Monthly Archives: mars 2012

Streikere i Spania og Brannmuren er avsendere av denne ukas God Helg!

Så det ble klart i dag, etter mye kaos, at brannmuren blir 1,1 billion euro. Den summen får man hvis man slår sammen EFSF og ESM fondene, samt slenger inn noen greske lån inn som ekstra sikkerhet.

Spania står på trappene av en generalstreik. Dette selv etter at den spanske regjeringen pekte nese til Brussel og kuttet mindre over årets statsbudsjett enn de ble fortalt. Men det hindrer ikke en generalstreik i det eurolandet med nest høyeste arbeidsledighet.

God helg!

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I en verden der 51/100 ikke er flertall.

Exxonmobil profits chart1 jpg
Fra NTB:

Republikanerne stanset torsdag et forslag fra president Barack Obama om å fjerne statlige subsidier til store amerikanske oljeselskaper.

Forslaget ble som ventet blokkert i Senatet, til tross for at 51 av 100 senatorer støttet presidenten. 60 stemmer var nødvendig for å fjerne oljenæringens lukrative skattefradrag.

Republikanerne mener Obama i stedet bør tillate mer oljeboring. De hevder at den foreslåtte fjerningen av oljesubsidiene i virkeligheten dreier seg om å øke skattene.

Så subsidier til solenergi skal etterforskes, mens subsidier til oljeindistrien beholdes.

Og det faktum å gå fra negativ-skatt til null, og fra null til skatt er to forskjellige handlinger med samme absolutt effekt.

Det går den veien oljen sparker.

World oil gdp mar 12

There is no rational reason for high oil prices

Sitatet er fra Ali Naimi, Saudi Arabias Olje- og Mineralminister, og hans kommentar i Financial Times. Det er ikke ofte verdens mektigste oljeminister tar til ordet i FT. Sist gang var, I følge Wall Street Journal, i 2009. Den gang tok Haimi pennen fatt etter at oljeprisen falt fra $104 til $40 fatet.

Haimi er, paradoksalt nok, redd for høye oljepriser. Han er redd det har en permanent innvirkning på etterspørselen. Faller den kraftig faller også inntektene til OPEC. (Husk at handel av olje foregår på et globalt marked, OPEC er til syvende og sist et kartell.)

Her er oljeprisen de 5 siste årene.
Screen shot 2012 03 29 at 20 41 48
La oss gå tilbake til det opprinnelige utsagnet, «There is no rational reason for high oil prices»

Jeg stusset litt ved dette sitatet, spesielt med tanke på hvem det kommer fra. Derav grafen øverst i denne blogposten. Den kommer fra vår alles oljeøkonom James Hamilton. Med tanke på den kraftige veksten i etterspørsel siden 2002, ligger produksjonen kraftig etter og dermed driver prisene oppover. I november 2007, like før finanskrisen satt inn, var global produksjon faktisk litt mindre enn i 2005. Samtidig fortsetter etterspørselen.

Med frykt for Iran, Syria og Jemen, og det seige comebacket i Libya, ligger produksjonen langt under hva som ellers ville være rasjonelt i dagens økonomiske klima.

Her er AFP:

Saudi Arabia «would like to see a fair and reasonable price that will not hurt the global economic recovery, especially in emerging and developing countries», the minister wrote in a column amid concerns that rising energy prices are hurting the world economy.

I Frankrike sier finansminister Francois Baroin han er villig til å bruke oljelageret i samarbeid med USA og Storbritannia. Det er nok ikke nok, men med økt produksjon i Saudi-Arabia kan dette, kanskje, muligens, ha noe å si for oljeprisen.

Vi leter fortsatt etter rasjonelle grunner til at det ikke produseres 100 millioner fat om dagen.

Hvis du vet, send svaret på et postkort til Ali Naimi.

MF Global | Hullet på 6 000 000 000 kroner var regnskapsfeil?

Ap corzine global tk 111213 wg
(Fra venstre: tidl. styreleder og CEO Jon Corzine, president og COO Bradley Abelow og CFO Henri Steenkamp. 13. desember 2011 vitnet de i Senatet. Foto: Susan Walsh/AP Photo)

Kaoset fortsetter i sagaen om MF Global, den 8. største konkursen i amerikansk historie.

Denne uken rapporterer Reuters at lederen for MF Global North-Atlantic, Christine Serwinski, vil forklare seg om hva som skjedde i dagene før konkursen. MF Global hadde da overført over 6 milliarder fra kundekontoer og investert pengene andre steder. Serwinski trodde det massive hullet i kundekontoene var en regnskapsfeil og fant ut på konkursdagen at, joda, hullet var ekte.

«We worked relentlessly throughout the early morning hours and, indeed, throughout the day on October 31, to try to bring the segregated and secured accounts back to the appropriate levels,» she said in her first public remarks about the events surrounding MF Global Holdings Ltd’s collapse and the ongoing search for missing customer money.

Serwinski skal vitne i kveld. Toppsjef Jon Corzine har tidligere vitnet og skal ha forklart at han visste ingenting om pengeflukten fra kundekontoene. Oi da.

Reuters fortsetter:

She returned to work thinking the $1 billion deficit was so large that it «could only be the result of an accounting error.»

On Monday morning, however, the assistant treasurer handed her a piece of paper that said the shortfall was real and not an accounting error.

At some point during the final hours of the firm’s life, the Securities and Exchange Commission «expressed concern to MF Global regarding the firm’s calculation of excess funds in the broker-dealer customer reserve account and cautioned MF Global against transferring these funds,» according to a written summary of the congressional inquiry into the matter. «Notwithstanding the SEC’s admonition, MF Global transferred the funds.»

Does the right honorable gentleman not realize that it’s the austerity, stupid?

BernankeABC reutersLinselus Sentralbanksjef Ben Bernanke har vært travel i det siste. Ikke bare har han vitnet med finansminister Geitner i Kongressen, han har holdt forelesninger ved George Washington University og gjort et intervju med ABC News. På spørsmål om den amerikanske økonomien:

Well, we are in a recovery. The economy’s been growing– for almost three years. And we’ve had some good news lately. We’ve– seen the unemployment rate come down. We’ve seen more jobs be created. And– consumer and household– and business sentiment have all improved, so that’s all positive,

På andre siden av Altanterhavet sitter Adam Posen. Han er medlem av styret i Bank of England, og han lurer på hvorfor det tilsynelatende ser lysere ut i USA enn i Storbritannia.
Adam Posen MPC 007

Tonight, I would like to directly compare policy and performance in the United Kingdom and the United States since the current less-than-satisfying recovery began in both countries in mid-2009. Perhaps obviously, this comparison is of great personal concern to me, given my residence and work here in London, while retaining ongoing ties personally and professionally in Washington and throughout the US.

My basic goal is to offer an explanation why the US economy has had a better recovery than the UK economy from the global financial crisis so far.

Det er fra starten på en tale fra i går (pdf).

Så la oss komme til saken: Hvorfor gjør USA det bedre enn UK, etter å ha vært, i følge Posen,

Our economies suffered largely the same type and size of shock at roughly the same time, and our respective central banks have pursued roughly the same type and size of counter-cyclical policy response – thankfully, in my view.

Screen shot 2012 03 28 at 18 47 29

One, the UK had much greater increase in net trade in the recovery than the US. This befits a more open economy whose currency depreciated more and more rapidly than its comparator.

Two, government consumption rose in the UK while contracting in the US during the recovery. This is because fiscal automatic stabilizers are much bigger in the UK, and the UK was further from growing at trend in the recovery than the US, both of which pushed up the amount of outlays (which State and Local budget constraints in the US caused cuts offsetting Federal level transfers). These factors combined add another 2% or more to the gap in growth between the UK and the US economies that has to be explained.

Hvor kom vekst i USA fra?

It is clear from figure 2 that both private consumption and investment grew much more strongly in the US than in the UK – so much more strongly that they more than offset the UK’s boost from net trade and bigger stabilizers.

Consumption grew by a whopping 3.8 percentage points in the US since mid-2009, while only growing by 0.7 percent cumulatively in the UK; investment grew by 1.7% in the US and only 0.6% in the UK over the course of this recovery (Also a factor was three times the growth from stockbuilding in the US than the UK, but that should be seen as the result of the greater growth from these domestic demand sources, amplifying them, but not even a proximate cause in and of itself). These are in the Bank of England parlance rather chunky numbers, and are what we have to explain.

Screen shot 2012 03 28 at 19 14 33
Så det er for store ‘kategorier’ til å kunne detaljert forklare hvorfor det går bedre i USA enn i UK. Posen kutter kakestykkene slik:
Screen shot 2012 03 28 at 18 47 57
Private investeringer er merkbart større i USA siden krisen. Posen sier dette:

One, I believe that there is greater misallocation of credit going on in the UK economy at present than in the US, even if aggregate lending quantities are comparable. (Posen (2011a, 2012)) This is due to the lack of competition in the UK banking system compared to the US, and the smaller proportion of non-financial businesses which have access to loans, bonds, and/or securitization thereof in the UK than in the US.

Two, I believe that the ongoing financial and macroeconomic risks to the euro area raise both the cost of credit and the need to provision for UK banks far above that for most US banks, which further inhibits reasonable allocation of risk capital. This is due to the inherent exposure of the UK economy to the euro area economies as well as the accumulated foreign lending to the euro area by UK banks during the boom years. (Broadbent (2012))

Screen shot 2012 03 28 at 19 20 01

Igjen bidrar privat konsum til langt mer i USA enn i UK. Posen forklarer:

Two big factors: first, a tightening of fiscal policy, greater than that in the US; second, a sharper rise in British energy prices than experienced by American consumers.

Similarly, I would argue, that the raising of the Value Added Tax in the UK was a relatively high multiplier form of policy, as were the cutbacks by local authorities.

Furthermore, because all of the UK’s main trading partners besides the US, making up over 70% of UK export markets, were simultaneously undertaking fiscal austerity programs to varying degrees, the amount policy leakage was less in this case – if anything, UK austerity was being reinforced.

All told the UK consumer suffered a set of severe one-time shocks to real income in 2009-2012, most of which we can hope are now coming to an end.

Til slutt – inflasjon.
Screen shot 2012 03 28 at 18 48 36Merk sommeren 2009.

Hvorfor bryter nasjoner sammen?

Economist greece
I forrige ukes utgave av økonomipodcasten «EconTalk» intervjuer programleder Russ Roberts (professor ved George Mason University) Daron Acemoglu (uttales rett frem) ved MIT. Temaet er hvordan stater bryter sammen, mens andre lykkes.

Intervjuet kommer i sammenheng med den nye boken Acemouglu og James Robinson (Harvard) har utgitt. Det er til og med en blogg.

Jeg nevner podcasten fordi den er full av eksempler. Akkurat som boken, forsøker forfatterne å gi eksempler på nasjoner som strever og grunnene hvorfor. Zimbabwe, Nord-Korea, Zaire, Hellas osv. osv.

En time kan du spare.

Hvorfor vi forsker på Norge | Finn en «feil», Nordea utgave.

Nordea publiserte nylig sitt første ‘Economic Outlook’ i 2012. Her er anslagene for Norge:
Screen shot 2012 03 28 at 13 46 15
Igjen er det nesten for godt til å være sant. Selv med fallende vekst fra 2014 til 2015, er inflasjonen fortsatt godt under inflasjonsmålet (1,4% i 2015). Det er en økende rente som gjør at veksten faller noe (men over normalkapasitet), og at boligprisene faller til 1,1% vekst. Det du ser i kolonnene er nivåeffekten av renten.

Sjeføkonom i Pöyry, Roger Bjønstad (tidl. SSB) er enig:

– Ser man på totalbildet for norsk økonomi ser det veldig positivt ut. Vi drar med oss trekk fra utlandet, som lavt rentenivå og lav inflasjon. Veksten i norsk økonomi bidrar til at norske husholdninger har god kjøpekraft til tross for en moderat lønnsvekst.

Det er derimot en ting som skiller oss fra alle andre. Se om du kan finne en «feil»:
Screen shot 2012 03 28 at 14 37 16

Eric Bruce, Nordea Norge, kommenterer:
In December 2011 we revised down our projections for the Norwegian economy quite sharply due to the Euro- area sovereign debt crisis. We have now revised down our growth forecast for exports from mainland Norway further. Still, the outlook for the domestic economy has improved, and we have revised up our projection for domestic demand quite sharply. All in all, we see stronger growth now in the mainland economy than we did in December. The indirect effects of the Euro-area crisis appear to be less dramatic than feared in December. The financial markets have calmed down and as a result, the risk of a major setback has declined. Consumers and businesses seem to be less affected by the turmoil than we believed three months ago.

Derfor er Norge et fantastisk forskningstilfelle innen makroøkonomi.

-…floating around called The Sopranos, and I thought it was about singers.

NewImage
(Foto: Annie Leibovitz, Vanity Fair)

Igjen leverer mitt favoritt-lesested LongForm. Denne gangen er det Sam Kashner som samler historier fra begynnelsen av tv-serien The Sopranos. Fra audition og første filmdag, til den sisteepisoden.

Her er noen godbiter folkens (seriøst, dette er bare litt av artikkelen. Les hele. That’s an order.):

Following its debut, on January 10, 1999, The Sopranos became America’s magnificent obsession. The reviews were so ecstatic that they became the subject of a Saturday Night Live spoof (“The Sopranos is so good, if I had to choose between watching The Sopranos and breathing, I’d pause … think about it … then watch another episode”). The cast and crew were showered with praise. Journeyman New York actors such as Gandolfini, Edie Falco, Michael Imperioli, and Tony Sirico were suddenly rock stars. Their public appearances at hotels and casinos drew thousands of fans.

JAMES GANDOLFINI: I read it. I liked it. I thought it was good. But I thought that they would hire some good-looking guy, not George Clooney but some Italian George Clooney, and that would be that. But they called me and they said can I meet David for breakfast at nine A.M. At the time I was younger and I stayed out late a lot, and I was like, Oh, for fuck’s sake. This guy wants to eat breakfast? This guy’s going to be a pain in the ass. So we met and we spent most of the time laughing about our mothers and our families.

STEVEN VAN ZANDT: So David goes, “Sorry—any other part you want, you can have it.” I said, “You know what, now that I think about it, I feel kind of bad taking another actor’s part here. I’m a guitar player. These guys, they go to school, they go Off Broadway, they work for 5, 10 years honing their craft and being waiters and whatever.” He says, “All right. I tell you what: I’ll write you in a part so you’re not taking anybody’s job.” I said, “Well, I have a couple of treatments I’ve written, one about an independent hit man that had retired, Silvio Dante.”

EDIE FALCO (Carmela Soprano): After we shot the pilot, David said, “Well, that was a lot of fun. Unfortunately, no one will ever watch this show, but you guys have been great.” And that was the end. Or so we thought.

MATTHEW WEINER: The first time I typed “Tony” on my computer, I thought, Holy shit! I can’t believe there’s a chance they’re actually going to say this.

TONY SIRICO: I got the script that I had to kill a woman, and I ran to David. I said, “David, don’t make me kill a woman.” He said, “No, you’ve got to kill her.” I said, “Then let me shoot her.” He said, “No, it’s got to be personal.” I said, “David, I come from a tough neighborhood. If I go home and they see that I killed a woman, it’s going to make me look bad.” He smiled and said, “No, you’ve got to do it.” Here’s the thing. We did the scene; I had to smother her. First he wanted me to strangle her; I said, “No, I’m not putting my hands on her.” He said, “Use the pillow.” After it was all said and done, I went back to the neighborhood, and nobody said a word. They loved the show; they didn’t care what we did.

STEVEN VAN ZANDT: Two weeks into the show, I’m walking down the street, and three out of four people stop me, talking about Sopranos. Twenty-five years as a rock ’n’ roll star? Forget it. I’m like, Wow, this TV thing. Yeah, every cliché you ever heard about TV, I just witnessed it.

TERENCE WINTER (writer, executive producer): One F.B.I. agent told us early on that on Monday morning they would get to the F.B.I. office and all the agents would talk about The Sopranos. Then they would listen to the wiretaps from that weekend, and it was all Mob guys talking about The Sopranos, having the same conversation about the show, but always from the flip side. We would hear back that real wiseguys used to think that we had somebody on the inside. They couldn’t believe how accurate the show was.

STEVEN SCHIRRIPA (Bobby “Bacala” Baccalieri): After Season Four [when Gandolfini and HBO had a pay dispute and filming was delayed], Jim called all the regulars into his trailer and gave us $33,333 each, every single one of us. Now, there were a lot of big actors—Kelsey Grammer, Ray Romano—and they’re all nice guys, I’m sure, but nobody gave their cast members that kind of money. That’s like buying everybody an S.U.V. He said, “Thanks for sticking by me.”

STEVEN VAN ZANDT (Silvio Dante): Drea was a good friend and you’re not going to see her anymore, which I haven’t since. Shooting somebody’s easy. Putting your hands on somebody and pulling her out of that car? She looks like a tough broad in the show, but up close she’s a girl, O.K., and now you have to like manhandle her. And she’s a terrific actor, so she’s like, “Do it for real. Don’t take it easy on me.” So for—whatever—six hours, you have to beat this girl up, drag her out of the car, throw her on the ground. That was really difficult. I felt so exhausted at the end of that day. I said to Drea, “You better win the damn Emmy after all this, you know, make it worth it.” And she did.

on the last episode
DAVID CHASE (series creator): Ambiguity was very important to me. And the kind of movies that I was attracted to after a certain age were complicated, ambiguous movies—8 1/2, Fanny and Alexander, Raging Bull. No certainties. And network television at that time was nothing but a world of certainties. The Sopranos was ambiguous to the point where, to this day, I’m not really sure whether it was a drama or a comedy. It can be both, but people like to reduce it to one or the other. I know there are the two masks, Comedy and Drama, hanging together. But that’s not the way American audiences seem to break things down.

JAMES GANDOLFINI (Tony Soprano): When I first saw the ending, I said, “What the fuck?” I mean, after all I went through, all this death, and then it’s over like that? But after I had a day to sleep, I just sat there and said, “That’s perfect.”

STEVEN VAN ZANDT (Silvio Dante): I had to go on one of those nationally syndicated shows the next morning, so I heard from the whole country how upset they were. So I just started asking people, O.K., what’s your ending? Does the family get wiped out? Is that what you want? You want the kid to get killed? Tony to get killed? The wife? O.K., so what? And nobody could really say. I said, “I’ll tell you exactly what happened. The director said cut, the actors went home. That’s what happened.” It’s a TV show. It’s a fucking TV show, O.K.?

MF Global-boet skylder norske kreditorer 60 mill.

152302 mf global
Du har kanskje aldri hørt om MF Global. Kanskje vil du lære om den 8. største konkursen i amerikansk historie via en film i fremtiden, eller kanskje en bok? Historien om MF Global inneholder, som forventet, mange forviklinger, personligheter og mye penger.

MF Global var et av verdens ledende finanshus på derivater. Ville du sikre deg mot valutakurssvingninger, eller kanskje oljeprissvingninger, var MF Global stedet for å fikse kontraktene. Helt til det gikk galt. De investerte kunders penger i EU. I derivater. Da rentene på statsobligasjoner steg kunne ikke MF Global stille med ekstra sikkerhet. De hadde virkelig forviklet seg inn i finansielle instrumenter belånt med kunders penger.

Rundt middagstider fredag den 28. oktober 2011 rapporterte MF Global et hull i kundekontoene. Hullet var på $891 465 650.

Noen av disse kundene var norske.

Det er ikke snakk om mye, rundt 60 millioner. Men det er fortsatt 60 millioner.

Grunnen til at man vet dette er at revisorselskapet KPMG la ut listen over alle kreditorene (senere trukket tilbake).

Hvordan vet vi at Norges Bank ikke stikker av med alle oljepengene?

Screen shot 2012 03 21 at 23 05 44
Spørsmålet er ment å sette i gang en tankerekke. Det er Karine Nyborg, professor i økonomi ved UiO som setter igang.

Norges Bank har akkurat publisert et revidert referat fra et møte forrige november. Det var Norges Bank og Det Norske Videnskabs-Akademi som inviterte til en diskusjon rundt håndteringen av oljeformuen vår. Denne gjengen var invitert til diskusjon:

Steinar Tjomsland, Supreme Court Justice
Karine Nyborg, University of Oslo
Jarle Aambø, Elite Sport Director, Norwegian Olympic Committee
Camilla Serck-Hanssen, University of Oslo
Hanne Skartveit, political editor of the Norwegian daily newspaper VG
Jarle Aarbakke, University of Tromsø
Halvor Mehlum, University of Oslo
Jørn K. Baltzersen, M. Sc.
Terje Sjeggestad, Norwegian Immigration Appeals Board

Noen er økonomer, andre ikke. Det var forfriskende lesing for en som har hodet dypt sunket i økonomikvikksanden.

Hvor var vi? Ja, Norges Bank og penger. Alle vet at hverken Øystein Olsen, eller NBIM stikker av med pengene. Det er poenget til Nyborg:

The point is that if we seem to have no fears that the managers will put the wealth in their own pockets, it is not only because theft is prohibited by law or because we believe that the managers are decent folk. I think it is also to a large extent because we live in a society where it can broadly be expected that citizens follow the rules. Hence the rules actually function.

Serck-Hanssen, professor i filosofi UiO, serverer denne:

Allow me to play devil’s advocate. Is it so obvious that future generations of Norwegians are entitled to the riches we have succeeded in amassing here today? Why should the time of birth be more irrelevant than other random factors, such as where a person was born?

Hanne Skartveit i VG angriper uttrykket «I verdens rikeste land»:

In the world’s richest country, we should be able to afford dignified care for the elderly, to put an end to hospital queues, to provide hot lunches in schools, and to fund fathers’ support groups. It is after all not fair that only new mothers are offered government funded support groups. In the world’s richest country – this must be the most destructive formulation in Norwegian political rhetoric. Carl I. Hagen3 used it first, as he has so many effective, popular slogans, and the expression has taken root, for good. People nod when they hear it. Of course, we should be able to afford everything in the world’s richest country. And viewed from the outside, we can afford everything. But what do we do when money is no longer a limited asset, for people in general or in the public sector?

A few years ago, I was sent along as part of a reporting unit from the newspaper VG to Grue municipality. We decided to turn the cameras around. We decided to focus on how those who complain most spend money themselves. The mayor of Grue was interviewed on the national news and said when the government budget was presented that they would have to close the swimming pools; he stood at the nursing home and told the old people there that there might not be room for them there next year. It was terrible. So I spent three months calculating budgets and working out accounts, and discovered that they had completely fooled us all. Expenses had been overbudgeted and lots of income had been omitted. But as journalists, we examine the figures far too seldom. And we explore structural issues far too seldom.

Halvor Meluhm fortsetter inn i finanspolitikken:

The way things have gone recently, there is no longer any clear link between interest rate changes and fiscal policy. So it was fortunate that inflation targeting was fashionable when the fiscal rule was introduced. But imple- menting the regime was not a matter of course. And it is interesting, since this conference is hosted by Norges Bank, that when inflation targeting is mentioned, the disciplinary effect on the finance minister is never emphasised. I think it is the most important aspect of the regime, not least when we discuss the management of Norway’s oil revenues, as we have done today.

Her er artikkelsamingen.

(Og hvorfor var ikke NRK2 der for å filme for oss andre som ikke var der?)