Comissão Europeia apresenta prognósticos econômicos sombrios

Cinco anos após o início da crise do euro, economia da UE continua perdendo força, e nem mesmo a locomotiva Alemanha escapa. Bloco deve crescer apenas 1,3% neste ano, e perspectivas só melhoram para 2016.

Mal a nova Comissão Europeia foi empossada, sob a presidência de Jean-Claude Juncker, e os problemas já começaram. Enquanto o finlandês Jyrki Katainen – vice-presidente para o Emprego, Crescimento, Investimento e Competitividade do órgão executivo – é conhecido como adepto do Pacto de Estabilidade e Crescimento da Zona do Euro, não se pode dizer o mesmo de seu colega de equipe, Pierre Moscovici.

Na qualidade de antigo ministro das Finanças da França, Moscovici é responsabilizado pelo endividamento excessivo do Estado francês. Como comissário para Assuntos Econômicos e Financeiros e Fiscalidade, ele terá que trabalhar em conjunto com Katainen.

Entretanto, nesta terça-feira (04/11), a coletiva de imprensa para apresentação do prognóstico econômico para o quarto trimestre na União Europeia (UE) e na zona do euro mostrou que a colaboração entre os dois ainda não está funcionando muito bem.

Inesperadamente, Moscovici anunciou que pretendia viajar para a Grécia, a fim de conversar sobre o breve fim do programa de apoio financeiro da UE para o país. Katainen disse, então, que tinha a mesma a intenção e que talvez ambos pudessem viajar para Atenas juntos. Assim, a primeira lição que os dois precisam aprender é como coordenar suas agendas.

O que ambos tinham a anunciar em seguida, porém, eram os lamentáveis dados sobre o desenvolvimento econômico na zona do euro, coletados por seus antecessores. A tendência é sombria, e só com muito esforço os dois comissários conseguiram passar alguma esperança de melhora.

Se, no início do ano, Bruxelas ainda contava com uma taxa de crescimento de 1,6% para a UE, agora está claro que ela não passará de 1,3%. Na zona do euro, o crescimento deve ser de 0,8%, em vez do antes previsto 1,2%. As previsões para 2015 são igualmente desoladoras: crescimento de 1,5% para a UE e de 1,1% para a zona do euro. Somente para o ano seguinte, as perspectivas melhoram ligeiramente.

Como primeira razão dessa dinâmica tão lenta, Katainen citou os problemas estruturais profundos, conhecidos mesmo antes da crise do euro. Em segundo lugar, vem o excesso de dívidas públicas e privadas; em terceiro, as tensões nos mercados financeiros desde a crise; e por último, um curso de reformas instável e não implementado em alguns Estados-membros.

Segundo a Comissão Europeia, mesmo na Alemanha, até então país-modelo, as coisas não vão mais tão bem: em 2014 a economia alemã se arrasta à beira de uma recessão, mas ainda alcança 1,3% de crescimento. No ano seguinte, o nível permanece baixo, e só em 2016, a conjuntura alemã volta a ganhar impulso. Por enquanto, o país estará bem restrito em seu papel de locomotiva econômica da UE. Katainen aconselha investimentos em infraestrutura.

Confiança na UE em xeque

No entanto, os prognósticos ficam realmente negativos quando se trata da maior economia nacional da zona do euro, a França: no ano em curso, seu crescimento fica abaixo de 1%, insuficiente para progredir na redução da dívida pública. E o novo endividamento francês aumenta implacavelmente, devendo chegar a até 4,7% do PIB até 2016 – bem distante dos 3% prescritos pelo Pacto de Estabilidade e Crescimento.

A questão é se – e como – a Comissão pode dar mais tempo para o país reduzir suas dívidas, já que ela tem até o fim do mês para se manifestar a respeito do planejamento orçamentário de Paris. A princípio, está claro que não haverá uma advertência de Bruxelas, porém, ainda não está à vista nenhum curso de reforma e austeridade plausível para a França.

Por sua vez, Moscovici reforçou que está na hora de a política europeia agir. “Nas últimas eleições europeias, partiu dos eleitores uma mensagem inquietante para nós: eles nos dizem que querem crescimento e empregos. Por isso, faz tanto sentido o presidente Juncker nos chamar de ‘a Comissão da última chance’.”

Caso não haja nos próximos cinco anos uma vontade definida nem ação decidida no sentido de crescimento e de vagas de trabalho, os cidadãos poderão ter dúvidas sobre o projeto europeu, advertiu o comissário francês. “Por isso, temos que acrescentar uma nova dimensão à política europeia: estabilização era e é necessária. Agora precisamos de mais dinamismo.”

Com isso, Moscovici se referiu a novos investimentos e, nesse ponto, continua defendendo a linha do governo francês. Para a Comissão Europeia, contudo, o impulso virá na forma do pacote de investimentos de 300 bilhões de euros anunciado por Juncker, cujos detalhes ainda são desconhecidos.

Desemprego elevado

Para citar pontos positivos dos prognósticos apresentados em Bruxelas: a economia da Irlanda cresceu sensacionais 3,6% – a lembrança da crise nacional de endividamento quase já vai longe. A Espanha também se encontra em rota ascendente, com expectativa de 1,7% de crescimento para 2015. O que continua sendo catastrófico no país, contudo, é o desemprego, cuja taxa é claramente superior a 20%.

No que tange à zona do euro, em geral, nos próximos dois anos os índices de desemprego só baixarão discretamente, mantendo-se bem acima de 10%. A Comissão segue prescrevendo reformas estruturais e investimentos públicos como antídoto.

A questão que o comissário Katainen não conseguiu responder a contento, é por que a zona do euro apresenta os mais baixos índices de crescimento entre as regiões econômicas mais desenvolvidas. Por um lado, disse, as crises pelo mundo, da Ucrânia até o Oriente Médio, afetam com violência especial sobre a Europa. Além disso, alguns países-membros se acomodaram numa falsa segurança, acrescentou. Afinal, a zona do euro só pode ser tão forte quanto a soma de seus membros.

FONTE: http://www.dw.de/comissão-europeia-apresenta-prognósticos-econômicos-sombrios/a-18039238

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Colonization by Bankruptcy: The High-stakes Chess Match for Argentina

abutres

By Ellen Brown

If Argentina were in a high-stakes chess match, the country’s actions this week would be the equivalent of flipping over all the pieces on the board.

David Dayen, Fiscal Times, August 22, 2014

August 27, 2014 “ICH” – Argentina is playing hardball with the vulture funds, which have been trying to force it into an involuntary bankruptcy. The vultures are demanding what amounts to a 600% return on bonds bought for pennies on the dollar, defeating a 2005 settlement in which 92% of creditors agreed to accept a 70% haircut on their bonds. A US court has backed the vulture funds; but last week, Argentina sidestepped its jurisdiction by transferring the trustee for payment from Bank of New York Mellon to its own central bank. That play, if approved by the Argentine Congress, will allow the country to continue making payments under its 2005 settlement, avoiding default on the majority of its bonds.

Argentina is already foreclosed from international capital markets, so it doesn’t have much to lose by thwarting the US court system. Similar bold moves by Ecuador and Iceland have left those countries in substantially better shape than Greece, which went along with the agendas of the international financiers.

The upside for Argentina was captured by President Fernandez in a nationwide speech on August 19th. Struggling to hold back tears, according to Bloomberg, she said:

When it comes to the sovereignty of our country and the conviction that we can no longer be extorted and that we can’t become burdened with debt again, we are emerging as Argentines.

. . . If I signed what they’re trying to make me sign, the bomb wouldn’t explode now but rather there would surely be applause, marvelous headlines in the papers. But we would enter into the infernal cycle of debt which we’ve been subject to for so long.

The Endgame: Patagonia in the Crosshairs

The deeper implications of that infernal debt cycle were explored by Argentine political analyst Adrian Salbuchi in an August 12th article titled “Sovereign Debt for Territory: A New Global Elite Swap Strategy.” Where territories were once captured by military might, he maintains that today they are being annexed by debt. The still-evolving plan is to drive destitute nations into an international bankruptcy court whose decisions would have the force of law throughout the world. The court could then do with whole countries what US bankruptcy courts do with businesses: sell off their assets, including their real estate. Sovereign territories could be acquired as the spoils of bankruptcy without a shot being fired.

Global financiers and interlocking megacorporations are increasingly supplanting governments on the international stage. An international bankruptcy court would be one more institution making that takeover legally binding and enforceable. Governments can say no to the strong-arm tactics of the global bankers’ collection agency, the IMF. An international bankruptcy court would allow creditors to force a nation into bankruptcy, where territories could be involuntarily sold off in the same way that assets of bankrupt corporations are.

For Argentina, says Salbuchi, the likely prize is its very rich Patagonia region, long a favorite settlement target for ex-pats. When Argentina suffered a massive default in 2001, the global press, including Time and The New York Times, went so far as to propose that Patagonia be ceded from the country as a defaulted debt payment mechanism.

The New York Times article followed one published in the Buenos Aires financial newspaper El Cronista Comercial called “Debt for Territory,” which described a proposal by a US consultant to then-president Eduardo Duhalde for swapping public debt for government land. It said:

[T]he idea would be to transform our public debt default into direct equity investment in which creditors can become land owners where they can develop  industrial, agricultural and real estate projects. . . . There could be surprising candidates for this idea: during the Alfonsin Administration, the Japanese studied an investment master plan in Argentine land in order to promote emigration.  The proposal was also considered in Israel.

Salbuchi notes that ceding Patagonia from Argentina was first suggested in 1896 by Theodor Herzl, founder of the Zionist movement, as a second settlement for that movement.

Another article published in 2002 was one by IMF deputy manager Anne Krueger titled “Should Countries Like Argentina Be Able to Declare Themselves Bankrupt?” It was posted on the IMF website and proposed some “new and creative ideas” on what to do about Argentina. Krueger said, “the lesson is clear: we need better incentives to bring debtors and creditors together before manageable problems turn into full-blown crises,” adding that the IMF believes “this could be done by learning from corporate bankruptcy regimes like Chapter 11 in the US”.

These ideas were developed in greater detail by Ms. Krueger in an IMF essay titled “A New Approach to Debt Restructuring,” and by Harvard professor Richard N. Cooper in a 2002 article titled “Chapter 11 for Countries” published in Foreign Affairs (“mouthpiece of the powerful New York-Based Elite think-tank, Council on Foreign Relations”). Salbuchi writes:

Here, Cooper very matter-of-factly recommends that “only if the debtor nation cannot restore its financial health are its assets liquidated and the proceeds distributed to its creditors – again under the guidance of a (global) court” (!).

In Argentina’s recent tangle with the vulture funds, Ms. Krueger and the mainstream media have come out in apparent defense of Argentina, recommending restraint by the US court. But according to Salbuchi, this does not represent a change in policy. Rather, the concern is that overly heavy-handed treatment may kill the golden goose:

. . . [I] n today’s delicate post-2008 banking system, a new and less controllable sovereign debt crisis could thwart the global elite’s plans for an “orderly transition towards a new global legal architecture” that will allow orderly liquidation of financially-failed states like Argentina. Especially if such debt were to be collateralized by its national territory (what else is left!?)

Breaking Free from the Sovereign Debt Trap

Salbuchi traces Argentina’s debt crisis back to 1955, when President Juan Domingo Perón was ousted in a very bloody US/UK/mega-bank-sponsored military coup:

Perón was hated for his insistence on not indebting Argentina with the mega-bankers: in 1946 he rejected joining the International Monetary Fund (IMF); in 1953 he fully paid off all of Argentina’s sovereign debt. So, once the mega-bankers got rid of him in 1956, they shoved Argentina into the IMF and created the “Paris Club” to engineer decades-worth of sovereign debt for vanquished Argentina, something they’ve been doing until today.

Many countries have been subjected to similar treatment, as John Perkins documents in his blockbuster exposéConfessions of an Economic Hit Man. When the country cannot pay, the IMF sweeps in with refinancing agreements with strings attached, including selling off public assets and slashing public services in order to divert government revenues into foreign debt service.

Even without pressure from economic hit men, however, governments routinely indebt themselves for much more than they can ever hope to repay. Why do they do it? Salbuchi writes:

Here, Western economists, bankers, traders, Ivy League academics and professors, Nobel laureates and the mainstream media have a quick and monolithic reply: because all nations need“investment and investors” if they wish to build highways, power plants, schools, airports, hospitals, raise armies, service infrastructures and a long list of et ceteras . . . .

But more and more people are starting to ask a fundamental common-sense question: why should governments indebt themselves in hard currencies, decades into the future with global mega-bankers, when they could just as well finance these projects and needs far more safely by issuing the proper amounts of their own local sovereign currency instead?

Neoliberal experts shout back that government-created money devalues the currency, inflates the money supply, and destroys economies. But does it? Or is it the debt service on money created privately by banks, along with other forms of “rent” on capital, that create inflation and destroy economies? As Prof. Michael Hudson points out:

These financial claims on wealth – bonds, mortgages and bank loans – are lent out to become somebody else’s debts in an exponentially expanding process.  . . . [E]conomies have been obliged to pay their debts by cutting back new research, development and new physical reinvestment. This is the essence of IMF austerity plans, in which the currency is “stabilized” by further international borrowing on terms that destabilize the economy at large. Such cutbacks in long-term investment also are the product of corporate raids financed by high-interest junk bonds. The debts created by businesses, consumers and national economies cutting back their long-term direct investment leaves these entities even less able to carry their mounting debt burden.

Spiraling debt also results in price inflation, since businesses have to raise their prices to cover the interest and fees on the debt.

From Sovereign Debt to Monetary Sovereignty

For governments to escape this austerity trap, they need to spend not less but more money on the tangible capital formation that increases physical productivity. But where to get the investment money without getting sucked into the debt vortex? Where can Argentina get funding if the country is shut out of international capital markets?

The common-sense response, as Salbuchi observes, is for governments to issue the money they need directly. But “printing money” raises outcries that can be difficult to overcome politically. An alternative that can have virtually the same effect is for nations to borrow money issued by their own publicly-owned banks. Public banks generate credit just as private banks do; but unlike private lenders, they return interest and profits to the economy. Their mandate is to serve the public, and that is where their profits go. Funding through their own government-issued currencies and publicly-owned banks has been successfully pursued by many countries historically, including Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Germany, China, Russia, Korea and Japan. (For more on this, see The Public Bank Solution.)

Countries do need to be able to buy foreign products that they cannot acquire or produce domestically, and for that they need a form of currency or an international credit line that other nations will accept. But countries are increasingly breaking away from the oil- and weapons-backed US dollar as global reserve currency. To resolve the mutually-destructive currency wars will probably take a new Bretton Woods Accord. But that is another subject for a later article.

Ellen Brown is an attorney, founder of the Public Banking Institute, and author of twelve books, including the best-selling Web of Debt. In The Public Bank Solution, her latest book, she explores successful public banking models historically and globally. Her 200+ blog articles are at EllenBrown.com.

Fonte: International Clearing House

40 Central Banks Are Betting This Will Be The Next Reserve Currency

Tyler Durden's picture

As we have discussed numerous times, nothing lasts forever – especially reserve currencies – no matter how much one hopes that the status-quo remains so, in the end the exuberant previlege is extorted just one too many times. Headline after headlines shows nations declaring ‘interest’ or direct discussions in diversifying away from the US dollar… and as SCMP reports, Standard Chartered notes that at least 40 central banks have invested in the Yuan and several more are preparing to do so. The trend is occurring across both emerging markets and developed nation central banks diversifiying into ‘other currencies’ and “a great number of central banks are in the process of adding yuan to their portfolios.” Perhaps most ominously, for king dollar, is the former-IMF manager’s warning that “The Yuan may become a de facto reserve currency before it is fully convertible.”

The infamous chart that shows nothing lasts forever…

Nothing lasts forever… (especially in light of China’s recent comments)

 

As The South China Morning Post reports, Jukka Pihlman, Standard Chartered’s Singapore-based global head of central banks and sovereign wealth funds (who formerly worked at the International Monetary Fund advising central banks on asset-management issues), notes that:

 
 

At least 40 central banks have invested in the yuan and several others are preparing to do so, putting the mainland currency on the path to reserve status even before full convertibility

The US dollar remains in charge (for now)…but

 
 

The US dollar is still the world’s most widely held reserve currency, accounting for nearly 33 per cent of global foreign exchange holdings at the end of last year, according to IMF data. That ratio has been declining since 2000, when 55 per cent of the world’s reserves were denominated in US dollars.

 

The IMF does not disclose the percentage of reserves held in yuan, but the emerging market countries’ share of reserves in “other currencies” has increased by almost 400 per cent since 2003, while that of developed nations grew 200 per cent, according to IMF data.

As SCMP goes on to note, the rising popularity of the yuan among central bankers is probably mainly due to Beijing’s extremely favourable treatment of them as it has sought to encourage investment in the yuan.

 
 

For example, central banks enjoy preferential treatment in the qualified foreign institutional investor category, both on the size of the quota and the length of the lock-up period. The QFII quotas given to central banks are not publicly known, but some of those announced by investing central banks are up to 10 times larger than others in the programme and, most importantly, free of any capital controls.

 

“Central banks and sovereign funds have special treatment,” Pihlman said. “They have the ability to invest in a way that any other investor does not have. When it comes to convertibility, there is nothing formally out there, but it is fully convertible.”

As Pihlman explains, things are accelerating…

 
 

Pihlman said “a great number of central banks are in the process of adding [yuan] to their portfolios”.

 

The [yuan] has effectively already become a de facto reserve currency because so many central banks have already invested in it,” he said. “The [yuan] may become a de facto reserve currency before it is fully convertible.”

 

The central banks more likely to add yuan holdings in the future were the ones with “strong trade linkages to China” and those which had relatively large levels of reserves which could consider diversifying more for return-related reasons, he said.

 

The [yuan's] convertibility may be already there for central banks in a way that has got them comfortable to start investing in the currency,” Pihlman said.

We leave it to a former World Bank chief economist, Justin Yifu Lin, to sum it all up…

 
 

“the dominance of the greenback is the root cause of global financial and economic crises,”

It appears the world is beginning to listen

 Fonte: Zero Hedge

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