U.S. Will Be the World’s Third Largest Economy

NBC

Image: CNBC.com

The world is going to become richer and richer as developing economies play catch up over the coming years, according to Willem Buiter, chief economist at Citigroup.

“We expect strong growth in the world economy until 2050, with average real GDP growth rates of 4.6 percent per annum until 2030 and 3.8 percent per annum between 2030 and 2050,” Buiter wrote in a market research.

“As a result, world GDP should rise in real PPP-adjusted terms from $72 trillion in 2010 to $380 trillion dollars in 2050,” he wrote.

As the world watches oil prices rise sharply amid unrest in the Middle East, Buiter’s analysis of the world’s long-term prospects offer some hope that better times are ahead but if he is right power will shift from the West to the East very quickly.

“China should overtake the US to become the largest economy in the world by 2020, then be overtaken by India by 2050,” he predicted.

One Way Bet on Emerging Markets?

Growth will not be smooth, according to Buiter. “Expect booms and busts. Occasionally, there will be growth disasters, driven by poor policy, conflicts, or natural disasters. When it comes to that, don’t believe that ‘this time it’s different’.”

“Developing Asia and Africa will be the fastest growing regions, in our view, driven by population and income per capita growth, followed in terms of growth by the Middle East, Latin America, Central and Eastern Europe, the CIS, and finally the advanced nations of today,” he wrote.

“For poor countries with large young populations, growing fast should be easy: open up, create some form of market economy, invest in human and physical capital, don’t be unlucky and don’t blow it. Catch-up and convergence should do the rest,” Buiter added.

Buiter has constructed a “3G index” to measure economic progress; 3G stands for “Global Growth Generators”  and is a weighted average of six growth drivers that the Citigroup economists consider important:

  1. A measure of domestic saving/ investment
  2. A measure of demographic prospects
  3. A measure of health
  4. A measure of education
  5. A measure of the quality of institutions and policies
  6. A measure of trade openness

Using that index the nations to watch over the coming years are Bangladesh, China, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Iraq, Mongolia, Nigeria, the Philippines, Sri Lanka and Vietnam.

“They are our 3G countries,” Buiter said.

Basel Banking Committee Ready to “Strangle” Economy

real-agenda.com

The World Financial Order is almost complete. New measures will keep bailout monies in banks’ coffers, increase interests on loans while reducing credit availability.

A group of un-elected regulators has come to an agreement on how to strangle the global economy even further, while presenting their package of measures as “saving” policies” for a coming financial crisis.  The Basel Committee on Banking Supervision -current owners-  established more rules to exercise tighter controls on banks and the very financial system they managed to break by design.

At the top of the list, Jean Claude Trichet, warns that the no implementation of these policies would let banks free to do anything they want -he himself is a banker- and that the new rules would secure bank reserves for difficult financial times.  The package of rules was adopted on Sunday, and it has a very clear goal: “To protect International Economies”.  This confirms the group’s intention to establish a global financial system headed by no other than themselves.  Such Order would abide by their rules no matter what effects such rules have over individual national economies.

According to their published document, banks will have to triple their cash reserves -from 2 to 7 percent- which in their minds would act as a cushion for difficult times or when banks invest in junk financial products.  That amount is in itself ridiculous, if one takes into account that banks’ investments in dubious financial products is many times larger than 7 percent.  What this measure will do is to give banks an excuse to increase interest rates on loans and reduce their loan spending programs.  The reduction in available credit will achieve a goal the bankers had yearned for and that could not accomplish through the failed cap & trade fraudulent scheme: to bring global economic activity to a halt.

“The agreements reached today are a fundamental strengthening of global capital standards,” said Jean-Claude Trichet, president of the European Central Bank and chairman of the banking supervision group.  Trichet commanded the group dismissing some bankers concerns that these new measures will require them to curtail credit, which in turn would cripple economic growth. He said the new rules would “contribute to long-term financial stability and growth will be substantial.”  Other bankers sided with Trichet, saying the modest effect on growth or borrowing would be a small price to pay for a less explosive financial system.

What these new rules would achieve -if anything- is the legalization of bad investments, as banks will not have to worry about how to pay for loses.  They will have large amounts of money from investors to cover their backs.  In addition, banks will continue to count on nation states to make up for any shortfalls, as more bailouts for troubled banks have not been taken off the table.  The new rules issued by the group that includes former Goldman Sachs executive Ben Bernanke, will be approved in November by the G-20 before they are handed over to individual countries before they become binding.  Nation-states will have until January 1, 2013 to adapt to the new rules.

“Banks will unarguably be safer institutions,” said Anders Kvist, representative of SEB, a bank that operates out of Stockholm.  Shouldn’t Nation-states have the prerogative to regulate banks operating in their territories?  Meanwhile, bankers continue to point out the new measures will reduce the amount of available credit for borrowers but were not bothered by the other side of the coin: Centralized Control.  That is what this is all about.

The Basel Committee on Banking Supervision, again, a group of un=elected bankers mandates banks to “protect themselves” when they invest in financial instruments of dubious origin.  How about letting banks operate freely and collapse if they have to, due to their irresponsible investment practices?  The new provisions, called a leverage ratio, will obligate banks to hold reserves against all their money at risk.  That is like the nanny global order telling their children not to pick their noses in public.

Of course, there are those to whom global financial regulation is never enough.  Some G-8 countries were pushing for an additional 2.5 percent increase, during “good times” of economic overheating. According to the document released by the group, the rules would be adopted gradually to give banks time to adjust.  Some of the measures will not take effect until 2019, with banks having to start raising cash in 2013.  Too little too late?

The Basel Regulators left the door open to imposing stricter rules on “important” banks, whose problems -irresponsibilities- can infect the whole financial system.  The banksters’ representatives in the US -The FED, FDIC- issued a common statement saying the agreement is a significant step towards reducing the occurrence of future financial crises.  Although Nation-states still have the ability to reject these new regulations and create and approve some of their own, the international financial order has been clear that failure to adopt their newest package of rules will be punishable with harsh changes in credit availability, large increases in interest rates and overall restrictions for financial aid.  Once the new polices are adopted they become binding and countries cannot abandon them.

In the meantime, the Basel group will allow banks to continue to receive government bailout money to raise capital through 2017.  Those banks that are not capable of raising enough cash may be obligated to merge or perish as part of the consolidation and control package the regulators have in mind.  Only in the US, it is estimated that some 400 banks are on the brink of failure.

Deutsche Bank in Frankfurt said it intends to sell shares for 9.8 billion euros to increase its reserves.  Other banks that will do the same include Société Générale -a bailed out bank- in France and Lloyds in Britain. The rules imposed by the Basel Group also include paying banks -with taxpayer money- to dispose of toxic assets such as derivatives.

Brazil is getting hot. Too hot, too fast

If there is one thing proven beyond doubt during this crisis is that government interventionism in the free market is nefarious.  Developing countries are again and again the victims of globalist inspired management.  Argentina was one notorious case, Iceland and Greece have followed; and now Brazil, a fairly prosperous country in the last decade, is on the way to becoming another victim of artificial implosion.

Financial Times

Brazil’s central bank raised its policy interest rate by three quarters of a percentage point on Wednesday evening in another sign thatBrazil getting too hot the country’s breakneck pace of growth is causing concern over rising prices.

Brazil’s economy expanded by 2.7 per cent in the first quarter over the previous quarter and by 9 per cent over the first quarter of 2009, the national statistics office said on Tuesday. That is much faster than what many economists consider to be the potential, or non-inflationary, rate of about 4.5 to 5 per cent.

“This shows there has been no change in the bank’s position since its previous increase in April,” said Silvio Campos Neto of Banco Schahin in São Paulo. “It is clear from all the indicators that the economy is heating up and inflation is still above target. This is worrying and demands further increases in rates.”

The bank raised its target overnight Selic rate to 10.25 per cent a year, the second three-quarter-point increase at the last two six-weekly meetings of its monetary policy committee.

Consumer price inflation ballooned from a low of 4.17 per cent a year last October to 5.22 per cent in the 12 months to May. Many economists expect inflation to reach 6 per cent by the end of this year, well above the government’s target of 4.5 per cent. Economic growth is expected to be about 6.6 per cent this year.

Mr Campos said he expected the bank to raise the Selic rate to 11.75 per cent by the end of this year.

He said successive interest rate increases would help bring growth back to sustainable levels and predicted the economy would grow by about 4.3 per cent in 2011.

Brazil’s domestic market has recovered quickly from a brief recession during the global crisis, spurred on by a rising consumer class that has benefited from more than a decade of economic stability and low inflation, and from low-cost but effective income transfer programmes.

But the fast pace of growth has exposed bottlenecks such as the poor quality of Brazil’s infrastructure and its heavy tax burden. The rate of investment has risen in recent years but is still short of what is needed to deliver fast, sustainable growth.

Background: Fears of overheating

Brazil’s economy was among the fastest growing in the world during the first quarter, according to figures released on Tuesday that add to fears the economy is overheating and to expectations that the central bank will raise rates again on Wednesday.

The economy grew at a faster-than-expected annual rate of 9 per cent in the three months to March and by 2.7 per cent compared with the previous quarter, according to the IBGE, the national statistics office.

Part of the reason for the growth was an increase in investment, with the rate of investment rising to 18 per cent from 16.3 per cent a year earlier, spurred by gross fixed capital formation, which leapt by 26 per cent year on year, the fastest rate since the IBGE’s current series began in 1995.

“This confirms that the economy is very heated,” said Rafael Bacciotti, economist at Tendências, a consultancy in São Paulo. “The stand-out sectors were industry and services. Employment and wages are also growing strongly and we expect this to continue throughout the year.”

The manufacturing industry grew by 17.2 per cent year on year and the retail sector by 15.2 per cent. Imports also set a record, surging by 39.5 per cent year on year.

The central bank’s most recent weekly survey of market economists showed expectations of overall growth this year rising to 6.6 per cent, the 12th consecutive week of climbing expectations.

But many believe the economy cannot grow at more than 4.5 or 5 per cent a year without provoking an increase in inflation.

The central bank has been forced to act by steadily rising inflation expectations over recent months. Since October, Brazil’s consumer inflation rate has surged from an annual rate of 4.17 per cent to 5.26 per cent in April. However, the central bank’s most recent survey showed a slight drop in forecasts for inflation during 2010, with the average falling to 5.64 per cent from 5.67 per cent a week earlier.

Most economists expect the central bank to announce a second consecutive three-quarter percentage point rise in its policy interest rate, the Selic, at the end of its monetary policy committee’s regular two-day meeting tomorrow.

The committee meets every six weeks to decide whether to change the Selic rate in pursuit of the government’s annual consumer price inflation target, currently 4.5 per cent a year.

If expectations are confirmed, the Selic will rise to 10.25 per cent a year, up from 8.75 per cent when the current tightening cycle began in April.

Europeans are fed up with the elites and get to the streets

Spain’s parliament has passed a €15bn (£12.7bn) austerity package by just one vote, leaving the Socialist government nakedly exposed to popular fury.

Telegraph

Its glaring lack of political solidarity is the latest sign of rising resistance to deflation policies across the eurozone.

Prime minister Jose Luis Zapatero had to rely on the abstention of Catalan nationalists to push through public sector wage cuts of 5 percent this year and a freeze in 2011.

The 1930s-style pay squeeze was effectively imposed upon Spain by Brussels as a quid pro quo for the EU’s €750bn “shield” for euro zone debtors. It is a bitter climb-down for a workers party that vowed to resist salary cuts. Public sector unions have called a strike on June 8 to protest an act of “ultimate aggression” against the people.

The conservatives voted against the measures, prompting a fiery rebuke from finance minister Elena Salgado. “Unpatriotic, irresponsible, and hardly very European: one day they will pay for this,” she said.

The measures include cancellation of the €2,500 “baby cheque” and lower pension benefits. Mr Zapatero hopes to cut the deficit by an extra 1.6pc over GDP over two years, though unemployment is already 20 percent. The deficit will fall from 11.2pc in 2009 to 6pc this year.

Raj Badiani from IHS Global Insight said cuts may not be enough. The government is relying on growth projections that are “far too optimistic” to do the heavy lifting of the deficit reduction.

In Italy, the main CGIL trade union is launching two sets of strike in June to protest “unjust and unsustainable” cuts announced on Tuesday night, claiming that axe falls squarely on ordinary workers. “Those who earn over €500,000 won’t have to put up a single cent,” it said.

Premier Silvio Berlusconi said the sovereign bond scare sweeping the euro zone had forced Italy to build up a security buffer. “This crisis has been provoked by speculation and is like no other. These sacrifices are necessary to save the euro,” he said.

The €24bn austerity package (1.6pc of GDP) over two years aims to cut the bloated bureaucracy, chiefly by reducing grants to regional governments.

“Italy’s spending is out of control: this irresponsible system worked as long as we could devalue the currency,” said Mr Berlusconi. “

European Commission opens the Coffin of Global Warming

Financial Times

The European Commission reopened an acrimonious argument on climate change policy on Wednesday, with the presentation of adiscussion document on toughening its targets on greenhouse gas emissions.

Some member states, including the UK, are calling for the European Union to cut its emissions by 30 per cent compared with 1990 levels by 2020, a substantial strengthening of the 20 per cent already pledged.

But nations such as Poland and Italy are adamant that the higher level of cuts represents too heavy a burden on their industries.

In the document, the Commission noted that the effects of the recession, which pushed down emissions across the bloc, had made it much easier and cheaper to cut emissions.

The cost of meeting the 20 per cent target has dropped from €70bn to €48bn per year since 2008, according to the report. Moving to a 30 per cent target would cost an extra €33bn per year by 2020.

Weighed against this would also be benefits, such as lower health costs from air pollution.

Some member states say moving to 30 per cent would stimulate the growth of low-carbon technologies, and would make it easier for Europe to meet the 2050 target of cutting emissions by 80 per cent.

Chris Huhne, the UK’s secretary of state for energy and climate change, said: “Global climate change is the biggest challenge the world faces and securing an ambitious deal is a priority for this government. That’s why we will push for the EU to demonstrate leadership by supporting an increase in the EU emissions reduction target to 30 per cent by 2020.”

But the last time the possibility of 30 per cent cuts was discussed, there was such opposition to it that a compromise was established of cutting emissions by 20 per cent by 2020 but offering to move to higher cuts if other nations also agreed to substantial reductions. This was intended to encourage other countries to up their offers of taking action on greenhouse gases.

That did not happen at the Copenhagen climate summit last December, when the Commission was forced to admit that no other country was calling on the EU to move to the higher target. Critics of the higher target say agreeing unilaterally to the increase in cuts only leaves Europe without leverage in the international negotiations.

Wednesday’s announcement was timed to come just before the restart on May 31 of the stalled United Nations talks on a new treaty to replace the Kyoto protocol.

However, the document does not represent a firm plan by the Commission to push for member states to adopt the 30 per cent target. Instead, it has been carefully positioned as a way of providing information on the costs and benefits of toughening the target.

Connie Hedegaard, commissioner for climate change, is well aware that any proposal to increase the target will face vocal opposition from some member states, and from many sections of business.