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Lisboa, Portugal
Nasci no dia 11 de Junho de 1964 na cidade da Beira, MOÇAMBIQUE.

A Estação dos CFM, Beira

A Estação dos CFM, Beira
Ex-libris da cidade, 1966

The Euro, as a single currency, should be abolished

Another black and white motion statement leaving me no option but to choose No.
While I agree to the first part I am not prepared to contemplate the idea that the Euro should get abolished.
Abolished? Then what?
All 17 countries now sharing the single currency would revert back to their old monies?
Or a new version of yesteryear's currencies?

Simplistic as I made it out to be packed in a few odd questions, every single serious economic, financial and social consequence is inextricably wrapped up within each.
That is where the stakes are high enough to ensure that the Euro is given a new lease on life.
It calls for closer European integration.
What form and shape this will take is for policymakers and far-sighted politicians to grasp and propose.

It would seem to me that the Euro has many underlying strengths but will not - contrary to the founder's beliefs - assure convergence between all the economies it services. How could it?
The divide has been felt acutely lately (1-2 years) the logical consequence of relevant economic under-performance among member-countries.

There has obviously got to be a political solution rooted in realistic economic fundamentals.
The road traveled so far proved artificially smooth during the first 10 years I dare say but unsurprisingly very bumpy in the last 1-2.
It could not have been otherwise given the structural differences setting these countries apart. And excessive spending pursued mostly by a few Southern European States who could not see beyond the present.
Adherence to the Maastricht criteria never again seemed to be taken seriously once countries landed themselves inside the Euro club. Not to mention Greece that never fulfilled the criteria in the first place or ever bothered to balance its books.

Very disappointing to admit but the Euro Zone is indeed right in the middle of a storm testing its main crews to the limit.
The latest summit decisions seem to indicate that where there is a will there is a way.
It may have just been one first small step in the right direction.

The specifics are very hard to work on.
Yet it would seem to me that the 17-member Euro Zone and the larger EU can hardly afford shooting down the Euro.
The broader picture needs to come into full view.
An hypothetical demise of the single currency would deal another severe blow to Europe's economic fortunes.
Its relative decline vis-a-vis the rest of the world would get a further boost.

I do not like misplaced calls for solidarity from Southerners but would rather see the stronger half of the dividing line realize where their medium-to-long interest lies.
To that end many balances across the Euro Zone need to be restored at the earliest.

Europe agrees a "shock and awe" bailout for Greece

A rescue package of epic proportions, epic challenges for the Greek government and people, epic uncertainties and epic stakes for the single-currency.

It was the Euro's defence that ultimately forced politicians from Germany to Malta to perform a hard balancing act whose overall success is far from assured.Each finance minister has enough reasons to fret and grumble about.It being the Euro as a common currency, because of Greece despite Greece.
Up to now every 'least damaging' approach failed miserably to cool down the financial markets that remained as unimpressed as ever throughout.
For its part Greece is effectively the main winner in this high-finance gamble.The country bought time the markets were not willing to give it once confidence vanished.Precious time desperately needed to restore credibility and good governance at home.
A daunting internal fix with daunting external implications.
Three full years is what the government and Greek society top-down and bottom-up now have to set the record straight in so many ways.
Literally and figuratively.

For the other 15 Eurozone countries - each facing own troubles to varying degrees - keeping fingers crossed would be mild to describe the monitoring of Greece's performance over the coming 36 months.Potentially they are all losers, starting out by losing simply to avoid bigger losses!
There are so many relevant questions that might be asked to which full answers ought to be provided.
They won't get asked or get answered.
Tellingly, each and every single one of them would now seem rhetorical or at best an exercise for academia.

The spectre that haunts Europe

I am still hopeful that Greece will not require a bail-out in whatever form pinning my hopes on the PM's own words.

He did sound very bold and brave in the face of such overwhelming odds but until a deal is actually in place I would rather believe the Greeks can and will take care of themselves.

My stance is wholly based not on immediate needs triggered by the Western financial meltdown that led to the economic downturn.This in turn led to a collapse in tax revenues across countries caused by economies shrinking badly.

To a large extent Greece is indeed a one-off case-study for the worst reasons, its latest fiscal deficit the sum total of profligate spending, widespread cultural-rooted tax evasion, underbudgeting, creative accounting, weak notion of public service and duty, etc - all conspiring over decades to bring the country to the brink of bankruptcy.

I am sure many Greeks will have seen it coming and warned their governments in years past.To no avail as even the present government was elected as recently as late 2009 on a platform to increase spending.

According to EMU rules public finances were clearly to remain national responsibilities.A considerable chunk of sovereignty for States to manage through their democratically-elected governments of the day.
Would the Greeks have liked their Finance Ministry to be ruled or dictated to from Brussels or Frankfurt just so the Maastricht-agreed criteria could not have been so despondently ignored?

Current turmoil is the Euro's hardest test ever but one that will also represent a defining moment in the single-currency's future.

It is a fact that Southern European countries are faced with similar issues though not on the same scale and urgency.Others in Northern Europe, the US and Japan also recorded their biggest fiscal deficits and added up noticeably to their debts in 2009.
Each one has its own track-record, however.
This is exactly what sets Greece apart from the rest.
Each country is unique in its own way, there being obviously overlapping between them.

International rating agencies must make the effort to closely monitor and register those differences and then advise financial markets.

After all it is sovereign countries and sovereign debt one is dealing with.

There is much more at stake than strictly soulless bundling of nations.

Arquivo do blogue

quinta-feira, 12 de maio de 2016

TEc - The eye of the storm - Competition is tough but can be managed

Boeing still commands the league tables in more ways than one, Airbus constantly challenging those positions since its own inception.
In fact, Airbus' rise to world prominence in less than half a century is a major achievement industrial Europe can justly feel proud of.
There used to be a monopoly in commercial planemaking, now a duopoly has been firmly established since long. Arguably, two smaller makers from Canada and Brazil are nibbling hard at the regional jets segment while aiming higher as well.
Other countries such as China, Japan and Russia want a piece of the action too. Small entrants they may now be but if Airbus itself is anything to go by, are we headed for increased competition and multiple suppliers vying for a slice of the pie?
Far removed it sounds for now. Both Boeing and Airbus should, however, take note that their de facto duopoly may eventually be broken up.
What is unclear is the commercial fate of outsized wide-bodies such as the B747-8 and the A380. Airbus initiated the contest by setting in motion the A3XX program gambling heavily on its much vented view that the civil aviation market was asking for large volumes carried over long distances. This would bring unit costs down to minimums, the ultimate objective of very large aircraft.
After the first bout of large orders, especially from Middle-Eastern carriers and a few incumbent flag airlines, the order books appear to record no more.
It might be a temporary market reassessment made by the airline industry before a new sizing up of fleets to take on the many expected first-time travellers from emerging countries?
Answers will soon be found.
Lastly, the cost overruns of Boeing's Dreamliner program is staggering beyond belief. Ambitious projects to develop and apply new materials and technologies commonly demand more money but a +5 multiplier is well outside any reasonable scale.

quinta-feira, 5 de maio de 2016

TEc - Trading places - Trade-averse opinion surfaces because of the TTIP agreement?

TTIP - Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership
There is no aversion to global trade as such. There is, and rightly so, deep-rooted concern that the international trading system is somehow rigged. Is it not?
This has pushed countries to compete against each other on a hugely unlevelled playing field whose framework is invisible to most except to the insiders who actually set it up.
No matter how it is looked at, enough pointers are seen showing imbalances causing a handful of countries emerging as clear winners while others have become recurrent losers.
That the stakes are high cannot be overstated. It only took a little over a decade to produce massive changes to trade flows. Consequently, to production centres, tangible wealth of nations and the current account balances of many a country.
Europe and America still remain the world's most important trading blocs but their relative weight is on the wane. Europe in particular shows multiple weaknesses as its manufacturing has been continually eroded, the exception being Germany and a few smaller countries around it.
Trade is the cornerstone of wealth creation, economic growth and development. Trade deals - bilateral or multilateral - must be hammered out to reflect the interests of all parties concerned as measured by volumes, figures achieved and communities benefited.
Should imbalances arise then the deals need to be reviewed or scrapped altogether.
The TTIP is stirring disquiet in the heartland of Europe's trading powerhouse.
There must be sound reasons for that.