JPMorgan Warns “Avoiding China Defaults Now Will Amplify The Future Problem”

Investors in China have been running scared of a default on a high risk trust product; but, as Bloomberg's Tom Orlik notes, they should embrace it. The implicit guarantee that no investments will go sour is one of the key problems with China’s financial system as Orlik adds it encourages reckless lending often to borrowers whose only merit lies in backing from a deep-pocketed government. Crucially, as JPMorgan warns in a recent note, "avoiding defaults is not the right answer, as it will only delay or even amplify the problem in the future."

A default that encourages lenders to price in risk would be a positive development and the CEG#1 was an ideal product to 'fail' with its 11% yield and clear idiosyncratic company problems. However, regulators won't have to wait long for a second chance as JPM warns "There will be a default in China’s shadow banking industry this year as economic growth momentum slows."

 

Via Bloomberg's Tom Orlik,

Investors Should Embrace Defaults in China’s Fragile Financial System

 

 

In the years before the 2008 financial crisis, nominal growth outstripped the lending rate. Outstanding credit relative to GDP was low, keeping a lid on the burden of repayment. Against that backdrop, most borrowers were able to cover their costs and the chances of a default were low.

 

 

The situation today is different. Nominal growth has more than halved to 9 percent in 2013 from close to 23 percent in 2007.

 

Borrowers from trusts and other parts of the shadow financial system face interest rates in excess of 20 percent. An explosion in lending has increased the burden of repayment to more than 30 percent at the end of 2013 from about 19 percent of GDP at the end of 2008.

 

Lower growth, higher borrowing costs and mounting repayment costs mean defaults by borrowers and even bankruptcy at some small lenders are likely. After initial turmoil, that could actually be beneficial.

 

And JPMorgan adds:

  • China may narrowly escaped the first default in its shadow banking industry
  • Absence of default has become a major market distortion
  • The challenge is to contain the contagion risk if a default happens

 

…local media reported that the China Credit Trust has reached a last-minute agreement with investors, with all principal and most accrued interest to be repaid. That means China will again narrowly escaped the first default in its shadow banking. However, the worries remain.

 

The absence of default has become a major distortion in China’s shadow banking, and we believe that default will happen in 2014 amid economic slowing. The concern is that, if a default occurs, whether investors will walk away and put the whole shadow banking market into a liquidity-driven credit crisis.

But contagion is possible

The concern about the contagion risk is not groundless. In the past several years, non-bank financing (or the so-called shadow banking) has grown rapidly.

 

We estimate that the gross amount (i.e. with possible overlapping among sub-components) of non-bank financing in China reached RMB 36 trillion by the end of 2012 (or nearly 70% of GDP), compared to RMB 18.3 trillion in 2010 (or 46% of GDP).

 

Non-bank financing continued to grow fast in 2013. An update of our estimate suggests that nonbank financing has further increased to RMB 46.7 trillion by September 2013 (or 84% of GDP). The increase was most dramatic for trust assets (an increase of RMB 2.66 trillion in the first nine months of 2013), wealth management products (an increase of RMB 2.82 trillion), entrust loans (an increase of RMB 1.8 trillion) and bank-security channel business (i.e. banks use security firms as a channel to extend loans, which more than doubled in the first three quarters in 2013 and reached RMB 2.79 trillion).

 

 

The rapid growth in non-bank financing activities, especially for trust loans, WMPs and banksecurity channel business, has been driven by the perception of implicit guarantee from product issuers and distributors. The absence of default confirmed such perception.

 

 

In addition, there is substantial overlap between interbank assets and other components, for instance WMPs investing on interbank assets or claims on trust assets being traded in interbank markets. Nonetheless, banks are closely connected to shadow banking activities, hence possible turbulence in shadow banking will also affect the banking system.

We believe that default will happen in 2014 as the growth momentum slows down, and it will help restore market discipline and mitigate the moral hazard problem in the long run. However, the challenge is how to contain the near-term negative impact, as there could be three possible outcomes (in the order of increasing severity) if a default occurs.

The first possibility is that it is perceived as an idiosyncratic event, i.e. no spillover at all. This is the least likely outcome.

 

The second possibility is that the contagion risk is contained within a manageable level, i.e. only to similar products or sectors. For instance, if "Credit equals Gold No 1" defaults, investors will move away from collectively trust products that are only sold to wealthy individuals (but not affecting WMPs that are sold to retails investors); investors will worry about the credit quality of similar loans (non-SOE borrowers in mining industry), but not spillover to other products (e.g. local government debt, real estate companies and SOEs); investors question about the safety of trust companies but not banks. We can call it "limited spillover".

 

The third possibility is a “systemic spillover”. In a mild scenario, it will affect the vulnerable components such as trust loans (48% of trust AUM), WMP investment on non-standard credit products (estimated to be 35-50% of total WMPs) and bank-security channel business. In a worse scenario, it will affect the whole trust industry, WMPs and channel business (with a total gross size of RMB 23 trillion). Rollover of trust products (we estimate 30-35% trust products will mature in 2014) and WMP (64% WMPs has maturity less than 3 months) becomes extremely difficult. The liquidity stress could evolve into a full-blown credit crisis.

What can the government do? In our view, avoiding defaults is not the right answer, as it will only delay or even amplify the problem in the future. Meantime, there are measures the government can take to contain the contagion risk.

First, let defaults happen but establish a transparent legal process (rather than under-table arrangements) to resolve the dispute between different parties.

 

Second, regulators should tighten supervisory and regulatory framework to contain regulatory arbitrage activities, and clarify the responsibilities in various shadow banking products. The uncertainty in regulatory and legal responsibility behind each product is an important caveat in the market, and could amplify the contagion risk.

 

Third, impose hard budget constraints on local governments and SOEs, so as to avoid crowding out of credit to other business borrowers and establish risk-based pricing practices.

 

Finally, avoid defaults that could be easily linked to systemic concerns, such as the default of banks (rather than non-bank financial institutions as the perception of government protection on banks is stronger) or local government financial vehicles or SOEs. Similarly, the default of a WMP could have a bigger impact than a trust product, as the latter does not have maturity mismatch problem and are sold to wealthy individuals rather than retail investors. In that sense, China may miss an "ideal” first default if “Credit Equals Gold No 1” gets bailed out.

Investors in China have been running scared of a default on a high risk trust product; but, as Bloomberg's Tom Orlik notes, they should embrace it.

And they are going to get a chance again soon as there are considerably more of these maturing in the next quarter…

 

Perhaps that is why 3mo SHIBOR has been rising 9 days in a row…


    



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A Mission to Mars Illustrates the Insanity of the Federal Reserve

“The last duty of a central banker is to tell the public the truth” – US Federal Reserve Vice Chairman Alan Blinder, 1994

 

By now, everyone knows that bankers lie…all the time. They tell one group of clients to sell an asset while secretly telling another group of clients to buy the same asset. They tell other clients to buy assets and then short that very asset behind their clients’ backs. They tell the world they don’t engage in any type of gold swaps nor do they rehypothecate gold, but yet when Germany asks for its 300 tonnes back from the US Central Bank, they respond by telling Germany that they have it all but only return 5 tonnes in the whole of 2013. Five tonnes represents 0.06% of the alleged gold the US Central Bank claims is in deep storage somewhere in the United States.

 

Yesterday the US Central Bank said that they are cutting their purchases of US Treasuries yet again from $75B a month to $65B a month. But as I stated yesterday in our weekly newsletter sent to thousands before the FOMC announcement, “I do not care if the US Central Bank’s FOMC lies later today when they announce policy and if they state they are going to taper QE more just to knock down gold and silver prices again in the short-term, because the REALITY is not only can they not maintain such a policy other than for the very short-term, but that they will eventually need to INCREASE QE just to prevent disaster and all the huge bubbles they have created all over the world from popping.”

 

In today’s world, it simply doesn’t matter what any of the bankers say because the only thing we know to be true is that their words are never to be trusted. The only thing that matters is what bankers are actually doing behind closed doors after spouting propaganda lies to the public. Below, we use a mission to Mars to clearly illustrate the insanity of Central Bank-speak.

 

 

 

Other recent SmartKnowledgeU videos for your viewing pleasure:

War is a Bankster Racket

Does Your Gang Affiliation Prevent You From Thinking Clearly?

 

 

About the author: JS Kim is the Managing Director of SmartKnowledgeU, a fiercely independent research & consulting firm that focuses on precious metals. Subscribe to our YouTube channel here and our Twitter feed here.


    



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Wednesday Humor: F##k The Fed

An oldie but a goodie… On the final FOMC meeting of Ben Bernanke’s illustrious career as Fed Chair, we thought it appropriate to dust off the following musical reminder of just who the Fed are…

“… you see the Federal reserve is not a government thang; it’s a bunch of private bankers we obey…and they don’t answer to the people coz they pull the strings; and that’s precisely why we have to say… hey hey, hey hey… F##k The Fed..

 

 

 

(h/t Mike Krieger’s Liberty Blitzkrieg blog)


    



via Zero Hedge http://ift.tt/1b90uXV Tyler Durden

The Carnage Continues In Asia As China PMI Confirms Contraction Deepening

Following last week’s Flash PMI print of 49.6, the Final print for January China Manufacturing dropped further to 49.5 confirming the contraction is deepening. Japanese stocks were down the most since August in the early going as Nikkei futures extended the losses from the US day-session (and rather notably decoupled from USDJPY and breaking below 15,000). The Nikkei is heading for the worst month since May 2012 (-8.66% so far). S&P futures tracked USDJPY as 102.00 was defended aggressively. Chinese stocks are also tumbling (though not as hard as Japan and US) and the PBOC will not be adding liquidity today. Furthermore the blame is being shifted as Deputy FinMin Zhu warns that the “Chinese economy faces risks from overseas uncertainty.” EM FX is drifting lower still.

 

The Final HSBC Manufacturing PMI print dropped from 49.6 Flash to 49.5 – its biggest drop since June and lowest since July 2013…

 

The Lowlights…

“Employment levels at Chinese manufacturers had quickest reduction of payroll numbers since March 2009”

 

“New export orders declined for the second month running in January, firms mentioned weaker demand in a number of key export markets.”

 

Bad for Australia: “the rate of input price deflation was marked overall, amid reports of lower raw material costs.”

 

“Reduced cost burdens were passed on to clients and marked the second consecutive month of discounting”

 

 

Japanese bank stocks are down 9% in the last 5 days and Real Estate stocks -12.5% in the last 2 weeks. But most concerning to Abe (and the rest of the carry-trade addicted mob) is the disconnect between JPY and NKY…

 

EM FX continues its slide…

 

In other news, the Baltic Dry Index has now plunged 51% from its late December highs and has collapsed to 5-month lows...

 

Charts: Bloomberg


    



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"The (Other) Shoe" – IceCap Monthly Commentary

Select excerpts from this month’s client letter by IceCap Asset Management

The World is Booming

If one were only to look at the stock market and the buzz within New York, London, San Francisco, Sydney or Toronto; they would conclude that the world is indeed booming.

After all, people say the stock market is a leading indicator and that is telling us that the world is bursting at the seams with accelerating growth. In addition, business in restaurants, shops and real estate in these major cities are also off the charts. And of course, the leading financial news stations are tripping over themselves with gushes of great news.

Now, we don’t mean to be the party pooper; however one must understand what is really happening to truly appreciate the still, slow moving and delicate economic pickle the world has been stuck with. For starters, these major cities are always booming. When is the traffic not flowing, when are the restaurants not chalk full, and when are the brownstones not expensive? Instead, for a better picture of economic life, feel free to visit St. Louis, Winnipeg, or Marseilles and we’re sure you’ll have no problems at all securing that dinner reservation.

Peeling away the top layer of fabulous news resulting from the stock market, we cannot help but see that the deep structural issues associated with the 2008-09 crisis remain. The mountains of bad debt have simply shifted away from specific investors, to governments and their tax payers.

From a global perspective, this transfer of bad debt from specific investors to tax payers is THE most important issue to understand. In simpler terms, and unknown to many, the bad debt has been spread around the world for everyone to share. Yes, socialism has arrived and few in our capitalistic world have noticed.

Now, if we said “Okay the bad debt has been spread around, let’s everyone take losses and then we’ll be on our way,” then that would have been a good thing. On with the show.

However, major governments and central banks have decided that no one will take losses, and everything will be okay over time. To prevent (actually “delay” is a better term) these losses, the following occurred:

1 – 0% interest paid on savings
2 – bailouts to big banks
3 – money printing
4 – currency manipulations
5 – long-term interest rate manipulations

Of course, these extreme policy responses have resulted in:

1 – extreme sluggish growth
2 – extreme unemployment
3 – and perhaps the most terrifying of all extremely unhappy masses

And when we say masses, we mean the average person not working on Wall, Bay or Threadneedle Streets. This is where change will occur.

And, it is the unhappy masses that will shape the world in 2014 and beyond. Although this is very clear to some people, the world is on the verge of experiencing even more draconian responses from our world leaders.

First up is the 10% wealth tax which will occur in the Eurozone countries. In our last global market outlook, we provided the details behind this IMF issued and endorsed recommendation. The thinking is that if everyone contributed 10% of their wealth to the governments then that would be enough to restore debt levels to pre-2008 levels. The key words are “tax on your wealth” not a tax on your income – two completely different animals. Europe actually believes their citizens will be quite fine with having 10% lopped off of their bank and investment accounts – we disagree.

Next, the Eurozone is likely to see negative interest rates. Apparently paying little old ladies 0% on their savings wasn’t evil enough. Now, to further improve morale amongst the savers, the ECB is increasingly becoming comfortable with banks charging people for having their savings on deposit. Europe actually believes that if there is a penalty for keeping money on deposit, people and companies will instead spend their lifelong savings which will help with the recovery.

Instead, we see the opposite happening: People and companies will simply withdraw or hoard their money instead.

Why is there such a positive outlook by European governments for Europe? Simply put, the Eurozone governments believe they will not experience any reputational damage from taxing the rich and stealing from the poor.

Now, at various times many emerging market countries experienced catastrophic money problems as well. In the end, just as every rational human being would do – foreign money fled along with local private money. The result was a complete collapse of the local currency, moon high interest rates as well as zero access to international capital markets.

Yet in Europe, the espresso-sipping and champagne-gurgling powers-that-be, actually believe the continent will have no reputation damage whatsoever. Foreign money will stay put, locals will stay put. All the wealth will stay put.

We completely disagree, and unless all 18 Eurozone countries agree to form one government, create one tax code and consolidate all debt the world will be facing the largest debt default in the history of mankind.

* * *

Read the full letter below (pdf)

 


    



via Zero Hedge http://ift.tt/1mZWrCE Tyler Durden

“The (Other) Shoe” – IceCap Monthly Commentary

Select excerpts from this month’s client letter by IceCap Asset Management

The World is Booming

If one were only to look at the stock market and the buzz within New York, London, San Francisco, Sydney or Toronto; they would conclude that the world is indeed booming.

After all, people say the stock market is a leading indicator and that is telling us that the world is bursting at the seams with accelerating growth. In addition, business in restaurants, shops and real estate in these major cities are also off the charts. And of course, the leading financial news stations are tripping over themselves with gushes of great news.

Now, we don’t mean to be the party pooper; however one must understand what is really happening to truly appreciate the still, slow moving and delicate economic pickle the world has been stuck with. For starters, these major cities are always booming. When is the traffic not flowing, when are the restaurants not chalk full, and when are the brownstones not expensive? Instead, for a better picture of economic life, feel free to visit St. Louis, Winnipeg, or Marseilles and we’re sure you’ll have no problems at all securing that dinner reservation.

Peeling away the top layer of fabulous news resulting from the stock market, we cannot help but see that the deep structural issues associated with the 2008-09 crisis remain. The mountains of bad debt have simply shifted away from specific investors, to governments and their tax payers.

From a global perspective, this transfer of bad debt from specific investors to tax payers is THE most important issue to understand. In simpler terms, and unknown to many, the bad debt has been spread around the world for everyone to share. Yes, socialism has arrived and few in our capitalistic world have noticed.

Now, if we said “Okay the bad debt has been spread around, let’s everyone take losses and then we’ll be on our way,” then that would have been a good thing. On with the show.

However, major governments and central banks have decided that no one will take losses, and everything will be okay over time. To prevent (actually “delay” is a better term) these losses, the following occurred:

1 – 0% interest paid on savings
2 – bailouts to big banks
3 – money printing
4 – currency manipulations
5 – long-term interest rate manipulations

Of course, these extreme policy responses have resulted in:

1 – extreme sluggish growth
2 – extreme unemployment
3 – and perhaps the most terrifying of all extremely unhappy masses

And when we say masses, we mean the average person not working on Wall, Bay or Threadneedle Streets. This is where change will occur.

And, it is the unhappy masses that will shape the world in 2014 and beyond. Although this is very clear to some people, the world is on the verge of experiencing even more draconian responses from our world leaders.

First up is the 10% wealth tax which will occur in the Eurozone countries. In our last global market outlook, we provided the details behind this IMF issued and endorsed recommendation. The thinking is that if everyone contributed 10% of their wealth to the governments then that would be enough to restore debt levels to pre-2008 levels. The key words are “tax on your wealth” not a tax on your income – two completely different animals. Europe actually believes their citizens will be quite fine with having 10% lopped off of their bank and investment accounts – we disagree.

Next, the Eurozone is likely to see negative interest rates. Apparently paying little old ladies 0% on their savings wasn’t evil enough. Now, to further improve morale amongst the savers, the ECB is increasingly becoming comfortable with banks charging people for having their savings on deposit. Europe actually believes that if there is a penalty for keeping money on deposit, people and companies will instead spend their lifelong savings which will help with the recovery.

Instead, we see the opposite happening: People and companies will simply withdraw or hoard their money instead.

Why is there such a positive outlook by European governments for Europe? Simply put, the Eurozone governments believe they will not experience any reputational damage from taxing the rich and stealing from the poor.

Now, at various times many emerging market countries experienced catastrophic money problems as well. In the end, just as every rational human being would do – foreign money fled along with local private money. The result was a complete collapse of the local currency, moon high interest rates as well as zero access to international capital markets.

Yet in Europe, the espresso-sipping and champagne-gurgling powers-that-be, actually believe the continent will have no reputation damage whatsoever. Foreign money will stay put, locals will stay put. All the wealth will stay put.

We completely disagree, and unless all 18 Eurozone countries agree to form one government, create one tax code and consolidate all debt the world will be facing the largest debt default in the history of mankind.

* * *

Read the full letter below (pdf)

 


    



via Zero Hedge http://ift.tt/1mZWrCE Tyler Durden

Tonight on The Independents: The GOP’s Welfare Conflict, Locker-Room Libertarianism, Deporting Bieber, Documenting Detroit, Duck Selfies, Bad Beards, and Even More Penn Jillette!

Tonight’s live episode of Fox Business Network’s The
Independents
(9 pm ET, 6 pm PT, repeats at midnight) will
feature a sobering reminder: Never miss the online-only
“Independents After Hours” (which streams at the website
just after 10 pm, including tonight). Why? Because you miss some
seriously free-wheeling, structureless conversations with the
various beautiful freaks who populate the show. Like
Monday’s
conversation with Penn Jillette, a solid chunk of
which has been edited down for consumption tonight.

Did you want to see a little P.J. from the actual telecast? Well
here you are:

Also on the program: Party Panelists Buck Sexton from The
Blaze
and Andrew
Kirell
from Mediaite will be on to discuss the

divergent GOP approaches to welfare politics
, President Barack
Obama’s
mixed foreign policy messages
in last night’s State of the
Union address, what Justin Bieber’s many troubles
tell us about immigration policy
, and New Jersey’s
butt-hurtedness about
not getting enough revenue from the Super Bowl
.

Intense journalist Charlie LeDuff will be on to talk about his
book
Detroit: An American Autopsy
, recently retired NFL
cornerback Chris
Carr
will discuss what it’s like to be a libertarian-leaning independent
in a professional locker room, and Independents heartthrob
Kmele Foster will tell us
the latest news about Bitcoin (you may even see a snippet from our

recent Reason.tv video
on same). Also eligible for discussion:
The farm bill, Jay Carney’s beard, Duck Dynasty’s
SOTU-selfies, Vin Diesel’s dance moves, and more. And REMEMBER:
Make sure to watch the after-show, and send your tweets out to
@IndependentsFBN.

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via IFTTT

Poland Ex-FinMin: "The Global Economy's Glory Days Are Over"

Authored by Marek Dabrowski, originally posted at Project Syndicate,

The global economy’s glory days are surely over. Yet policymakers continue to focus on short-term demand management in the hope of resurrecting the heady growth rates enjoyed before the 2008-09 financial crisis. This is a mistake. When one analyzes the neo-classical growth factors – labor, capital, and total factor productivity – it is doubtful whether stimulating demand can be sustainable over the longer term, or even serve as an effective short-term policy.

Consider each of those growth factors. Over the next 15 years, demographic changes will reverse, or at least slow, labor-supply growth everywhere except Africa, the Middle East, and South Central Asia. Europe, Japan, the United States, and eventually China and East Asia will face labor shortages.

Although large-scale migration from labor-surplus regions to deficit regions would benefit recipient economies, it would almost certainly trigger popular resistance, especially in Europe and East Asia, making it difficult to support. Increasing the labor-force participation rate, especially among women and the elderly, might ease tight labor markets, but this alone would be insufficient to counter the decline in working-age populations.

The world economy cannot count on higher investment levels either. The global investment/GDP ratio, especially in advanced economies, has been gradually declining over the past 30 years, and there is no obvious reason why it would pick up again in the medium to long-term. Until recently, falling investment in the developed world had been offset by rapid increases in investment in emerging markets, mostly in Asia. But high rates of investment there are also unsustainable. As in Japan, China’s investment rate (running at almost 50% of GDP since 2009) will decline as its per capita income rises.

The third engine of growth, total factor productivity, will also be unable to maintain the relentless gains witnessed from the late 1990’s to the mid-2000’s. During this time, the global economy benefited from the confluence of several unique developments: an information and communications revolution; a “peace dividend” resulting from the end of the Cold War; and the implementation of market reforms in many former communist and other developing economies. Moreover, global growth received a further boost from the completion of the Uruguay Round of free-trade negotiations in 1994 and the overall liberalization of capital flows.

It is difficult to point to any growth impetus of similar magnitude – whether innovation or public policy – in today’s economy. No new technological revolution appears to be on the horizon. The World Trade Organization produced only a limited agreement in Bali in December, despite 12 years of negotiations, while numerous bilateral and regional free-trade agreements might even reduce world trade overall.

Worse, in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis, sluggish growth and high unemployment in developed countries have fueled demands for more protectionism. Thus, the financial liberalization of the 1990’s and early 2000’s is also under threat.

The far-reaching macroeconomic and political reforms of the post-Cold War era also seem to have run their course. The easy gains have already been banked; any further structural change will take longer to agree and be tougher to implement.

Thus, with supply-side factors no longer driving global growth, we must reassess our expectations of what monetary and fiscal policies can achieve. If actual growth is already close to potential growth, then continuing the current fiscal and monetary stimulus will only create more bubbles, exacerbate sovereign-debt problems, and, by reducing the pool of global savings available to finance private investment, undercut long-term growth prospects.

Instead, policymakers should focus on removing their economies’ structural and institutional bottlenecks. In advanced markets, these stem largely from a declining and aging population, labor-market rigidities, an unaffordable welfare state, high and distorting taxes, and government indebtedness.

The list of growth obstacles in emerging markets is even longer: corruption and weak rule of law, state capture, organized crime, poor infrastructure, an unskilled workforce, limited access to finance, and too much state ownership. In addition, markets of all sizes and levels of development continue to suffer from protectionism, restrictions on foreign capital flows, rising economic populism, and profligate or poorly targeted welfare programs.

If these problems can be addressed, both globally and at the national level, we can end the dangerous fiscal and monetary expansionism on which the world economy has come to rely and allow growth to be sustained over the long term – though at lower rates than in recent years.


    



via Zero Hedge http://ift.tt/1jLgQxY Tyler Durden

Poland Ex-FinMin: “The Global Economy’s Glory Days Are Over”

Authored by Marek Dabrowski, originally posted at Project Syndicate,

The global economy’s glory days are surely over. Yet policymakers continue to focus on short-term demand management in the hope of resurrecting the heady growth rates enjoyed before the 2008-09 financial crisis. This is a mistake. When one analyzes the neo-classical growth factors – labor, capital, and total factor productivity – it is doubtful whether stimulating demand can be sustainable over the longer term, or even serve as an effective short-term policy.

Consider each of those growth factors. Over the next 15 years, demographic changes will reverse, or at least slow, labor-supply growth everywhere except Africa, the Middle East, and South Central Asia. Europe, Japan, the United States, and eventually China and East Asia will face labor shortages.

Although large-scale migration from labor-surplus regions to deficit regions would benefit recipient economies, it would almost certainly trigger popular resistance, especially in Europe and East Asia, making it difficult to support. Increasing the labor-force participation rate, especially among women and the elderly, might ease tight labor markets, but this alone would be insufficient to counter the decline in working-age populations.

The world economy cannot count on higher investment levels either. The global investment/GDP ratio, especially in advanced economies, has been gradually declining over the past 30 years, and there is no obvious reason why it would pick up again in the medium to long-term. Until recently, falling investment in the developed world had been offset by rapid increases in investment in emerging markets, mostly in Asia. But high rates of investment there are also unsustainable. As in Japan, China’s investment rate (running at almost 50% of GDP since 2009) will decline as its per capita income rises.

The third engine of growth, total factor productivity, will also be unable to maintain the relentless gains witnessed from the late 1990’s to the mid-2000’s. During this time, the global economy benefited from the confluence of several unique developments: an information and communications revolution; a “peace dividend” resulting from the end of the Cold War; and the implementation of market reforms in many former communist and other developing economies. Moreover, global growth received a further boost from the completion of the Uruguay Round of free-trade negotiations in 1994 and the overall liberalization of capital flows.

It is difficult to point to any growth impetus of similar magnitude – whether innovation or public policy – in today’s economy. No new technological revolution appears to be on the horizon. The World Trade Organization produced only a limited agreement in Bali in December, despite 12 years of negotiations, while numerous bilateral and regional free-trade agreements might even reduce world trade overall.

Worse, in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis, sluggish growth and high unemployment in developed countries have fueled demands for more protectionism. Thus, the financial liberalization of the 1990’s and early 2000’s is also under threat.

The far-reaching macroeconomic and political reforms of the post-Cold War era also seem to have run their course. The easy gains have already been banked; any further structural change will take longer to agree and be tougher to implement.

Thus, with supply-side factors no longer driving global growth, we must reassess our expectations of what monetary and fiscal policies can achieve. If actual growth is already close to potential growth, then continuing the current fiscal and monetary stimulus will only create more bubbles, exacerbate sovereign-debt problems, and, by reducing the pool of global savings available to finance private investment, undercut long-term growth prospects.

Instead, policymakers should focus on removing their economies’ structural and institutional bottlenecks. In advanced markets, these stem largely from a declining and aging population, labor-market rigidities, an unaffordable welfare state, high and distorting taxes, and government indebtedness.

The list of growth obstacles in emerging markets is even longer: corruption and weak rule of law, state capture, organized crime, poor infrastructure, an unskilled workforce, limited access to finance, and too much state ownership. In addition, markets of all sizes and levels of development continue to suffer from protectionism, restrictions on foreign capital flows, rising economic populism, and profligate or poorly targeted welfare programs.

If these problems can be addressed, both globally and at the national level, we can end the dangerous fiscal and monetary expansionism on which the world economy has come to rely and allow growth to be sustained over the long term – though at lower rates than in recent years.


    



via Zero Hedge http://ift.tt/1jLgQxY Tyler Durden

High school sports roundup

Jan. 29, 2014

BOYS BASKETBALL

FAYETTE COUNTY snapped a three-game losing streak with two straight wins to improve to 14-5 overall and 6-2 in Region 5-AAAA play. The Tigers fell 64-57 to Alexander before winning 76-57 over Sandy Creek and 72-61 over Carrollton.

LANDMARK is now 16-3 overall and 7-1 in Region 5-A after defeating W.D. Mohammed 82-73 and winning 82-45 over Elite Scholars.

McINTOSH defeated Northgate 74-56 and downed East Coweta 58-44 to move to 15-6 overall and 9-2 in Region 4-AAAAA.

read more

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