sono evidenti e risiedono in un ciclo economico molto forte che inizia a palesarsi in una ripresa dell’inflazione – spiega Fabrizio Santin, portfolio manager di Pictet asset management -. Il livello ancora molto basso dei rendimenti aumenta il tempo impiegato per recuperare perdite da rialzo dei tassi. Si tenga conto che un aumento di 50 punti base per un BTp con durata a 10 anni equivale a un calo del 5% sul prezzo, ovvero due anni per recuperare la perdita».
«The flow of Venezuelan heavy crude oil to U.S. Gulf Coast refineries dropped by 60 percent in the first three weeks of January»
«Shipments had been averaging around a million barrels a day, but they dropped to 394,000 bpd since the first of the year»
«The problem with socialism is that you eventually run out of other peoples’ money» [Margaret Thatcher]
«This is one of the worst collapses in history. It happened without an invasion like in Iraq, the breakup of a country like in the Soviet Union, or a civil war like in Libya»
«This has forced all three credit rating agencies to declare Venezuela in default»
«Inflation of his country’s currency has just been reported by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to be 13,000 percent, causing the price of a cup of coffee to double between the time when it is ordered and when the bill to pay for it arrives»
«Socialism is a philosophy of failure, the creed of ignorance, and the gospel of envy. It’s inherent virtue is the equal sharing of misery»
* * * * * * * *
Il Venezuela è strategico per gli Stato Uniti, ma anche per la Cina e per la Russia.
Essendo ideologizzato, Mr Maduro non ha saputo approfittare del periodo di requie che gli era stato fornito da Russia e Cina, che avevano pagato diverse volte in sua vece interessi e refusioni.
Senza radicali riforme interne, il destino del Venezuela sembrerebbe essere segnato.
The flow of Venezuelan heavy crude oil to U.S. Gulf Coast refineries dropped by 60 percent in the first three weeks of January, according to data from the U.S. Energy Information Agency (EIA). Shipments had been averaging around a million barrels a day, but they dropped to 394,000 bpd since the first of the year.
This adds to Marxist Nicolas Maduro’s financial woes, and none too soon, either. He has been relying on cash generated by those exports to continue to keep his regime in power. But now, in the famous words of Great Britain’s former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, “The problem with socialism is that you eventually run out of other peoples’ money.”
For Maduro “eventually” is upon him and his totalitarian dictatorship.
The news from the EIA is welcome but not surprising. Reuters reported two weeks ago that Venezuela’s crude production last year fell by 13 percent from the year before, hitting a 28-year low. This follows a six-year decline in production that tracks closely with the imposition of “Chavism,” the political ideology that wealth can be created through government edict rather than capital investment.
For a while it looked like it was working. Revenues from Venezuela’s vast crude oil reserves (among the world’s largest) allowed Hugo Chavez to expand greatly Venezuela’s welfare state, resulting in socialists around the globe declaring his country an economic miracle. But then oil revenues started declining, and Hugo Chavez died in 2013. Nicolas Maduro (a former bus driver and union organizer) took over and proceeded to run this economic “miracle” into the ground.
That country’s implosion has accelerated to the point where even statist economists can no longer deny it. Rice University professor Francisco Mondaldi, who predictably holds degrees in political science from Stanford and in international economics from Yate, told Reuters, “This is one of the worst collapses in history. It happened without an invasion like in Iraq, the breakup of a country like in the Soviet Union, or a civil war like in Libya.”
The litany of socialist destruction in Venezuela has been covered widely by The New American and elsewhere, which includes Maduro’s de facto bankruptcy through his inability even to service the interest payments on his country’s $150 billion external debt. This has forced all three credit rating agencies to declare Venezuela in default. His socialist policies have forced his country’s economic output to be cut in half since 2013, further impoverishing his serfs. That impoverishment has been reflected in the “wasting” index — an index that measures an individual’s height compared to his weight — which is hitting new highs.
Inflation of his country’s currency has just been reported by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to be 13,000 percent, causing the price of a cup of coffee to double between the time when it is ordered and when the bill to pay for it arrives.
It appears to be just a matter of time — perhaps a matter of weeks — when Maduro’s madness will come to end. There is speculation about a military coup, an outside intervention by CIA operatives, or pressure from the country’s neighbors, which may escalate from rhetoric by U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson that is expected during his trip to South America this week.
But credit must finally be given to U.S. crude oil refineries for cutting the flow of Venezuelan heavy crude, and Maduro’s resultant cash flow, in favor of other more reliable sources such as Mexico and Canada for the same product. It isn’t politics that forced those refineries to cut their imports, but simple economics: They needed a dependable, reliable, steady source of crude and, thanks to Maduro’s military takeover of his state-owned energy company PdVSA, it cannot provide it. Instead, its employees are leaving as a result of the company no longer being able to pay them, and they’re taking with them valuable supplies and equipment to sell on the black market to feed themselves and their families.
As Winston Churchill said, “Socialism is a philosophy of failure, the creed of ignorance, and the gospel of envy. It’s inherent virtue is the equal sharing of misery.” That misery will hopefully shortly come to an end, thanks partly to economic decisions by U.S. Gulf Coast refineries to do business elsewhere.
«Few countries attract as much disdain from economists as Germany»
«Berlin is accused of running an excessively prudent budget»
«German companies of paying their workers too little»
«The problem is that Germany needs to make up now for what it failed to do in the past»
«Wages must not only increase, but compensate for years of excessive moderation»
«Germany’s current account surplus stood at nearly 8 percent of gross domestic product last year. According to the IMF, this is nearly 4.5 percentage points higher than it should be. Roughly a third of this excessive external surplus is the result of overly tight fiscal policy»
«Roughly a third of this excessive external surplus is the result of overly tight fiscal policy.»
«these extra savings end up funding projects abroad. This carries some risk since in case of a default abroad (private or sovereign) the money would be lost»
«A positive output gap does not signal a need for an expansive fiscal policy stance»
«Germany has accumulated a large investment gap, both private and public»
«Public investment, while stable, remains at a meager 2 percent of GDP »
«As noted by Wolff, gross fixed capital formation (the net increase in physical assets) in the manufacturing sector is now lower than in Italy»
* * * * * * * *
Herr Weidmann lo ha detto nel suo linguaggio cui non tutti sono adsueti:
«A positive output gap does not signal a need for an expansive fiscal policy stance»
Herr Wolff lo ha detto chiaro e tondo in un linguaggio da economisti:
«gross fixed capital formation in the manufacturing sector is now lower than in Italy»
Per dirla papale e papale, in Germania si sta investendo troppo poco nella produzione.
Ma ci sarà bene un motivo se non si investe nella produzione.
La risposta arriva semplicissima dal Forum di Davos.
«Before diving into a steak dinner at the World Economic Forum as the guests of the US president, leaders of major European corporations went around the table and praised their host’s pro-business tax reform»
«The comments from Trump’s dinner guests, including the heads of German companies such as sports behemoth Adidas, telecommunications giant Siemens and pharmaceutical producer Bayer, contrasted with the prior remarks of world politicians who expressed concern about Trump’s “America first” protectionist policies»
«Siemens president, Joe Kaiser, congratulated Trump on his tax reform and cited the legislation as the reason the company chose to develop gas turbines in the US»
«Patrick Pouyanne, chairman and CEO of Total, a French energy producer and one of the world’s largest oil companies, also announced his intention to “do more” in the US thanks to the tax cuts»
«The Norwegian energy company Statoil also expressed its gratitude to Trump, citing the $2.5 billion (€2 billion) it pumps into the US economy every year»
«Statoil’s head Eldar Saetra also praised Trump’s broader economic de-regulation efforts, calling them “good news,”»
Gli amministratori delegati lo hanno ammesso francamente, non lo hanno negato, ed hanno quindi ammesso che avrebbero trasferito molto del loro lavoro negli Stati Uniti a causa della sua riforma fiscale.
Siemens, Total, Statoil, solo per fare qualche nome, trasferiranno parte delle loro attività negli Stati Uniti.
Con questa cena Mr Trump si è portato a casa seicento miliardi di dollari di investimenti.
Se comprendiamo le argomentazioni di Herr Weidmann, nel contempo constatiamo come sia compito dei politici preparare le condizioni che invoglino agli investimenti.
Con la riduzione delle tasse negli Usa, Mr Trump si è preso a Davos seicento miliardi che avrebbero potuto essere investiti in Germania.
Despite a boom, more spending would make up for years of wage restraint.
Few countries attract as much disdain from economists as Germany. Berlin is accused of running an excessively prudent budget and German companies of paying their workers too little: This stinginess — so the accusation goes — has contributed to global instability by making it harder for Germany’s euro-zone partners to climb their way out of the crisis.
The criticisms, which go back about a decade, seem harder to sustain now: German wages are rising again, and while the government is running a surplus, it is more difficult to make the case for greater spending during an economic expansion. The problem is that Germany needs to make up now for what it failed to do in the past: Wages must not only increase, but compensate for years of excessive moderation.
This sizable gap in public and private investment needs to be filled, a worthy focus for the new coalition government. A boost in German consumption and investment would create some additional demand for Germany’s euro-zone partners. Greater investment in companies or infrastructure would also lift German productivity, which has been far from impressive over the past decade.
The great debate over German economic policymaking was held at a conference in Frankfurt last week, jointly run by the International Monetary Fund and the Bundesbank. The case for a change of paradigm in Berlin was eloquently made by Maurice Obstfeld, the IMF’s chief economist, who — alongside his predecessor Olivier Blanchard — has long argued that Germany should reduce its external surplus to improve financial stability.
Germany’s current account surplus stood at nearly 8 percent of gross domestic product last year. According to the IMF, this is nearly 4.5 percentage points higher than it should be. Roughly a third of this excessive external surplus is the result of overly tight fiscal policy.
Obstfeld pointed out that, at the moment, these extra savings end up funding projects abroad. This carries some risk since in case of a default abroad (private or sovereign) the money would be lost. Conversely, Germany could reap high returns by investing in infrastructure at home. And since most of the savings come from the corporate sector, encouraging companies to invest could also lower inequality.
The problem with the IMF analysis is its timing rather than its substance. Few have doubts that Germany’s surplus is truly extraordinary: As Guntram Wolff, the director of the Brussels-based think tank Bruegel, noted, if one looks at all countries in the world over the last two decades, there’s only a handful of examples of countries that are not commodity producers that ran a current account surplus at nearly 8 percent of GDP, for three consecutive years. But it is much harder to make the case for greater government spending now that the euro-zone economy is booming. As Bundesbank President Jens Weidmann noted, an economy going at full steam does not generally require an injection of more spending. (Of course, he put it more technically: “A positive output gap does not signal a need for an expansive fiscal policy stance.”)
As for wages, even Peter Bofinger, a member of the German Council of Economic Experts and a long-running advocate of higher pay in Germany, admits that these are now rising. Between 2012 and 2017, compensation per employee in Germany rose on average by more than 2 percent a year. This was more than any other country from the G-7 and in line with the inflation target of the European Central Bank. “We cannot say there is a fundamental problem with wages in Germany,” he conceded.
Still, the problems of the past do not simply disappear; it will be up to Germany’s new coalition government to find ways to deal with them. As Jens Suedekum, a professor at Heinrich Heine University, noted, Germany’s wage moderation led to a grossly undervalued real exchange rate in the early years of the euro zone, which artificially boosted exports. Germany’s stronger wage growth since the crisis has not been sufficient to make up for the gap in competitiveness that has accumulated since.
Meanwhile, Germany has accumulated a large investment gap, both private and public: Public investment, while stable, remains at a meager 2 percent of GDP. As noted by Wolff, gross fixed capital formation (the net increase in physical assets) in the manufacturing sector is now lower than in Italy.
Had Germany addressed these problems earlier, it would be in the position to ignore them today. But Germany’s past restraint means the case for a demand boost remains compelling. That is likely to be music to the ears of the Social Democrats, Chancellor Angela Merkel’s coalition partner, though there is a risk that they will prefer giveaways to investment. Higher wages and greater investment spending would also make it easier for the ECB to reach its target of just below 2 percent and bring to an end its unorthodox monetary policy measures. Surely even the most conservative in Germany would agree this is a good thing.