Ever since Donald Trump was narrowly defeated, yet elected, as the CEO of the United States of America, his behavior has undermined America Inc. both domestically and internationally. Nobody paid attention to his track record: having been bankrupt four times, he should have been disqualified by his institutional shareholders (the Republican Party) who controlled the Shareholders Meeting and the Board of Directors. Let’s take a closer look at the main qualities expected from any CEO in America. Read More
I attended the Iran Capital Market Conference organized by the Securities and Exchange Organization of Iran. It took place on Kish Island, a luxury island 19 km from the continent. The Shah wanted it to give the image of a booming and international Iran. Judging from the construction, Kish Island could be the next Miami, including skyscrapers, palm trees, palaces and beaches.
One of the most interesting elements of this Iranian capital markets conference was the presence of the Indian, Indonesian, German, British and Belgian institutions. Also, the Turkish and the South Korean ambassadors were there to represent their countries. Read More
Le Bitcoin a augmenté de 605% depuis un an. Inutile de dire que les commentaires vont bon train. Les thuriféraires du Bitcoin et les apôtres des monnaies parallèles s’en donnent à coeur joie. Pour ceux qui ont été assez malins (ou pervers) pour investir dans le Bitcoin, il y a un an, l’avenir s’annonce radieux. En savoir plus
Lessons from Brexit
The attempts by the Catalonia region to dissociate itself from Spain has many of the traits of Brexit: quest from “being master of one’s destiny” to “we will be better without Spain”. Like Brexit, those statements contain a set of absurdities. Brexit was voted based on misinformation brought by Boris Johnson and Nigel Farage. Ignorance or sheer manipulation does not change the fact that the populations have been misled. Brexit was based on what has proved to be wrong assumptions, sky rocketing costs and insane complexity. Read More
Il y a près de neuf mois que Donald Trump occupe le siège de Président des Etats Unis et continue à se comporter comme un pitbull enragé. Nous ne pouvons plus nous permettre de considérer ce reality show comme une forme de spectacle. Les enjeux ont augmenté dans les derniers mois et les derniers jours ont donné lieu à plusieurs déraillements qui ne peuvent plus amuser la galerie. Son opposition ce weekend aux sportifs protestant, genou en terre, contre le mauvais traitement des noirs, l’emmène dans une dérive raciste dont il risque de ne pas pouvoir se dépêtrer facilement et qu’il tente de nier. Même Stevie Wonder s’est agenouillé « pour l’Amérique ». A savoir plus
Last month, I attended a conference organized by the Central Bank of Iran on financial stability in Tehran. It was an eye-opener to see the quality and depth of the research and the importance that the Iranian leadership attached to the evolution of international regulation. It was also an opportunity to assess how the Iranian leadership was reacting to the recent aggressive talks of Donald Trump and his administration. Read More
Next week, France will celebrate its Bastille Day: it was the take over of a French prison on July 14, 1789. On January 21, 1793, they beheaded their King and his wife. Since that barbarian regicide, France has constantly been oscillating between a fundamental monarchism that admires the “king” (even if he is the President of the Republic) and a profound desire to assassinate him.
France is a Monarchy
The paradox of this year’s Bastille Day, is that Emmanuel Macron invited Donald Trump to be his guest to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the entry of the United States in World War I by president Woodrow Wilson on April 2, 1917. US troops will take part of the military parade on that occasion. Needless to say, the discovery of a plot to assassinate Macron on July 14 is making it a high-risk ceremony. It will be a high risk ceremony. Read More
The real negotiation is starting with a weak United Kingdom.
Unfortunately, the field for negotiation is mined with bombs that can detonate at any moment. First, Theresa May, in a perfectly conservative entitled move, has managed to weaken the UK position in the negotiation by launching a new consultation of the British people that boomeranged. Believing she is so much better than her predecessor, David Cameron, she fell into the same trap. Manipulating democracy is not rewarding at times of unpredictable populism. Read More
Donald Trump might have missed the most positive news from the Middle East last week. It was not his antagonistic declarations in Riyadh, Israel, Brussels and Italy.
It came from Iran: President Hassan Rouhani had managed the tour de force to be reelected against a conservative candidate and a few others, reaching 57% of the votes at the first round. Three-quarters of the Iranians voted, twenty percent more than in the US. It was a victory for those who believe that the time had come to open up Iran further to the rest of the world. Read More
Since your inauguration, you are in the bunker of the first hole.
Your three worldwide golf partners, Vladimir Putin, Xi Jinping and Angela Merkel are watching you. Vladimir is laughing as he did yesterday at his press conference: you gave him so many reasons to ridicule America. You thought he would be your friend: in fact, he gave a soft quick touch to your ball to make sure it would fall in the bunker. Xi is smiling, undecipherable, happy to see you weakened after your rodomontade on North Korea. As to Angela, you hate her and she sees you exactly as the player you are: a bully who hits ferociously the ball, does not wait for his turn, throws as much grass as the ball. You do not even have a sense of the basic etiquette: you did not shake her hand while you were holding Teresa May by the hand.
Nous y voilà.
Le barnum de la télévision dont la série-phare était « you are fired » « vous êtes viré », vient d’utiliser cette réaction impulsive contre le patron –par ailleurs très controversé- du FBI, James Comey. Il en a le droit si son Ministre de la Justice, Jeff Sessions, lui-même controversé et empêché d’exercer cette fonction dans son Etat, le lui demande. En savoir plus
Que ce soit à New York, Londres, Berlin ou Bruxelles, tous les regards sont rivés sur la scène politique française. Londres se demande comment la négociation Brexit sera affectée. Berlin se demande qui sera le ou la partenaire de l’axe Paris-Berlin, tout en exprimant sa préférence pour Emmanuel Macron. Bruxelles sait que seul ce dernier est vraiment un partisan de l’Europe. Quant à New York, ce sont les réminiscences de l’holocauste qui choquent et nourrissent la préférence pour En Marche. Les Francais y ont voté a 52% pour lui. En savoir plus
Le vote du 23 juin 2016 qui a permis aux défenseurs du Brexit de gagner un référendum absurde a sonné le glas des 38 ans d’appartenance du Royaume Uni à ce qui s’appelait à l’époque la communauté. En savoir plus
March 29, 2017 will be remembered as the Day Europe shrunk. The letter of Prime Minister Theresa May initiating article 50 of the European Treaty is delivered today. Article 50 was aiming at countries that would become dictatorships or not respect human rights. “It seemed to me very likely that a dictatorial regime would then, in high dudgeon, want to storm out. And to have a procedure for storming out seemed to be quite a sensible thing to do — to avoid the legal chaos of going with no agreement,” the writer of the article Lord Kerr said. It was never conceived as an exit strategy for legitimate Member States. Whatever the intention of the legislator was, the text was ambiguous enough to allow Brexit. Read More
The unconstitutional behavior of the Republican Party, refusing even to audition Justice Merrick Garland, despite bipartisan support, under fallacious pretexts, has deprived the Supreme Court of its ability to operate as it should. They showed disrespect, not only to the Judge and the President, but to the Supreme Court itself. Read More
The last few days are showing how the resistance to the furious, insane and untrue statements of the President of the United States is starting to take shape. It will, over time, strengthen and contain Donald Trump’s ability to make America less bad than he has made it since the beginning of his Presidency. Read More
L’instrumentalisation de la monarchie par l’armée
Le deuil prolongé depuis de la mort le 13 octobre 2016 du Roi Bhumibol est omniprésent dans la ville sous forme de panneaux, de photos et d’hommages. Son incinération n’a pas encore eu lieu, et risque de ne pas avoir lieu avant plusieurs mois. C’est l’incinération du roi précédent qui permet le couronnement de son fils.
Un des hauts-lieux de Bangkok est le Palais Royal. J’ai tenté de m’y rendre pour découvrir des milliers de Thaïlandais tout de noir vêtus qui eux-mêmes essayaient de rendre hommage au défunt souverain. A chaque coin de rue, la police veille et attrape de temps à autres de pauvres hères pour une raison ou une autre. En savoir plus
On Friday January 20, Donald Trump will be inaugurated as president of the United States. On that day, the Donald Trump tweets will cease to exist. Do I mean that he will no longer tweet? Somewhere, I doubt it. But they no longer will be Trump tweets. They will be White House tweets, if they still exist. He decided to refuse the @POTUS handle of the president of the United States and keep his personal handle. He is wrong if he believes that it changes anything to his presidential liability. Read More
Depuis plusieurs mois, je vois se dérouler devant nous des personnages et des évènements politiques qui semblent devoir leur pouvoir à une pratique que tous les medias et observateurs appellent le populisme. Je me sens de plus en plus mal à l’aise avec cette étiquette que l’on applique à tort et à travers. Pris au sens étymologique, le populisme est la version latine de la démocratie grecque. Il ne devrait pas être l’épouvantail que l’on s’envoie dans le circus maximus électoral et politique. Il est commun à ce qu’il est convenu d’appeler l’extrême droite et l’extrême gauche qui ont effectivement le même programme politique, constituant un « nouveau centre ». En savoir plus
Mr Mistry asked the court to appoint an inspector to investigate whether Mr. Tata had breached of insiders trading regulation by allegedly seeking price-sensitive information from Tata operating companies that are publicly listed.
Cyrus Mistry brought a veiled accusation that cannot be left unanswered: he accused Ratan Tata and the Trusts of violating insider trading rules, which is a criminal accusation potentially leading in India to an imprisonment up to ten years. Accusing Ratan Tata to be a criminal is despicable and, more importantly, incorrect in fact and in law. Read More
The media coverage of the so-called endorsement of the new administration by Wall Street is a combination of misinformation, politics and ignorance. Read More
Italy is on the cliff of a major debt and budget crisis.
The Italian economy has been in a virtual recession while its public debt increased to 2,273 billion euros representing 132.7% of its Gross Domestic Product, despite a monetary policy that pushed interest rates at a record low. The effect of this situation on Italian banks has been to accelerate the deterioration of their loan portfolio. Read more
I know it is not immediate, but for some reasons, nobody has spoken about the sharp increase in US interest rates of the US Treasuries. On November 8, the yield of 10-year US Treasuries was 1.85%. Today, it is already at 2.25%. This increase of 0.40% applied to the level of $ 20 trillion of US public debt represents an annual cost to the budget of $ 80 billion. This is a notional calculation since the debt will only become more expensive after each renewal of debt. Read More
“The trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed” is part of Handel’s Messiah and raises hopes of the resurrection. The text comes from the first letter of St Paul to the Corinthians. This Wednesday, we woke up to a profound nightmare. Read More
La décision du gouvernement wallon de refuser son approbation au Traite entre l’Europe et le Canada fait partie de la tendance mondiale vers un populisme qui rêve de détruire la mondialisation. Cette décision pose des problèmes pour la Wallonie, la Belgique et l’Europe, mais surtout la question de l’avenir des traites internationaux. Ce sujet n’est d’ailleurs pas strictement européen, et les oppositions diverses et variées au Traite Trans pacifique ne sont pas moins violentes. En savoir plus
The Federal Election Commission has remarkably failed in its responsibility to organize fair debates. The “town hall” was more formal than a classical debate and the absence of table allowed the Republican Candidate to literally circumvent the Democratic candidate. That is on the form. Read More
Maintenant qu’il est clair qu’Hillary Clinton gagnera haut la main les élections présidentielles, il peut être utile de se demander quels sont les principaux défis auxquels la Présidente des Etats-Unis sera confrontée au cours des prochaines quatre années. Sa capacité d’agir sur ces sujets dépendra en grande partie du Congrès : c’est pour cela que les républicains, qui savent qu’ils ont perdu la course à la Maison Blanche, se concentrent sur les élections parlementaires. En savoir plus
The wave of criticism of Matt Lauer for his performance as a moderator of the debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump has evidenced the uneasiness that has been created by the various television channels. Matt Lauer had to field critics for a decision that was made by the NBC editorial staff. NBC Today is not exactly a news show. the Commander-in-Chief is not Matt Lauer’s expertise. Read More
L’amende de 13 milliards d’euros imposée par la Commission Européenne au géant Apple qui vaut plus d’un billion d’euros en Bourse (550 milliards) a amené des réactions en tous sens tellement incohérentes que j’ai préféré attendre le calme de la fête du travail aux Etats-Unis ce lundi pour regarder de plus près cette étourdissante décision. En savoir plus
The noise about Brexit, as historically and politically significant as it could be, has, over the past three weeks, allowed Italy to hide. However, whether its is the Financial Times about Italy’s banking crisis, the New York Times, Italy’s Plan for Banks could Roil Europe or The Economist Italy’s teetering banks will be Europe’s next crisis, serious media all came within a week to remind us that the reeal risk for Europe is Italian banking. Read More
Depuis plusieurs jours, les déclarations françaises se multiplient pour « évacuer » la Grande Bretagne de l’Union Européenne de toute urgence. Quelle mouche pique donc le Gouverneur de la Banque de France, le Premier Ministre, le Ministre des Affaires Extérieures et le Ministre de l’Economie, mais aussi les commentateurs ? J’ai tenté une analyse sur base de toutes ces déclarations. Voici mon analyse qui sera largement controversée. En savoir plus
By putting the debate on economic issues, British leaders have made the Brexit debate an economic one while it is fundamentally a political one. It is England that decided the fate of the referendum, infuriating Scotland and Norther Ireland. Read more
As we are getting closer to Donald Trump’s nomination, his outrageous behavior has accelerated. He stated that he would not change if he were elected president, insulted the media who have blindly financed him for sake of reality TV, insulted Republican parliamentarians, refused to publish his tax returns and recently defended a fake university that bears his name. He is being more outrageous every time he speaks. Read more
[I wanted to answer your blog personally as you are questioning my candidacy for the Presidency of the United States of America. These are my original words, compiled to convince you of the contrary.]
A compilation of quotes from Donald. Read More
These thoughts are the reflection of a people-to-people trip to Cuba with National Geographic, a program that is fundamentally educational and a discovery.
In 2015, the 7th Americas Summit, in Panama City, included Cuba for the first time. This U.S. initiative would have happened without the U.S. if they had refused the presence of its neighboring island. It was the first meeting between Barack Obama and Raul Castro, that led to the reopening of the U.S. Embassy and the visit of the U.S. President in Havana. It was also the clearest indication that the US were the only nation not to have such relationship. 90 miles from Key West, it was time not to submit US foreign policy to the lobby of the Cuban Americans in Florida. Read more
Now we know what doing “whatever it takes” to ensure the stability of the Eurozone means. That July 2015 bluff by Mario Draghi, the ECB President, is now being called. The European Central Bank is in talks with the Italian government about buying bundles of bad loans as part of its asset-purchase program and accepting them as collateral from banks in return for cash, the Italian Treasury said according to Reuters. This announcement reassured the markets if it were to be followed by action. Read more
The current situation is definitely not pretty. In the turmoil that affects equity markets, banks seem to be taking center stage. Among them, Italian banks have become the center of attention.
European banks are not in good health
The recent assessment of the International Monetary Fund that European Banks have not provided for 900 billion dollars of bad loans is not particularly reassuring. As early as this week, former Governor of the Banque de France Christian Noyer was bold enough to state that “Eurozone banks are going very well. It is solid”. It is precisely that official speech that is the first source of worry. Is it denial or public relations? None of those are part of a Central Bank Governors’ job description. The reality should be sobering. In the last five days Deutsche Bank shares lost 15% of their value. Read more
Even the traditional and brain-dead campaign of the Democrats did not pick up on Donald Trump’s statement that he “could stand in the middle of 5th Avenue and shoot somebody and not lose voters.” Yes, it is outrageous, but it is worse than that. It confirms the lawlessness of Donald Trump. He does not even consider the consequences of his statements, let alone what it reflects of his true nature. Read more
I had not been in Tehran for the past 38 years, but had been a frequent visitor of the country when I was in charge of the Middle East for my bank, Societe Generale de Banque, in Belgium. As the lifting of the Western sanctions against Iran was approaching, I undertook the journey back to Tehran this weekend. I wanted to evaluate what could be done in the field of finance to facilitate the reintegration of Iran in the global world of finance. I had published a post here, in September 2015, advocating the reintegration of Iran in the world community. Read More
Everyone is celebrating; it is time for family and friends, going back to sweet memories, or setting up plans for next year. For Syrians, during the last few years, things have been quite different. Actually, this time of the year is nearly the worst to go through. Read more.
The presidential candidates have collectively delivered a resounding political victory to ISIS, whom each of them focused on.
Following the debate was like listening to aspiring presidents who consider that the most important issue facing the United States of America is to “beat ISIS.” They did not even realize that, by doing so, they were giving ISIS the golden keys to the kingdom: the ability to define our policies. Read More
Born and raised in Belgium, I have a bias. I went to the United States in 1996 to lead the NYSE’s research and international departments and I became a U.S. citizen in 2009 after Belgium allowed dual citizenship. After the Paris attacks, an insidious attempt to blame Belgium for the attacks struck me as (at best) ill-informed. Read more
The European insurance sector has approximately 6.8 trillion euros of assets under management. It is the largest European institutional investor, a fundamental element of financial stability and provides support for the global economy. Additionally, the European insurance sector is a significant source of jobs, providing employment for more than one million people. The chart below illustrates the share of GDP represented by insurance premiums, generally defined as penetration ratios. Read more
It is fascinating to read the (generally uninformed) comments that accompany the public debate around the approval of the Iran agreement that has been negotiated for more than two years. It is so obvious that it is better than the current situation that I find it necessary to spell out the economic case on behalf of the agreement. Read more
It is hard to believe that the roster of 10 men could land such a despicable debate. It is a shame for them, and a shame for their party. I congratulate the moderators on having found enough substance in their questions. Read more
De la fenêtre de ma chambre d’hôtel, au 61eme étage d’un des buildings de Pudong, c’est le brouillard. Cette image illustre bien la situation qui prévaut en Chine depuis le début de la semaine. Peu de visibilité et une vraie inquiétude. L’impact de la chute du marché de 30% en 3 semaines ouu se traitent des volumes record, n’est pas une question qui concerne seulement les institutions. 80% des actions chinoises sont détenues directement par les ménages. L’inverse des Etats-Unis et beaucoup plus qu’en Europe. L’employé ou le petit commerçant ont été incités par le Gouvernement chinois de mettre leurs économies en actions comme la valeur qui monte. En savoir plus