A linguagem do dinheiro

Qual bonecos de ventríloquo, os comunicadores “falam” conforme as regras gramaticais dos mercados

Publicado originalmente em: 03/02/2016

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Partilhei com Mino Carta o editorial da edição anterior de CartaCapital. Disse, então, que nos últimos meses alguns integrantes do Copom haviam sugerido um aumento de 50 pontos na já alentada taxa Selic.

Para surpresa de muitos e decepção de uns tantos, às vésperas da reunião do dito Conselho, escudado nas previsões do FMI sobre o PIB brasileiro, o presidente Tombini virou o jogo. Na quarta-feira 20, o Copom manteve a Selic em 14,25%.

Os Senhores da Finança responderam às trapalhadas de comunicação do doutor Tombini & Cia: mandaram um recado antecipando elevações consecutivas da taxa de juros no biênio 2016-2017. O mercado “falou”. Escancarou sua discordância na inclinação da curva de juro longa. A corcova fez inveja a Quasímodo.

Apoiado no linguista John Austen, em seu livro Capital e Linguagem, o economista italiano Christian Marazzi cuida das marchas e contramarchas da finança dos últimos 30 anos. Marazzi sublinha a natureza performativa da linguagem do dinheiro e dos mercados financeiros.

Escusas, caro leitor, pelo pedantismo do jargão linguístico. Performativo quer dizer apenas que a linguagem dos mercados financeiros contemporâneos não descreve, e muito menos “analisa”, um determinado estado de coisas, mas produz imediatamente fatos reais.

A última decisão do Conselho de Política Monetária do Banco Central foi um exemplo da produção da “realidade” pela linguagem dos mercados financeiros.

O domínio da finança, ou seja, o capitalismo reinventado segundo sua “natureza”, produziu o que Christian Marazzi chamou de “metamorfose antropológica do indivíduo pós-moderno”.

Diz Marazzi: é relativamente simples descrever o comportamento mimético-comunicativo das convenções coletivas típicas dos mercados financeiros. No capítulo XII da Teoria Geral, Keynes se vale dos concursos de beleza promovidos pelos jornais para descrever a formação de convenções nos mercados de ativos. 

Os leitores são instados a escolher os seis rostos mais bonitos entre uma centena de fotografias. O prêmio será entregue àquela cuja escolha esteja mais próxima da média das opiniões. Não se trata, portanto, de apontar o rosto mais bonito na opinião de cada um dos participantes, mas, sim, de escolher o rosto que mais se aproxima da opinião média dos participantes do torneio.Keynes introduz, assim, na teoria econômica as relações complexas entre Estrutura e Ação, entre papéis sociais e sua execução pelos indivíduos convencidos de sua autodeterminação, mas, de fato, enredados no comportamento de manada.

Keynes, na esteira de Freud, introduz as configurações subjetivas produzidas pelas interações dos indivíduos no ecúmeno social das “economias de mercado”. O afã de realizar sem perdas o valor dos ativos se esbate no fragor das insuspeitadas e caprichosas evoluções e involuções da opinião coletiva.

Os fâmulos dos mercados passam da euforia à depressão. É implacável o constrangimento dos indivíduos dos mercados, sempre amestrados sob o guante da conversão de seus valores particulares em dinheiro, a forma geral da riqueza.

Nesse percurso, o comportamento mimético dá origem, em suas conjecturas imitativas, a situações nas quais a busca coletiva da liquidez culmina na decepção de todos. A âncora que sustenta precariamente as ariscas subjetividades atormentadas pela incerteza da liquidez está lançada nas areias movediças da peculiar “sociabilidade” do capitalismo financeiro.

No livro Capitalisme et Pulsion de Mort, Gilles Dostaler e Bernard Maris afirmam que nem Freud nem Keynes acreditam na fábula da autonomia do indivíduo, tão cara aos economistas. “O indivíduo está imerso na multidão inquieta, frustrada, insaciável, sobre a qual pesa essa imensa pressão cultural, esse movimento ilimitado da acumulação…”

A metamorfose do indivíduo pós-moderno aludida por Marazzi é um “salto de qualidade” no comportamento mimético examinado por Keynes. Os “avanços” nas formas de comunicação promovidas pelo desenvolvimento da mídia de massas e o uso das tecnologias de informação tornaram mais rápida e eficazmente perigosa a linguagem do dinheiro.

Na mídia impressa e na eletrônica, as matérias de negócios e economia disseminam os fetiches dos mercados financeiros embuçados na linguagem do saber técnico e esotérico. Qual bonecos de ventríloquo, os comunicadores “falam” a língua articulada conforme as regras gramaticais dos mercados.

Assim, o capitalismo investido em sua roupagem financeira cumpre a missão de “administrar” a constelação de significantes à procura de significados, submetendo os cidadãos-espectadores aos infortúnios da domesticação e da homogeneização decretados pelo “coletivismo de mercado”.

Fonte: Carta Capital

India’s food bills on imports rise as govt struggles to revive rural belt

Publicado originalmente em 02 de fevereiro de 2016.

Low production? Reuters

New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi held a late night meeting with food and farm officials last week to address falling agricultural output and rising prices, and traders warn the country will soon be a net buyer of some key commodities for the first time in years.

Back-to-back droughts, the lack of long-term investment in agriculture and increasing demands from a growing population are undermining the country’s bid to be self-sufficient in food.

That is creating opportunities for foreign suppliers in generally weak commodity markets, but is a headache for Modi, who needs the farm sector to pick up in order to spur economic growth and keep his political ambitions on track.

“The top brass is dead serious about the farm sector that is so crucial to our overall economic growth and well-being,” said a source who was present at the recent gathering of Modi, his agriculture and food ministers and other officials.

Modi sat through presentations and asked the ministers to ensure steady supplies and stable prices, urging them to find solutions, the source said. Modi did not suggest any immediate interventions of his own.

The long term impact on commodity markets could be significant.

Last month, India made its first purchases of corn in 16 years. It has also been increasing purchases of other products, such as lentils and oilmeals, as production falls short.

Wheat and sugar stocks, while sufficient in warehouses now, are depleting fast, leading some traders to predict the need for imports next year.

“There’s a complete collapse of Indian agriculture, and that’s because of the callous neglect by the government,” said Devinder Sharma, an independent food and trade policy analyst.

“Given the state of agriculture, I’m not surprised to see India emerging as an importer of a number of food items. Maize is just the beginning.”

Growing distress

Agriculture contributes nearly 13 percent to India’s $2 trillion economy and employs about two-thirds of its 1.25 billion people.

Government sources said that boosting irrigation, raising crop yields and encouraging farmers to avail of a new crop insurance scheme unveiled in January will help address growing distress in the countryside caused by poor harvests.

Modi has already loosened controls on some imports.

But one of his biggest dilemmas is that although imports can help cool prices – a key concern for the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party’s core middle-class voter base – farmers see them as benefiting foreign producers at the cost of locals.

In a recent interview with television channel ET Now, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said the government was aware of the impact two bad monsoons have had.

“That now tells me, please spend more on irrigation,” he said.

The farm sector needs to grow at about 3 percent to help Jaitley achieve his target of 7 to 7.5 percent economic growth in the 2015-16 fiscal year.

In the first half of this fiscal year, agricultural growth fell to 2 percent from 2.4 percent a year earlier.

Who are the winners?

India’s entry into the market as a net importer is good news for suppliers like Brazil, Argentina, the United States and Canada, which are suffering from a global commodity glut.

India’s move to import corn, for example, has supported global prices. Corn values rose 2.6 percent after India said on 13 January that it would launch a second tender for 200,000 tonnes, its second since announcing plans to buy half a million tonnes.

Traders say India may need to import another 1.5-2.0 million tonnes.

The next big import item on the list could be oilmeals, an animal feed, which India used to export in large quantities until last year.

“Very soon we’ll be left with no choice but to import oilmeals, largely because our oilseed production has failed to keep pace with our demand for both vegetable oils and oilmeals,” said BV Mehta, head of trade body Solvent Extractors’ Association.

Fonte: First Post

Brazil and Argentina must prepare joint plan as Venezuelan debt default looms

Publicado originalmente em: 24 de janeiro de 2016

BRARG

After a historic election victory for the opposition in December 2015, Venezuela is heading for even deeper political and economic turmoil in 2016. International observers have warned of a possible Venezuelan default for years, yet contrary to what is generally believed, the Venezuelan governments of Chavez and Maduro have been reliable, always paying bondholders on time. Still, after President Maduro’s decision to radicalize his economic policy after the election — instead of, as some had hoped, normalize it — even optimists are beginning to doubt Venezuela’s capacity to service its foreign debt in the coming months. After inflation of around 275% in 2015, the IMF expects the rate to reach 720% in 2016, higher than any other country in the world. Considering the political deadlock in Caracas, the institution also forecasts the Venezuelan economy to contract by a staggering 18% over 2015 and 2016.

Venezuela’s debt to private companies — thought to stand above U$50 billion — is already producing political consequences in the region. Uruguayan farmers staged strikes across the country last week pressuring the government in Montevideo to help them recover unpaid bills from Venezuela. Worries are growing about billions of unpaid debt to Brazilian companies as well — indeed, a Venezuelan default would add to Brazil’s economic woes, considering how much trade between the two has grown over the past decade. International airlines have sharply reduced flights to Caracas as they are no longer being paid, and several car plants have shut after the government stopped paying for imports.

Last week, UN General Secretary Ban Ki-moon announced that Venezuela, along with 14 other countries, had lost its voting rights in the General Assembly since it had not paid its membership fees. The decision is particularly embarrassing for Caracas — and South America as a whole — as Venezuela is currently a member of the UN Security Council and will hold its rotating presidency next month (even though Venezuela can still vote in the UNSC).

A price of $75 per barrel is generally though to be necessary to assure that Venezuela’s government can balance its budget. After policy makers in Caracas recently failed to convince OPEC members to reduce production to help boost prices, a sell-off in sovereign bonds put the price on benchmark 2026 to 37 cents, seen as a precursor to default. As Venezuela will need to use around 90% of its oil income this year just to meet its obligations, including sovereign debt and money owed to China, investors are now pricing in an estimated 80% chance of default in 2016.

Considering that Venezuela’s current government would refuse to work with the IMF, one of the world’s leading sovereign debt restructuring lawyers has warned that Venezuela would face an Argentina-style legal drama if it defaults. The situation may be even more complicated since the Venezuelan government has signed a series of financial agreements with China over the past years, which makes Beijing senior to other creditors (like bondholders), thus turning Venezuela a risky place to borrow for years to come (because China collects its oil before Venezuela sells it elsewhere).

Such a scenario would be terrible news for both Venezuela and South America, establishing yet again a strong association between the region and sovereign default risk the reformers of the 1990s, led by Fernando Henrique Cardoso, have worked hard to overcome. It would also further reduce the risk of political conciliation. Yet while policy makers in Buenos Aires and Brasília can do little to reduce the risk of default, they must start developing a joint long-term plan of how to increase the pressure on both Maduro and the opposition to establish a constructive political dialogue over the coming years.

Those who believe Maduro’s removal from office would end Venezuela’s troubles are deeply mistaken and overlook that even in the midst of an economic implosion and a public health crisis, more than 40% of Venezuelans still voted for the government. Considering the opposition’s track record, the end of chavismo could lead to a witch hunt which would do little to reduce polarization and promote conciliation. Brasília and Buenos Aires should jointly establish a broad dialogue with the government and all parts of the opposition — both moderate and radical — to help avoid such a scenario.

Macri’s rise to power in Argentina, which led to a sharp change in position vis-à-vis the governmentt in Caracas, may be helpful in this context. While the Venezuelan government (rightly) sees Argentina to be highly critical of Maduro, the opposition regards Brazil as rather aligned with the socialist government, thus establishing a necessary equilibrium makes the duo look like legitimate mediators by both sides. Another option would be to include Cuba and the United States to assure the acceptance of Venezuela’s more radical wings on both the left and the right.

Lula’s leadership in 2003, when Brazil’s recently elected President successfully coordinated the “Friends of Venezuela” grouping to promote a dialogue between the government and the opposition, provides a useful example. Putting pressure on Venezuela to accelerate its integration into Mercosur (it currently does not participate in the trade negotiations with the EU, and says it will take until 2022 to sign all its treaties) will provide Brazil and Argentina with additional sticks should one of the two sides violate the basic rules of the game.

After their first official meeting, Argentina’s and Brazil’s Foreign Ministers Susana Malcorra and Mauro Vieira seemed eager to tackle the region’s most urgent problems. The crisis in Venezuela provides a big first test whether the two can effectively work together.

Fonte: Post Western World

Rich or poor? A reality check

Publicado originalmente em: 26/10/2015

More than 1 million people around the world have used the OECD’s Compare your Income tool, responding to questions on how rich or poor they think they are compared to others and their vision for what a fairer sharing of the pie would be. Some early findings for a few countries are revealing.

Fonte: OECD

Setor privado ‘é o motor que guiará as soluções climáticas de que precisamos’, afirma chefe da ONU

Publicado Originalmente: 28/01/2016

Mais de 500 investidores globais se reuniram na sede da ONU em Nova York, Estados Unidos, nesta quarta-feira (27), para movimentar os trilhões de dólares necessários para estimular a energia limpa no mundo. O secretário-geral das Nações Unidas, Ban Ki-moon, desafiou os investidores a, no mínimo, dobrarem suas aplicações direcionadas a este tipo de energia, alcançando 660 bilhões de dólares até 2020.

Lembrando que 2015 foi o ano mais quente já registrado, Ban afirmou que os mercados têm a evidência de que precisavam para aumentar seus investimentos no crescimento resiliente de energia limpa. “O mundo conta com vocês para agir na velocidade e escala necessárias para transformar a economia global”, sublinhou.

O chefe da ONU destacou o aumento de investimentos para energias limpas, que em 2015 acumulou 330 bilhões de dólares – mais de seis vezes a quantidade de 2004. No entanto, ele explicou que é preciso mais para manter o aumento da temperatura a níveis aceitáveis e limitar os riscos causados por alterações climáticas.

“Investidores e negociantes que redirecionarem seus recursos para o crescimento com baixo carbono e resiliência climática serão os centros de poder econômico do século 21”, declarou Ban.

Para ele, o setor privado “é o motor que guiará as soluções climáticas de que precisamos”, reduzindo os riscos climáticos, acabando com a pobreza energética e criando um futuro mais seguro.

Organizado pela associação sem fins lucrativos, Ceres, a Fundação da ONU e Escritório das Nações Unidas para Parcerias, a reunião teve o objetivo de catalisar um deslocamento dos investimentos para uma energia mais limpa que seja rápido o suficiente para convergir com os pontos acordados na Conferência de Paris sobre o clima, que incluem reduzir as emissões de gases de efeito estufa para zero.

O chefe da ONU sublinhou cinco passos para a ação dos investidores.

Para ele, planos nacionais climáticos em países desenvolvidos precisam ser financiados; os fundos de pensão devem usar sua influência como investidores e acionistas para acelerar a descarbonização da economia; o setor bancário precisa continuar aumentando o mercado verde, mudando suas políticas de empréstimo para apoiar investimentos nesta direção; a indústria de seguros precisa fortalecer os esforços para a resiliência climática e redução de riscos de desastres, especialmente nos países mais vulneráveis; investidores precisam saber como os impactos das mudanças climáticas podem afetar companhias específicas, setores e mercados financeiros como um todo.

“Cidades e empresas reconhecem os benefícios econômicos que vêm com o combate à mudança climática, e eles estão dando um grande exemplo estabelecendo objetivos claros e medindo o impacto do seu trabalho”, afirmou o enviado especial do secretário-geral da ONU para Cidades e Mudanças Climáticas, Michael R. Bloomberg.

“Quanto mais informações fiáveis os investidores têm sobre mudanças climáticas, mais fácil tomar decisões informadas, e isso ajudará a direcionar mais financiamento para projetos que reduzem a poluição de carbono e promovem o crescimento econômico sustentável”, concluiu ele.

Fonte: ONU

Polo gesseiro recebe incentivos para exportar

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25-01-2016

O ministro do Desenvolvimento, Indústria e Comércio Exterior, Armando Monteiro, anuncia hoje, em Araripina, ações voltadas para aumentar a competitividade de empresas instaladas no polo gesseiro, com o objetivo de aumentar as exportações do setor. Os mercados-alvo são Canadá, EUA, México, Chile, Colômbia, Paraguai e Peru.

Voltado para empresas de pequeno e médio portes, o Projeto Setorial do Gesso é mais uma ação do Plano Nacional da Cultura Exportadora (PNCE), lançado em Pernambuco pelo ministro em novembro do ano passado. Ao todo, o projeto vai atender 37 empresas, sendo 33 de Pernambuco e o restante do Ceará, Pará e Amazonas. A meta é exportar US$ 350 mil em 2016 e chegar a US$ 500 mil em 2017.

O projeto é uma parceria do Sindicato da Indústria do Gesso (Sindusgesso) e da Agência Brasileira de Promoção de Exportações e Investimentos (Apex-Brasil). O convênio para a implementação das ações relacionadas no projeto será assinado pelo ministro Armando Monteiro durante o evento. O orçamento do projeto é de R$ 3,4 milhões para dois anos de atividades. Desse total, 70% serão aportados pela Apex-Brasil e o restante ficará a cargo dos parceiros.

Entre as ações do projeto estão a avaliação do setor no Brasil e no mundo, estudos de benchmarking internacional de boas práticas de sustentabilidade, elaboração de diagnóstico tanto do mercado quanto das empresas, realização de oficinas de sensibilização e, também, o estabelecimento de diretrizes para atuação em mercados externos.

Para 2016 está prevista a participação nos seguintes eventos setoriais: Expo Revestir, que acontece em março em São Paulo; Feira Expo Camacol na Colômbia, em agosto, e Green Build nos EUA, outubro. Além disso, serão realizadas missões prospectivas para Estados Unidos, Canadá, México, Colômbia, Angola e Moçambique.

O polo gesseiro responde atualmente por 95% do fornecimento de produtos para o mercado nacional. No mundo, o Brasil se posiciona como 11º maior produtor, de acordo com dados do Sindusgesso. A produção bruta, em 2013, último dado disponível, chegou a 3,3 milhões de toneladas, sendo que mais de 85% desse montante teve origem em Pernambuco. O setor emprega diretamente 13,8 mil pessoas e quase 70 mil indiretamente.

Pontos fortes da produção nacional são a quantidade, pureza e disponibilidade do gesso na região, bem como a gestão empreendedora e a versatilidade do produto. O aumento da demanda mundial e o atual patamar do câmbio são oportunidades para o setor, apontadas pela equipe que irá executar o projeto.

Sobre os Projetos Setoriais da Apex-Brasil

Desenvolvidos pela Apex-Brasil, em parceria com entidades setoriais, os Projetos Setoriais visam incentivar a competitividade e promover a geração de negócios internacionais para empresas dos mais diversos setores produtivos brasileiros. Para atingir estes objetivos os projetos proporcionam a criação de branding setorial, estudos de mercado, participação em feiras internacionais e missões comerciais, encontros de negócios com compradores internacionais, melhoria do produto e embalagem, projeto imagem (vinda de formadores de opinião e imprensa dos países compradores ao Brasil) aumento da produção, entre outras ações.

Fonte: investexportbrasil

China’s consumer finance expected to be a market without ceiling

Publicado originalmente em 27/01/2016

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According to Luo, a monthly repayment of 100 yuan is considered affordable now. Although its business might appear risky, qufenqi.com does due diligence of its debtors.

“We screen consumers’ online shopping records to assess their consumption power. We also verify the contact information of their parents. We have 10,000 part-time employees who visit student dormitories at colleges for due diligence,” Luo said.

Like qufenqi.com, China’s Internet giants such as Baidu Inc, Tencent Holdings Ltd and Alibaba Group Holding Ltd, as well as smaller players, have jumped on the online consumer finance bandwagon.

Borrowers love what they offer: convenience, lower rates and ease of obtaining loans.

Online lenders steer clear of lengthy application processing and stiff qualifications for borrowers that typify banks and traditional private lenders.

For instance, qufenqi.com waives interest in the first month. So, borrowers repaying within a month can avail interest-free loans. A 1,000-yuan loan for three months entails monthly payments of 347.88 yuan each. That is, repayments total 1,043.64 yuan, suggesting an interest amount of 43.64 yuan per quarter, marginally lower than the 50 yuan that credit card firms charge on comparable loans.

For its part, JD.com’s consumer finance division started Baitiao in 2014, a virtual credit card service that allows some of its online shoppers to buy products first and repay in installments.

The rise of online firms suggests the consumer finance market in China is too big for credit card issuers alone to serve.

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Some 800 million Chinese constitute the potential consumer finance market. Of them, about 500 million do not have any credit information in traditional banking organizations, said analysts.

“This means, it is difficult for them to apply for credit cards or borrow money from traditional banks,” said Liu Yannan, chief executive officer of Beijing Tiandao Jiran Technology Co Ltd, which, in 2015, launched an app offering loans to buyers of used cars and consumer electronics.

“It is very difficult for traditional banks to offer small loans to consumers without any credit record. The cost and risk would be very high compared with offering loans to big-name enterprises.

“But through big data technology, it is easy for Internet firms to find out who can be good debtors, by analyzing their online footprints, such as their shopping records, occupation and educational backgroud of their friends on social networking apps,” said Liu.

Xu of JD Finance agreed. The cost of finding a qualified borrower is next to zero for JD Finance thanks to parent JD.com’s vast data on its online shoppers, he said. JD Finance, he said, has “profiled”, or verified the creditworthiness of, 100 million shoppers on JD.com.

Even consumers who have credit cards appear to prefer online consumer finance due to its convenience and efficiency, said Min Jie, 30, who recently bought a new flat. He spent tens of thousands of yuan online in 2015, decorating it. After maxing out his credit card, he turned to Internet finance companies.

“Asking banks to raise my credit limit was proving to be time-consuming. You need to make phone calls first, then demonstrate your financial situation and wait for their approval. So I used JD’s Baitiao service as an alternative. Based on my previous shopping record, they immediately granted me 10,000 yuan in credit,” Min said.

Xiong Yuan, 27, a female white-collar worker in Beijing, took another route to easy finance. She did not really need the money but wanted to boost her online credit score. So, she logged into Ant Check Later, an Internet consumer finance product of Ant Financial Service Group, which is backed by Alibaba Group Holding Ltd.

Ant Financial’s credit scores, ranging from 350 to 950, are based on analysis of consumers’ online behavior. A score higher than 750 attracts VIP perks like travel to Singapore without visa application or priority check-in at some airports in China.

“By borrowing about 1,000 yuan every month via Ant Check Later, I made online purchases, but repaid the money in time over the last six months. So, my credit score has increased from 670 to 709 and nearing my goal of exceeding 750,” Xiong said.

According to Ant Financial, its consumer finance service has significantly boosted the consumption of online shoppers. “Those who used to spend less than 1,000 yuan a month have increased their spending by 50 percent after using the service,” the company said in an email to China Daily.

Consumer finance is clearly a priority for the government as well, given the thrust on economic growth through domestic consumption rather than exports.

In June 2015, the government expanded its pilot zone of consumer finance from 16 cities to the entire nation. Private companies, domestic and overseas banks, and Internet firms are all encouraged to set up consumer finance business.

Analysts said it is unlikely that regulators will restrict the development of the sector. Li Chao, an analyst with iResearch, said for the consumer finance market to blossom fully, service providers need to improve their risk management and create more “offline scenarios”.

“There is still room for improvement in the accuracy and cost of risk control, given the market is still in its early stage. Consumer finance companies need to come up with more ideas to encourage people to use their services.

“Most of the small loans are made to online shoppers, those who are about to travel or buy cars. They need to think more creatively to create more opportunities for consumers to use the service,” Li said.

Like in any lending business, bad debts are but natural. But, Internet finance firms, being mostly privately held startups, are not obliged to disclose the rate of bad debts. Industry insiders, however, estimated defaults could be around 1 percent of total loans.

Fonte: China Daily