Showing posts with label Economy. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Economy. Show all posts

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Hedge Fund Sees Juice in Greek Rally as Yields Hit 2006 Low


By Todd White  and Sid Verma
9 Ιανουαρίου 2018, 3:59 μ.μ. EET Updated on 9 Ιανουαρίου 2018, 6:43 μ.μ. EET
Convergence trade remains favorite of Algebris Investments
Borrowing costs drop as traders eye recovery, end of bailout

One of Western Europe’s most dramatic bond-convergence trades this decade -- Greece over Germany -- looks like it will reward investors yet again in 2018.

London hedge fund Algebris Investments is among those betting economic momentum will take the country’s borrowing costs even closer to Germany’s after the Mediterranean country’s 10-year yield spread narrowed by about 44 basis points this month alone. Algebris says it may shrink by as much as 75 basis points.

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Greece’s Olive Oil Industry Offers a Lesson on Economic Hurdles

The country is a major producer of ‘green gold,’ but sells much of it in bulk
The Wall Street Journal

By Nektaria Stamouli | Photographs by Andrea DiCenzo for The Wall Street Journal
Dec. 18, 2017 5:30 a.m. ET
106 COMMENTS
STREFI, Greece—Workers at Yiannis Skiadas ’ mountainside mill pressed prized Kalamata olives on a recent day to extract the thick, fragrant oil known regionally as “green gold”—most of which would get shipped abroad in bulk and blended into Italian olive oil.

Mr. Skiadas could earn almost three times as much by branding his oil and selling it himself. But that would require investing in every step from cultivation to marketing, and quick cash from Italian customers is appealing after a decade of economic pain in Greece.

“Thank God for the Italians,” he said.

Greek olive oil should be a shining example of the country’s export sector. Instead, it offers a lesson in why Greece remains deeply uncompetitive despite years of pressure to fix its economy.Greece has what should be significant competitive advantages, including a climate that is favorable for agriculture and a 22% drop in labor costs since 2010, around the start of the Greek debt crisis.

But the country has been unable to leverage its low cost base to pull itself out of economic malaise. The value of Greek exports fell last year, despite years of efforts aimed at promoting export-led growth. Just 2.5% of Greek enterprises are involved in export activity, according to a recent survey by Ernst & Young.

Bank lending is scarce in a country mired in debt. And Greece’s notoriously inefficient bureaucracy makes it time-consuming to secure health and safety approvals and export paperwork, according to Greek exporters.

Similar problems affect other Greek agricultural products from peaches to wine. Exports of textiles and household appliances have also slipped in recent years.

The failure of Greece’s olive-oil makers to break into the international market for branded oil is especially painful. Greece is the world’s No. 3 producer of olive oil, according to Eurostat, but just 4% of branded olive oil sold world-wide is Greek, according to a 2015 report by the National Bank of Greece .

The reason: Greek olive-oil producers have mostly stuck to making bulk oil, unable or unwilling to invest in making the branded product that can command lofty prices in foreign markets. Only 27% of Greek olive oil is exported as a branded product, compared with 50% from Spain and 80% from Italy.

“Greece hasn’t invested to create a brand name, as have Italy and Spain,” says Christina Sakellaridi, who heads the Greek Exporters Association. “Now it’s difficult to compete with them.”

By sticking with bulk oil rather than branded oil, Greece is forgoing about €250 million ($294 million) in revenue each year, according to the National Bank of Greece report, money the capital-starved country desperately needs.

Many Greek olive farms and mills are family-operated and have fewer than 10 employees, according to olive-growers’ associations. Their small size leaves them with little of the money and management skill needed to upgrade their products and establish a brand name.

For those who do invest, the payoff can be significant. Before the crisis, Georgios Skarpalezos sank money into new machinery for his mill. Now he makes extra virgin olive oil that he sells in, among other places, London’s Harrods department store. He makes as much as €4 a liter, while a middleman, usually an oil-mill owner, might make as little as 10 to 20 euro cents a liter on bulk oil.

“I cannot produce huge quantities, because I have to focus on the quality of the product,” said Mr. Skarpalezos, showing dark glass bottles designed to safeguard the oil.

Olive-oil producers also often need to import products such as Mr. Skarpalezos’ glass bottles and plastic caps.

Monday, December 11, 2017

Turkey's 11% Economic Growth Fuels Expectations of Rate Hike


By Selcan Hacaoglu
11 Δεκεμβρίου 2017, 9:29 π.μ. EET Updated on 11 Δεκεμβρίου 2017, 1:45 μ.μ. EET

Turkey’s economy grew faster in the third quarter than any other of the world’s 20 biggest economies as household spending and exports surged, stoking expectations that the central bank will increase borrowing costs to curb inflation.

Gross domestic product expanded 11.1 percent in the three months to Sept. 30 from a year earlier, the fastest pace in more than six years, according to official data released on Monday. The median estimate of economists in a Bloomberg survey was 8.5 percent.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Western media is still wrong. China will continue to rise.

By Eric Li October 24 at 2:28 PM

The Washington Post

SHANGHAI — As the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China draws to a close, analysts are parsing through President Xi Jinping’s 30,000-plus-word report — delivered in a three-and-a-half-hour address without breaks — to decipher the direction of the most populous nation in the world. It is a laborious effort, especially considering the report’s extensive official jargon and policy details.

But there is a much easier way. Read The Economist’s coverage of the congress, which is considerably shorter in length, and bet on the opposite being true. Let me explain.

Friday, October 20, 2017

China’s leader Xi Jinping declares the start of a “new era”


It sounds much like the old one—only more so

The Economist

Oct 21st 2017 | BEIJING
IN THE days before the opening on October 18th of the Chinese Communist Party’s quinquennial congress, the country’s security officials put their surveillance efforts into overdrive. On Chang’an Avenue, the boulevard that passes by the venue in Tiananmen Square, naked flames were banned. Tough luck for restaurants, family dinners and smokers. Out-of-towners driving to the capital were stopped at checkpoints and made to sign papers promising not to get into trouble during the week of the congress. Foreigners were barred from travelling to Tibet. The region is well over 1,000 miles from the capital, but the party fears that even a lone banner-waving separatist sympathiser that far away could spoil the event in Beijing.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Merkel’s Problem: Booming German Economy Is So 20th Century

Low unemployment and high exports are masking a backlog in technology and investment.
By Rainer Buergin  and Tony Czuczka
Bloomberg

20 Σεπτεμβρίου 2017, 6:00 π.μ. EEST
Germany’s steady economy is a boon for Chancellor Angela Merkel as she seeks a fourth term on Sunday. Even the diesel-vehicle emissions scandal is barely denting national pride in German high-end manufacturing. Yet a closer look reveals a backlog in 21st-century benchmarks such as broadband and education, pointing to costly catch-up efforts facing the next government. 

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Greece to Beat Budget Target, Plans More Bonds-Finance Ministry Official

By REUTERS
SEPT. 13, 2017, 7:48 A.M. E.D.T.

ATHENS — Greece expects a larger-than-targeted primary budget surplus this year and plans to tap bond markets again within seven months, a senior finance ministry official said on Wednesday.

Athens is keen to quickly conclude a third bailout review with its international creditors, helping smooth its return to market financing, as its rescue programme ends next August.

Greece returned to bond markets for the first time in three years in July. It sold 3 billion euros of new five-year bonds alongside a tender to buy back outstanding 5-year paper issued in 2014.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Greece: Where Literally Sitting on Goldmine Is Not Enough to Make Money

By Sotiris Nikas , Paul Tugwell , and Danielle Bochove
11 Σεπτεμβρίου 2017, 3:50 μ.μ. EEST 11 Σεπτεμβρίου 2017, 8:31 μ.μ. EEST

Bloomberg

“Irrespective of what will happen next, the damage for Greece as an investment destination is done and it is very significant,”

Eldorado Gold Corp. has put Greece on the spot.

The Canadian mining company’s decision on Monday to suspend all its operations in Greece, citing delays in acquiring routine permits, puts the Syriza government of Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras in a difficult position. Eldorado Gold is the largest foreign investor in Greece and its decision comes as the country, which is working on creating a sustainable path to exit its bailout program, tries to lure foreign investments.

Thursday, August 31, 2017

UPDATE 1-Greece's Eurobank, Piraeus profitable in Q2, bad debt levels ease

AUGUST 30, 2017 / 7:43 PM / 15 HOURS AGO
Reuters Staff
4 MIN READ
* Eurobank posts 8.8 percent rise in Q2 profit

* Non-performing loans ease to 34.6 pct of book

* Piraeus Bank swings to 7 mln euro profit in Q2 (Adds Eurobank, Piraeus CEOs comment, details)

By George Georgiopoulos

ATHENS, Aug 30 (Reuters) - Greece’s Eurobank reported a sixth straight quarterly profit on Wednesday and Piraeus Bank swung back into the black, pointing to a recovery from the nation’s economic crisis as banks slowly reduce their pile of bad debts.

Greek banks have been struggling with problem loan portfolios after a protracted recession pushed unemployment to record highs, making it hard for borrowers to service debts.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

How EU Reckons Greece Can Make a Successful Return to Markets

By REUTERSJULY 18, 2017, 10:51 A.M. E.D.T.
Continue reading the main storyShare This BRUSSELS — Greece's imminent return to markets will be a step towards a successful exit from its euro zone-funded bailout programme, but it will not be an overnight change.

The New York Times

The process, European Union officials say, will require a series of successful bond sales and the build-up of a "sizeable" cash buffer.

Euro zone creditors are keen to see Athens develop a strategy to tap the markets well before the end of its current 86-billion-euro financial aid programme, so that when the bailout expires in August 2018 the country will be more likely to stand on its own feet.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Despite Economic Problems, Greece's Tourism Looking Good In 2017

JUN 5, 2017, 11:23 AM

Lea Lane ,   CONTRIBUTOR

Forbes

The past few years have been tough ones for the Greek economy and for its tourism industry. As a traveler who has written two guidebooks on Greece, I've felt sure that tourism there would eventually bounce back, but when?

News is good: The Greek National Tourism Organization (GNTO) announced that it expects a record-breaking 30 million international visitors to Greece for 2017. This represents a growth rate of 7%, or an additional 2 million additional visitors over the previous year. 900,000 U.S. travelers are expected to visit the country this year.

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Greece Seeks to Lure U.K.-Based Shipowners, Brokers on Brexit

by Paul Tugwell  and Sotiris Nikas
31 Μαΐου 2017, 2:05 π.μ. EEST
Bloomberg

The Greek government wants to persuade shipowners and shipping-insurance companies based in London to move their European Union headquarters to Greece as the U.K. prepares to exit the bloc.

“We’re in contact with five large ship-insurance brokers who are considering various EU member countries for the transfer of their headquarters,” Shipping Minister Panagiotis Kouroumblis said in an interview in Piraeus, Greece’s biggest port. Kouroumblis declined to name the firms as the talks are private. “We’ll meet by the latest in June to discuss the terms they’d like in order to choose Greece,” he said.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

BlueBay Turns Short Pound as 'All Roads' Point to Hard Brexit

by Anooja Debnath
24 May 2017, 7:00 π.μ. EEST

Bloomberg

Sterling could drop to $1.20 toward end of this year: Dowding

Bundesbank’s Dombret says Brexit to be hard or very hard
The pound is heading lower whatever the outcome of the U.K.’s elections, according to BlueBay Asset Management.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Greece cuts 2017 growth forecast

Sat May 13, 2017 | 5:24pm EDT

Reuters

Greece cut its 2017 growth forecast to 1.8 percent from 2.7 percent, according to a mid-term budget plan unveiled late on Saturday, driven by uncertainty caused by delays in concluding the latest review of bailout reforms.

Greece and its foreign creditors reached a deal on reforms in early May after six months of tense negotiations but the wrangling hurt economic activity. The Greek central bank governor had warned the delays could hobble economic recovery.

China's Xi offers indebted Greece strong support

Sat May 13, 2017 | 12:50am EDT
Reuters

Chinese President Xi Jinping offered the prime minister of deeply indebted Greece strong support on Saturday, saying the two countries should expand cooperation in infrastructure, energy and telecommunications.

Xi told Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras that Greece was an important part in China's new Silk Road strategy.

"At present, China and Greece's traditional friendship and cooperation continues to glow with new dynamism," China's Foreign Ministry cited Xi as saying.

Friday, May 5, 2017

Data is giving rise to a new economy

Fuel of the future

How is it shaping up?

The Economist

 May 6th 2017
AN OIL refinery is an industrial cathedral, a place of power, drama and dark recesses: ornate cracking towers its gothic pinnacles, flaring gas its stained glass, the stench of hydrocarbons its heady incense. Data centres, in contrast, offer a less obvious spectacle: windowless grey buildings that boast no height or ornament, they seem to stretch to infinity.

Yet the two have much in common. For one thing, both are stuffed with pipes. In refineries these collect petrol, propane and other components of crude oil, which have been separated by heat. In big data centres they transport air to cool tens of thousands of computers which extract value—patterns, predictions and other insights—from raw digital information.

The world’s most valuable resource is no longer oil, but data



The data economy demands a new approach to antitrust rules

Economist

A NEW commodity spawns a lucrative, fast-growing industry, prompting antitrust regulators to step in to restrain those who control its flow. A century ago, the resource in question was oil. Now similar concerns are being raised by the giants that deal in data, the oil of the digital era. These titans—Alphabet (Google’s parent company), Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Microsoft—look unstoppable. They are the five most valuable listed firms in the world. Their profits are surging: they collectively racked up over $25bn in net profit in the first quarter of 2017. Amazon captures half of all dollars spent online in America. Google and Facebook accounted for almost all the revenue growth in digital advertising in America last year.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Carl Bildt: In defence of globalization


World Economic Forum

I must confess that I am a firm believer in the benefits of globalization. To my mind, the gradual interlinking of regions, countries, and people is the most profoundly positive development of our time.

But a populist has now assumed the United States presidency by campaigning on a platform of stark economic nationalism and protectionism. And in many countries, public discourse is dominated by talk of globalization’s alleged “losers,” and the perceived need for new policies to stem the rise of populist discontent.

When I was born, the world’s population was 2.5 billion. I vividly recall a time in my life when many people feared that starvation would soon run rampant, gaps between the rich and poor would grow ever wider, and everything would eventually come crashing down.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Brexit Bulletin: Can Britain Split the Difference?

The U.K. may need to drive a wedge between EU states in Brexit talks. So far the Continent is singing with one voice.
by Simon Kennedy
14 February 2017, 9:30 π.μ. EET

It now looks like Theresa May was a little naive.

Back in October, the U.K. prime minister said she hoped her commitment to start the Brexit process by the end of March would prove enough for the European Union to engage in some “preparatory work” beforehand.

“This is important,” she told the BBC. “It’s not just important for the U.K.; it’s important for Europe as a whole.”

Instead, European officials held their line that there would be “no negotiation without notification” that Britain was definitely leaving.

Monday, February 6, 2017

U.K. Business Says Brexit Already Having a Negative Effect

by Tim Ross  and Lucy Meakin
6 February 2017, 10:22 π.μ. EET 6

Brexit has already damaged businesses even before Prime Minister Theresa May triggers the start of Britain’s withdrawal from the European Union, according to a survey of the country’s largest companies.

More than half -- 58 percent -- of top executives at Britain’s biggest firms said the vote to quit the bloc has had a negative impact on their businesses, the Ipsos MORI “Captains of Industry” poll found. Two-thirds of the chief executives, chairmen and directors interviewed for the survey said they believed the business situation would worsen in the next 12 months.