23 de abril de 2009

Dos perigos da complacência

Nice cover image from the
Economist on the brown shoots. Excerpt: “But, welcome as it is, optimism contains two traps, one obvious, the other more subtle. The obvious trap is that confidence proves misplaced—that the glimmers of hope are misinterpreted as the beginnings of a strong recovery when all they really show is that the rate of decline is slowing. The subtler trap, particularly for politicians, is that confidence and better news create ruinous complacency. Optimism is one thing, but hubris that the world economy is returning to normal could hinder recovery and block policies to protect against a further plunge into the depths.”

- Lido em The (False) Glimmer of Hope The Big Picture.

Comer de acordo com a evolução

- tirado de YouTube - Paleo in a Nutshell Part 1: Food

De como a ideologia influencia o modo como vemos o mundo (nos sítios deste mundo onde ainda existe alguma coisa parecida com ideologia)

Conjuntura económica mundial

Retirado do RGE Monitor (hoje):

"IMF (April WEO) expects global economic activity to contract by 1.3% in 2009 (1.8ppt lower than the 0.5% growth they expected in January) before staging a modest recovery (+1.9%) in 2010. Advanced economies are forecast to contract by 3.8% in 2009, with the U.S. economy shrinking by 2.8%. Emerging and developing economies will see positive growth of 1.6% in 2009.

The IMF scaled down its growth outlooks for all major economies and regions since January 2009 and expects global economic activity to be 1.8ppts lower than it did in January (0.5%) and 3ppts less than it expected in November (1.7%). Global GDP growth was 3.75% in 2008 and 5% in 2007. [...]"

Retirado do RGE Monitor(ontem):

"RGE 2009 Global Economic Outlook.

The global economy is in the middle of a synchronized contraction that will push global growth into negative territory in 2009 for the first time in decades. . This will be the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression and the worst global economic downturn in decades. Global trade volumes face their sharpest contractions of the postwar era – trade is expected to contract 12% in 2009 due to the severe and prolonged global demand slump, excess capacity across supply chains and the continued crunch in trade finance. Many analysts and commentators are pointing out that the second derivative of economic activity is turning positive (i.e. economies are still contracting but a slower rather than accelerated rate) and that green shoots of an economic recovery are blossoming.

RGE Monitor’s analysis of the data suggests that the global economic contraction is still in full swing with a very severe, a deep and protracted U-shaped recession. Last year’s economic consensus forecast of a V-shaped short and shallow recession has vanished. While the rate of economic contraction is slowing compared to the free fall rates of Q4 of 2008 and Q1 of 2009, we are still a long way away from the economic bottom and from a sustained recovery of growth. In particular, in Europe and Japan there is little evidence of a positive second derivative of economic activity. However by the end of Q1 2009, there were some signs that the pace of contraction had slowed in many economies especially in the U.S. and China, where policy responses have been more significant and leading indicators in the manufacturing sector may have bottomed before they did in
Europe and Japan. However, major economies including all of the G7 will continue to contract throughout 2009, albeit at a slower pace than at the beginning of the year. Moreover the global recovery might be sluggish at best in 2010 given the overhang of credit losses of financial institutions, lingering credit crunch, need for retrenchment by overstretched and over-indebted households in current account deficit countries and a slow resumption of demand prompted by extensive government stimulus. Some key elements of RGE Monitor’s outlook include:

  • Global economic activity
    is expected to contract by 1.9% in 2009. Advanced economies are expected to contract 4% in 2009. Japan and the eurozone will suffer the sharpest downturns. U.S. GDP will continue to contract, albeit at a slower pace throughout 2009, with negative growth in every quarter.
  • Emerging markets
    will slow down sharply from the stellar growth rates of the past few years, with the BRIC economies growing at half their 2008 pace.
    Deteriorated terms of trade, slower capital flows and tighter credit will push
    Latin America into recession from the 4.1% growth of 2008. Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Mexico, and Venezuela will all shift to negative territory on a year-over-year basis while smaller countries, like Peru, will experience a significant slowdown.
  • Countries in
    Eastern Europe and the CIS will experience some of the sharpest contractions given the withdrawal of foreign credit and the risk of a severe financial crisis. The reduction in oil revenues and financial stress will contribute to a 5% yoy contraction in Russia and some countries - especially in the Baltics – are at risk of double-digit contractions.
  • Export-dependent
    Asia's growth will slow significantly to less than 3% in 2009. China will have a hard landing with GDP growth falling to 5.5% while India will slow sharply to 4.3%. All four Asian Tigers (Singapore, Taiwan, South Korea and Hong Kong) as well as Malaysia and Thailand will experience recessions.
  • The
    Middle East and Africa will mark much slower growth, half of their 2008 pace, given the reduction in capital inflows, reduced demand from the U.S. and EU and decline in commodity prices and output. Israel and South Africa will suffer slight contractions.
  • The unprecedented
    fiscal and monetary stimulus may help alleviate the substantial contraction in private demand and reduce the risk of a global L-shaped near-depression. Debt financing may be a challenge for many countries though, especially emerging markets or the most vulnerable Western European economies. Job losses during the current global recession might exceed those in recent recession, contributing to increases in defaults and posing additional risks to banks. The unemployment rate in developed countries will reach double-digits by 2010 (as early as mid-2009 in the U.S.) and push more people in developing countries into poverty. Moreover, despite new funding from multilateral institutions, severe contractions will raise the risk of social and political unrest. Commodities as a class are likely to come under renewed pressure in 2009 despite some support from production cuts. RGE expects the WTI oil price to average about $40 a barrel in 2009 as demand destruction continues to outweigh crude supply destruction."

21 de abril de 2009

Uma fotografia espantosa do Hubble

"Two members in this trio of galaxies are apparently engaged in a gravitational tug-o-war, giving rise to a bright streamer of newborn blue stars that stretches 100,000 light years across."

Astronomy Picture of the Day - 21 de Abril: a temperatura da Terra em 2070-2100

How much will the Earth's surface warm up over the lives of our children? No one is sure. Compared to the past 100 million years, the Earth is currently enduring a relative cold spell, possibly about four degrees Celsius below average. Over the past 100 years, however, data indicate the average global temperature of the Earth has increased by nearly one degree Celsius. Few disagree that recent global warming is occurring, and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has concluded that we humans have created a warming surge that is likely to continue. A future temperature increase like that shown on the above predictive map may cause sea levels to rise, precipitation patterns to change, and much pole ice to melt. The result could impact many local agricultures and the global economy. Geoengineering projects that might include artificial cloud creation might reduce the amount of warming sunlight that reaches the Earth's surface.

- tirado de Astronomy Picture of the Day, Nasa (Arquivo, 21 de Abril de 2009)

6 de abril de 2009

Problemas (II)

Tenho o computador mesmo em mau estado. Terá de passar por uma cura violenta. No entretanto, visitem a secção do blogue "Sem comentário", na coluna da direita: tem material com interesse, nomeadamente sobre a conjuntura.

5 de abril de 2009

Quando acaba a crise no mundo?

As notícias continuam a não ser boas de todo. Parece que a velocidade da queda (da recessão) está a desacelerar (teríamos ultrapassado o fim da parte vertical do lado esquerdo do U - ver aqui - e estaríamos no início da cova do mesmo): ninguém, no entanto, pode assegurar, na ausência de uma recaída, qual o tempo que iremos levar a percorrê-la e como será a conformação da perna direita da crise - a do início da retoma.

Algumas opiniões do que vai suceder neste, e no próximo ano:

  • De Wolfgang Munchau:
    [...] Of course, economic growth rates are bound to improve soon for technical reasons. Otherwise, not much would be left of the global economy by the end of the year.
    Even if a recovery were to start early in 2010, as some optimistic forecasters believe, most of the pain of the recession is still ahead of us: unemployment and default rates will rise sharply everywhere. Most of the pain in the financial sector is also still ahead of us. This will feel like a depression long after it has ceased to be one.
    I am more worried now than I was a month ago. [...]
    Remember that all the public and private sector forecasters are still busy adjusting their 2009 economic projections downwards. The latest downward revision for Germany came from Commerzbank last week, which now projects 2009 growth at a negative 6-7 per cent for this year.[
    The economy is trapped in a vicious circle where credit crunch and recession mutually reinforce each other [...].
    Continuar a ler em FT.com / Columnists / Wolfgang Munchau - A new plan needed as the cycle grows vicios

  • De Paul Krugman:
    "Mostly this is in the form of things getting worse more slowly, but it wouldn’t be surprising if we see, say, an uptick in industrial production in a few months, as the inventory cycle runs its course.If so, that doesn’t mean the worst is over. There was a pause in the plunge in early 1931, and many people started to breathe easier. They were wrong.
    So far, there’s nothing pointing to a fundamental turnaround this year, or next, or for that matter as far as the eye can see."
    Ler emPartying like it’s 1931 - Paul Krugman Blog - NYTimes.com

  • [...] the rate of economic contraction will slow from the -6% of Q1 to a figure closer to -2% and next year the economic recovery will be so weak – growth below 1% and unemployment rate peaking at 10% - that it will still feel like a recession even if we may be technically out of it.
    So, compared to the bullish consensus that sees positive growth at 2% by Q3-Q4 of this year and return to potential growth by 2010 my views are still consistently more bearish than the consensus.
    Still, compared to the sharp contraction in US and global growth in Q1 of this year (about -6%) the rate of economic contraction will slow down towards -2% for the US and other advanced economies by year end. That is only a mild improvement and still a severe U-shaped recession with a very weak and tentative recovery by 2010."

  • World Bank: global economy will shrink for first time on record FP Passport
    "The World Bank's crystal ball is not emitting pleasant forecasts this morning, with the release of the latest Global Economic Prospects Report: "Global GDP is expected to contract by 1.7 percent in 2009, which would be the first decline in world output on record," the report concludes. Developed economies will fall into "deep recession" -- witness Japan's 12.1 percent drop in GDP in the 4th quarter of 2008, or worse still, 21 and 25 percent drops in South Korea and Japan respectively. [...]
    By region, Eastern Europe and Central Asia are worst off thanks to their coming into the crisis with deficits and a binge of foreign cash (which, as you guessed, has now fled.) Latin America will suffer; so will Africa as commodity prices will stay low, trade slows, and foreign investment dries up. East Asia will be hit by the 6.1 percent gutting of global trade expected in 2009. 84 of 109 developing countries are expected to face "financing gaps" in their government budgets this year.
    The good news? A modest recovery might be coming in 2010..."However, continued banking problems or even new waves of tension in financial markets could lead to stagnation in global GDP or even to another year of decline in 2010."

Sobre uma possível actuação morigeradora do FMI nos EUA

Dani Rodrik qualifica a narrativa feita por Simon Johnson, das causas e remédios da crise, de "moralizadora", mas essa narrativa, pelo menos para mim, é poderosa nas suas linhas gerais (mas deve-se ter em linha de conta a qualificação feita) - o recurso ao FMI carreia é uma forte dose de ironia:

"Simon Johnson tells a simple and compelling
story: the U.S. has been afflicted by a version of the crony capitalism that has been the scourge of so many emerging markets, except that Wall Street has bought its influence and power not by bribery but by shaping the ideology of our times:
In a primitive political system, power is transmitted through violence, or the threat of violence: military coups, private militias, and so on. In a less primitive system more typical of emerging markets, power is transmitted via money: bribes, kickbacks, and offshore bank accounts. Although lobbying and campaign contributions certainly play major roles in the American political system, old-fashioned corruption—envelopes stuffed with $100 bills—is probably a sideshow today, Jack Abramoff notwithstanding.
Instead, the American financial industry gained political power by amassing a kind of cultural capital—a belief system. Once, perhaps, what was good for General Motors was good for the country. Over the past decade, the attitude took hold that what was good for Wall Street was good for the country. The banking-and-securities industry has become one of the top contributors to political campaigns, but at the peak of its influence, it did not have to buy favors the way, for example, the tobacco companies or military contractors might have to. Instead, it benefited from the fact that Washington insiders already believed that large financial institutions and free-flowing capital markets were crucial to America’s position in the world.
The solution, to Simon, is equally clear. Finance needs to be cut down to size. What the U.S. needs is what the IMF would have told any country:
The challenges the United States faces are familiar territory to the people at the IMF. If you hid the name of the country and just showed them the numbers, there is no doubt what old IMF hands would say: nationalize troubled banks and break them up as necessary.
The second problem the U.S. faces—the power of the oligarchy—is just as important as the immediate crisis of lending. And the advice from the IMF on this front would again be simple: break the oligarchy.

- continuar a ler em Dani Rodrik's weblog: Simon Johnson's morality tale


A-propósito da Qimonda será proveitoso ler aquilo que Paulo Soares de Pinho diz em Semicondutores Económico . E mais proveitoso é quando se contrapõe o caso da Qimonda ao caso da inventora do transístor de papel:

"Na passada semana a Assembleia da República homenageou a professora Elvira Fortunato, inventora do transístor de papel. Esta é uma descoberta fundamental, que rasgou convenções e ideias-feitas, que abre um sem-número de oportunidades e catapultou esta investigadora para o topo mundial no seu ramo científico, granjeando-lhe um dos mais importantes prémios de investigação europeus. Para Portugal, a possibilidade de explorar esta tecnologia coloca o país na vanguarda do mundo dos semicondutores, capturando o valor acrescentado a partir dela gerado.

Contudo, enquanto o país se desdobrava em esforços para manter em produção uma fábrica de tecnologia alheia em Vila do Conde, no país do choque tecnológico não houve uma empresa pública ou privada que se interessasse em pegar no projecto, acabando por ser a Universidade Nova de Lisboa e a sua Faculdade de Ciências e Tecnologia a financiar as (caríssimas) patentes, para que tão valiosa propriedade intelectual permanecesse protegida e em mãos nacionais.
Proteger a Qimonda significa preservar, no curto-prazo, mil e setecentos empregos que a lógica do comércio mundial há muito condenou a desaparecer. O impacto do desaparecimento da fábrica será dramático para muitas famílias. Com inevitáveis reflexos eleitorais. Mas é passado.
Apostar no transístor de papel seria dar um verdadeiro choque tecnológico com significativo potencial de criação de emprego qualificado futuro e de apropriação de valor acrescentado nacional. Seria passar a competir com a tecnologia de ponta Ocidental e não com os salários chineses. Mas os empregos e rendimentos futuros não votam hoje. E nessa matéria os políticos não são diferentes dos banqueiros de investimentos que tanto criticam por gerir com uma óptica de mero curto-prazo. Portugal é que fica a perder."

Números díspares

"According to a recent article in Eos (Doran and Zimmermann, 'Examining the Scientific consensus on Climate Change', Volume 90, Number 3, 2009; p. 22-23 - only available for AGU members), about 58% of the general public in the US thinks that human activity is a significant contributing factor in changing the mean global temperature, as opposed to 97% of specialists surveyed. The disproportion between these numbers is a concern, and one possible explanation may be that the science literacy among the general public is low."

- lido em RealClimate

Cenários que batem certo, também os há

"Durnovo was Russian, and he was the Minister of the Interior for a while under Nicholas II. (His successor was the much more famous Stolypin.) He was a conservative who disliked democracy and was none too fond of capitalism either; his lodestars were Russia’s national interest and the monarchical principle. In early 1914, he was out of office, but still influential… and he was alarmed at the visible drift towards war all around him. So he wrote a 5,000 word memorandum, intended for the Czar’s inner circle, detailing just why this was a Really Bad Idea for Russia. (The text of the memorandum can be found on Google Books here, or as a .pdf over here.)

What’s striking about the memo is how, six months before World War One started, Durnovo absolutely nails it. Nature, conduct, likely outcomes — he’s eerily, astonishingly correct about all of them."
- ler em History: The Durnovo Memorandum afoe A Fistful of Euros European Opinion Curioso.


A interrupção (já vai numa semana) das notas decorre de problemas que tive no computador - aliás, ainda não totalmente resolvidos. As minhas desculpas.