Užbalansiniai Mario Draghi stebuklai

Corruption, EuroStyle: ECB Chief Draghi Fudged Italy’s Books to Secure Eurozone Entry, Italy Stuck With Derivative Losses
As readers of the financial press may recall, there was a kerfluffle over the fact that Greece had used a currency trades designed by Goldman in 2001 to mask the level of its indebtedness and secure Eurozone entry. Goldman continued to help Greece dress up its books and offered to intervene in 2009, although Greece turned them down then. [...]

A new story by Financial Times shows that Draghi and the ECB had far more to hide than the Greece scandal. It appears Draghi was directly involved in arranging similar, much larger transactions for Italy while Draghi was the director general of the Bank of Italy, in 1999. Draghi then went to Goldman. The FT also reports that Draghi’s deputy on these deals, who left the Bank of Italy in 2000, returned as director general in 2012 with Draghi’s support. Sure looks like payback time.
The scandal is coming to a head now because the Italian government is set to lose billions of euros as a result of restructuring of derivatives, including the 1999 derivatives, at the worst of the crisis. The FT stresses that all the details are not known, but the losses look to be troubling:
The report does not specify the potential losses Italy faces on the restructured contracts. But three independent experts consulted by the FT calculated the losses based on market prices on June 20 and concluded the Treasury was facing a potential loss at that moment of about €8bn, a surprisingly high figure based on a notional value of €31.7bn.
The names of the banks involved in these transactions have not been disclosed, but previous reports show that Morgan Stanley and JP Morgan have been among the Italy’s counterparties.
There are two, possibly three, ugly implications.
First, the revelation that Italy is facing previously undisclosed derivative losses comes at a time when periphery Eurozone countries are again under stress, including Italy. From Ambrose Evans-Pritchard today at the Telegraph:
Mediobanca, Italy’s second biggest bank, said its “index of solvency risk” for Italy was already flashing warning signs as the worldwide bond rout continued into a second week, pushing up borrowing costs…
The report warned that Italy will “inevitably end up in an EU bail-out request” over the next six months, unless it can count on low borrowing costs and a broader recovery….
Italy’s €2.1 trillion (£1.8 trillion) debt is the world’s third largest after the US and Japan….Italian 10-year yields spiked to 4.8pc, up 100 basis points since the Fed began to toughen its language in May. But Mediobanca is particularly concerned about the gap that has emerged between yields on short-term bills (BOTs) and longer-term bonds (BTPs) near maturity that expire at the same time. BOTs retiring on July 31 are trading at a yield of 0.48, while the equivalent BTP is trading at 0.74pc. The reason is that BOTs are protected from debt restructuring….
Mediobanca said the trigger for a blow-up in Italy could be a bail-out crisis for Slovenia or an ugly turn of events in Argentina, which has close links to Italian business. “Argentina in particular worries us, as a new default seems likely.”
Second is that given Draghi’s involvement in Italian books-cooking, it seems even more implausible than before that he did not know of the Greece deals with Goldman.
Third is that if Goldman was one of the counterparties to Italy when Draghi was at the helm of the Italian central bank, his subsequent employment looks an awful lot like a payoff.
The Bank of Italy and the ECB are certain to fight tooth and nail to defect questions about Draghi and might not be above using market stresses as part of their excuses for stonewalling. But the magnitude of these losses may galvanize the Italian public. The matter is now in the hands of the state auditors and the financial police, so how far this goes will also be a function of how they operate in the face of large public scandals.


Čekijos centrinis bankas atmetė ECB senjoražo "pasiūlymus"

Centriniai bankai neprivalo turėti jų įsipareigojimus viršijančio turto - savo koordinacines funkcijas gali puikiai atlikti turėdami bet kokio dydžio neigiamą kapitalą. O jeigu galima dirbti be užsienio atsargų, kyla pagrįstas klausimas, kokio velnio centriniam bankui jas kaupti.

Pavyzdžiui Lietuvos bankas deklaruoja šiuo metu turįs ~19 mlrd.lt vertės tarptautinių atsargų. Kas nors suvokia, kam jos reikalingos? Valiutos stabilumui palaikyti? Ar tikrai verta vardan itin stabilaus lito kurso ne itin stabilaus euro atžvilgiu laikyti įšaldžius tokias atsargas? Kai 2009-ųjų pradžioje, paties didžiausio krizės nuosmukio metu, Lietuvai vadovaujantys tešlagalviai priėmė "herojišką" sprendimą "išlaikyti valiutos stabilumą", ar LB atsargos buvo kam nors panaudotos?

Ne. "Stabilumą išlaikė" sužlugdydami ekonomiką ir praskolindami valstybę. Centrinio banko atsargų piršteliu paliest nedrįso.

Sveiko proto testas: a) užsienio skola auga, b) centrinis bankas prisisūdęs užsienio aktyvų. Ką daryti?

Mokomės iš Čekijos (Dirk Ehnts):

There was a dispute some time ago between the ECB and the Czech Central Bank, which is described by Karl Wheelan in paper from November 2012:
The final argument, which Buiter and Rahbari advocate as a more convincing one, is perhaps best illustrated via an ongoing dispute between the ECB and the Czech National Bank. The Eurosystem has no legal requirement that its participating central banks have positive capital. Nonetheless, in its 2010 and 2012 Convergence Reports, the ECB has admonished the Czech National Bank because it has a negative capital position. Specifically, ECB (2010) recommends that the negative capital situation should be rectified “in order to comply with the principle of financial independence.”
According to this argument, negative capital compromises a central bank’s independence because it requires them at some point to request funds from the government to restore their positive capital position. Governments could then look for more influence over monetary policy in return for honouring this request. However, this is a completely circular argument. It relies on the assumption that positive central bank capital is required, so central banks must request recapitalisation and have their independence compromised. If positive capital is not required, then no request for recapitalisation is required and independence is not compromised.
Consistent with this point, the Czech National Bank has issued a statement (CNB, 2010) to say that it considers the ECB’s statement “completely unacceptable”. Specifically, it notes that “Throughout its existence, its capital position has never undermined its independence or limited its decision-making and operational capacity in any way. The CNB is therefore convinced that there can be no doubt about its legal and factual independence. Negative capital presents no problem for the CNB, and the central bank is able to meet its obligations.”
Lietuvis, prisiklausęs pasakų apie lito padengimą užsienio aktyvais ir savarankiškos centrinio banko politikos negalimumą turėtų krist iš kėdės iš pavydo. Čekams galima, o mums ne? Kodėl?

(Todėl, kad pinigų politikos prioritetą teikiant ne nacionaliniams, o neaišku kieno interesams, nebegalima nieko - negalima CB aktyvų investuoti neaptarnaujant svetimo senjoražo, negalima valstybinio sektoriaus lėšų nelaikyti užsienio savininkų bankuose, negalima turėti valstybinio komercinio banko).

Neseniai į akį krito 'interfluidity' Steve Randy Waldman replika neigiamo CB kapitalo adresu. Monetary policy for the 21st century:
There is a theory that the value of a currency is somehow related to the strength of the issuing central bank’s balance sheet, so a currency issued against fictional “goodwill” would quickly become worthless. Suffice it to say that, with respect to non-redeemable fiat currencies, there is absolutely no evidence for this theory. There is no evidence, for example, that the purchasing power of the US dollar has any relationship whatsoever to the Fed’s holdings of gold or foreign exchange reserves. The assets of existing central banks are mostly loans denominated in the currency the bank itself can produce at will. You may argue that those assets are nevertheless “real”, because repayments to the central bank will be with money earned from real activity. But that assumes what we are trying to explain, that people are willing surrender real goods and services in exchange for the bank’s scrip. Perhaps fiat currency derives its value from coercive taxation by government, as the MMT-ers maintain. Perhaps the imprimatur of the state serves as an arbitrary focal point for the coordination equilibrium required for a common medium of exchange. I don’t know what makes fiat currency valuable, but I do know that the real asset portfolio of the issuing central bank has very little to do with it.
Žinia, kai ekonominė teorija trukdo kreivai realybei, realybei nuo to nei šilta, nei šalta.
So, there is no problem with negative equity at the ECB, it seems. It’s just that the rules – once again – that had been put into place do not allow the ECB to function properly as a central bank. Without a major change in the rules regarding the ECB the crisis will never stop. The existing system is faulty and only “works” because Mario Draghi broke the rules. “Works” means here that the financial system does not collapse. However, the problems in the real economy are still there. The euro zone is in recession, some countries have mass unemployment and young people face the worst job market since the end of WW II.
Yra įvairių argumentų. Norint iš čekų ko išmokti, reikėtų galvoti. Galvojimas eikvoja energiją. Šuo kariamas pripranta.


Bankų gelbėjimo PSI iškrypimas

Santrumpa PSI reiškia private sector involvement. Procedūra, kuomet valstybės ar banko nemokumas sprendžiamas nurašant dalį įsipareigojimų privatiems kreditoriams / investuotojams.

Gudrūs amerikiečiai to nedaro niekad. Kvaili lietuviai tai daro visada. Dėl eurozonos kurį laiką buvo neaišku. Iš pradžių, prasidėjus Graikijos krizei, neigė net galimybę. Tada nurašė privačiam sektoriui didelę dalį Graikijos vyriausybės skolų ir garantavo, kad tai vienintelis ir išimtinis kartas. Vėl panaudojo PSI sužlugdydami Kipro (nuo Graikijos skolų nurašymo masyviai nukentėjusią) bankų sistemą ir ekonomiką. Kad niekas nebeturėtų iliuzijų, šviežutėlis eurogrupės vadukas Dijsselbloem, duodamas interviu FT, nepaneigė, kad panašūs bankiniai sprendimai po Kipro bus "template". Kitą dieną paneigė - esą nesupratęs žodžio reikšmės. Už kiek laiko paaiškėjo, kad "blueprint".

Vieno tokio pinigus suprantančio Willem Buiter vertinimu, eurozonos bankų balansuose slepiasi maždaug 1-3 trilijonai neapskaitytų nuostolių. Sistemos būklė - kaip "Ūkio banke" prieš uždarymą: kapitalo beveik pakanka, tik milijardas minuse.

Nu tai problemą reikia spręsti. Galima dviem būdais - arba sistemiškai, arba atidėliojant. Atidėliojimas irgi būna nevienodas. 2012 m. birželio Merkel-Monti susitarimas - to break the vicious circle between banks and sovereigns, strong commitment to do what is necessary to ensure the financial stability of the euro area, in particular by using the existing EFSF/ESM instruments in a flexible and efficient manner - sustiprintas Draghi OMT deklaracijos, skambėjo gana padoriai...

... bet pažiūrėjus iš arčiau, matosi pornografija.

Peter Spiegel ESM’s direct recap plan: Really ‘breaking the link’?
Remember a year ago when eurozone leaders promised to “break the vicious circle” between banks and sovereign governments by allowing the eurozone’s €500bn rescue fund to bailout struggling banks instead of leaving the task to cash-strapped national treasuries?
[...] What happens if a troubled bank is below the legal minimum capital requirements, which is described as having a common tier one equity ratio of 4.5 per cent? “The requesting ESM member will be required to make a capital-injection to reach this level before the ESM enters into the capital of the institution.”
Tai bent pagalba. Pasirodo, vyriausybės (kurias ir buvo žadama gelbėti nuo bankų kapitalo skylių kamšymo) privalės "daryti" bankų kreditoriams ir didiesiems indėlininkams PSI, o trūkumus iki minimaliai teigiamo kapitalo finansuoti mokesčių mokėtojų pinigais. Tik tada ESM gal finansuos likvidumą banko/ų atidarymui.
The paper is littered with other, smaller ways the direct recap tool will be severely limited and burdensome on national governments. The ESM can spend no more than €50bn to €70bn on such recapitalisations, for instance, and even though it will be targeted at banks, it will come with conditions on the “general economic policies of the ESM Member concerned” – so no avoiding a troika team showing up in your national capital on a regular basis.
ESM iš viso tam gal skirs iki 50-70 milijardų eurų, su teise kelti paramos gavėjams politinius reikalavimus. "Įspūdinga" suma. (Vien Graikijos PSI buvo virš 50 milijardų. Skylė balansuose, primenu, virš trilijono).

Susitarimo projektas teikiamas tuo metu, kai eurozonoje vyksta recesija, o iš bankų sektoriaus traukiasi investuotojai - the issuance of senior debt by European banks has fallen to its lowest level in more than a decade. ...investors are becoming fearful of becoming bailed in. This year to date EU banks have issued $132bn in senior debt, down from $158bn over [12mo ago], and the lowest total since 2002.

Formuojami negatyvūs lūkesčiai patys kuria krizę, kuriai normalių sprendimų eurosistema pasiūlyti nesugebėjo. Tai aklas atidėliojimas, jau net ne pornografija, o mazochizmas. Pradedu galvot, kuo jie ten užsiiminėja.

Yra neblogas filmas World's Greatest Dad su , kur vienas dundukas bemasturbuodamas pasikaria. Prieš kartodami savo nesąmones, galėtų didaktiniais sumetimais peržiūrėti. Iš adekvatesnės perpektyvos gal ką naudingiau nuveikt sugalvotų?


Išgirtasis vokiškasis modelis

Bill Mitchell apie neoliberalizmo "laimėjimus" Vokietijoje:
(kopijuoju begėdiškai didelį teksto fragmentą, nenaudodamas 'blockquote')
First, that 63-letter word. The Age reports (June 4, 2013) – Sixty-three-character word is now verboten that:
Germany’s longest word – Rindfleischetikettierungsuberwachungsaufgabenubertragungsgesetz, the 63-letter title of a law about beef – has ceased to exist.
That is a long word. Apparently, it was not in the dictionary but was in official usage.
What about this German word?
That seems to be around 93 characters.
But other things are getting smaller in Germany as well.
The Wall Street Journal article (May 29, 2013) – ‘Minijobs’ Lift Employment But Mask German Weakness – tells us that the upbeat talk about Germany as a success surrounded by failure is somewhat mistaken.
It does have a relatively low unemployment rate (6.9 per cent in May 2013). But:
… nearly one in five working Germans, or about 7.4 million people, hold a so-called “minijob,” a form of marginal employment that allows someone to earn up to €450($580) a month free of tax.
Minijobs pay low wages and do not provide the standard statutory benefits (holiday pay etc).
The neo-liberal apologists claim the minijobs satisfy the preferences of workers for flexible casual work. But the reality is different.
They become just another rationing device when aggregate demand is too low and lead to rising inequality and diminished investment in human capital.
The official data shows that:
While Germany’s top earners among full-time workers who contribute to the social security system saw pay rise 25% between 1999 and 2010, salaries in the lowest quintile increased roughly 7.5% … After inflation of about 18% during that period, Germany’s lowest wages dropped significantly.
The minijobs were part of the Hartz reforms, which I briefly discuss below.
The neo-liberals also claimed they formed part of the “stepping stone” upgrading where a young person could first take a casual job and then progress up to more regular, high paid positions.
The evidence in Germany (and everywhere for that matter) disputes this claim.
The point is that part of the Euro crisis that is least reported is the way that Germany responded to the loss of its exchange rate. Previously, the Bundesbank had manipulated the Deutsch mark parity to ensure the German export sector remained very competitive. That is one of the reasons they became an export powerhouse. It is the same strategy that the Chinese are now following and being criticised for by the Europeans and others.
Once the Germans lost control of the exchange rate by signing up to the EMU they had to manipulate other “cost” variables to remain competitive.
So the Germans were aggressive in implementing their so-called “Hartz package of welfare reforms”. A few years ago we did a detailed study of the so-called Hartz reforms in the German labour market. One publicly available Working Paper is available describing some of that research.
The Hartz reforms were the exemplar of the neo-liberal approach to labour market deregulation. They were an integral part of the German government’s “Agenda 2010″. They are a set of recommendations into the German labour market resulting from a 2002 commission, presided by and named after Peter Hartz, a key executive from German car manufacturer Volkswagen.
The recommendations were fully endorsed by the Schroeder government and introduced in four trenches: Hartz I to IV. The reforms of Hartz I to Hartz III, took place in January 2003-2004, while Hartz IV began in January 2005. The reforms represent extremely far reaching in terms of the labour market policy that had been stable for several decades.
The Hartz process was broadly inline with reforms that have been pursued in other industrialised countries, following the OECD’s job study in 1994; a focus on supply side measures and privatisation of public employment agencies to reduce unemployment. The underlying claim was that unemployment was a supply-side problem rather than a systemic failure of the economy to produce enough jobs.
The reforms accelerated the casualisation of the labour market (so-called mini/midi jobs) and there was a sharp fall in regular employment after the introduction of the Hartz reforms.
The rapid increase in the minijobs is a reflection of these deep-seated changes and have created a situation where an increasing (and sizeable) proportion of German workers are now excluded from enjoying the benefits of national income growth in that nation.
The German approach overall had overtones of the old canard of a federal system – “smokestack chasing”. One of the problems that federal systems can encounter is disparate regional development (in states or sub-state regions). A typical issue that arose as countries engaged in the strong growth period after World War 2 was the tax and other concession that states in various countries offered business firms in return for location.
There is a large literature which shows how this practice not only undermines the welfare of other regions in the federal system but also compromise the position of the state doing the “chasing”.
But in the context of the EMU, the way in which the Germans pursued the Hartz reforms not only meant that they were undermining the welfare of the other EMU nations but also droving the living standards of German workers down.
And then the crisis emerged amidst all this.


Dvipusių susitarimų spaudyklė

FT.com :: Franco-German challenge to eurozone bank rescue plan
The two also agreed to back a more German vision of the eurozone’s fiscal future. Paris, with the backing of Brussels, had sought a substantial eurozone budget that could be used to provide counter-cyclical payments to struggling countries, such as a eurozone-wide unemployment insurance scheme.

Instead, the two sides agreed to explore a less-ambitious “specific fund” that could only be tapped to provide incentives for countries to agree tough economic reform measures.

Such reform measures would be part of new “contractual arrangements” between national governments and Brussels that would be akin to the detailed reform agenda’s currently agreed only with bailout countries.

The contractual arrangements and a limited incentive fund have long been part of Berlin’s agenda for eurozone reform.
Jeigu eurozona išties būtų į politinį solidarumą nukreiptas projektas, centralizuotos socialinės programos, finansuojamos per bendrą europinį deficitinį biudžetą būtų pats tas sprendimas. Prancūziška vizija - pusė žingsnio teisinga linkme.

O jeigu eurozoną suvokti kaip neokolonijinį projektą, vokiškoji strategija - way to go. Rinkti iš periferijos kanukų neįgyvendinamus politinius įsipareigojimus ir dusinti. (3% fiskaliniai deficitai eurozonos mastu yra neįmanomas, nepasiekiamas taikinys).>

Yanis Varoufakis parinko metaforą:
Suppose that I were to demand of you that, by the end of August, you should be able to run the 100m sprint in less than 10’’. Suppose further that, to give you a firm incentive to lift your ‘game’, I whip you continually. Alas, August is approaching and your performance in fact declines, as the whipping has drained your body and spirit; in addition to the soul destroying common secret that you never really stood a chance of running 100m in less than 10’’. So, faced with this grim reality-check, I announce a new timeframe: While I am not reducing the frequency or severity of my whipping, I give you more time to achieve the impossible task. You now have until the end of… December to reach your ‘target’!
ir paprastai paaiškino, kaip diržų veržimasis Europoje veikia:
Austerity is not about low deficits. Low deficits are an end; an objective. Austerity is a policy; a means-to-an-end, where the end is low deficits. Austerity is thus defined as the attempt to reduce the deficit by cutting spending and boosting taxes.

Now, the trouble with austerity is that, when implemented in a time of private sector deleveraging (i.e. when firms and households are struggling to cut down on expenditure and reduce their indebtedness) austerity is self-defeating as it reduces tax revenues faster than (or as fast as) it shrinks expenditures. So, the result of austerity can often result in high deficits and invariably fails to reduce overall debt levels! Precisely what happened in Spain, in the UK, everywhere it has been practised since the Crash of 2008.

To sum up, austerians point to sustained deficits and debt levels as evidence that austerity has not been practised. The reality is precisely the opposite: The stubbornness of deficits and debts is the result of austerity that was implemented energetically and failed spectacularly – as predicted.
Vokiška prievartinių reformų politika problemos nesprendžia. Reikalingi didesni deficitai ir fiskalinis perskirstymas.