Tag Archives: France

Who’s Debt Are You? – Latest Statistics

There’s been some buzz in the markets lately, concerning the health of America’s sovereign debt. The nation owes other countries about USD 5,7 trillion, and about 3 trillion is due this year. Investors are worried that the US won’t be able to borrow much more, at least not to the same low price,  and that big buyers of US Treasuries, like China and Russia, may start dumping their bonds to put USA in a financial squeeze. Well, I wouldn’t worry too much. You see, most countries who are lending money to the American government are receiving huge loans from US banks. The next victim of the debt crisis is probably not USA, nor the EU.

“Claims on advanced economies contracted by $342 billion between end-December 2012 and end-March 2013, mostly due to reduced claims on banks and related offices. This marked the sixth consecutive quarterly decline in interbank positions on advanced economies and brought the cumulative reduction since end-September 2011 to $1.9 trillion. In contrast, claims on borrowers in emerging economies increased by $265 billion between end-December 2012 and end-March 2013.”

Bank of International Settlements – BIS
vkontakte
The Bank of International Settlements (BIS) recently realised new data and statistics on global debt, an interesting oversight on who-owes-who in a world ridden by fear of economic collapse and social unrest. The numbers reveal a picture slightly different from what most people see.
F.ex: European countries owe foreign nations twice as much as the United Nations owe others. And there seem to be several groups of nations, connected through the same banks, but for some reason it is not the countries with the largest debt who are in most trouble.
We already know the US numbers, and the Americans owe most of the money to themselves, anyway… (Federal Reserve, that is.). The 5,7 trillion debt to foreign countries is a relatively small sum compared to the grand total of about 14 trillion.
Elsewhere, the sovereign debt, with all its derivatives, represent a much higher risk.
Europe’s Fab Four
Consolidated foreign claims of 24 reporting banks – immediate borrower basis.
United Kingdom – USD 3,2 trillion.
Germany – USD 1,8 trillion.
France – USD 1,6 trillion
 Netherlands – USD 1,9 trillion.
european-debt
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And who do they borrow from?
United Kingdom:
  1. Other EU bank: 1,5 trillion.
  2. France: 200.200 million.
  3. Australia: 121.577 million.
  4. Canada: 102.963 million.
Germany:
  1. Other EU banks: 1,1 trillion.
  2. France: 198.000 million.
  3. Austria: 37,914 million.
  4. Canada: 23.838 million.
France:
  1. Other EU banks: 714,235 million.
  2. Canada: 24,612 million.
  3. Belgium: 23,536 million.
  4. Austria: 13,442 million.
Netherlands:
  1. Other EU banks: 577,427 million.
  2. France: 156,857 million.
  3. Belgium: 22,746 million.
  4. Canada: 13,722 million.
man-saw-his-fortune-sink-under-a-massive-pile-of-debt
And who have most money outstanding?
  1. United Kingdom – USD 2,6 trillion.
  2. Germany – USD 1,5 trillion.
  3. France – USD 1,2 trillion.
  4. Netherlands – USD 0,8 trillion.
Is there a pattern here?….somewhere?
The BIS writes:

“The latest international banking statistics show diverging trends in credit to advanced economies and emerging markets. Claims on advanced economies contracted by $342 billion between end-December 2012 and end-March 2013, mostly due to reduced claims on banks and related offices. This marked the sixth consecutive quarterly decline in interbank positions on advanced economies and brought the cumulative reduction since end-September 2011 to $1.9 trillion. In contrast, claims on borrowers in emerging economies increased by $265 billion between end-December 2012 and end-March 2013. The expansion was driven mostly by credit to emerging economies in Asia, especially China. In recent years, BIS reporting banks’ exposure to Asian credit risk has increased even more rapidly than their lending to Asian borrowers because lending has been accompanied by a reduction in net credit risk transfers out of the region.”

That means we now have a USD 30 trillion (+) debt bubble in transit between different parts of the world! (At the same time the richest people in the world has more than 20 trillion stacked away in places like Claman Island to avoid taxes.).

Just great….

b791

The Asians now owe other countries – mostly European – close to USD 2 trillion, with China‘s debt closing in on USD 600,000 million.

The rest is as follows:

South Korea: 309,363 million,

India: 304,920 million.

Chinese Taipei: 161,404

Malaysia: 155,500 million

Thailand: 102,299 million

Indonesia:  100,770 million.

Apocalypse

NOTE:

Statistics at end-March 2013 are preliminary and subject to change.

Data are available on the BIS website, via the BIS WebStats query tool, or in a single PDF indetailed annex tables. Developments in the latest data are highlighted in the Statistical release.

Revised data and an analysis of recent trends will be released in conjunction with the forthcoming BIS Quarterly Review, to be published on 16 September 2013. Data at end-June 2013 will be released no later than 23 October 2013.

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“Euro Zone Crisis is Germany’s Fault”

Now, this is an interesting point of view: According to Director of the Division on Globalization and Development Strategies at UNCTAD Heiner Flassbeck, the European financial crisis are all Germany‘s fault. Here at econoTwist’s, however, we belive that the responsibility should be shared among several others – like the incompetent EU parliament and the ridiculous artificial institution called the EU Council. But Mr. Flassbeck makes some valid arguments, and it’s certainly a theory worth taking into account.

“Since the end of Bretton Woods, Germany’s economic policy has been based on two main pillars: competition of nations and monetarism. Both are irreconcilable with a monetary union.”

Heiner Flassbeck

“There is no solution to the current euro zone crisis as long as no one effectively challenges the consistency of Germany’s economic policy strategy with the logic of a monetary union. Captain Merkozy’s boat approaches the rocks at high speed,” Heiner Flassbeck writes.

This commentary is syndicated by www.eurointelligence.com:

A German End to the Euro Vision

Once upon a time European leaders believed in a step-by-step approach of European integration.

Each step would bring Europe closer to the target of closely related but still independent states.

According to this vision states would be willing to relinquish more and more of their independence, in order to gain advantages of peace, global strength through political cooperation and economic strength as a result of a big common market.

“Germany is considered by many as the role model for the rest of the union. That is the biggest mistake and the real reason why Europe is committing economic suicide instead of tackling its problem at the root.”

In this approach, the creation of a monetary union was just one of these consecutive and unavoidable steps on the path to strengthen political cooperation and to completethe common market with its indisputable advantages for all European citizens.

Unfortunately, twelve years after the start of the European Monetary Union (EMU) reality tells a different story.

EMU is in troubled water and captain Merkozy is steering the boat towards some dangerous rocks that could mark the end to a long and peaceful ride of a formerly war torn region.

Much has been said about the folly of pushing countries to cut public expenditure, increase taxes and put pressure on wages in the middle of one of the deepest recessions in modern history.

However, even the outspoken critics of the Merkozy approach rarely discuss Germany’s economic policy approach.

To the contrary, Germany is considered by many as the role model for the rest of the union. That is the biggest mistake and the real reason why Europe is committing economic suicide instead of tackling its problem at the root.

“Since the end of Bretton Woods, Germany’s economic policy has been based on two main pillars: competition of nations and monetarism. Both are irreconcilable with a monetary union.”

A monetary union is in essence a union of countries willing to harmonize their rates of inflation and to sacrifice national monetary policies.

A country like Germany, fighting for higher market shares in international markets, tries to achieve the opposite. It has to undercut the cost and price level of its main trading partners by all means.

A monetary union formed by already closely integrated countries becomes a rather closed economy and needs domestic policy instruments like monetary policy to stimulate growth time and again.

German monetarism asks for the opposite, the absence of any discretionary action of central banks and relies solely on flexibility of prices, in particular wages.

Along these lines the story of EMU’s failure is quickly told. From the very beginning of the monetary union, German politicians put enormous pressure on trade unions to help realise an increase of unit labour cost and prices that was less than in other countries.

Since member states no longer could devalue their currencies to maintain competitiveness as they had done hitherto this was a rather easy task. The effects got stronger as small annual effects accumulated over time and, after ten years, created a huge gap in competitiveness in favour of Germany.

“Germany built up huge current account surpluses and Southern Europe and France accumulated the complementary deficits.”

The ECB, in good German monetarist tradition, celebrated the achievement of the two percent inflation target, while ignoring the fact that this was built on two-sided violation of the inflation target.

Without Germany’s undershooting of the target the overshooting in Southern European countries would not have been compatible with two percent overall.

The result is disastrous for the southern European economies as they are losing permanently market shares without being able to successfully retaliate the German attack. They would need a number of years with falling wages to come back into the markets.

However, the time to do that is not available.

Falling wages mean falling domestic demand and recession especially in countries like Italy or Spain with small export shares of some 25% of GDP. The resulting depression would be politically unbearable.

“Even a political tour de force would in vain as long as Germany is blocking the indispensable short and medium term relief measures.”

Until EMU as a whole recovers strongly, deficit countries will remain in current account deficits and will not be able to reduce their budget deficits.

What would be required is direct intervention by the ECB to bring down bond yields as well as Eurobonds to bridge the time until the deficit countries’ competitiveness is restored.

These measures are blocked by the German economic policy doctrine.

There is no solution to the current euro zone crisis as long as no one effectively challenges the consistency of Germany’s economic policy strategy with the logic of a monetary union.

Captain Merkozy’s boat approaches the rocks at high speed.

By Heiner Flassbeck

Director of the Division on Globalization and Development Strategies at UNCTAD.

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Credit Ratings Are Now Officially A Joke

With the downgrade of EU’s emergency funding fund, the US credit rating agency Standard & Poor have made the whole rating business a fucking joke. If you think this will make waves in tomorrow’s markets, forget it! Nobody takes this shit serious anymore…

“Triple-A or no triple-A, I couldn’t care less.”

Shakeb Syed

“On Jan. 13, 2012, we lowered to ‘AA+’ the long-term sovereign credit ratings on two of the European Financial Stability Facility‘s (EFSF’s) previously ‘AAA‘ rated guarantor member states, France and Austria,” S&P writes in a press release.  Adding: “The EFSF’s obligations are no longer fully supported either by guarantees from EFSF members rated ‘AAA’ by Standard & Poor’s, or by ‘AAA’ rated securities.”  Well, we already know that, morons!

And you can’t say A without saying B, also, in this business. So, in light of last weeks mass downgrade of European core nations, this is just a natural consequence.

But it becomes rather ridiculous when we’re talking about an international emergency fund that the EU leaders are able to do whatever they want with. Perhaps they choose to “print” enough euros to ten-fold the size of the fund?

Nobody knows anything for sure, these days.

And that’s why most financial pros just don’t give a damn about the rating actions anymore; it’s no longer  possible to take the rating business serious.

And, as Norwegian chief economist Shakeb Syed, rightfully points out – there are far more important things to worry about when it comes to the EU economy than its stupid stability facility.

“Triple-A or no triple-A, I couldn’t care less,” Shakeb Syed at Sparebank 1 Markets says in an interview with Norwegian website www.dn.no.

Syed recon there will be some reactions in the financial markets on Tuesday, but not much,

“In the market, the fund have implied interest costs that is not consistent with a triple-A. So,  in practice, the difference is not that great,” Syed points out.

The Norwegian analyst also says what many financial pros are thinking these days;

“The EFST is a dead-end.”

“Triple-A or not, the fund will never be big enough th cover both Spain and Italy,” he notes.

And Shakeb Syed seems too keeping the right focus, stating that investors should be more worried about  the ECB than the EFSF.

Anyway – here’s a little more from today’s “shocker” by Standard & Poor’s:

“The developing outlook on the long-term rating reflects the likelihood we currently see that we may either raise or lower the ratings over the next two years.”

“We understand that EFSF member states may currently be exploring credit-enhancement options. If the EFSF adopts credit enhancements that in our view are sufficient to offset its now-reduced creditworthiness, in particular if we see that once again the EFSF’s long-term obligations are fully supported by guarantees from EFSF member-guarantors rated ‘AAA’ or by securities rated ‘AAA’, we would likely raise the EFSF’s long-term ratings to ‘AAA’.”

“Conversely, if we were to conclude that sufficient offsetting credit enhancements are, in our opinion, not likely to be forthcoming, we would likely change the outlook to negative to mirror the negative outlooks of France and Austria. Under those circumstances we would expect to lower the ratings on the EFSF if we lowered the long-term sovereign credit ratings on the EFSF’s ‘AAA’ or ‘AA+’ rated members to below ‘AA+’.”

So, anyway the wind blows……

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