Mull These Over Tuesday Breakfast – February 24, 2015

Noted for you Tuesday morning procrastination or ruminations – take you pick. Here is what I read on Monday and Tuesday morning.

  1. Here’s how a Greek exit from the euro zone would play out – Therefore, if Grexit happens, it is likely to be a staged withdrawal, undertaken reluctantly. The first stage would begin with bank runs and capital flight, presumably triggered by a breakdown or impasse in the European negotiations that caused investors and depositors to fear that Grexit or debt defaults would occur. This could be accelerated by a decision by the European Central Bank (ECB) to cease allowing the Greek central bank to provide Emergency Liquidity Assistance (ELA) to Greek banks.
  2. Even Better Than a Tax Cut – The challenge is to ensure that a typical worker’s wages grow along with profits and productivity. There is no silver bullet, but the key is to make raising wages the central focus of economic policy making and to reverse decades of decisions that have undercut wage growth.
  3. If China Stops Manipulation, Its Currency Will Depreciate – The sine qua non of manipulation criteria is intervention in the foreign exchange market: selling the domestic currency, in this case, the renminbi, and buying foreign currencies, the dollar, so as keep the foreign exchange value of the domestic currency lower than it would otherwise be.   To be sure, the People’s Bank of China did a lot of this over the preceding ten years.   Capital inflows on top of trade surpluses contributed to a huge balance of payments surplus.  The authorities bought the dollars needed to make up the difference, the excess supply of dollars.  The result was an all-time record level of foreign exchange reserves, reaching $3.99 trillion by July 2014.
  4. Friday lay day – Cave in or Trojan Horse? – The options now would appear to be obvious: (a) if the Eurogroup doesn’t stand up to the Germans at today’s meeting, then the Greeks have to become complete surrender monkeys. (b) The other option is that they restore their independence and get out of the dysfunctional Eurozone mess dominated by sociopaths who have not learned the lessons of history well. Bets are on that they will surrender.
  5. Greek Plan to Tackle Economy Goes Before Finance Chiefs – “Greece in my mind is part of the international grid and if you want to remain in the grid then ultimately you have to conform,” Larry Fink, chief executive officer of BlackRock Inc., the world’s largest money manager, said in an interview with Charlie Rose aired this week. “It looks like a win with the new government, but the Europeans can say they held steadfast. This in most circumstances will work out.”
  6. Indian Budget 2015 may peg FY16 GDP growth at around 8% – According to ET Now sources the government sees growth prospects bettering in the next financial year and will target a much higher growth rate of 8% as compared to the projected 7.4% for the current fiscal.
  7. Affluent Norwegians are having to overhaul their lifestyles now that oil is in a slump – Some of the helicopters that transport workers from Stavanger — the epicenter of the oil industry — to the platforms on the North Sea have fallen silent. Already 10,000 workers have been laid off. It’s the start of what economists are predicting will be a long recession in the energy industry, which accounts for 15 percent of the economy, more than half of exports and 80 percent of the state’s income.
  8. The British oil sector just had its worst year since the 1970s – Rising costs in the industry meant that operating expenditure rose by almost 8% in 2014, while revenues fell to about £24 billion, their minimum level since 1998. The North Sea industry spent £5.3 billion more than it collected, the worst performance since the 1970s.
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