The staff costs are higher at the Banque de France than in the Bundesbank! This is one of the conclusions of our comparative study “Banque de France vs Bundesbank”. On the one hand, 1.45 billion euros, in the other hand, 700 million euros! Regarding pension costs, the comparison also makes a significant difference: 440 million euros in France compare to the Bundesbank’s 100 million. With this precision: the Bank of France pensions are not funded …
The statistics tell us that recession is over. Yet, while this has triggered tapering in the USA, it has also prompted a new of ECB promises to keep interest rates low. In the meantime, EU authorities do not seem how to deal with the world of banking, which is far weaker than meets the eye.
GDP in the EU area seems to be growing, but at a very slow pace. Although financial market remain sanguine, the real estate sector presents a mixed picture, with bad news coming from heavily indebted countries. While waiting for better news, the authorities are devoting their attention to the rating agencies.
Six years after the crisis exploded, experts still find it difficult to come up with satisfactory criteria to evaluate the banking industry. The good news, however, is that regulators are gradually becoming aware of how banks succeeded in circumventing the rules.
In the two months since we last reported, the media has focussed on the rebound in the EU area, where in the second quarter GDP grew at an annualised rate of 1.1%. The atmosphere has been optimistic, so optimistic, that even the Aug 20 confirmation by Germany’s Finance Minister Schaueble that Greece will default again caused barely a ripple. Even the stock market wobbles over fears of military conflict with Syria were muted (Dow Jones down 4.4% in August). The roundly castigated term “austerity” has appeared only rarely. When it does get a mention it is always used pejoratively, to explain why certain countries continue to have problems. For example, Portugal’s July announcement that it needs to renegotiate its 2011 bailout package is blamed on previously implemented austerity.
Leaders, institutions and markets are all looking for guidance to get out of the present crisis. Government confidence is at stake, institutions’ credibility is jeopardized and banking is close to fraud and collusion.
Since events related to financial, banking, and debt crises regularly make it into the news, a term that seemingly originated from the Bank for International Settlements (BIS) in the late 1970s has become more popular: macroprudential supervision. Whereas microprudential supervision relates to the oversight of individual market participants (e.g. banks), macroprudential policy relates to the supervision of an entire system (e.g. the financial system).
The European Commission’s forecasts are gloomy: a 0.1% decrease of European GDP in 2013 as a 0.4% decrease for the Eurozone. It seems that, one after the other, all the member states are collapsing and get trapped into economical disarray. The European Commission gives more time for France and Netherlands to reduce their deficits, but Slovenia is on the edge of explosion while Cyprus, Spain and Italy are very far from recovering. Europe has become the “Sick Man of the World”.
Bumpy springtime for the ECB: no recovery, another major blunder and more regulation. Times ahead are becoming increasingly hard as more EU countries are in trouble, new regulations are being introduced and banking and sovereign borrowing are difficult.
Prof. Enrico Colombatto (Turin), IREF scientific director, has provided his update on EU policies. This month, he describes sovereign bailouts, the probable change of monetary policies, and the repayment of ECB loans.
Domestic. How are the high profile struggling countries faring – Greece, Cyprus, Portugal, Ireland?
Despite the January media narrative that the worst of the crisis is over and the bailouts are working, the specific positions of the four countries challenge this position.
IREF has asked its scientific director, prof. Enrico Colombatto (Turin) to provide a periodic update on EU regulations. Policies adopted by Brussels in 2012 did not help to surmount the crisis: what will happen in 2013?