How about them budgets?

Today it starts with the Wall Street Journal (at http://www.wsj.com/articles/italy-cuts-growth-forecast-for-2016-and-2017-1475014871), where we just got the news that Italy is downgrading the forecasts, from “1.2% for this year and 1.4% in 2017″ to “0.8% this year and 1% in 2017“, an offset of 0.4%. So, even as we consider how small this is, on a number 2.22 trillion, this still affects 8 billion dollar. Now, I would agree that the numbers are small, but when analysts are talking in millions, getting it wrong by 8000 million, the error is a little larger than should be allowed for. Italy is not the only one in this predicament, and the fact that this prediction is only reported approaching the final quarter of the initial reporting year, should give clear indication that something should have been known at least a quarter ago.

Italy is not the only one, France is reported on by Reuters that the deficit target will not be met. In this case, France has one part in favour of them, with the refugee issues going through their nations, certain places and departments have been unable to meet any budget, which under the unpredictability of that escalation makes perfect sense. We can overanalyse it, but without the proper raw data, it remains a speculation and not a very accurate one.

Germany has an entirely new issue to deal with, it is now dealing with a surplus and a growing one. Another prediction I got right, but not by the amount I thought it would. Germany exceeded expectations by growing the surplus past a quarter of a trillion dollars. So apart from the surveillance investments, Germany can look forward to (as doomsayers would state), to an interestingly larger EU donation voucher (read: invoice), one that is (according to Reuters) about 4.5 billion higher. The funny people did mention that post Brexit this was the consequence and as such, that response is funny, because it is only angering the German population, where a growing group is calling for a German referendum. Now, there is no official one planned, but that might not be for very long at present. With Alternative für Deutschland (AfD) on the rise, which according to Euro news is at an all-time high of 16%, this makes them a contender, with Chancellor Merkel now in a tough spot as the hard work Germany did achieve is now to some extent syphoned to the EU and Brexit will add to their worries. Now that Brexit is not showing to be the financial disaster so many experts claimed it to be, the threshold for leaving the EU is being lowered by a fair bit. AfD party leader, Frauke Petry stated: “And I think this is why many citizens don’t believe in the established parties and politicians anymore, because they simply don’t feel being taken seriously by the politicians firstly, and secondly because they feel basically betrayed by these politicians because they do not tell the truth”, which is an issue that many people have with the ‘status quo approach that those on the gravy train of EU incomes have been voicing‘, adding to the unrest in several nations. The issue now being pushed by France and Germany is an EU army solution, which seems odd in the light of NATO and it is detrimental on national policies all over Europe, giving another iteration of commissions and conceptual time wasting, as well as resources, especially financial ones.

Yet several news cycles are giving the implied worry (a worry from my side) that the Netherlands hasn’t learned its lesson yet and it is now playing a dangerous game. The initial consequences of Brexit are not realised and there are still worries that are undealt with. With a big smile Dutch Finance minister Jeroen Dijsselbloem stated last week in the national budget day which has forever been the 3rd Tuesday of September that the message is ‘focus on investing in opportunities‘, yet he also admitted that ‘many people have still not benefited from the economic recovery‘. I personally believe that ‘recovery’ is too optimistic. You see, for too long, the EU deficit had been too high, the debt is close to out of control and the Dutch have, due to serious budget restraints gotten the upper hand over the debt to some extent. What is interesting is the way we see it in the NL Times (at http://www.nltimes.nl/2016/09/26/netherlands-0-5-pct-budget-surplus-2nd-quarter-2016/). The quote at the very end “Statistics Netherlands expects that the budget deficit will mount to 1.1 percent this year and 0.7 percent next year“, gives us clearly that there is no budget surplus, the deficit is finally being turned over, meaning that the deficit is still 0.7% in a years’ time. That means that the debts are for now still going up! I am willing to make the hazardous statement “Mark my words, by April 2017 there will be a bad news cycle that the deficit will alas not make it, due to <insert meaningless reason here> and is expected to be 1.6% in 2016, whilst the forecast for 2017 predicts the deficit to decline sharper to 0.9%“. I’ll keep an eye on this, because I want to know how it all goes. One of the reasons here is that whilst certain scaremongers, set to undo Brexit are still playing their games and placing the pawns in the field. The reality is that unless the Netherlands sets out a much stronger partnership with the UK, the UK fishers who saw the benefit of quickly unloading in places like Stellendam and Breskens so that they can do one additional load, that list will drop to zero (the number was never really high). But that is only one part of several issues that we see. The Dutch Harbour of Rotterdam, could also feel the pinch to some degree. The degree cannot be predicted, but it will happen, meaning that the blind billion to expect will lower by an indecent amount of millions. It is important to realise that the impact will not be large, but two or three of these impacts, like containers via Belgium and a few more of these changes and the impact will change the numbers. So the Netherlands is not out of the woods and we see ‘investment’ statements. Not to mention the German need to make a few changes, which means that containers to a larger extent will not go through Rotterdam, but straight to the end location via Hamburg. This is not a given, not a certainty, but a risk! All these issues are not considered and there is still for well over a year a deficit to content with. The NRC (at https://www.nrc.nl/nieuws/2016/09/21/kabinet-geef-geen-cadeautjes-maar-investeer-4373438-a1522535) gave us last week “Daarnaast zondigt het kabinet door het totale uitgavenplafond te verhogen met 2,2 miljard euro; de Zalmnorm wordt rücksichtslos terzijde geschoven“, which paraphrased gives us “The sinful deed of this government, through the raising of the maximum budget by 2.2 billion, the budgeting norm is blindly pushed aside“, meaning that as elections come close, the government is trying to give a fake ‘all is well’ view that will be discarded soon thereafter when the numbers show that nothing was achieved and Dutch spending will again go beyond acceptable levels.

In all these factions, the reasoning of Brexit holds firm and this whilst Mario Draghi (at http://www.bbc.com/news/live/uk-politics-parliaments-37473075), starts his political ‘career’ in the trend, of ‘I am looking for a new position, preferably before the reality hits you all‘, by stating “the initial impact of the Brexit vote on the Eurozone has been “contained”“, which is utterly untrue. The impact is not contained, the results are not known because spin doctors are still trying to turn this around via any political means available. In addition “resilience after the vote was thanks in part to “adequate preparation” by both the ECB and the Bank of England“, which we know was not entirely true because someone decided to leak the required need for investigation by the Bank of England in the first place, which meant that the armour of EVERY party went up, so there was a large level of speculated bad news in there, the news clearly showed how disastrous it would be and it failed to happen. In addition, we see “Draghi ‘doesn’t have answer’ on future of Euro clearing in London“, which is interesting when we see “the issue of the UK’s departure from the EU and its implications for the executing – or “clearing” – of euro-denominated transactions in the City of London“. Why would that change? Why would people want to make those changes, because pre of post brexit, there was no impact for the US Dollar, so why is that suddenly an issue? The fact that the ECB took that path and that the result was that it was successfully challenged at the European Court of Justice by the UK government last year, makes me wonder why Neena Gill (Labour MEP for West Midlands) opened her mouth in the first place (regarding THAT questions that is). The fact that Jill Seymour of UKIP got a much larger support in her district gives me the idea that she has other problems to deal with, playing ‘ban-she’ (pun intended) to a question that the UK does not want to raise again for now, whilst staying silent over Draghi’s Trillion Plus Euro stimulus and now the rephrased additional overspending via the what is referred to as the ‘Juncker Expansion wallet’ is one that should have been on her lips. As I see it, she would have been better off staying at home (or in her office) and send someone else to actually grill Mario Draghi. In addition, when French Liberal MEP Sylvie Goulard asked the question, it seems clear to me, that she was setting up the essential discussion to try and move some of the City of London’s expertise towards Paris, which is a proud nationalistic tactic to have and as she is French, I would applaud her attempt with the response: ‘well played milady, but at present not the best idea!‘, as I see it, Neena Gill didn’t have to add to this! The question is not completely unsound, yet the path of Euro based Derivatives is a key market and London does not really want to move it for obvious reasons, yet the size of it has everyone on the edge. The issue has happened before, yet the considered impact will be beyond believe, the stakeholders could lose quick access to Trillions when the clusters get upset and the Euro Clearing moves to Paris (or even Germany). The plain issue is that the shift could very well happen when Frexit is in full gear, what happens after that? Another move? If you want to learn more, look at the Bloomberg interview (at http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-09-21/global-banks-said-to-plan-for-loss-of-euro-clearing-after-brexit), which gives a decent picture, even if economy is not your field.

All issues linked to budgets and each of them having a larger impact on the EU as a whole. Now, I understand that Brexit makes France and Germany trying to take the Euro Clearing market, yet, as the growing voice of Frexit bolsters, moving the Euro seems to be a really bad move, even for stakeholders who hope to gain a short term advantage. Even if we see that the Netherlands is a lot less likely to follow this path at present, France is close to doing it and the number of people wanting this in France is still growing. I personally see that budgets have been at the core of this from the very beginning (starting with the Greek one that is),

For Greece this is not a nice time and it will stay as gloom as death for a long time to come. The new austerity measures will cut hard, especially with the retired population of Greece. There is something utterly unacceptable regarding the transfer of the assets, including major organizations such as the country’s power corporation and the water boards of Athens and Thessaloniki. My view goes back to ‘Cooking the books?‘ (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2014/01/22/cooking-the-books/) as well as ‘Feeding hungry wolves‘(at https://lawlordtobe.com/2015/07/28/feeding-hungry-wolves/). My issue is that Greece had to be held accountable, but a fire sale leaving Greece with nothing was never an option in my book. Partially, when team Tsipras-Varoufakis won the elections they had an idea and no other path but their pride, this was where they ended. The initial idea to open the bond markets again was even worse. Now we see a Greece that has Greeks, yet is no longer Greece, as I see it, for the first time in history, the bulk of a nation is owned by banks and creditors, a situation that has never happened before to this extent (as far as I can tell), even as there is an option, it will still remain ugly for Greece for a long time. However, if the change would be accepted Greece would have a first step in actually resolving things. Resolving up to a degree, because I do not expect that this can be solved within the next two generations (if that happens, it will be a miracle). In that regard the energy and utilities would remain completely Greek and a first step into an actual future would be made. Yet, this is not about Greece!

The issue seen that debts are mounting up and we get to see these academic speeches on how good it was. For me, I still remember the 2015 article in the economist (at http://www.economist.com/blogs/economist-explains/2015/03/economist-explains-5), where we saw “some worry that the flood of cash has encouraged reckless financial behaviour and directed a fire hose of money to emerging economies that cannot manage the cash. Others fear that when central banks sell the assets they have accumulated, interest rates will soar, choking off the recovery“, so no matter how you twist it, it is additional debt, the people get to pay in the end, and as the evidence has shown the last 10 years, proper budgeting is not the aim, the ability or the inclination of these EU governments, making the people anxiously running towards the nearest European Exit Compound.

 

 

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