The true sign of intelligence is not knowledge but imagination. Albert Einstein
Thursday, 29 May 2014
ARGENTINA and the PARIS CLUB Part 2
On Saturday, 21 September 2013 we wrote:
THE FUTURE OF ARGENTINA
DEFYING INTERNATIONAL FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS
Since the US is controlling most of the important International Financial Institutions (IFI) as well as the IMF, it never really forgave ARGENTINA for paying back the IMF the entire dept and thus making ARGENTINA independent of IMF doctrines and recommendation. Not to mention the growing political rift between the two countries.
After ARGENTINA’S default the country managed to boost its economy and showcased strong economic growth, despite the fact of being excluded from obtain loans from IFI. Contrary to economic doctrine, ARGENTINA proved that it could emerge from the crisis without the help of IFI, which was definitely not in the interest of the powerful Anglo Saxon finance establishment, for it lost control over ARGENTINA, something highly unfavorable in the eyes of the IFI, because of loosing on ARGENTINA’S vast amount of agricultural commodities as well as other natural resources.
The most recent example of muscle flexing by US IFI against ARGENTINA is the US court ruling in favor of hedge fund Elliott Management, headed by the billionaire Paul E. Singer versus Argentina
Since 2002 ARGENTINA was the “economic milking cow” for US enterprise based in ARGENTINA. US corporations such as Cargill, Monsanto, Avon Cosmetics, Direct TV, Glaxo Smith Kline to name but a few, managed to boost their profits back home thanks to growing markets in ARGENTINA. With diminishing growth in the USA these enterprises managed to overcome their losses thanks to ARGENTINA’S growth.
Granted the ARGENTINE administration has to take most of the blame for the current economic situation in the country for it is entirely homemade. Being excluded from the IFI, some argue was the best that could have happened to ARGENTINA for it was able to circumvent the IFI restrictive doctrines, which have proven “fatal” in so many other countries, thus giving the country much economic leeway. Unfortunately, as had been the case for most part of ARGENTINA’S short history, corruption has been the hindering stone for the countries advancement, both social and economically.
By curbing in corruption, the country would now have be in the favorable position to bypass the international financial and economic crisis with ease, for as mentioned before, being freed of the restrictive IFI doctrines the country could have prospered. Since Argentina is still “feeding the world” and commodity shares still soaring, there should be no need for the country to be once again at the verge of recession.
Background Information: SHARE OF THE COMMODITY CAKE
Nevertheless one should not forget that because of Argentina’s defying stance with the IFI, corporate media under the influence of these entities do tend to portray Argentina in a somewhat bias way. The giant Argentine media group “Clarin” for example is in bitter fight with the current administration over monopoly as well as political issues, because under the current political landscape Carin is de facto the only political opposition. Needless to say the group has vast global connections with fellow media enterprises and thus is able to feed these entities with “facts and figure” which suit their political agenda in Argentina.
ARGENTINE’S "INVISIBLE OPPOSITION", CONSISTING OF SELF - SEEKING ONE MAN SHOWS, MANIPULATED BY LOCAL MEDIA GIANT TO OPPOSE THE GOVERNMENT
Last but not least one should not forget to mention the UK which has its own geopolitical agenda concerning Argentina and its territorial disputes over the Malvinas (Falkland Islands) and the Antarctica.
Thus the views and opinions mentioned in the article below by a UK based emerging-markets analyst at Capital Economics in London should be viewed with caution for clearly the Anglo – Saxon axis follows its own eco political agenda in the region.
BRITISH PRESENCE ON THE MALVINAS – FALKLAND ISLANDS IS PRIMARILY ABOUT FAST ACCESS TO THE ANTARCTICA, OIL EXTRACTION AND FISHERY INDUSTRY INTERESTS
Territorial claims over Antarctica
ANTARCTICA HOLDS75% OF THE WORLD’S FRESH WATER RESERVES
It is free from pollution. It also has enormous amount of natural resources such as fresh water, flora and fauna, minerals, oil, coal etc.
It is believed that ANTARCTIC continent have large deposits of minerals, oils (~45,000 million barrels and ~115 trillion cubic feet of gas) and coal (~11% of the world’s total). This can be ascertained by using sophisticated modern technique for resource assessment. As of now, mining is banned in ANTARCTICA. The member nations of ANTARCTIC TREATY (1959) have signed the treaty for non-exploitation of ANTARCTIC resources and helps in keeping the continent free of conflicts.
However, due to increasing human population and the need for resources in future, it is obvious that by the year 2040, ANTARCTICA will become the final target for various resources exploitations.
By Moran Zhang International Business Times (US media entity)
ARGENTINA, known for its spectacular economic booms and busts, has seen its public finances deteriorate under President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner. While growth has bounced back somewhat this year, following a flat performance in 2012, Capital Economics expects to see LATIN AMERICA'S third-largest economy “relapse into recession by 2014.”
“The limits of a growth model based on super-loose policy are becoming apparent,” said Michael Henderson, an emerging-markets analyst at Capital Economics in London. “We remain concerned about the sustainability of the current economic model and are forecasting a fresh slowdown in GDP growth from 2014.”
ARGENTINA’S economic growth has picked up pace this year. Fernandez de Kirchner said Saturday that economic activity has been up 4.9 percent so far in 2013. That’s higher than the 4.1 percent growth rate she said last month that Argentina had registered from January to May. The economy expanded by a mere 1.9 percent in 2012 after growing 8.9 percent in 2011, according to official data.
Prioritizing economic growth ahead of an October mid-term election that will determine whether she can keep control of Congress, Kirchner promised last week a 3.5 percent economic expansion for 2013 on the back of strong soy and corn harvests. "That will be our floor," Kirchner told an audience gathered at the Buenos Aires stock exchange.
But economists remain deeply skeptical of ARGENTINA'S recent economic data, saying the government is overestimating economic growth and underestimating inflation.
“ARGENTINA’S official GDP data tend to be very unreliable, but based on our own estimates of GDP we expect the economy to expand by 2.0 percent in 2013,” Capital Economics’ Henderson said.
Serious structural problems cloud the outlook for ARGENTINA’S economy. Private estimates put inflation at about 25 percent, one of the highest rates in the world. “This has eaten into real incomes, weighing on household spending, and pushed ARGENTINA’S real exchange rate up to its highest level since 2002, hurting the competitiveness of local manufacturers,” Henderson said.
The Council on Foreign Relations pointed out that the data on ARGENTINA’S economy over the past 50 years show that generally, government spending increased during economic downturns and slowed during spurts of economic growth. But this approach has changed since the Kirchners (first President Nestor Kirchner, now his widow Cristina) took office. Since 2003, and despite mostly good economic times, government spending has kept growing.
The pace of increase of spending, which has risen above 30 percent year-on-year under Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, is not fully reflected in the official balance, according to Henderson. The government has relied on the transfer of assets from public institutions including the central bank and pension agency to prevent the deficit from blowing out. This has been accompanied by a growing trend toward deficit monetization.
Last year, non-financial public sector deficit came in at 2.6 percent of GDP – the biggest shortfall since the 2001 economic collapse. And with expenditure likely to be ramped up further ahead of October’s elections, the fiscal deficit could widen once again this year.
With amendments to ARGENTINA’S Central Bank Charter in early 2012, the central bank has assumed a central role as a state-financing vehicle. These changes have made the central bank into a vehicle for swapping hard currency reserves for illiquid government obligations that pay little or no interest.
“As a result, low quality, illiquid government-linked securities now account for a staggering 58 percent of central bank assets,” Henderson said. “At the same time, foreign exchange reserves have fallen back in recent years and now equate to less than six months of import cover.”
There are likely to be two main consequences of all this. First, unsterilized monetization of the fiscal deficit will keep inflation on an upward path. Henderson thinks headline inflation could hit 30 percent in 2014. Second, the hollowing out of the central bank will further undermine confidence in the peso, raising fears of an official devaluation.
“ARGENTINA appears to be sliding towards a balance of payments crisis which is likely to culminate in a devaluation of the official exchange rate,” Henderson said.
Buenos Aires, 9 de Julio avenue
ARGENTINA, BARELY 30 YEARS OF DEMOCRACY, A YOUNG NATION TRYING TO FIND ITS BEARING
In the 1940s ARGENTINA was the 9th richest country in world, in 2002 the country defaulted and in 2012 the country is struggling economically as well as politically. Recent protest against the current administration, allegedly were the largest since the beginning of democracy in 1982. One has to be cautious though with these assumptions for there is a more complex cause behind these protests. Primary demands of the protesting middle class were to curb in corruption, opposing constitution change to facilitate 3rd term reelection of the president, crime - insecurity, inflation and protection of democracy.
In the 1940s, ARGENTINA was the ninth wealthiest country in the world
One has to cautiously question however if only “democracy loving” protesters took to the streets during recent protests. In ARGENTINA still exists the monopoly of print media and the discourse the current administration took has frightened the media group Clarin for it could lose its monopoly in ARGENTINA. The new law stipulates democratization of the media landscape in ARGENTINA. Thus the Clarin group fears loss of power and influence in public opinion shaping and therefore mobilizes to some extend against the administrations, but surly not to protect democratic values. Not to mention the Agriculture producers and corporations, who are in disagreement with the current administration over who gets the bigger stake of the “Soya revenue cake”. To some extend this is about economic interests and not democracy. Thus one has to look closer who was demonstrating and for what cause.
ARGENTINA COULD HAVE DODGED THE CURRENT WORLDWIDE ECONOMIC AND FINANCIAL CRISIS
Most of the current difficulties however are homemade, for ARGENTINA is one of the worlds leading agriculture commodity exporter as well as developing the countries mining industry in order to extract its vast amount of natural resource. After defaulting the country paid back its entire dept with the IMF, however because of its pending dept with the “Paris Club” it has been expelled from international financial institutions, a move, which has proven not too much of a burden for the country, because demand for agriculture commodities kept rising and thus the country obtained sufficient revenues, despite being band obtaining international loans, thus permitting the country to conduct trade without needing to adhered to doctrines set by international financial institutions.
DIFFERENCE BETWEEN AUSTRALIA AND ARGENTINA, TWO COUNTRIES ROUGHLY THE SAME “AGE”!
Considering all these favorable circumstance (Agriculture commodity export, natural resource etc.), one obviously has to question why ARGENTINA, after 200 years of history has not evolved to first world status? Comparing AUSTRALIA with ARGENTINA, both of whom have 200 years of history, AUSTRALIA advanced to first world status, while ARGENTINA seems to stagnate despite the fact that the latter has better conditions for advancement. AUSTRALIA lacks far behind ARGENTINA in agricultural commodity exports, fertile land as well as natural resources. The majority of the land is desert, nevertheless, AUSTRALIA emerged as a first world country with a functioning social security system, infrastructure development etc.
The Eco - political advance AUSTRALIA made during its 200 year history, in comparison to ARGENTINA becomes even more impressive when looking at its immigrant background, for most of AUSTRALIA’S first immigrants were convicts expelled to AUSTRALIA by the colonial power BRITAIN. Hardly a reputable immigrant force to reckon with. Nevertheless AUSTRALIA managed to emerge as a reputable and stable country. AUSTRALIA’S forefathers managed to evolve from outcast of society to reputable citizens.
ARGENTINA’S main immigrant background was mostly ITALIAN. It took ITALY two world wars to curb in organize crime syndicates in order to emerge as a trustworthy, almost corruption free nation in Europe.
Corruption and organized crime is a worldwide phenomena, however certain countries are more vulnerable than others, especially when a country such as ARGENTINA has experienced little less than 30 years of democracy. Being suppressed for generations reflects on society. A society experiencing sudden freedom and democracy after years of suppression is likely to venture out too its limits in order to see how far it can go, without the fear of repercussions.
CRIME AND CORRUPTION ARE TWO OF THE WORLD'S LARGEST MULTINATIONAL INDUSTRIES
Looking at the ARGENTINE political landscape, this phenomenon is particularly strong. With the end of the military dictatorship, political entities quickly learned that democracy also offers the opportunity to enrich oneself and thus get a cut from the “tax income cake”, thereby neglecting the need of the common citizens.
In many matured democratic nations, official entities tend also to be corrupted, but they are wise enough to keep maybe 10 percent for themselves where as 90 percent go into infrastructure improvement and social welfare, to keep the public calm, where as in other countries the math’s are reversed, thus citizens experience lack of infrastructure improvement and social welfare as well as life quality, which in the long run backfires.
ARGENTINA HAS NO LIABLE POLITICAL OPPOSITION, OTHER THAN SELF SEEKING INDIVIDUALS FROM WITHIN THE PERONIST MOVEMENT
Despite being a democracy, ARGENTINA has been ruled, for most part of the last 30 years by one political entity, the Peronist Movement. The Peronist Movement in itself is unique for it hosts political views from far right to far left, all under one roof! Political opposition per say does not exist. Aspiring presidential candidates’ are mostly from within the Peronist Movement, without an independent political party and in most cases turn out to be self-seeking individuals striving for power in order to obtain maximum wealth. Currently ARGENTINA has no viable opposition and the Peronist Movement is hopelessly fractured. Over the last 30 years labor syndicate and other unions have gained extreme power and influence in ARGENTINA, and unlike in other countries, their political views are that of the center right, rather than center left. Needless to say that corruption within these bodies is ever present.
By adopting, in theory at least, the EUROPEAN model of Social Democracy, (For definition of Social Democracy see:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_democracy ) the current administration managed to obtain the votes of the poor, which represent a large portion of the population. Thus, when the political debate, in the aftermath of the “countrywide” “large scale” anti government protest are in full swing, ARGENTINES, or to be politically correct, citizens of Buenos Aires and to some extend citizens of the province of Buenos Aires believe that these demonstrations represent the opinion of the entire nation.
OPPOSITION LACKS UNITY THUS USES CORPORATE MEDIA TO OPPOSE THE GOVERNMENT
Buenos Aires city and the province do not represent ARGENTINA per say, and although roughly 40% of the ARGENTINES populations lives in Buenos Aires province and the city, the latter is a “world within a world” so to speak and does not reflect opinion and lifestyle of the rest of the country. Even if, as the Clarin group claims, 700 000 protesters took to the streets nationwide, one hardly can assume that this figure concerns the current administration, taking into account that the entire nation has approx 40 million inhabitants and that the majority of the provinces are in favor of the current administration. ARGENTINA is still a deeply centralized country, thus everything revolves around Buenos Aires province and Buenos Aires city, thus neglecting that there is also a rest of ARGENTINA. A “leftover” of ARGENTINES past, when Federales and Unitarios argued over decentralization versus centralizations in ARGENTINA. See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Federales_%28Argentina%29
NEGLECTED INFRASTRUCTURAL DEVELOPMENT
Nevertheless ARGENTINA faces severe problems regarding its declining infrastructure, inflation and crime. Since the mid 1980s until 2012, no democratic elected government had invested decisive in the country’s infrastructure, the results of which are now emerging in a devastating way.
Depending on a countries maturity, corruption and organized crime are either an issues of concern or not. In recent protests, demonstrators claimed lack of security or in other words, rise in street crime in ARGENTINA. As devastating effect as every crime has on individuals who are victims, no one in ARGENTINA names the problem by its name: Organized Crime (OC). If political and economic entities in ARGENTINA could and really wanted to tackle OC syndicates (Mafia), corruption would decline, for OC and corruption coincide. Subsequently street crime would also decline.
In many aspects ARGENTINA is still in its infancy, experimenting and evolving with its young democracy, seeing how far it can lean over the edge of the cliff before falling. In view of its short democracy, ARGENTINA should be given some leeway in order to progress. ARGENTINA still needs to mature politically as well as socially. After all it took most of the EUROPEAN countries two world wars to evolve and emerge as stable democracies and ITALY years to curb in the Mafia (OC) in order to become a nation worth reckoning.
Currently and in the near future it is unlikely that a strong political opposition will emerge in order to counterbalance the current political landscape in ARGENTINA. And even if one emerges, the question is if things will change for better or worst. What is worrying though is that during recent protest certain entities claimed that one year of military government would solve public security concerns and decimate the soaring crime rate. Such statements reflect immaturity and ignorance and are prove that democracy is still fragile.
ARGENTINA is a young democracy and no matter which part of the Peronist Movement is or is about to govern, good or bad, ARGENTINA will always emerge from its crisis, because of its vast natural resources and worldwide ever increasing demand for agriculture commodities, a favorable fact, which has helped ARGENTINA to rise like a phoenix from the ashes, in the past and in the future.
On Sunday, 3 July 2011 we wrote:
Money makes the World go round …… and Politics
US COURT RULING ON ARGENTINE BOND DEFAULT
The Paris Club, USA Agriculture Companies, and International Financial Speculators “grab” onto ARGENTINA
Foreign interests on Argentina are increasing for its natural resources and farmland.
New York’s highest court insists that ARGENTINA has to keep on paying interest rates on some bonds even after they mature or investors demand their principal back earlier.
US court ruling on ARGENTINE bond default and 101% annual interest rate payment allegedly influenced by THE PARIS CLUB and the IMF.
Despite being band from International Financial Markets ARGENTINES economy is growing tremendously.
The majority of large Agriculture Companies in ARGENTINA are from the USA and own vast pieces of fertile farmland, boosting their profits.
In view of the agriculture commodity boom, WALL STREET Speculators and brokers as well as US Rating Agencies try to manipulate politics and lobbyists in order to gain influence in ARGENTINE and LATIN AMERINCAN economy.
Being banned from International “Casino Financial Markets” does not necessarily have to mean it is bad for the country.
AFTER DEFAULTING IN 2002, ARGENTINA has turned its back on the IMF by paying off its debt with the fond in order to be able to free itself from restrictive terms, the IMF tired to impose on the country, in order to gain political as well as economic influence in the region.
USA COURT RULING ON ARGENTINE BOND DEFAULT – RULING INFLUENCED BY LOBBIES OF US AGRICULTURE COMPANIES, THE PARIS CLUB and IMF?
The PARIS CLUB originally formed in 1956 because of the PERONIST UNREST in ARGENTINA also stepped in during ARGENTINA’S 2002 default, and since then is negotiation ARGENTINA’S bond default.
Is it a coincident that suddenly the New York’s highest court, despite progress in negotiations between the PARIS CLUB and ARGENTINA, insists that ARGENTINA has to keep on paying interest rates on some bonds even after they mature or investors demand their principal back earlier?
The USA court ruling also indicated that interest rates as high as 101% a year on defaulted ARGENTINA dept were not unreasonable given the countries need for capital and default history.
Could it be that this US court ruling is the response to a recent remark made by the ARGENTINE minister of economy, Amado BOUDOUs, emphasizing that ARGENTINA will not accept any deal with the PARIS CLUB which would harm its interest?
Given the fact that the majority of foreign agriculture companies based in ARGENTINA are from the USA, with prominent names such as CARGILL, GENERAL MILLS, ADECOAGRO (George SOROS) to name but a few, which own vast amount of fertile farmland and who profit immensely from the current commodity boom, it becomes imminent that WALL STREET speculators, brokers and US RATING AGENCIES, closely related to THE PARIS CLUB and the IMF try to protect and enlarge their interest in ARGENTINA by lobbing for a common cause.
Thus the comment, made by a Federal court in the USA comes as no surprise and one can assume that the PARIS CLUB and the IMF collaborate on this issue, thus threatening ARGENTINA with legal challenges if it tries to return to the international capital markets and refuse to “dance to their music”. The question is, is it really necessary for ARGENTINA to return to the International “CASINO Finance” markets?
THINKING ”IN THE BOX” versus THINKING “OUT OF THE BOX”
Following traditional economic doctrine or in other words thinking “IN THE BOX”, economists and so-called financial experts will claim that there is no way a country will survive economically, if secluded from the international capital markets. Thinking however “OUTSIDE THE BOX”, in other words neglecting the doctrines laid upon us by the “WALL STREET establishment” one might come to the conclusion, that there is life and prosperity outside financial market doctrines.