MarketLine Blog

Posts about Government

Namibia: NEEEF is not the solution. New policy would be bad for the economy

MarketLine

NEEEF is not the policy the Namibian economy requires at present. Businesses, however big or small, would be required to be at least 25% owned by people described as ‘disadvantaged persons’ and occupy half of board and management positions. The suggested legislation appears to be an effort towards what amounts to forced redistribution of wealth and has similarities with the land redistribution attempted in Zimbabwe. Ownership is not the only target: spending and investment would be subject to new controls too. Problems regarding implementation are legion. Given approximately 40% of… Read more

UK General Election: Theresa May’s Call for Election on June 8 an Opportunistic Masterstroke

MarketLine

On June 23, 2016, the United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union, a historic result the likes of which has never been seen. On June 5, 1975 the UK voted overwhelmingly in favor of remaining in the EU (then called the European Community) and the thought of any member state actually leaving is a very recent phenomenon. Many point to the Great Recession of 2008-09 as the catalyst for the most recent wave of anti-EU sentiment but opposition to the EU has existed in the UK since it joined… Read more

IMF appeases US trade policy

MarketLine

The first conference held by the IMF since the economic policy of the United States underwent dramatic changes following the election victory of Donald Trump already shows strong signs of moving towards a position designed to appease the new president. Differences between previous statements and policies from the IMF and what is now being espoused point towards the dropping of the pledge occurring for political purposes. Indeed the language used by the German Finance Minister and that of the IMF shows a stark contrast between views on the matter. Whilst… Read more

UK General Election: Prime minister May calls snap GE for 8th June, another big play risks further chaos for the country

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On the 18th of April 2017 UK Prime Minister Teresa May announced a snap general election. For months political commentators had been speculating that this might happen, as the opposition parties were weak and the time looked opportune. Conservatives were strong and Prime Minister May needed a strong mandate to help with the exceptional political circumstances that the Brexit vote and subsequent resignation of David Cameron left behind. On announcement the argument provided was exactly this; that the Prime Minister wanted to build on her majority to make sure that… Read more

Iran Transport: Accelerating forward to the future

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Iran is a growing hub for transportation, acting as a critical connection point between India and Russia/ Europe. Until recently, the Suez Canal served as the quickest transport route between India and Russia however with Iran undergoing rail infrastructure upgrades and also building part of the North-South corridor, Iran is set to become a key part of the ongoing development of transport links using the rail network. The North-South corridor has the potential to cut the transport time by around 50% and is sure to disrupt the naval transportation market…. Read more

President Park Impeached: Relations with chaebols could change forever

MarketLine

Legislation designed to curtail the strength of chaebols has traditionally failed to discover parliamentary approval; now amendments to several acts have found new impetus following the impeachment of the president. Whilst voters await the coming election, prospective candidates are seeking to assert their case for a change in how chaebols operate in the South Korean economy. However, despite the rise in support, problems will need to be overcome for lasting change to occur. Previous efforts have fallen flat; this time there is a far greater chance of success. Moon Jae-in,… Read more

OPEC: Supply restriction amid global oil glut

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OPEC, consisting of 13 oil-rich governments, is the only true cartel allowed, albeit grudgingly, to operate in today’s global economy and it wields considerable power. In 1973 Arab members imposed an oil embargo on the US during the Arab-Israeli war which tripled prices in a matter of months. Three times in recent history OPEC has stepped in to shore up the oil market, and each time prices rallied within days of action being taken. It is fair to say, therefore, that OPEC is a force to be reckoned with. Or… Read more

Brexit – the meaning of a messy divorce for the Euro area.

MarketLine

The lending channel between many industries and banks in the Euro area has been far from normal since 2008. This factor puts Britain in a better position to negotiate Brexit next year. The Euro area will embark on a period of further unprecedented slowdown by detaching itself from the world’s fourth largest economy. Credit to industries coming from the banking sector is key for the region to grow as the single currency area has a bank-based model as opposed to a capital market model. Debt financing to companies is largely… Read more

Donald Trump: Incoming president likely to create bigger mess than his hair

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Donald Trump’s policy detail is rather thin, but based on multiple and contradictory things he has said on the campaign trail, shrinking of the state via both reduced tax income and federal spending while promising to build a border wall and renovate infrastructure, protectionist stances on international trade agreements while promising a Brexit Britain a comprehensive deal, an expansion of dirty industries at the expense of environmental regulation, and undermined central bank independence. Donald Trump’s election to the Oval Office was considered one of the most divisive and bitter elections… Read more

Trump’s win is good news for US economy

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Donald Trump’s whole mantra during his campaign (as evidenced by his rather natty headwear) has been to ‘Make America Great Again.’ In order to do this, he knows he must make the US competitive on the global stage. He has pledged to reduce taxes heavily for low and middle income Americans and also to make sure that the wealthy (including corporations) do not pay too much as that undermines jobs. This should help boost the currently questionable level of job creation and to increase spending power, which should in turn… Read more

An inconvenient truth about the euro area

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The creation of the euro area was a mistake. Top ranks of business and political classes in Europe were expecting an explosion in trade and economic activity following the creation of the single currency area in 2002. The euro would lubricate the integration of the newly formed euro area. It would be possible to achieve higher levels of growth and long-term prosperity. Unfortunately, the real GDP of the euro area increased only by 1.8% per year between 2001 and 2006 and by merely 0.2% per year within the 2007 -2015… Read more

Uncertainty over political events trumps fundamentals as markets fall

MarketLine

On Thursday June 23, 2016 the UK went to the polls to decide on its future as a member of the European Union (EU). By a small margin, the country opted to leave and despite the fact that no steps to enact Article 50 have yet been taken by Theresa May and her government, speculation about an imminent implosion of the British economy has been rife, damaging the value of the Pound and serving as a rather convenient scapegoat for everything from companies’ poor performance to increased prices, to political… Read more

Post-Brexit effect on inflation

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The UK voted to leave the European Union (EU) in a referendum undertaken in June 2016. The separation will be complex and will take many years to complete. However, the effects have been felt immediately. Since Brexit, the pound has dropped by 18%. After an initial tumble following the result, it fell further in October following Prime Minister Theresa May’s signal that she would use Brexit to tighten borders, even if it means losing access to the EU’s single market on the current terms. On October 18, the Office for… Read more

IKEA use solar offering to reinforce green credentials

MarketLine

IKEA have made a headline grabbing return to the domestic solar panel market, only months after ending the relationship with their original partner, the Hong Kong firm Hanergy Thin Film Power Group. This time round, they have teamed up with one of the most established names in the market, Solar Century, to offer an affordable solar energy package. This will initially be available in three stores and online, with this being extending to all of their UK stores by the end of the summer. While IKEA takes pride in its… Read more

UK Economy – held back by euro area Treaty

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The Maastricht Treaty has been slowly asphyxiating any possibility of sustained economic recovery in Britain. It has been partially responsible for the erratic recovery of manufacturing, production and construction industries. The Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of Britain peaked back at pre-crisis level in the second quarter of 2013 driven mainly by the growth of the services industry. This industry is 13 per cent larger in value compared to 2009 (figure below). Production, construction and manufacturing industries are on average 7% smaller than their pre-crisis levels. The majority of UK industries… Read more

Youth unemployment in Germany: Low rates disguise true picture of growing Hartz-IV dependency

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Compared to many neighboring European countries, of both similar and lesser levels of economic development, Germany’s youth unemployment rate is healthy. It is the lowest of any country in Europe except Iceland and is way below both the Euro Area and EU average. Whereas many European countries encourage their people to pursue academic studies at university to further themselves, Germany has long had a policy of creating and offering vocational training places for those who either do not want to attend or who are not suited to university and this… Read more

Negative Interest rates: Desperate times, desperate measures

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Central banks across the developed world have taken to Negative Interest Rate Policies (NIRP) in a radical attempt to stimulate demand- the idea being that those sitting on assets will be penalized in an attempt to either lend the capital or spend it. The UK’s Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) has not ruled out the idea, but Japan, the European Central Bank, Denmark, Sweden and Switzerland have enacted NIRP already for a variety of reasons; Japan and the ECB in last ditch efforts to stimulate demand, Denmark, Sweden and Switzerland in… Read more

Better the devil EU know?

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Thursday 23rd June is set to be one of the most hotly-anticipated and controversial days in British political history, as UK citizens vote in a referendum to decide whether or not they wish to remain a member of the European Union. The referendum – promised by Prime Minister David Cameron in his 2015 election manifesto – has now entered the final stages of campaigning. As both the ‘in’ camp, led by Britain Stronger in Europe, and their opponents Vote Leave ramp up the pressure it is still almost impossible to… Read more

The Olympic Stadium and West Ham’s deal of the century

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The Olympic Games was held in London in 2012 much to the joy of the majority of the British public. After an arduous bidding process, the London delegates overcame the bid from Paris and scenes of jubilation from famous sports personalities and members of the royal family were filtered around the world. The Olympics is viewed as a festival of sporting accomplishment and it requires a huge investment from the government, and in turn, the people of the nation in which the event is being hosted. Once the bid was… Read more

British Economy – structurally damaged?

MarketLine

Large-scale lending has become a key component for the economic growth of Britain’s economy since the 1980s. It has aimed to incentivise British consumers to permanently increase their borrowing rates and consumption. This practice has boosted the profitability of the British financial system by an unimaginable scale. It has generated a permanent stream of cash flowing from consumers to the banking system based on the acquisition of mortgages and consumer credit to purchase durable and nondurable goods. It has also helped households to navigate through a prolonged period of house… Read more

Gas and Electricity in Great Britain – Competitive market illusion

MarketLine

A nationalized energy industry had operated in the United Kingdom for more than 40 years but it was gradually reformed with the introduction of market liberalization in the 1980s. Market liberalization was followed by a large-scale industry privatization fully completed in 1998. The competition injected in the industry through these reforms has been concentrated on generation and supply of gas and electricity. However, evidence from the Office of Gas and Electricity market (Ofgem), the body responsible for the regulation of the system, shows that the market is far from competitive…. Read more

Greece’s policy mix: austerity failure and unfairness

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In the 1980s, Europeans and Americans started to get hooked on debt to afford their lifestyle. Newly available bank loans, a wide range of mortgages and credit cards suddenly became a necessity. At that time Robert Dall, a mortgage trader at Salomon Brothers, started to mix two or more types of mortgages together and re-sell them in the global financial markets. In an interview with BBC Panorama in 2015, Dall pointed out that “some mortgages were real and others were phoney” and “the market did not understand the difference between… Read more

Denmark is a renewables leader, but its ambitious policy has caused problems

MarketLine

Denmark is one of the most progressive countries in the world when it comes to energy, and is aiming to be fossil free by 2050, in both electricity production and transportation. The optimistic strategy was announced in 2011. By 2020, the government aims to generate half of electricity from wind power. This ambitious policy is well on its way – the country generated 39% of its electricity by wind power in 2014, dropping slightly from the 41.2% generated in the first six months of the year. Former Climate Minister Rasmus… Read more

Greece – Another Case of Expansionary Austerity Failure

MarketLine

The public austerity program forced upon the Greek population by the European Commission, the European Central Bank, and the International Monetary Fund (Troika) has depressed the economy instead of leading to an economic expansion, under the mantra of “expansionary austerity” policies. Five years of austerity involved drastic reductions in public expenditure, public sector redundancies and tax increases in the context of the worst global contraction of more than 60 years. As the Greek Prime Minister, Yanis Varoufakis, explained in a recent article published on the Project Syndicate website, the hard-line… Read more

Prosperity based on debt

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A large number of European governments were keen to embark on the deregulation of the financial sector in the 1980s. The deregulation in Europe was initially proposed in the United Kingdom by the Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and, subsequently, adopted by a large number of European governments. It opened up the doors to the addiction of European consumers to credit. Waves of bank loans and mortgages became available to consumers and it quickly turned into a necessity. Later on, it became clear that banking in Europe turned into a highly… Read more

Hit hard by austerity measures

MarketLine

The rate of unemployment is closely watched by the government as an important measure of success or failure of economic policies. According to the Office of National Statistics (ONS), unemployment in the United Kingdom declined from a peak of 2.65m in December 2011 to 1.84m in February 2015. Close to 800,000 workers found a job between December 2011 and February 2015. Additionally, according to BBC news, ONS also claims that “the employment rate now stands at 73.3%, the highest rate of people in work since the ONS began keeping records… Read more