Thursday 28th May 2015
NEWS TICKER: THURSDAY, MAY 28TH: A deal struck by MEPs and Council of Ministers negotiators in the small hours of Thursday morning means the architecture of the Juncker plan to unlock €315bn public and private investments in the real economy in 2015-2017 can now be put to a European Parliament vote on June 24th and the investment programme can kick off in the summer. Parliament’s negotiators scaled back cuts in the EU’s “Horizon2020” research and innovation programme and Connecting Europe Facility (CEF – to link up Europe’s energy, transport and digital networks). They also ensured that the plan creates a stable financing mechanism to bridge the investment gap in Europe, by clarifying the investment guarantee fund’s governance structure and making it more accountable to representatives of EU citizens – Jamyra Gallmon, accused of stabbing DLA Piper associate David Messerschmitt to death in a robbery gone wrong, pleaded guilty to murder today in Washington, DC court, after reaching a plea deal with prosecutors - – European banking and financial market associations have been rushing to comment on Tuesday night’s vote in the European Parliament’s Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee (ECON), which was rejected by 30 votes to 29, claiming they remain deeply concerned over the EU Banking Structural Reform proposal (BSR) that seeks to break up the largest European banks. The outcome of the ECON vote shows that there is no consensus on what is right for big universal banks in Europe. Policy makers suggest that the BSR proposal could lead to a loss in European investment capacity equal to 5%, representing a decline of almost €100bn in capital expenditure on the long term; however there does not seem to be any consolidated document that might form the basis of consistent debate as a European Parliament spokesperson confirms that the original proposal has had so many amendments that it scarcely reflects the original thinking behind the document. Given that the vote is defeated, the EP will not consider re-opening the debate until June 11th this year, when the Parliament will decide on the requirements for either further amendments or complete redrafting, or even abandonment of the proposal - )-- Murex, the leading provider of integrated trading, risk management and processing solutions, says UniCredit, which has the largest presence of banks in Central and Eastern Europe, has gone live on Murex' MX.3 for UniCredit Bank Austria and eight other Central Eastern Europe banks - The interim financial report of Gefinor S.A. (ISIN LU 0010016714) for the period ended March 31st is available on the company website at www.gefinor.com from May 28th (today) - The Securities and Exchange Commission today announced that the next meeting of its Advisory Committee on Small and Emerging Companies will focus on public company disclosure effectiveness, intrastate crowdfunding, venture exchanges, and treatment of finders.“The agenda reflects the important scope of the advisory committee’s mandate,” says SEC Chair Mary Jo White. “Topics I am particularly interested in are the advisory committee’s views on disclosure effectiveness and initiatives that will inform our capital formation efforts.” At its upcoming meeting on June 3rd, the advisory committee also is expected to vote on a recommendation to the Commission regarding the “Section 4(a)(1½) exemption” sometimes used by shareholders to resell privately issued securities. This topic was initially discussed at the committee’s March 4 meeting.The meeting will be held at the SEC’s headquarters at 100 F Street, NE, Washington, DC, and is open to the public. It also will be webcast live on the SEC’s website, www.sec.gov, and will be archived on the website for later viewing.

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The European Review

By Patrick Artus, chief economist at Natixis

Why the ECB will need to purchase bonds again

Friday, 27 July 2012 Written by 
Why the ECB will need to purchase bonds again Even if the European Central Bank (ECB) does not particularly like the idea, it will soon have to return to buying government bonds from several eurozone countries. The reasoning behind this prediction lies in a chain of events already taking place. http://www.ftseglobalmarkets.com/

Even if the European Central Bank (ECB) does not particularly like the idea, it will soon have to return to buying government bonds from several eurozone countries. The reasoning behind this prediction lies in a chain of events already taking place.

Earlier this year the ECB froze its securities market programme (SMP), which, since its inception in 2010, has bought over €210bn worth of sovereign bonds. The responsibility of buying sovereign bonds from various eurozone countries, it said, would now shift to the European Financial Stability Fund (EFSF) and European Stability Mechanism (ESM).

Despite the high level of interest rates in Spain and Italy, the ECB has not resumed its purchases of government bonds, and shows no enthusiasm for doing so. As mentioned, its official stance is that government bond purchases should be carried out by the EFSF/ESM.



However, many analysts (us included) believe the EFSF/ESM will not be able to react sufficiently – mainly due to its size but also the fact it lacks access to monetary creation, which the lender of last resort for governments must have.

To see the chain of events taking place, we only need look at the economic position of Spain, Italy, France and Portugal – which are all deteriorating. This reinforces the risk that investors will refuse to finance these countries, which will push interest rates to the point where there is a threat of default.

In these countries (obviously to different extents):

  • the private sector continues to deleverage;
  • the fiscal policy is and will be restrictive;
  • there is a decline in real wages since labour's bargaining power is weakening;
  • household demand is deteriorating, which leads to companies reducing their investment rate;
  • sluggish activity is leading to job losses and preventing these countries from improving their public finances; and
  • despite the decline in domestic demand in Italy, Spain and Portugal, there remains a substantial external deficit; in France, on the other hand, domestic demand has not started to fall yet, but the external deficit is rising.

The improvement in competitiveness due to the fall in wages (in Spain, Italy and Portugal, but not yet in France) is unable to improve foreign trade, either because the industrial sector is too small as a proportion of the whole economy (Spain, Portugal, France), or because this improvement is insufficient (Italy).

So there is clearly a downward spiralling risk. The crisis spreads from one country to the next via foreign trade and, since the external deficits are only partially being reduced, the crisis may be exacerbated by the rise in interest rates.

Therefore, we can see a continuous weakening of the economy. If the countries’ economic situation deteriorates, it will be increasingly difficult to finance their debts. Investors will be concerned about the countries’ situation and their solvency – in fiscal and external terms. Interest rates will rise further, and this means that countries and governments will be threatened with default.

Realistically, if this occurs the ECB will have to intervene because the officially planned solution (bond purchases by the EFSF/ESM) will not be sufficient. Given the size of the countries’ debts, the need to buy bonds will exceed the capacity of a bond issuer such as the EFSF/ESM – especially in the event of a bond market crisis affecting several eurozone countries.

Given that the lender of last resort for governments must have access to monetary creation, the only institution capable of buying bonds at the volumes required will be the ECB.

We believe that at the end of this process the ECB will have to intervene via massive government bond purchases (similar to the action taken by Bank of England). This is legal, provided that it relates to purchases in the secondary market, irrespective of some countries’ reservations.

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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