Saturday, May 1, 2010

Notes and Thoughts, April 24-30

The "Party" (1):
Washington Post, April 24: "For nations living the good life, the party's over, IMF says"

The "Party" (2):
The "party's over" in Europe and the US says the IMF;
Thus back to basics, ie philosophy, symposia, poetry and other arts + etc

Euro crisis:
Was an "expensive" Euro in 2002-2008 a key source of intra Eurozone and #EU imbalances?

Comparisons:
Unemployment in March: EU 9.6%, US 9.7%, Eurozone 10%

Strategic choices:
1) land capitalism, 2) financial capitalism, 3) human capitalism, 4) intellect capitalism

Dilemma:

1) ideas about trade or 2) the trade of ideas?

Competitiveness:
The competitive advantage of thinking - can an economy rely mostly on exports of "intellectual products"?

Exports:

Greece has to make exporting its new national sport


US Growth Rate in Q1 2010
Bureau of Economic Advisors:
US GDP growth in Q1 2010 (annual rate, "advance" estimate): +3.2%
(Q4 09 rate was +5.6%)
2nd estimate: May 27


US vs UK growth rates, Q1 2010
USA: 3.2%
UK: 0.2%


EU and Eurozone Unemployment in March

The Eurozone's seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate was 10.0% in March 2010, the same as in February. It was 9.1% in March 2009.

The EU unemployment rate was 9.6% in March 2010, unchanged compared with February. It was 8.5% in March 2009.

Eurostat estimates that 23.130 million men and women in the EU27, of whom 15.808 million were in the euro area, were unemployed in March 2010.

Compared with February 2010, the number of persons unemployed increased by 123 000 in the EU27 and by 101 000 in the euro area. Compared with March 2009, unemployment went up by 2.546 million in the EU27 and by 1.389 million in the euro area.

These figures were published by Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union.

Among the Member States, the lowest unemployment rates were recorded in the Netherlands (4.1%) and Austria (4.9%), and the highest rates in Latvia (22.3%) and Spain (19.1%).

Compared with a year ago, one Member State recorded a fall in the unemployment rate and twenty-six an increase. The fall was observed in Germany (7.4% to 7.3%), and the smallest increases in Luxembourg (5.4% to 5.6%) and Malta (6.7% to 6.9%).

The highest increases were registered in Latvia (14.3% to 22.3%), Estonia (7.6% to 15.5% between the fourth quarters of 2008 and 2009) and Lithuania (8.1% to 15.8% between the fourth quarters of 2008 and 2009).

Between March 2009 and March 2010, the unemployment rate for males rose from 8.9% to 10.0% in the euro area and from 8.6% to 9.8% in the EU. The female unemployment rate increased from 9.3% to 10.1% in the euro area and from 8.5% to 9.4% in the EU.

In March 2010, the youth unemployment rate (under-25s) was 19.9% in the euro area and 20.6% in the EU. In March 2009 it was 19.0% and 18.9% respectively. The lowest rate was observed in the Netherlands (7.4%), and the highest rates in Latvia (44.9% in the first quarter of 2010) and Spain (41.2%).

In the USA, the unemployment rate was 9.7% in March 2010. In Japan it was 4.8% in February 2010. (Eurostat, April 30)

US-EU:
Compare the EU budget and the Federal US budget as a % of their GDPs

What the Eurozone needs
The Eurozone needs not a one-fits-all economic & competitiveness model but one that capitalises on diverse "skills" & "assets" of constituents its monetary, fiscal and other policies must "serve" this diversity based economic and competitiveness model. A systemic question is: How does the Eurozone economic, monetary and competitiveness model correlate with the EU one?

EC Consultation on Smart Regulation
This stakeholder consultation aims to collect input for a Communication which the European Commission will produce on Smart Regulation this autumn.

Eurozone Inflation in April

Eurozone's annual inflation is expected to be 1.5% in April 2010 according to a flash estimate issued by Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union. It was 1.4% in March. (April 30)

Household Savings in the EU and Eurozone, Q4 2009
Quarterly Sector Accounts: fourth quarter of 2009
Household saving rate at 15.1% in the Eurozone and 13.3% in the EU as a whole.
Household real disposable income fell by 0.2% in the euro area (Eurostat, April 30)

UK Immigration

Leaders Debate: Nick Clegg says 80% of immigrants are intra - EU.


UK Leaders Debate
* Re-industrialisation via Science? Did being a uni & #research superpower prevent the US from losing industry to Asia?
* Which of the 3 will dare propose the EU leaving the WTO instead of the UK leaving the EU, in order to revive #manufacturing?

Economic Fortresses:

You may think that the option for the EU and the US (and others) to become "economic fortresses" is "sci-fi", but wait a few years.

EU Single Market:
The EU Single Market must urgently become a market that works primarily for micros, SMEs, self-employed, workers, job seekers and consumers

Current Affairs
Ooops, the mike is still on!

Modern Economic Mythology
Some headlines are like going through the titles of movies at the Adventure/Horror section at a video store
Europa was abducted by a white #bull!!! The bull was Zeus is disguise!
The Greek crisis: God from the machine (Deus ex machina). Which one? Zeus? Apollo? Athena? Poseidon? Hermes?

EU:
Make or break year for a real European Union?

Systemics
* Most events do not have a single cause but a combination of causes that lead to the event (or outcome). A lot of people seek single causes. Too many times we assume that a situation is under control, that someone must be "running the show" when actually that is not so
* The US is complicated, the EU is very complicated, the Euro is too complicated, the world is ..... our "home"


Possessions:

"The things you own wind up owning you" (The Fight Club) ... and the people you owe to wind up owning you too, so owe to no one & own as little as you can! Your health, your mind, your memories as well as empathy for the world are good "possessions"


Philosophy:
Should I unfollow my dreams and friend some friends or should I unfriend my dreams and follow some friends?


Immigration
Show me a country where the child of an immigrant can reasonably dream of becoming a successful entrepreneur and .I will agree with you that that country has indeed a genuine free market.

Human birth-right
In principle, a human should have a "birthright" to legally live & work anywhere on this planet he/she pleases. Immigration should be free, in principle at least between WTO member countries; humans deserve more freedom than goods and capital, right?

EU - Japan trade stats. 2000-2009
Between 2000 and 2009, EU exports of goods to Japan fell in value by around 20%, from 45 bn euro to 36 bn, while EU27 imports from Japan decreased by almost 40%, from 92 bn to 56 bn. As a result, the EU27 deficit in trade with Japan decreased from 47 bn in 2000 to 20 bn in 2009 and the share of Japan in the EU's total external trade in goods fell significantly.

In 2009, Japan accounted for 3% of EU27 exports and 5% of EU27 imports, and was the EU27's sixth most important trading partner.

Among the EU Member States, Germany (10.8 bn euro or 30% of the total) was by far the largest exporter to Japan in 2009, followed by France (4.8 bn or 13%), the United Kingdom (3.8 bn or 10%) and Italy (3.7 bn or 10%).

Germany (13.8 bn or 25%) was also the largest importer, followed by the Netherlands1 (8.7 bn or 16%) and the United Kingdom (7.0 bn or 12%).

Most Member States recorded trade deficits with Japan in 2009. The largest were observed in the Netherlands1 (-6.2 bn), Belgium (-4.3 bn), the United Kingdom (-3.2 bn), Germany (-3.0 bn) and Spain (-1.2 bn).

The highest surpluses were registered in Ireland (+1.3 bn) and Denmark (+1.0 bn).

Nearly a third of EU exports to Japan in 2009 were machinery and vehicles. Other manufactured articles2 and chemicals each accounted for around a quarter of EU exports. Machinery and vehicles accounted for two thirds of imports and other manufactured articles for almost a fifth. At the detailed level, the main EU exports to Japan were medicine, motor cars and parts and pork meat, while the main imports were motor cars and parts, printers and parts and digital cameras (source: Eurostat, April 27)

EU - Japan surplus in Services:

Almost half of EU surplus in services comes from financial services!!

In 2009, the EU exported 16.5 bn euro of services to Japan, while imports of services from Japan amounted to 12.7 bn, meaning that the EU had a surplus of 3.8 bn in trade in services with Japan. This surplus was mainly due to financial services (+1.7 bn), travel (+1.0 bn) and computer & information services (+0.9 bn). Japan accounted for more than 3% of total extra-EU27 trade in services. (Eurostat, April 27)


EU - Japan Foreign Direct Investment


Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) flows between the EU and Japan show large variations, with EU27 investment in Japan of 5.9 bn in 2007, 2.6 bn in 2008 and 0.1 bn in 2009. On the other hand, Japan recorded investment of 18.5 bn in the EU27 in 2007 and 6.6 bn in 2008 and a disinvestment of 2.3 bn in 2009 (Eurostat, April 27)

Risk
Too many decision makers are becoming more & more risk averse & bureaucratic in an increasingly risk averse & bureaucratic world (systemics).


Economics:

Volcan Economics?

History - Mythology:
Helen "of Troy" was actually from Sparta (always according to Homer, no CNN or BBC back then)

Dynamics:
Turns out that the Matrix trilogy was prophetic! (world #economy). Waiting for Neo! Is Nicolas Sarkozy the "Neo" who will save us humans from the "Matrix"? Or or is it Nick Clegg?


Food for Thought: EU - EMU/Euro, US, WTO, etc


In 1990 at INSEAD, my American Economics prof explained that a currency union in absence of a strong federal budget is doomed by design. What has been the effect on Eurozone exports to the world from POR, GR, SP, FR, BEL, FIN, IRL etc of ECB int rate policy in last 10 years. In 90s were firms frm SP, POR, GR, FR, BEL, IRL etc warned they would have 2 become "German" in order 2 b able 2 export after 1999/2002? Is departure from the WTO the only viable way for the US & EU to regain manufacturing and for the EU to make the Euro viable? Is the main divergence of interests in the EU (currency, single market, trade policy, etc) a) between national economies or b) between multinationals and large international exporters and micros-SMEs? To what extent is the Euro 2002-2008 a "victim" of a) China's 2001 WTO entry and b) ECB Euro parity policy 2002-2008?

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