Category Archives: EU

Indonesia hits European Union with WTO lawsuit over palm oil

Yahoo – AFP, December 16, 2019

Indonesia has accused the European Union of discrimination against its palm
oil exports (AFP Photo/Mohd RASFAN)

Indonesia has filed a World Trade Organization lawsuit against the European Union over plans to phase out palm oil-based biofuel for cars, the trade ministry said.

The action could escalate a trade dispute between Indonesia -- the world's top palm oil producer - and the EU, which plans to end its use of biofuels by 2030, citing concerns over widespread deforestation caused by the sector.

The EU earlier imposed duties on imports of subsidised biodiesel from Indonesia saying it was needed to level the playing field for its producers.

In response to what it called "discriminative" policies against its key palm oil exports, Indonesia said it filed a complaint with the WTO last week.

"Indonesia officially sent a request for consultation on December 9, 2019 to the EU as the initial step for the lawsuit," Trade Minister Agus Suparmanto said in a statement Sunday.

Neighbouring Malaysia, the world's second-biggest palm oil producer, has also threatened WTO action against the EU.

Teresa Kok, the minister overseeing Malaysia's palm oil sector, told AFP on Monday that she will head to Europe in March, and a challenge will not be filed until after then.

She said she wanted to try to convince European officials to change course on her trip.

"I want to give my trip a chance and see whether I can avoid filing the case at the WTO," she added.

Palm oil is the world's most widely used vegetable oil and a key ingredient in a wide range of products from food to cosmetics.

But environmentalists say it drives deforestation, with huge swathes of Southeast Asian rainforest logged in recent decades to make way for palm plantations.

Iman Pambagyo, Indonesia's director general for international trade negotiations, said Jakarta had previously tried other bilateral avenues to reach an agreement, without success.

"We need to assert Indonesia's stance on EU policy," Pambagyo said, referring to the WTO complaint, and adding that he hoped for a "best solution".

The Netherlands overtakes Switzerland in world competitiveness stakes

DutchNews, May 24, 2018


The Netherlands has overtaken Switzerland and moved into fourth place in the latest global competitiveness rankings published by IMD

The top five most competitive economies in the world remain the same as in the previous year, but their order changed in the 2018 rankings. The United States, third last year, returns to the top spot, followed by Hong Kong, Singapore, the Netherlands and Switzerland. 

The Netherlands’ advance reflects a ‘balanced’ path to competitiveness, ranking in the top 10 in economic performance, government and business efficiency, IMD said. Switzerland declined mainly due to a slowdown in exports and, to a lesser extent, an increase in perceptions about threats of relocation of R&D facilities. 

The IMD World Competitiveness Center, a research group at IMD business school in Switzerland, has published the rankings every year since 1989. It compiles them using 258 indicators.

‘Hard’ data such as national employment and trade statistics are weighted twice as much as the ‘soft’ data from an executive opinion survey that measures the business perception of issues such as corruption, environmental concerns and quality of life. This year 63 countries were ranked. 

The Netherlands is also currently ranked 4th on the World Economic Forum‘s list of the 138 most competitive countries, behind Switzerland, the United States and Singapore.

Europe announces a fresh, ‘credible’ Greek rescue deal

Deutsche Welle, 22 July 2011 

Greece's second aid package is
larger than the first
European leaders say the eurozone, the International Monetary Fund and the private sector will all contribute towards a second package of emergency loans for Greece, as a debt-dominated summit concludes in Brussels.

European Union President Herman van Rompuy said after Thursday's summit in Brussels that the bloc had reached three important decisions which had unanimous support within eurozone.

"We improved the Greek debt sustainability, we took measures to stop the risk of contagion, and finally, we committed to improve the eurozone's crisis management," Rompuy said in the opening moments of his official address.

The EU president said that the instability of the Greek economy, coupled with the resultant jitters on international markets, ultimately could have threatened the single European currency and the economic recovery in Europe and the wider world.

"Convening this meeting focused the minds and accelerated finding a solution. I could not allow a difficult situation to become a dangerous one," Rompuy said.

The nuts and bolts

European leaders in conjunction with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) agreed to lend Greece an additional 109 billion euros (157 billion dollars) in order to cover its financing shortfalls and prevent Athens from defaulting on its sovereign debt.

The program will include lower interest rates and extended maturities as well as a voluntary contribution from private sector financial institutions amounting to 37 billion euros, according to a statement released by the leaders after the summit.

Merkel and Sarkozy struck an
agreement before the summit
European Central Bank chief Jean-Claude Trichet reacted coolly to concerns that even voluntary participation by the private sector could provoke rating agencies to downgrade Greece's credit worthiness.

"I don't think experts consider that what has been done would trigger a credit event," Trichet said after the summit.

'European package'

Greece's second aid package, including private contributions, will total at least 146 billion euros. The package comes in addition to the 110 billion euros Athens was promised as part of its first bailout in 2010.

"The only thing we're asking for is the right to make deep changes in our country to make our country a viable one, one of growth and jobs creations," Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou said. "This is a European success, a European package."

The breakthrough deal was made possible after German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Nicolas Sarkozy came to an agreement in Berlin on Wednesday.

Sarkozy said that Europe was prepared to stand with Athens and guarantee its credit worthiness in the event that credit agencies declare Greece in limited default.

"We have agreed to create the beginnings of a European Monetary Fund," he said.

Author: Spencer Kimball, Mark Hallam (AFP, Reuters, dpa)
Editor: Joanna Impey


Paul Hellyer - Abolishing Fed and new energy disclosure key to US survival


Chinese FM calls for further ASEAN Plus Three cooperation for regional prosperity

Foreign ministers and delegates of ASEAN and China, Japan and the
 Republic of Korea, pose for group photos during the ASEAN and China,
Japan and the Republic of Korea foreign ministers' meeting held in Bali,
Indonesia, July 21, 2011. (Xinhua/Chen Duo)

S&P warning puts damper on Eurogroup plans

Deutsche Wellle, 5 July 2011

Standard & Poor's is critical of
the banks' plans
The Standard & Poor's rating agency says a debt rollover plan pushed by French banks would amount to a default, putting a damper on European efforts to solve the Greek debt crisis.

French banks last week thought up what they figured was a really good plan: a debt rollover plan under which some of the Greek bonds would be voluntarily renewed when they become due, but on different terms, giving Greece some breathing space without actually reducing the amount owed to creditors.

German banks, which together with French banks and insurance companies are among the major holders of Greek debt, agreed to the plan - and so did the German finance ministry.

But the ratings agency Standard & Poor's warned on Monday that this option "would likely amount to a default under our criteria." The other two major rating agencies, Fitch and Moody's, did not react immediately, but it was expected that they could well come to a similar assessment.

S&P warning calls into question second bailout package

Since German banks have made it clear that any solution to the Greek debt crisis which rating agencies viewed as a default was not viable, that would call into question the voluntary contribution of banks and insurance companies to a second bailout package designed to help Greece through to 2014.

Eurozone finance ministers put off
deciding on a second bailout package
to help Greece
At the weekend, the finance ministers of the 17 eurozone countries put off a decision about such a bailout, which is expected to amount to 80 to 90 billion euros ($116 to 131 billion) because of conflicts over the extent of private sector involvement in the effort.

The eurozone ministers did sign off an 8.7 billion euros loan to Greece which is part of an 110 billion euros package agreed upon last year. Without this loan, the Greek government would have faced insolvency within weeks. But without a second bailout deal, a funding shortfall is imminent between 2012 and 2014.

Criticism grows louder of rating agencies' power

With the controversy surrounding a second bailout package due to the assessment of Standard & Poor's, criticism of the big rating agencies' power is growing louder.

ECB member Ewald Nowotny is
one of the rating agencies' critics
European Central Bank policymaker Ewald Nowotny told Austrian public radio that the rating agencies were placing obstacles in the way of those banks willing to contribute to Greece's financial stabilization.

The Bavarian finance minister, Georg Fahrenschon of the conservative Christian Social Union party, or CSU, told the German newspaper Passauer Neue Presse that the warning issued by S&P was "inappropriate." And Joachim Poss, finance expert for the Social Democrats in the German Parliament, told Deutsche Welle that the game the US rating agencies were playing had to make one "uneasy."

The three major rating agencies hold a collective market share of roughly 95 percent. Their special status has been cemented by law - at first only in the US, but then in Europe as well.

"The ratings from the big three were declared mandatory for European firms active in the US market," Thomas Straubhaar, the director of the Hamburg Institute of International Economics told Deutsche Welle.

The agencies rate the creditworthiness of companies and countries, as well as the quality of funds and stocks. Their assessment determines the conditions under which firms, banks or countries may borrow money on the capital markets.

"We can't have private companies, whose primary goal is maximizing profit, behaving like sovereign judges passing down opinions that are binding for disinterested third parties," Straubhaar said.

EU makes efforts to curb the influence of the three big players

Over a year ago, the heads of the state and governments of the 27 European member states called upon the Union's executive body, the European Commission, to come forward with proposals on how to supervise credit rating agencies. The Commission then proposed to set up a a new European supervisory authority, the European Security Markets Authority (ESMA).


The European Commission set up a new supervisory body for
rating agencies.

ESMA started work on January 1, promising to compel rating agencies to disclose the methodology of their ratings. But so far, the power of the big rating agencies appears unfettered.

Apart from calling for closer supervision of the big rating agencies, many European politicians have supported the creation of a European ratings agency. An independent European rating agency was indispensable, Bavarian finance minister Georg Fahrenschon said.

But economists are not so sure such a European agency would change much. "We don't need rating agencies to tell us that Greece is on the verge of bankruptcy," said Thomas Straubhaar. "A European agency would not be able change anything about this fact, nor could it correct it."

And Torsten Hinrichs of Standard and Poor's told Deutsche Welle investors were already free to place their trust in a whole range of agencies.

So even if a European ratings agency was to come into existence, it would still have to establish itself on the market and gain investors' trust.

Author: Andrea Rönsberg
Editor: Nicole Goebel

Related Articles:




S&P warning puts damper on Eurogroup plans

Deutsche Wellle, 5 July 2011

Standard & Poor’s is critical of
the banks’ plans
The Standard & Poor’s rating agency says a debt rollover plan pushed by French banks would amount to a default, putting a damper on European efforts to solve the Greek debt crisis.
French banks last week thought up what they figured was a really good plan: a debt rollover plan under which some of the Greek bonds would be voluntarily renewed when they become due, but on different terms, giving Greece some breathing space without actually reducing the amount owed to creditors.
German banks, which together with French banks and insurance companies are among the major holders of Greek debt, agreed to the plan – and so did the German finance ministry.
But the ratings agency Standard & Poor’s warned on Monday that this option “would likely amount to a default under our criteria.” The other two major rating agencies, Fitch and Moody’s, did not react immediately, but it was expected that they could well come to a similar assessment.
S&P warning calls into question second bailout package
Since German banks have made it clear that any solution to the Greek debt crisis which rating agencies viewed as a default was not viable, that would call into question the voluntary contribution of banks and insurance companies to a second bailout package designed to help Greece through to 2014.
Eurozone finance ministers put off
deciding on a second bailout package
to help Greece
At the weekend, the finance ministers of the 17 eurozone countries put off a decision about such a bailout, which is expected to amount to 80 to 90 billion euros ($116 to 131 billion) because of conflicts over the extent of private sector involvement in the effort.
The eurozone ministers did sign off an 8.7 billion euros loan to Greece which is part of an 110 billion euros package agreed upon last year. Without this loan, the Greek government would have faced insolvency within weeks. But without a second bailout deal, a funding shortfall is imminent between 2012 and 2014.
Criticism grows louder of rating agencies’ power
With the controversy surrounding a second bailout package due to the assessment of Standard & Poor’s, criticism of the big rating agencies’ power is growing louder.
ECB member Ewald Nowotny is
one of the rating agencies’ critics
European Central Bank policymaker Ewald Nowotny told Austrian public radio that the rating agencies were placing obstacles in the way of those banks willing to contribute to Greece’s financial stabilization.
The Bavarian finance minister, Georg Fahrenschon of the conservative Christian Social Union party, or CSU, told the German newspaper Passauer Neue Presse that the warning issued by S&P was “inappropriate.” And Joachim Poss, finance expert for the Social Democrats in the German Parliament, told Deutsche Welle that the game the US rating agencies were playing had to make one “uneasy.”
The three major rating agencies hold a collective market share of roughly 95 percent. Their special status has been cemented by law – at first only in the US, but then in Europe as well.
“The ratings from the big three were declared mandatory for European firms active in the US market,” Thomas Straubhaar, the director of the Hamburg Institute of International Economics told Deutsche Welle.
The agencies rate the creditworthiness of companies and countries, as well as the quality of funds and stocks. Their assessment determines the conditions under which firms, banks or countries may borrow money on the capital markets.
“We can’t have private companies, whose primary goal is maximizing profit, behaving like sovereign judges passing down opinions that are binding for disinterested third parties,” Straubhaar said.
EU makes efforts to curb the influence of the three big players
Over a year ago, the heads of the state and governments of the 27 European member states called upon the Union’s executive body, the European Commission, to come forward with proposals on how to supervise credit rating agencies. The Commission then proposed to set up a a new European supervisory authority, the European Security Markets Authority (ESMA).

The European Commission set up a new supervisory body for
rating agencies.

ESMA started work on January 1, promising to compel rating agencies to disclose the methodology of their ratings. But so far, the power of the big rating agencies appears unfettered.
Apart from calling for closer supervision of the big rating agencies, many European politicians have supported the creation of a European ratings agency. An independent European rating agency was indispensable, Bavarian finance minister Georg Fahrenschon said.
But economists are not so sure such a European agency would change much. “We don’t need rating agencies to tell us that Greece is on the verge of bankruptcy,” said Thomas Straubhaar. “A European agency would not be able change anything about this fact, nor could it correct it.”
And Torsten Hinrichs of Standard and Poor’s told Deutsche Welle investors were already free to place their trust in a whole range of agencies.
So even if a European ratings agency was to come into existence, it would still have to establish itself on the market and gain investors’ trust.
Author: Andrea Rönsberg
Editor: Nicole Goebel

Related Articles:




S&P warning puts damper on Eurogroup plans

Deutsche Wellle, 5 July 2011

Standard & Poor’s is critical of
the banks’ plans
The Standard & Poor’s rating agency says a debt rollover plan pushed by French banks would amount to a default, putting a damper on European efforts to solve the Greek debt crisis.
French banks last week thought up what they figured was a really good plan: a debt rollover plan under which some of the Greek bonds would be voluntarily renewed when they become due, but on different terms, giving Greece some breathing space without actually reducing the amount owed to creditors.
German banks, which together with French banks and insurance companies are among the major holders of Greek debt, agreed to the plan – and so did the German finance ministry.
But the ratings agency Standard & Poor’s warned on Monday that this option “would likely amount to a default under our criteria.” The other two major rating agencies, Fitch and Moody’s, did not react immediately, but it was expected that they could well come to a similar assessment.
S&P warning calls into question second bailout package
Since German banks have made it clear that any solution to the Greek debt crisis which rating agencies viewed as a default was not viable, that would call into question the voluntary contribution of banks and insurance companies to a second bailout package designed to help Greece through to 2014.
Eurozone finance ministers put off
deciding on a second bailout package
to help Greece
At the weekend, the finance ministers of the 17 eurozone countries put off a decision about such a bailout, which is expected to amount to 80 to 90 billion euros ($116 to 131 billion) because of conflicts over the extent of private sector involvement in the effort.
The eurozone ministers did sign off an 8.7 billion euros loan to Greece which is part of an 110 billion euros package agreed upon last year. Without this loan, the Greek government would have faced insolvency within weeks. But without a second bailout deal, a funding shortfall is imminent between 2012 and 2014.
Criticism grows louder of rating agencies’ power
With the controversy surrounding a second bailout package due to the assessment of Standard & Poor’s, criticism of the big rating agencies’ power is growing louder.
ECB member Ewald Nowotny is
one of the rating agencies’ critics
European Central Bank policymaker Ewald Nowotny told Austrian public radio that the rating agencies were placing obstacles in the way of those banks willing to contribute to Greece’s financial stabilization.
The Bavarian finance minister, Georg Fahrenschon of the conservative Christian Social Union party, or CSU, told the German newspaper Passauer Neue Presse that the warning issued by S&P was “inappropriate.” And Joachim Poss, finance expert for the Social Democrats in the German Parliament, told Deutsche Welle that the game the US rating agencies were playing had to make one “uneasy.”
The three major rating agencies hold a collective market share of roughly 95 percent. Their special status has been cemented by law – at first only in the US, but then in Europe as well.
“The ratings from the big three were declared mandatory for European firms active in the US market,” Thomas Straubhaar, the director of the Hamburg Institute of International Economics told Deutsche Welle.
The agencies rate the creditworthiness of companies and countries, as well as the quality of funds and stocks. Their assessment determines the conditions under which firms, banks or countries may borrow money on the capital markets.
“We can’t have private companies, whose primary goal is maximizing profit, behaving like sovereign judges passing down opinions that are binding for disinterested third parties,” Straubhaar said.
EU makes efforts to curb the influence of the three big players
Over a year ago, the heads of the state and governments of the 27 European member states called upon the Union’s executive body, the European Commission, to come forward with proposals on how to supervise credit rating agencies. The Commission then proposed to set up a a new European supervisory authority, the European Security Markets Authority (ESMA).

The European Commission set up a new supervisory body for
rating agencies.

ESMA started work on January 1, promising to compel rating agencies to disclose the methodology of their ratings. But so far, the power of the big rating agencies appears unfettered.
Apart from calling for closer supervision of the big rating agencies, many European politicians have supported the creation of a European ratings agency. An independent European rating agency was indispensable, Bavarian finance minister Georg Fahrenschon said.
But economists are not so sure such a European agency would change much. “We don’t need rating agencies to tell us that Greece is on the verge of bankruptcy,” said Thomas Straubhaar. “A European agency would not be able change anything about this fact, nor could it correct it.”
And Torsten Hinrichs of Standard and Poor’s told Deutsche Welle investors were already free to place their trust in a whole range of agencies.
So even if a European ratings agency was to come into existence, it would still have to establish itself on the market and gain investors’ trust.
Author: Andrea Rönsberg
Editor: Nicole Goebel




S&P warning puts damper on Eurogroup plans

Deutsche Wellle, 5 July 2011

Standard & Poor's is critical of
the banks' plans
The Standard & Poor's rating agency says a debt rollover plan pushed by French banks would amount to a default, putting a damper on European efforts to solve the Greek debt crisis.

French banks last week thought up what they figured was a really good plan: a debt rollover plan under which some of the Greek bonds would be voluntarily renewed when they become due, but on different terms, giving Greece some breathing space without actually reducing the amount owed to creditors.

German banks, which together with French banks and insurance companies are among the major holders of Greek debt, agreed to the plan - and so did the German finance ministry.

But the ratings agency Standard & Poor's warned on Monday that this option "would likely amount to a default under our criteria." The other two major rating agencies, Fitch and Moody's, did not react immediately, but it was expected that they could well come to a similar assessment.

S&P warning calls into question second bailout package

Since German banks have made it clear that any solution to the Greek debt crisis which rating agencies viewed as a default was not viable, that would call into question the voluntary contribution of banks and insurance companies to a second bailout package designed to help Greece through to 2014.

Eurozone finance ministers put off
deciding on a second bailout package
to help Greece
At the weekend, the finance ministers of the 17 eurozone countries put off a decision about such a bailout, which is expected to amount to 80 to 90 billion euros ($116 to 131 billion) because of conflicts over the extent of private sector involvement in the effort.

The eurozone ministers did sign off an 8.7 billion euros loan to Greece which is part of an 110 billion euros package agreed upon last year. Without this loan, the Greek government would have faced insolvency within weeks. But without a second bailout deal, a funding shortfall is imminent between 2012 and 2014.

Criticism grows louder of rating agencies' power

With the controversy surrounding a second bailout package due to the assessment of Standard & Poor's, criticism of the big rating agencies' power is growing louder.

ECB member Ewald Nowotny is
one of the rating agencies' critics
European Central Bank policymaker Ewald Nowotny told Austrian public radio that the rating agencies were placing obstacles in the way of those banks willing to contribute to Greece's financial stabilization.

The Bavarian finance minister, Georg Fahrenschon of the conservative Christian Social Union party, or CSU, told the German newspaper Passauer Neue Presse that the warning issued by S&P was "inappropriate." And Joachim Poss, finance expert for the Social Democrats in the German Parliament, told Deutsche Welle that the game the US rating agencies were playing had to make one "uneasy."

The three major rating agencies hold a collective market share of roughly 95 percent. Their special status has been cemented by law - at first only in the US, but then in Europe as well.

"The ratings from the big three were declared mandatory for European firms active in the US market," Thomas Straubhaar, the director of the Hamburg Institute of International Economics told Deutsche Welle.

The agencies rate the creditworthiness of companies and countries, as well as the quality of funds and stocks. Their assessment determines the conditions under which firms, banks or countries may borrow money on the capital markets.

"We can't have private companies, whose primary goal is maximizing profit, behaving like sovereign judges passing down opinions that are binding for disinterested third parties," Straubhaar said.

EU makes efforts to curb the influence of the three big players

Over a year ago, the heads of the state and governments of the 27 European member states called upon the Union's executive body, the European Commission, to come forward with proposals on how to supervise credit rating agencies. The Commission then proposed to set up a a new European supervisory authority, the European Security Markets Authority (ESMA).


The European Commission set up a new supervisory body for
rating agencies.

ESMA started work on January 1, promising to compel rating agencies to disclose the methodology of their ratings. But so far, the power of the big rating agencies appears unfettered.

Apart from calling for closer supervision of the big rating agencies, many European politicians have supported the creation of a European ratings agency. An independent European rating agency was indispensable, Bavarian finance minister Georg Fahrenschon said.

But economists are not so sure such a European agency would change much. "We don't need rating agencies to tell us that Greece is on the verge of bankruptcy," said Thomas Straubhaar. "A European agency would not be able change anything about this fact, nor could it correct it."

And Torsten Hinrichs of Standard and Poor's told Deutsche Welle investors were already free to place their trust in a whole range of agencies.

So even if a European ratings agency was to come into existence, it would still have to establish itself on the market and gain investors' trust.

Author: Andrea Rönsberg
Editor: Nicole Goebel

Related Articles:




S&P warning puts damper on Eurogroup plans

Deutsche Wellle, 5 July 2011

Standard & Poor's is critical of
the banks' plans
The Standard & Poor's rating agency says a debt rollover plan pushed by French banks would amount to a default, putting a damper on European efforts to solve the Greek debt crisis.

French banks last week thought up what they figured was a really good plan: a debt rollover plan under which some of the Greek bonds would be voluntarily renewed when they become due, but on different terms, giving Greece some breathing space without actually reducing the amount owed to creditors.

German banks, which together with French banks and insurance companies are among the major holders of Greek debt, agreed to the plan - and so did the German finance ministry.

But the ratings agency Standard & Poor's warned on Monday that this option "would likely amount to a default under our criteria." The other two major rating agencies, Fitch and Moody's, did not react immediately, but it was expected that they could well come to a similar assessment.

S&P warning calls into question second bailout package

Since German banks have made it clear that any solution to the Greek debt crisis which rating agencies viewed as a default was not viable, that would call into question the voluntary contribution of banks and insurance companies to a second bailout package designed to help Greece through to 2014.

Eurozone finance ministers put off
deciding on a second bailout package
to help Greece
At the weekend, the finance ministers of the 17 eurozone countries put off a decision about such a bailout, which is expected to amount to 80 to 90 billion euros ($116 to 131 billion) because of conflicts over the extent of private sector involvement in the effort.

The eurozone ministers did sign off an 8.7 billion euros loan to Greece which is part of an 110 billion euros package agreed upon last year. Without this loan, the Greek government would have faced insolvency within weeks. But without a second bailout deal, a funding shortfall is imminent between 2012 and 2014.

Criticism grows louder of rating agencies' power

With the controversy surrounding a second bailout package due to the assessment of Standard & Poor's, criticism of the big rating agencies' power is growing louder.

ECB member Ewald Nowotny is
one of the rating agencies' critics
European Central Bank policymaker Ewald Nowotny told Austrian public radio that the rating agencies were placing obstacles in the way of those banks willing to contribute to Greece's financial stabilization.

The Bavarian finance minister, Georg Fahrenschon of the conservative Christian Social Union party, or CSU, told the German newspaper Passauer Neue Presse that the warning issued by S&P was "inappropriate." And Joachim Poss, finance expert for the Social Democrats in the German Parliament, told Deutsche Welle that the game the US rating agencies were playing had to make one "uneasy."

The three major rating agencies hold a collective market share of roughly 95 percent. Their special status has been cemented by law - at first only in the US, but then in Europe as well.

"The ratings from the big three were declared mandatory for European firms active in the US market," Thomas Straubhaar, the director of the Hamburg Institute of International Economics told Deutsche Welle.

The agencies rate the creditworthiness of companies and countries, as well as the quality of funds and stocks. Their assessment determines the conditions under which firms, banks or countries may borrow money on the capital markets.

"We can't have private companies, whose primary goal is maximizing profit, behaving like sovereign judges passing down opinions that are binding for disinterested third parties," Straubhaar said.

EU makes efforts to curb the influence of the three big players

Over a year ago, the heads of the state and governments of the 27 European member states called upon the Union's executive body, the European Commission, to come forward with proposals on how to supervise credit rating agencies. The Commission then proposed to set up a a new European supervisory authority, the European Security Markets Authority (ESMA).


The European Commission set up a new supervisory body for
rating agencies.

ESMA started work on January 1, promising to compel rating agencies to disclose the methodology of their ratings. But so far, the power of the big rating agencies appears unfettered.

Apart from calling for closer supervision of the big rating agencies, many European politicians have supported the creation of a European ratings agency. An independent European rating agency was indispensable, Bavarian finance minister Georg Fahrenschon said.

But economists are not so sure such a European agency would change much. "We don't need rating agencies to tell us that Greece is on the verge of bankruptcy," said Thomas Straubhaar. "A European agency would not be able change anything about this fact, nor could it correct it."

And Torsten Hinrichs of Standard and Poor's told Deutsche Welle investors were already free to place their trust in a whole range of agencies.

So even if a European ratings agency was to come into existence, it would still have to establish itself on the market and gain investors' trust.

Author: Andrea Rönsberg
Editor: Nicole Goebel

Related Articles:




S&P warning puts damper on Eurogroup plans

Deutsche Wellle, 5 July 2011

Standard & Poor’s is critical of
the banks’ plans
The Standard & Poor’s rating agency says a debt rollover plan pushed by French banks would amount to a default, putting a damper on European efforts to solve the Greek debt crisis.
French banks last week thought up what they figured was a really good plan: a debt rollover plan under which some of the Greek bonds would be voluntarily renewed when they become due, but on different terms, giving Greece some breathing space without actually reducing the amount owed to creditors.
German banks, which together with French banks and insurance companies are among the major holders of Greek debt, agreed to the plan – and so did the German finance ministry.
But the ratings agency Standard & Poor’s warned on Monday that this option “would likely amount to a default under our criteria.” The other two major rating agencies, Fitch and Moody’s, did not react immediately, but it was expected that they could well come to a similar assessment.
S&P warning calls into question second bailout package
Since German banks have made it clear that any solution to the Greek debt crisis which rating agencies viewed as a default was not viable, that would call into question the voluntary contribution of banks and insurance companies to a second bailout package designed to help Greece through to 2014.
Eurozone finance ministers put off
deciding on a second bailout package
to help Greece
At the weekend, the finance ministers of the 17 eurozone countries put off a decision about such a bailout, which is expected to amount to 80 to 90 billion euros ($116 to 131 billion) because of conflicts over the extent of private sector involvement in the effort.
The eurozone ministers did sign off an 8.7 billion euros loan to Greece which is part of an 110 billion euros package agreed upon last year. Without this loan, the Greek government would have faced insolvency within weeks. But without a second bailout deal, a funding shortfall is imminent between 2012 and 2014.
Criticism grows louder of rating agencies’ power
With the controversy surrounding a second bailout package due to the assessment of Standard & Poor’s, criticism of the big rating agencies’ power is growing louder.
ECB member Ewald Nowotny is
one of the rating agencies’ critics
European Central Bank policymaker Ewald Nowotny told Austrian public radio that the rating agencies were placing obstacles in the way of those banks willing to contribute to Greece’s financial stabilization.
The Bavarian finance minister, Georg Fahrenschon of the conservative Christian Social Union party, or CSU, told the German newspaper Passauer Neue Presse that the warning issued by S&P was “inappropriate.” And Joachim Poss, finance expert for the Social Democrats in the German Parliament, told Deutsche Welle that the game the US rating agencies were playing had to make one “uneasy.”
The three major rating agencies hold a collective market share of roughly 95 percent. Their special status has been cemented by law – at first only in the US, but then in Europe as well.
“The ratings from the big three were declared mandatory for European firms active in the US market,” Thomas Straubhaar, the director of the Hamburg Institute of International Economics told Deutsche Welle.
The agencies rate the creditworthiness of companies and countries, as well as the quality of funds and stocks. Their assessment determines the conditions under which firms, banks or countries may borrow money on the capital markets.
“We can’t have private companies, whose primary goal is maximizing profit, behaving like sovereign judges passing down opinions that are binding for disinterested third parties,” Straubhaar said.
EU makes efforts to curb the influence of the three big players
Over a year ago, the heads of the state and governments of the 27 European member states called upon the Union’s executive body, the European Commission, to come forward with proposals on how to supervise credit rating agencies. The Commission then proposed to set up a a new European supervisory authority, the European Security Markets Authority (ESMA).

The European Commission set up a new supervisory body for
rating agencies.

ESMA started work on January 1, promising to compel rating agencies to disclose the methodology of their ratings. But so far, the power of the big rating agencies appears unfettered.
Apart from calling for closer supervision of the big rating agencies, many European politicians have supported the creation of a European ratings agency. An independent European rating agency was indispensable, Bavarian finance minister Georg Fahrenschon said.
But economists are not so sure such a European agency would change much. “We don’t need rating agencies to tell us that Greece is on the verge of bankruptcy,” said Thomas Straubhaar. “A European agency would not be able change anything about this fact, nor could it correct it.”
And Torsten Hinrichs of Standard and Poor’s told Deutsche Welle investors were already free to place their trust in a whole range of agencies.
So even if a European ratings agency was to come into existence, it would still have to establish itself on the market and gain investors’ trust.
Author: Andrea Rönsberg
Editor: Nicole Goebel




S&P warning puts damper on Eurogroup plans

Deutsche Wellle, 5 July 2011

Standard & Poor’s is critical of
the banks’ plans
The Standard & Poor’s rating agency says a debt rollover plan pushed by French banks would amount to a default, putting a damper on European efforts to solve the Greek debt crisis.
French banks last week thought up what they figured was a really good plan: a debt rollover plan under which some of the Greek bonds would be voluntarily renewed when they become due, but on different terms, giving Greece some breathing space without actually reducing the amount owed to creditors.
German banks, which together with French banks and insurance companies are among the major holders of Greek debt, agreed to the plan – and so did the German finance ministry.
But the ratings agency Standard & Poor’s warned on Monday that this option “would likely amount to a default under our criteria.” The other two major rating agencies, Fitch and Moody’s, did not react immediately, but it was expected that they could well come to a similar assessment.
S&P warning calls into question second bailout package
Since German banks have made it clear that any solution to the Greek debt crisis which rating agencies viewed as a default was not viable, that would call into question the voluntary contribution of banks and insurance companies to a second bailout package designed to help Greece through to 2014.
Eurozone finance ministers put off
deciding on a second bailout package
to help Greece
At the weekend, the finance ministers of the 17 eurozone countries put off a decision about such a bailout, which is expected to amount to 80 to 90 billion euros ($116 to 131 billion) because of conflicts over the extent of private sector involvement in the effort.
The eurozone ministers did sign off an 8.7 billion euros loan to Greece which is part of an 110 billion euros package agreed upon last year. Without this loan, the Greek government would have faced insolvency within weeks. But without a second bailout deal, a funding shortfall is imminent between 2012 and 2014.
Criticism grows louder of rating agencies’ power
With the controversy surrounding a second bailout package due to the assessment of Standard & Poor’s, criticism of the big rating agencies’ power is growing louder.
ECB member Ewald Nowotny is
one of the rating agencies’ critics
European Central Bank policymaker Ewald Nowotny told Austrian public radio that the rating agencies were placing obstacles in the way of those banks willing to contribute to Greece’s financial stabilization.
The Bavarian finance minister, Georg Fahrenschon of the conservative Christian Social Union party, or CSU, told the German newspaper Passauer Neue Presse that the warning issued by S&P was “inappropriate.” And Joachim Poss, finance expert for the Social Democrats in the German Parliament, told Deutsche Welle that the game the US rating agencies were playing had to make one “uneasy.”
The three major rating agencies hold a collective market share of roughly 95 percent. Their special status has been cemented by law – at first only in the US, but then in Europe as well.
“The ratings from the big three were declared mandatory for European firms active in the US market,” Thomas Straubhaar, the director of the Hamburg Institute of International Economics told Deutsche Welle.
The agencies rate the creditworthiness of companies and countries, as well as the quality of funds and stocks. Their assessment determines the conditions under which firms, banks or countries may borrow money on the capital markets.
“We can’t have private companies, whose primary goal is maximizing profit, behaving like sovereign judges passing down opinions that are binding for disinterested third parties,” Straubhaar said.
EU makes efforts to curb the influence of the three big players
Over a year ago, the heads of the state and governments of the 27 European member states called upon the Union’s executive body, the European Commission, to come forward with proposals on how to supervise credit rating agencies. The Commission then proposed to set up a a new European supervisory authority, the European Security Markets Authority (ESMA).

The European Commission set up a new supervisory body for
rating agencies.

ESMA started work on January 1, promising to compel rating agencies to disclose the methodology of their ratings. But so far, the power of the big rating agencies appears unfettered.
Apart from calling for closer supervision of the big rating agencies, many European politicians have supported the creation of a European ratings agency. An independent European rating agency was indispensable, Bavarian finance minister Georg Fahrenschon said.
But economists are not so sure such a European agency would change much. “We don’t need rating agencies to tell us that Greece is on the verge of bankruptcy,” said Thomas Straubhaar. “A European agency would not be able change anything about this fact, nor could it correct it.”
And Torsten Hinrichs of Standard and Poor’s told Deutsche Welle investors were already free to place their trust in a whole range of agencies.
So even if a European ratings agency was to come into existence, it would still have to establish itself on the market and gain investors’ trust.
Author: Andrea Rönsberg
Editor: Nicole Goebel

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