Tuesday 23rd December 2014
NEWS TICKER: MONDAY, DECEMBER 22ND 2014: NASDAQ welcomed 313* new listings this year, including 189 initial public offerings (IPOs), worth a combined $22bn -- more IPOs than any other US exchange, representing a 50% increase from the 126 IPOs in 2013. The exchange says that 62% of the top 100 best performing IPOs overall this year, including eight of the top ten, listed on its main board – Meanwhile, TMX Group today announced that Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX) set a new daily volume record on December 19th with 1,535,887,985 shares traded, which surpassed the previous record of 895,769,152, $20,213,746,759. The previous record of $19,278,924,809 was set on September 18th 2008.which was set on December 19th 2008 - Fitch Ratings has revised the Outlook for both Bahrain's Long-term foreign and local currency Issuer Default Ratings (IDR) to Negative from Stable and affirmed the IDRs at 'BBB' and 'BBB+', respectively. The issue ratings on Bahrain's senior unsecured foreign and local currency bonds have also been affirmed at 'BBB' and 'BBB+', respectively. The agency has simultaneously affirmed Bahrain's Country Ceiling at 'BBB+' and Short-term foreign currency IDR at 'F3' - Finnish IT company Neonella Oy (Ltd) is launching a service platform that enables the use of bitcoins, as part of interactive advertising, for example in TV-programs. The service also makes bitcoin transactions possible from media companies or advertisers to consumers. Neonella is currently seeking funding for the platform through a crowdfunding campaign. The payment interface developed enables ordering of goods or services within video or TV programs. It is also possible to vote, donate and encourage the viewers to tell about their opinions as part of the content. The same technology works in internet marketing and banners as well as in TV- and video content. - Citi is reportedly stepping in to absorb the energy and metals commodity-trading books of Credit Suisse. Citi's acquisitions will be added to the trading books it took on from Deutsche Bank this year - Credit Suisse Group meanwhile is focusing on equity trading. The banking group is said to be working with Intercontinental Exchange to restore more trading on the exchange. ICE is proposing a compromise in which exchanges agree to reduce stock-trading prices and banks agree to a rule requiring more trading on exchanges, reports the Wall Street Journal - Looking beyond post FED rate hike actions should be the key for investors to explore deep values at reasonable earnings momentum thinks Is Yatirim in Istanbul. The firm’s analysis think that the world will have to endure “a long period of low-growth, low-environment double whammy, which may not necessarily bad for Turkey [which] has hunger for foreign savings at least for another five years – Private equity firms Lombard Investments and LeapFrog Investments have bought just under 11% of the shares of Thai insurer Syn Mun Kong (SMK) for $57.5m from the Royal & Sun Alliance Group (4.35m shares at around $13.20 each), according to a regulatory filing - VTB Capital has successfully completed the RUB 2.5 billion securitisation deal for AK BARS BANK mortgage portfolio​ as part of the Vnesheconombank's programme for investing in affordable housing and mortgages in 2010-2013 - According to the US government technology news agency, North Korea has denied the Obama administration's allegations that it launched the hack attack against Sony Pictures Entertainment and has demanded that a joint investigation with the US into the incident be launched. The secretive communist regime, based in Pyongyang, also promised there would be "grave consequences" if the United States failed to agree to the joint probe. - Fitch Ratings has revised the Outlooks on Bahrain's Long-term foreign and local currency Issuer Default Ratings (IDR) to Negative from Stable and affirmed the IDRs at 'BBB' and 'BBB+', respectively. The issue ratings on Bahrain's senior unsecured foreign and local currency bonds have also been affirmed at 'BBB' and 'BBB+', respectively. The agency has simultaneously affirmed Bahrain's Country Ceiling at 'BBB+' and Short-term foreign currency IDR at 'F3' - Finnish IT company Neonella Oy (Ltd) is launching a service platform that enables the use of bitcoins, as part of interactive advertising, for example in TV-programs. The service also makes bitcoin transactions possible from media companies or advertisers to consumers. Neonella is currently seeking funding for the platform through a crowdfunding campaign. The payment interface developed enables ordering of goods or services within video or TV programs. It is also possible to vote, donate and encourage the viewers to tell about their opinions as part of the content. The same technology works in internet marketing and banners as well as in TV- and video content. - Citi is reportedly stepping in to absorb the energy and metals commodity-trading books of Credit Suisse. Citi's acquisitions will be added to the trading books it took on from Deutsche Bank this year - Credit Suisse Group meanwhile is focusing on equity trading. The banking group is said to be working with Intercontinental Exchange to restore more trading on the exchange. ICE is proposing a compromise in which exchanges agree to reduce stock-trading prices and banks agree to a rule requiring more trading on exchanges, reports the Wall Street Journal - Looking beyond post FED rate hike actions should be the key for investors to explore deep values at reasonable earnings momentum thinks Is Yatirim in Istanbul. The firm’s analysis think that the world will have to endure “a long period of low-growth, low-environment double whammy, which may not necessarily bad for Turkey [which] has hunger for foreign savings at least for another five years – Private equity firms Lombard Investments and LeapFrog Investments have bought just under 11% of the shares of Thai insurer Syn Mun Kong (SMK) for $57.5m from the Royal & Sun Alliance Group (4.35m shares at around $13.20 each), according to a regulatory filing - VTB Capital has successfully completed the RUB 2.5 billion securitisation deal for AK BARS BANK mortgage portfolio​ as part of the Vnesheconombank's programme for investing in affordable housing and mortgages in 2010-2013.

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The European Review

By Patrick Artus, chief economist at Natixis

Without lax monetary and FX policies, fiscal consolidation in the euro zone is impossible

Friday, 01 June 2012 Written by 
Without lax monetary and FX policies, fiscal consolidation in the euro zone is impossible In the past, successful fiscal consolidations occurred through a combination of restrictive fiscal policy, expansionary monetary policy and sharp depreciation of the currency. In many euro-zone countries, as the policy mix is restrictive, fiscal consolidation is failing due to falling real economic activity. All possible ways to make monetary policy in the euro zone more expansionary must therefore be explored. Although there remains little leeway to lower short-term interest rates, it is possible to reduce long-term interest rates in the euro-zone countries where they are abnormally high, both by restoring fiscal credibility and through bond purchases by the ECB. Above all, the euro must be weakened, requiring interventions in the FX market. And if the current trend of restrictive fiscal policies without drastic monetary measures persists, euro-zone countries will end up in recession and with higher, not lower fiscal deficits. http://www.ftseglobalmarkets.com/

In the past, successful fiscal consolidations occurred through a combination of restrictive fiscal policy, expansionary monetary policy and sharp depreciation of the currency. In many euro-zone countries, as the policy mix is restrictive, fiscal consolidation is failing due to falling real economic activity. All possible ways to make monetary policy in the euro zone more expansionary must therefore be explored.

Although there remains little leeway to lower short-term interest rates, it is possible to reduce long-term interest rates in the euro-zone countries where they are abnormally high, both by restoring fiscal credibility and through bond purchases by the ECB. Above all, the euro must be weakened, requiring interventions in the FX market. And if the current trend of restrictive fiscal policies without drastic monetary measures persists, euro-zone countries will end up in recession and with higher, not lower fiscal deficits.

Monetary measures during fiscal consolidations in the past

In the nineties, Sweden, Canada, Finland and Italy all successfully consolidated their fiscal position through rapid reductions in fiscal deficits, without negative effects on economic growth and unemployment. This was because fiscal consolidation was systematically combined with a very expansionary monetary policy that included lower interest rates and, above all, a sharp depreciation in the exchange rate to kick things off.



In these countries, the fall in government expenditure was offset by an increase in exports linked to the devaluation of the currency as well as an increase in domestic demand linked to the fall in interest rates.

In the absence of sufficient monetary measures, the fiscal consolidations in several euro-zone countries are failing

The ECB’s policy rate is actually low, but long-term interest rates in the troubled countries have risen markedly, which results in long-term interest rates for the euro zone as a whole that are far too high.

Moreover, although it has depreciated since 2008, the euro is still overvalued against the dollar. And, since euro-zone countries want to reduce their fiscal deficits as quickly as possible, the euro zone’s policy mix is on the whole too restrictive. So it is unsurprising that activity is declining in countries with restrictive fiscal policies: Greece, Portugal, Italy, Spain, Ireland and even the Netherlands.

Indeed, the decline in growth is so substantial that fiscal deficits stopped narrowing in early 2012 in several countries (Spain, Greece, France, Italy and Portugal), requiring additional fiscal austerity measures to be adopted. But these measures will further weaken growth, especially because they are being adopted simultaneously by most of Europe (the euro zone and the United Kingdom). This could lead to an absurd situation later in the year whereby unemployment soars while the fiscal deficits fail to fall. European countries are moving increasingly to the right of the Laffer curve, where a more restrictive fiscal policy subsequently leads to a higher fiscal deficit due to a fall in economic activity.

The only solution: Expansionary monetary and exchange-rate policy

Euro-zone countries are at an impasse if the current policy mix is too restrictive, and the resulting fall in economic activity prevents them from reducing their fiscal deficits. The only solution is then to emulate the successful fiscal consolidations in the nineties by changing over to an expansionary monetary and exchange-rate policy. So – while there is no longer much to be gained from short-term interest rates in the euro zone – it is possible to reduce long-term interest rates in the countries where they are abnormally high.

In order to achieve this, these countries need to regain medium-term fiscal credibility, i.e. financial markets need to be convinced of their determination to stabilise their public debt ratios. This would enable the ECB to resume its government bond purchase programme (SMP) – aimed at accelerating the decline in interest rates – without fear of encouraging these countries to not reduce their deficits.

Furthermore, the euro must be weakened. Indeed, exchange-rate depreciation played an important role in the fiscal consolidation programmes of the nineties. And like Switzerland, China, or once again Japan, the ECB could accumulate foreign exchange reserves (in dollars in the ECB’s case) to push down the euro’s exchange rate against the dollar.

A depreciation of the euro would directly benefit the countries with large-scale industry (Germany, Italy, Ireland, Finland, Austria and Belgium) as well as countries with large-scale exports outside the euro zone (Belgium, Ireland, the Netherlands and Germany), while Spain, France, Portugal and Greece would indirectly benefit from the positive effects of the euro depreciation on these other euro-zone countries.

Averting disaster

Although resuming its government bond purchase programme and accumulating foreign exchange reserves runs counter to the ECB’s culture, if it does not do this, several euro-zone countries will soon reach the absurd situation of the simultaneous increase in both unemployment and fiscal deficits at the same time that fiscal deficit reduction policies are being carried out. Indeed, the examples from the past clearly show that successful fiscal consolidations have always been combined with expansionary monetary and exchange-rate policy.

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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