Wednesday, August 31, 2011


La inestable situación de Europa - Joschka Fischer - Project Syndicate


"Europa tiene tres alternativas. Una es seguir improvisando, como hasta ahora; el resultado no será otro que agravar y prolongar la crisis. Otra, eliminar la unión monetaria, lo que significaría el fin del proyecto europeo y el inicio de un caos ingobernable. La tercera y última opción sería que Europa avance en la dirección de una integración económica y política efectiva; pero los líderes actuales no se atreven a dar este paso, porque no creen que la opinión pública interna les dé el apoyo necesario.

De modo que todo indica que por ahora la respuesta será una combinación de las primeras dos opciones. Más tarde, cuando el proyecto europeo esté a medio naufragar, puede ser que llegue la hora del federalismo. Pero la palabra clave es “puede”: porque también puede perfectamente ocurrir que Europa se hunda en el abismo.

La inacción de Europa ante la crisis ya produjo consecuencias negativas palpables. La pasividad de los funcionarios electos atizó la desconfianza popular, que ahora es una amenaza para el proyecto europeo. De hecho, la crisis comienza a socavar los mismísimos cimientos en los que se basó el orden europeo de posguerra: la alianza francoalemana, por un lado, y la transatlántica, por el otro, que hicieron posible un período de paz y prosperidad sin precedentes en la historia del continente.

La presión de los mercados financieros ya está sobre Francia, y el peligro que plantea apenas ha comenzado. Si Francia es incapaz de resistir y Alemania no se decide a jugar todas sus cartas en defensa de su socio, la catástrofe europea será completa. Y puede suceder muy pronto: los franceses no pueden dejar la región del Mediterráneo abandonada a su suerte (y no lo harán), de modo que las fantasías que abrigan los europeos ricos del norte (sobre todo, los alemanes), respecto de que estos países se salgan de la zona, ponen en riesgo el pilar francoalemán del que depende la paz europea."

Tuesday, August 30, 2011


EconoMonitor : EconoMonitor » Some Predictions for the Rest of the Decade

"My basic sense is that we are at the end of one of the six or so major globalization cycles that have occurred in the past two centuries. If I am right, this means that there still is a pretty significant set of major adjustments globally that have to take place before we will have reversed the most important of the many global debt and payments imbalances that have been created during the last two decades. These will be driven overall by a contraction in global liquidity, a sharply rising risk premium, substantial deleveraging, and a sharp contraction in international trade and capital imbalances."



*BRICS and other developing countries have not decoupled in any meaningful sense, and once the current liquidity-driven investment boom subsides the developing world will be hit hard by the global crisis.

* Over the next two years Chinese household consumption will co
ntinue declining as a share of GDP.

* Chinese debt levels will continue to rise quickly over the rest of this year and next.

* Chinese growth will begin to slow sharply by 2013-14 and will hit an average of 3% well before the end of the decade.

* Any decline in GDP growth will disproportionately affect investment and so the demand for non-food commodities.

* If the PBoC resists interest rate cuts as inflation declines, China may even begin slowing in 2012.

* Much slower growth in China will not lead to social unrest if China meaningfully rebalances.

* Within three years Beijing will be seriously examining large-scale privatization as part of its adjustment policy.

* European politics will continue to deteriorate rapidly and the major political parties will either become increasingly radicalized or marginalized.

* Spain and several countries, perhaps even Italy (but probably not France) will be forced to leave the euro and restructure their debt with significant debt forgiveness.

* Germany will stubbornly (and foolishly) refuse to bear its share of the burden of the European adjustment, and the subsequent retaliation by the deficit countries will cause German growth to drop to zero or negative for many years.

* Trade protection sentiment in the US will rise inexorably and unemployment stays high for a few more years.

Cada una de las predicciones anteriores es cuidadosamente expuesta y argumentada en detalle por el autor en su trabajo

Sunday, August 28, 2011


Los gráficos de Ron Griess deberían decir algo sobre mercados, precios y valoración a quien los lea y - ¿sería mucho pedir?- a los "brujos" de nuestros días, representantes eximios de lo que, una vez, Marx calificó como "el corazón de un mundo sin corazón".Las series abarcan de 1871 a 2011.






Estan publicadas en The Chart Store

Este es el documento separado

Friday, August 26, 2011


En una entrevista publicada por Spiegel el 25 de Agosto, Paul Woolley del Centro para el Estudio de la Disfuncionalidad del Mercado de Capital se pronuncia de la forma siguiente sobre las cargas impuestas por las ineficiencias del Mercado de Capital:

Financial markets are inefficient and growing to the point of overwhelming the economy, according to Paul Woolley, an expert on market dysfunctionality. In an interview with SPIEGEL he explains why it's up to investors to stop dangerous trends and hold financial institutions accountable.

"SPIEGEL: Mr. Woolley, you were fund manager for many years, but went on to found a research institute at the London School of Economics to study why financial markets repeatedly go haywire. Now speculators are once again betting against the euro, and share prices for big companies are falling by 20 percent in a day only to shoot back up again. What is going on?

Woolley: The developments in recent weeks have made it quite clear that the markets don't function properly. Things are spinning out of control and are potentially dangerous for society. Only a fraternity of academic high priests connected to the finance markets is still speaking of efficient markets. Still each market participant is pursuing their own selfish interests. The market isn't reaching equilibrium -- it's falling into chaos.


SPIEGEL: Why did you leave the finance industry in 2006, then?

Woolley: I wanted to do something socially useful. We want to revolutionize the finance industry with our institute. You have to build into the models and the self interests of the banks and fund managers to which the most investors have delegated their investment decisions. The finance industry is characterized by many innovations. Because the customers hardly understand their innovative products, banks make amazing returns. But simultaneously there is a moral hazard: When something goes wrong the bankers just move on to the next employer. The banks bear the losses. Or, in the case of bankruptcy, the state takes on the costs.

SPIEGEL: Governments are trying to curb the financial industry. What are their chances?

Woolley: I'm skeptical about this. There are many incentives for banks to get around the rules. Sanctions won't help in the long run.

SPIEGEL: You rely on the insight of the investors, then?

Woolley: Right. The big investors are in a position to force their service providers, the banks, fund managers and bankers into better behaviour. I have developed 10 simple rules that big investors should introduce for their own interests. After all, average returns on pension funds worldwide, for example, have decreased repeatedly after the market crashes in recent years.

SPIEGEL: What should investors take to heart from these 10 rules?

Woolley: They should stop chasing short-term price changes, and instead take a long-range approach to investing. That's why they should cap annual turnover of portfolios at 30 percent per annum. They should stop paying performance fees to managers who increase the worth of funds because it encourages gambling. It is nearly impossible to assess whether above average returns come from a manager's skill, luck or market moves.

SPIEGEL: What can insurers and other large investors do additionally to contain the excesses of the financial markets?

Woolley: They shouldn't invest in hedge funds or private equity companies. Managers at these companies are particularly good at hiding high costs to enrich themselves. To generate returns they must take on significantly higher risks. Big investors should also insist that trading take place on a public market. Bank profits would sink almost automatically if they were no longer allowed to sell opaque products."

Interview conducted by Christoph Pauly

Saturday, August 20, 2011


New Economic Perspectives: ARE WE APPROACHING THE ENDGAME FOR THE EURO?: By Marshall Auerback Forget about the S&P downgrade, which has had ZERO impact on the global equity markets. The downgrade was supposed...

Friday, August 12, 2011



"11 de agosto, 2011

La situación de extrema volatilidad que atraviesan los mercados de valores europeos, en especial las cotizaciones de acciones de entidades financieras, está incidiendo de forma clara en la estabilidad de los mercados y puede perturbar su ordenado funcionamiento. En estas condiciones resulta preciso revisar la operativa de los mercados de valores con el fin de asegurar el mantenimiento de la estabilidad financiera.

Teniendo en cuenta lo anterior y las medidas similares que otros supervisores europeos están impulsando de manera coordinada en el ámbito de ESMA, la CNMV acuerda:

Prohibir de forma cautelar con efectos inmediatos y con carácter transitorio, al amparo del artículo 85.2 j de la Ley 24/1988, de 28 de julio, del Mercado de Valores (LMV), la realización por cualquier persona física o jurídica de operaciones sobre valores o instrumentos financieros que supongan la constitución o incremento de posiciones cortas sobre acciones españolas del sector financiero.

La prohibición se mantendrá por un periodo de 15 días desde la fecha de hoy, pudiendo prorrogarse si se considerase necesario.

La prohibición cautelar afecta a cualquier operación sobre acciones o índices, incluyendo operaciones de contado, derivados en mercados organizados o derivados OTC, que suponga crear una posición corta neta o aumentar una preexistente, aunque sea de forma intradiaria. Se entenderá por posición corta aquella que resulte en una exposición económica positiva ante una caída del precio de la acción.

Se excluyen de la prohibición cautelar las operaciones que sean realizadas por entidades que desarrollen funciones de creación de mercado. Se entenderá por tales las entidades financieras o empresas de servicios de inversión que, como respuesta a órdenes de clientes o como resultado de cotizar precios de oferta y demanda de forma continua en su condición de miembros de mercados secundarios oficiales o sistemas multilaterales de negociación, incurran transitoriamente, especialmente intradía, en posiciones cortas.

Las acciones o cuotas participativas a las que se aplica este acuerdo son, a fecha actual:

Banca Cívica, S.A.

Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria, S.A.

Banco de Sabadell, S.A.

Banco de Valencia, S.A.

Banco Español de Crédito, S.A.

Banco Pastor, S.A.

Banco Popular Español, S.A.

Banco Santander, S.A.

Bankia, S.A.

Bankinter, S.A.

Caixabank, S.A.

Caja de Ahorros del Mediterráneo

Grupo Catalana de Occidente S.A.

Mapfre, S.A.

Bolsas y Mercados Españoles, S.A.

Renta 4 Servicios de Inversion, S.A.

Se recuerda que el artículo 99 quinquies de la LMV tipifica como infracción muy grave el incumplimiento de las medidas cautelares previstas, entre otras, en la letra j del artículo 85.2 de la Ley.

En Madrid, a 11 de agosto de 2011."

Medidas similares se han adoptado por Francia, Italia y Bélgica.

Se reproducen a continuación algunos comentarios sobre las medidas recogidos en Bloomberg:

British financial stocks dropped 41 percent in the four months after regulators imposed a ban on short selling following the collapse of Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. in September 2008. The benchmark FTSE 100 index fell 15 percent in the period.

When the Securities and Exchange Commission prohibited short-sales for three weeks in September 2008 a Bloomberg Index tracking the 880 U.S. stocks affected fell 26 percent, outpacing the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index’s 22 percent decline.

Barclays Capital analysts wrote in a report to clients today. “Short-selling bans have proven ineffective in the past, tend not to address the real underlying issues in Europe, reduce liquidity and increase the related risk premiums.”

European lenders may be struggling to fund themselves. Banks’ overnight borrowings from the European Central Bank jumped to the highest in three months yesterday, a sign some lenders may need emergency cash. The difference between three- month Euribor and the overnight indexed swap rate, a measure of banks’ reluctance to lend to each other, was at 0.67 percentage point today, close to the widest spread since May 2009.

“EU policy makers don’t seem to understand the law of unintended consequences,” Jim Chanos, the short seller known for predicting Enron Corp.’s collapse, said by e-mail. “The vast majority of short-selling financial shares is by other financial institutions, hedging their counterparty risks, not speculators. The interbank lending market froze up completely in October to December 2008 -- after the short-selling bans.”

The ban won’t have its intended impact of helping banks, because money managers will also have to reduce wagers that financial stocks will rise, said Gemma Godfrey, who chairs the investment committee at Credo Capital Plc, a wealth manager in London. Without the ability to make corresponding bearish bets to mitigate risk, hedge funds will abandon the market, she said.

“It means hedge funds can’t manage their risk as well as they could before, so you are just increasing volatility,” said Godfrey, whose firm has 1.3 billion pounds ($2.1 billion) invested in hedge funds and other asset managers. “If they close out their shorts, they have to close out their longs.”

Short-selling prohibitions are meant to restore confidence among nervous traders, who incorrectly think that hedge funds have driven down share prices, said Andrew Shrimpton, who previously oversaw hedge funds at the U.K.’s Financial Services Authority. The bans don’t work, because they reduce trading volumes, which acerbates the price impact of selling, he said.

“They are going after the hedge fund bogeyman,” said Shrimpton, who’s now a partner at hedge-fund consultancy Kinetic Partners LLP in London. “We tried this once before in 2008, and proved beyond all doubt that it doesn’t work.”


To contact the reporters on this story: Howard Mustoe in London at; Jesse Westbrook in London at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Edward Evans at

Tuesday, August 9, 2011


Otra vez un Agosto "sangriento".

Lo que está en juego debería estar muy claro y, sin embargo, asistimos una y otra vez a la repetición de la misma confusión, impotencia y falta de decisión.

Demasiado poco y demasiado tarde.

Algunas referencias a una situación que no puede ser peor ni más peligrosa:



The Eurozone crisis is accelerating dangerously and could tip the world into a new recession that cannot be fought. Interest rates are already zero and governments cannot borrow much anymore. The spectre of the 1930s, including competitive devaluations and Eurozone break up, is getting dangerously relevant. This column argues that the only way forward is for the ECB to guarantee the entire stock of Eurozone debt and for Eurozone members to adopt effective, national fiscal institutions.

In this crisis, Eurozone leaders’ motto seems to be “too little too late”.

They got it badly wrong the first weekend in May 2010. Having announced that they had saved Greece, financial markets said “not good enough”. The next weekend they came up with a more substantial plan, but even this proved to be too little too late.

After months of living in denial, Eurozone leaders finally recognised that Greece was not going to be able to restart borrowing on its own. They came up with another plan. On 21 July 2011, they got it badly wrong again. Financial markets are again saying “not good enough”.

Cluelessness, powerlessness, or weakness?

In contrast to the extreme clarity of the market’s message, the raft of declarations from policymakers around the world suggests:

  • They still do not to understand how dangerous the situation is; or
  • They do not understand what they need to do, or
  • They are unwilling to do what they know must be done.

This is why reassuring words backfire. Markets suspect that nice words are all that policymakers are in a position to offer. This prevarication by Eurozone leaders needs to change rapidly if a disaster is to be avoided.

A clear misunderstanding of the situation

For a year and a half, policymakers have thrown good money after bad in carefully measured doses. Whether it was due to political expediency (gambling for redemption) or due to wishful thinking (the economic recovery will fix everything), policymakers have misdiagnosed the problem.

Unfortunately, we are not a situation where a “bridging loan” can help highly indebted nations get through a rough spot. Feeding markets a few dollops of euros is like treating a broken leg with ice; it may help for a while but it fails to address the core problem.

In short, we are not in a liquidity crisis; we are in a confidence crisis.

The danger ahead

History tells us that a loss of confidence can trigger a cyclone of doubt and falling bond prices. Once triggered, such cyclones can and have washed away even the mightiest. The mechanics of such cyclones are well understood.

When investors assign a positive probability to sovereign default, nations must pay a risk premium to continue borrowing and rolling-over their debt. The higher interest payments raise the debt-service burden. The cyclone gains strength as this tends to undermine solvency which in turn stokes doubts and raises the risk premium.

Fiscal austerity is needed to avoid such cyclones, but attempts to redress solvency via fiscal austerity in the midst of a crisis may make things worse. Cutting spending and raising taxes can trigger or deepen a recession that lowers tax receipts and raises welfare spending – again undermining the debt’s sustainability. When markets see this, they ask for a higher risk premium and the cyclone gains strength.

Eurozone investors’ fears are amplified by the poisonous combination of banks that are both in fragile state overall and heavily invested in Eurozone bonds. As we saw in Ireland and Iceland, governments who have to bail out their banks can find themselves drawn into a self-fulfilling confidence crisis.

The size of the problem

The real danger lies in the fact that financial market equilibria concern stocks, not flows. We are not talking about the fraction of the debt that is due in the next months – as we would be if this were a liquidity crisis. The cyclone logic gets applied to the entire stock of national debt. This involves truly astronomical sums. When we add up the public debts of Greece, Ireland, Portugal, Spain and Italy, we reach something like €3,350 billion; that is 35% of the Eurozone GDP; 130% of German GDP.

The contagion has spread, and will continue spreading until a real solution is in place.

  • Italy and Spain probably passed the point of no return.
  • Belgium and France could be next.

The Italian case has shown that a mundane political accident – a public disagreement between the Prime Minister and the Finance Minister – can start the cyclone turning. Further rating downgrades of Eurozone nations – an event that cannot be ruled out given the US’s downgrade – could be the next trigger. A recession in the US and/or Europe could be another.

Solutions that won’t work

Plainly, we are facing a very dangerous situation. Eurozone leaders must quickly wake up and realise the severity of the threat they face. Their 21 July plan – which involved the EFSF fixing the problem defined as Greece while Italy and Spain are now the issue – is dead on arrival. There is no way the EFSF can deal with the amounts involved. If it tries we will have a German debt crisis.

This is a continuation of the central mistake made by policymakers – the belief that it is enough to buy a little bit of debts now and then to quiet financial markets until things get better.

What must be done to halt the confidence crisis?

The authorities must jump ahead of the curve and put in place an arrangement that effectively stops the rot. Instead of reacting, policymakers must start acting. There is only one way to stop the cyclone of doubt and falling bond prices. We must put a floor on public debt valuation. The stock of sovereign debt must be divided into two piles – bonds to guarantee, and bonds to default upon. This is how one jumps ahead of the curve.

The only institution in the world that can put up such amounts of money is the ECB. This is why central banks are lender in last resort. In fact, the ECB does not have to spend this money.

Guaranteeing public debts does not have to be expensive. As suggested to me by David Lucca from the New York Fed, the model should be bank deposit guarantees.

  • In 2008, most countries guaranteed 100% of bank deposits to stem incipient bank runs and guess what? There was no bank run and not one cent had to be spent.
  • In the case at hand, it is likely that the markets would challenge the ECB, so some money will be spent, but most likely very little.

In fact, the best solution is for the ECB to simply guarantee the rollover at face value of maturing sovereign debts. This should immediately stop the sovereign debt crisis.

By contrast, using the EFSF would be expensive. The EFSF would have to raise money – i.e. raise public debts – to buy public debts.

What to do about Eurozone public finances?

An ECB guarantee would handle the debt crisis, but would not address the ongoing problem of government deficits. Here is where the IMF comes in. The financing of ongoing deficits is the job of the IMF. In setting up its conditions, the IMF should resist its ancient gut reaction of imposing immediate austerity. Greece & Co. need to grow first and stabilize their debts next, in that order.

Here it is worth noting a striking change of roles. Markets are supposed to be short-termists while governments take pride in taking the longer view. In this crisis, we have seen governments offering solutions that aim at immediate results. Market participants, on the other hand, seem to be waiting for credible commitments to restore public finance health sometime in the future.

Markets understand that Greece or Italy cannot cut their deficits in the midst of a recession. All they want is to be reassured that politicians are ready to give up the deficit game and eventually reduce debts, even if that takes decades.

On this score there may be a glimmer of hope. Portugal, Ireland and Italy are now actively preparing institutional changes in the spirit of the Swiss and German debt brakes or the Swedish Fiscal Council. (The French President has put forward his own modest – probably insufficient – constitutional amendment, but divided politics in the run to elections next year stand in the way.) The EU Commission has also made a similar proposal, unfortunately buried with the fateful Euro-plus project of strengthening the Stability and Growth Pact.

Effective institutions and an ECB guarantee will do it

Shouldering this burden is not something the ECB will do lightly. But it should consider the alternative. If the ECB is not willing to do this job, it will have to spend huge sums to buy back public debts.

Because of the stock nature of financial markets, the ECB’s call for the EFSF to take the lead is wholly inadequate. When the EFSF runs out of resources, the ECB will have to stand ready to buy potentially all of the distressed sovereign debts – a list that is bound to expand if this course of action is maintained.

The ECB will have to buy back the debt at distressed prices to avoid raising their market values and therefore the cost of the rescue. In short, as lender of last resort, the EBC will have to organize debt defaults. This will lead to bank failures and more public money to be spent, again by the ECB. Here the ECB might ask their Swiss and Swedish colleagues how to bail banks out and make a profit on it.

There are no doubt other solutions but all are bound to involve the ECB. The key is that markets will not be quieted down until comprehensive measures are taken. The “kick the can down the road” strategy has been politically expedient, but its cost has been enormous.


It was wrong to bailout Greece in May 2010 (Wyplosz 2011). But now is not the time for regret. It is not the time to try to correct past mistakes. We will eventually have to draw the lessons from the crisis – and governments should ask impartial experts to do that – but now we have no choice. We must follow to its bitter end the logic adopted in May 2010.

In the end, finding a good solution is technically easy, but politically difficult.

Europeans have watched the US’s conflict over the debt ceiling with awe and scorn, but their behaviour over the last year and half has been much worse.

  • The French want to pour money on the problem;
  • The Germans want to punish fiscal misbehaviour; and
  • The ECB does not want to bear risk.

All of that is bringing the world to a new recession, which we will not be able to combat because interest rates are at the zero lower bound and governments cannot borrow much anymore.

The spectre of the 1930s, including competitive devaluations as the euro breaks up, is getting dangerously relevant.

Charles Wyplosz ©


Wyplosz Charles (2010). “And now? A dark scenario”,, 3 May.


So can we avoid another severe recession? It might simply be mission impossible. The best bet is for those countries that have not lost market access – the US, UK, Japan, and Germany – to introduce new short-term fiscal stimulus while committing to medium-term fiscal austerity. The US downgrade will hasten demands for fiscal reduction, but America in particular should commit to look for significant cuts in the medium term, not an immediate fiscal drag that will worsen growth and deficits.

Most western central banks should also introduce further QE, even though its effect will be limited. The European Central Bank should not just stop rate hiking: it should cut rates to zero and make big purchases of government bonds to prevent Italy or Spain losing market access – the outcome of which would be a truly major crisis, requiring doubling (or tripling) of bail-out resources, or debt workouts and a eurozone break-up.

Finally, since this is a crisis of solvency as well as liquidity, orderly debt restructuring must begin. This means across the board reduction on the mortgage debt for the roughly half of America’s households that are underwater, and bail-ins for creditors of banks in distress. Greek-style coercive maturity extensions, at risk free rates, must also come for Portugal and Ireland, with Italy and Spain to follow if they lose market access. Another recession may not be preventable. But policy can stop a second depression. That is reason enough for swift and targeted action.

The writer is chairman of Roubini Global Economics, professor at the Stern School, NYU and co-author of Crisis Economics

Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2011