Tuesday 7th July 2015
NEWS TICKER: MONDAY, JULY 6TH: Moody's Interfax Rating Agency (MIRA), which specialises in credit risk analysis in Russia, has withdrawn the Baa1.ru national scale rating of Petrocommerce Bank (OJSC) based in Russia (Ba1 negative). This action follows Petrocommerce Bank's reorganisation and merger with Bank Otkritie Financial Corporation PJSC (deposits/senior unsecured Ba3 negative, BCA b1). Moody's Interfax Rating Agency's National Scale Ratings (NSRs) are intended as relative measures of creditworthiness among debt issues and issuers within a country, enabling market participants to better differentiate relative risks, report Moody’s. NSRs differ from Moody's global scale ratings in that they are not globally comparable with the full universe of Moody's rated entities, but only with NSRs for other rated debt issues and issuers within the same country. NSRs are designated by a ".nn" country modifier signifying the relevant country, as in ".ru" for Russia. - PEGAS, the pan-European gas trading platform operated by Powernext, today announced that a total volume of 68.9 TWh were traded in June 2015. This represents a year on year increase of 41% (June 2014: 48.8 TWhPEGAS, the pan-European gas trading platform operated by Powernext, today announced that a total volume of 68.9 TWh were traded in June 2015. This represents a year on year increase of 41% (June 2014: 48.8 TWh).Overall spot trading volumes amounted to 28.4 TWh which represents a year on year increase of 31%. PEGAS recorded volume increases in particular in the German, French and Dutch market areas. The June volume in the German GASPOOL and NCG areas increased to 12.0 TWh (+33%), including 3.6 TWh traded in quality-specific gas products. The volume in the French PEG Nord and TRS market area rose to 8.0 TWh (+40%). The Dutch TTF spot volume reached 8.1 TWh (+17%) while the Belgian ZTP spot market registered a volume of 222,715 MWh. The total volume of spread transactions amounted to 2.3 TWh. - Clearstream has issued an update to the Statement of Holdings report (MT535), covering both HTML and CSV formats: effective immediately the newly added column, “Pledged for Collateral” for non-available positions (introduced as part of the June release) will be renamed "Pledged for Collateral NAVL". This change applies to the Statement of Holdings report (MT535) in HTML format and when downloaded as a CSV file. Other reporting formats are not impacted, says Clearstream. In addition, when downloaded as an MT535 CSV file, the newly named column "Pledged for Collateral NAVL" will now appear as the final column. This allows a better reconciliation of positions, says Clearstream Banking - Christine Lagarde, managing director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), made the following statement today: "The IMF has taken note of yesterday’s referendum held in Greece. We are monitoring the situation closely and stand ready to assist Greece if requested to do so.” - Morgan Lewis is enhancing its United Kingdom and global employment law capabilities with the addition of employment investigations and data privacy partner Pulina Whitaker, who joins the firm today from another global law firm. Her arrival, says the firm, strengthens the full suite of global client services offered from the Morgan Lewis London office, including those connected to finance, corporate, energy, funds, and litigation - Leading shares in European bourses will continue to struggle today as investors look for direction from European leaders over their response to the Greek referendum decision yesterday. In Asia, Japan’s Nikkei retreated -2.08% while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng went down by 4% and the Shenzhen Composite down by 4.69%. The Shanghai Composite stabilised around 3,709, up 0.61%, as China Security Finance Corp, the institution which managed short selling and margin trading, will receive a capital boost to 76bn “to maintain financial market stability and expand its business".; it is actually something of a turnaround, as Chinese equities have been under pressure for over a month now. In Australia, equity markets are trading into negative territory with the S&P/ASX down -1.14% while AUD/USD broke to the downside the strong support lying at 0.7533 (low from April 2) and is heading toward the following one at 0.7414 (low from October 2010). Tomorrow, the Reserve Bank of Australia will release its interest rate decision. The US dollar is broadly higher against G10 as only the Japanese yen is adding gains versus USD. German Chancellor Angela Merkel will meet French president François Hollande later today. Greece’s main creditors have more pressures on their shoulders; analysts suggest that they will be more willing to provide significant debt relief measures. The next payment is due to the ECB on July 20th.

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The European Review

By Patrick Artus, chief economist at Natixis

France’s industrial crisis: predictable and set to last

Friday, 03 August 2012 Written by 
France’s industrial crisis: predictable and set to last France’s industrial sector is in the midst of a steadily worsening crisis. There has been a decline in production, employment and productive investment, the external deficit remains significant, and export market shares are declining rapidly. We would argue that this situation was foreseeable, particularly if we add up issues with supply, domestic and external demand, and the impact of the eurozone crisis. Unfortunately, not a lot can be done about the weakness of demand, and the remedies to the supply problem are difficult to implement rapidly. http://www.ftseglobalmarkets.com/

France’s industrial sector is in the midst of a steadily worsening crisis. There has been a decline in production, employment and productive investment, the external deficit remains significant, and export market shares are declining rapidly.

We would argue that this situation was foreseeable, particularly if we add up issues with supply, domestic and external demand, and the impact of the eurozone crisis. Unfortunately, not a lot can be done about the weakness of demand, and the remedies to the supply problem are difficult to implement rapidly.

Let’s go through these issues, their causes and their implications.

Cause no. 1: The supply problem



Supply conditions for goods and services continue to deteriorate in France. The low profitability of companies discourages investment hence the production capacity of French industry is on the decline.

Since 2001, French industry sales prices have been falling relative to unit wage costs. Such falls reflect the excessive level of unit wage costs compared to the sophistication of industrial production in France. The downmarket nature of French industrial production prevents an increase in its selling prices, because of the high level of the price elasticity of demand for industrial products made in France: 0.9 versus 0.3 in Germany.

However, the rise in the unit wage cost – relative to selling prices – does not come as a result of the trend in productivity, but what has been happening to wages. This is because the level of costs is pushed up by the level of employers’ welfare contributions.

The subsequent fall in French industry’s profitability is substantial, reducing its capacity to invest and create jobs. This leads to the off-shoring of production capacity to countries where industrial profitability is higher, thereby weakening industry financially and threatening it with a serious crisis in the event of a recession and falling demand.

Cause no. 2: The demand problem

Between 2011 and 2012, French industry suffered from the weakness of both domestic and external demand. This resulted in a lower capacity utilisation rate than normal, which makes the problem of low profitability even more detrimental. And the decline in demand may deteriorate further if there is a fall in real wage incomes and government expenditure.

Cause no. 3: The euro-zone crisis

The eurozone crisis has two negative effects on French industry:

  1. it weakens demand and therefore imports in the eurozone countries that usually would have been France’s customers. This is significant because the eurozone accounts for 46% of French exports – the United Kingdom, which is also mired in a recession, accounts for 6%;
  2. it reduces domestic demand and capacity utilisation rates in Spain and Portugal and persuades industrial companies in these countries to turn to exports. As wage costs are lower in these countries, there is an increase in the competition that has a direct impact on French industry. France’s export market share tends to decline, whereas those of PortugalSpain and Ireland have recovered.

Remedies are very difficult to implement

Of the three issues mentioned, weakness of demand and the effects of the eurozone crisis cannot be controlled, particularly in a situation where there is private-sector deleveraging and a reduction in fiscal deficits. The question for French industry is therefore which remedies can be implemented on the supply side? We have put together the following list of possible measures:

 

  • an improvement in the sophistication of industrial production and in the differentiation of products, which will require innovation, investments, and marketing;
  • increased geographical diversification in companies' sales to increase the weight of emerging countries, which is currently quite low in France;
  • a major reform of the financing of social welfare in France to reduce the weight of welfare contributions paid by companies;
  • a fall in the hourly labour cost, either through a fall in the per capita wage, or through an increase in the number of hours worked (which is obviously a source of conflict).

 

However, these measures are all very difficult to implement rapidly.

It is also important to understand the major fragility of companies that are not very profitable (i.e. they have a shortfall in supply) when they are faced with a significant and lasting decline in demand.

Unfortunately, it looks as though this French industry crisis is not going to go away any time soon.

Patrick Artus

A graduate of Ecole Polytechnique, of Ecole Nationale de la Statistique et de l'Adminstration Economique and of Institut d'Etudes Politiques de Paris, Patrick Artus is today the Chief Economist at Natixis. He began his career in 1975 where his work included economic forecasting and modelisation. He then worked at the Economics Department of the OECD (1980), before becoming Head of Research at the ENSAE. Thereafter, Patrick taught seminars on research at Paris Dauphine (1982) and was Professor at a number of Universities (including Dauphine, ENSAE, Centre des Hautes Etudes de l'Armement, Ecole Nationale des Ponts et Chaussées and HEC Lausanne).

Patrick is now Professor of Economics at University Paris I Panthéon-Sorbonne. He combines these responsibilities with his research work at Natixis. Patrick was awarded "Best Economist of the year 1996" by the "Nouvel Economiste", and today is a member of the council of economic advisors to the French Prime Minister. He is also a board member at Total and Ipsos.

Website: cib.natixis.com/research/economic.aspx

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